I hate 24 hour weeks.

It’s been a long week. Shhhhh. I know it’s Monday. I just don’t want to think about the fact that there are 6 more days to go in this week. Why has it been such a long 24 hour week?

I don’t have a good answer.

Yesterday, I got to hang out with my family and I didn’t do anything other than watch movies and do nothing. I even tried to order groceries online. I just didn’t have the energy to do anything else. I wanted to do a lot of things. I just couldn’t. And I didn’t have any good reason why not. I even slept til 11:00.

Today I got to go to work with my husband and do surgeries for shelter pets with a great group of people who are fun and work hard (huge bonus: no difficult clients to deal with). And I am still so, so tired. I slept fine.

And sometimes that’s what depression does. It does lots of things. But sometimes it’s boring and the opposite of dramatic. It’s anti-dramatic. It’s being tired for no reason and not wanting to get out of bed. Just because. Not because I want to luxuriate in the soft pillows and comforter that are free of dog and cat hair… (because I don’t have those) but because I just can’t find the energy to move. Because I can’t find anything to make me want to move. Even the things I love. I still love them. I just can’t find the energy.

But I did get up. I did go do 20 surgeries. I did have a great dinner with my husband and my kid. And I loved it. And I am still tired. So I’m going to type out this short little blog, have some tea, take a hot bath, and go to bed.

And tomorrow I’m going to get up and go to a wonderful job and save some animals and work with amazing people and tell depression to get back in the back seat. I’m driving and it’s not. Probably still going to be tired. But one foot in front of the other, as always. I’ll find my energy again.

I’m not sharing this for sympathy or to “harsh your mellow”. I just want you to know that if you’re dealing with the same shit, you’re not alone. And as soon as I get enough energy to get back to shore, I will be right here to throw you a life saver — either the flotation device or the candy, whichever you need the most. You are awesome. You are tired. But you are still fighting and that makes you a hero. Even if the person you save is yourself, you’re still a hero and I see you being incredible by getting up and out during those times when depression has you sucked dry. You got this and so do I.

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Well, hello there again.

I’ve been visited by Depression’s BFF lately. Anxiety wasn’t really invited when she first stopped by, and she sure as hell has overstayed her welcome. Both Depression and Anxiety make it hard to get out of bed and function in the real world. When Depression sets up camp, I don’t want to get out of bed because what’s the point? Nothing matters. Nothing is worth getting out of bed for. I have no worth and I’m DEFINITELY not worth expending that minuscule amount of energy that I have left in my body. When Anxiety is here, I want to cover my head and curl up into a tiny ball of raw nerves that vaguely resembles the shape of a female adult human. Depression makes it hard to function because I just have no energy and no desire to do anything, even things I love doing. I live in a foggy brain that can’t make sense of the world and the sunshine. And everything feels so. damn. heavy. Anxiety makes it hard to function because every nerve in my body is ready at a moment’s notice to send out signals to run or fight or have a heart attack. Some of those nerves think it’s fun to misfire and send out those signals all day long.

I know, just KNOW in my heart that something bad is happening or is about to happen. I forgot something important or I made the wrong decision or I have a terrible disease or someone I love has something bad happening to them or the car repair is going to be super expensive or I forgot that something is coming out of the bank account or I forgot to turn off something I should have turned off or I will never get everything done that I need to do or why can’t I concentrate on anything right now or my patient is dying or I messed up that routine surgery when everything seemed totally fine but probably isn’t fine or I am going to be fired or I am going to be sued or someone is mad at me or someone is judging me or …

Actually, all those “or”s should be “and”s because all those thoughts are going through my mind at the same time and my body is pumping out crazy amounts of adrenaline and cortisol. And it is exhausting. It’s probably similar to trying to make sense of that paragraph o’ run on sentence. Welcome to my brain when Anxiety is visiting! I just want to cry all the time, but not because there is no point to being alive, like when Depression is here, but because there is just too much and I just can’t deal with all of that at once for days at a time.

Honestly, I’m pretty good in the moment when something is happening. I can deal with unexpected problems in surgery and I can deal with bad news when it is delivered and I can perform in front of big crowds and I can handle an actual emergency when it happens. (Afterward, I shake and sometimes cry, but not until that shit is under control.) I cannot deal with the constant onslaught of hormones that Anxiety brings with her. Our bodies aren’t really meant to. Those hormones and on-edge nerves are meant for sprinting, not marathons.

Anxiety is getting the hint and is starting to pack up her bags to leave, but I am worn out. And I really don’t quite know how to deal with her. She’s visited off and on since I was a teenager, but she didn’t move in with me like Depression did. I have learned some coping mechanisms for Depression (and finally found a medication that helps) but I’m still struggling with Anxiety. Exercise probably helped a lot and since I still have done nothing in the way of making that a routine again, it let Anxiety just invite herself right in.

I do have a half marathon coming up in April. Once I can quiet my mind enough to look at a training plan, I might just be able to get Anxiety out of here for awhile. You all may get tired of it, but I will try to post my workouts daily on here, for accountability.

Um… There will probably be many days (if you follow this blog and don’t “unfollow” when you see the phrase “post daily workouts”) when you think “Oh, she just forgot to post or she was too busy” and I love you for giving me credit like that. In reality, I probably found some way to rationalize not exercising that day.

I love you all and if you have any suggestions for dealing with Anxiety, I’d love to hear them. (Suggestions from experience, please.) Comment away!

You know that ridiculous scene…

Hey there, people!! I have been so busy doing productive things and being fit and having tons of energy that I haven’t had a chance to sit down at a computer!!!   Hahahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahaha. Oh my. Whew. Not even close.

I’ve been a slug. This “Sad Woman in Spandex” still has the propensity to be sad, but hasn’t worn any spandex in MONTHS. Months. I did wear some leggings during the hilliest half marathon ever. But I only wore the leggings because it was cold and I hadn’t run in MONTHS and knew there would be serious chafing issues without them.

So, I’m still struggling to find my mojo. It’s around here somewhere and I’m pretty sure someday I will find it again because I get glimpses of it every now and then, like in those blurry Sasquatch photos. And, I am witnessing mojo-finding happening right in front of me. Just not BY me. Not directly.

 

You know those scenes in action movies where the hero is getting absolutely beaten to a pulp and then, all of a sudden, he rallies? He finds this strength and a big burst of energy, and he not only defeats the guy kicking his ass, but he saves the whole world at the same time. You know that scene. The one you secretly love because it feels so great, but you also roll your eyes at because, seriously, that DOESN’T happen. I mean, really. It’s up there with having never-ending bullets or all the bad guys having bad aim or all the enemies only attacking the hero one at a time… It’s fun and makes for a great story, but it just isn’t real.

 

Except that it is. I am seeing it in front of my own eyes right now.

 

You may know that I have gone through some… rough patches. I wasn’t the only one affected by the publicity and notoriety of the Incident. I was the sympathetic figure in whatever fantasy the media created. For me, the Incident ended up being liberating. I didn’t have to hide my depression anymore; I could be honest and just be me.

It didn’t have the same redeeming effects for my husband. He was vilified. The media skewed the story (and sometimes downright lied) to make it seem as though he was abusive. People he thought were his friends turned their backs on him. He left his job and was bullied, slandered, libeled, and harassed via social media.  It broke his heart and his faith in humanity.

He ended up taking a position in a city 100 miles away. We were all going to move there, but when I couldn’t find a job, we ended up renegotiating things and moving all our stuff BACK home. He still works there (doing great things!) and for a while was there all alone most of the time (and this is a man who does NOT like to be alone.   When he was a kid, he used to lie down in front of the door to keep people from leaving, and I’m not convinced he wouldn’t do that now…)

It was hard on him. Really, really hard on him. Where I came out of the Incident with a silver lining, all he got was rain and hail.

It was a miserable couple of years for him. He tried to be tough and just power through it, like he does. “I don’t have the body of a runner? Ok. I’ll run 10+ marathons and a couple of ultras.” “I don’t look like a triathlete? Ok. I’ll do 4 Ironmans.” “Oh no! I wrecked at mile 16 of my first Ironman and broke my bike? Ok. I’ll splint that shit with duct tape and a stick and keep going even with my broken bones.” That’s my guy!   That’s why when he got off the bike at that first Ironman and asked me, “Can I do this?” I responded with, “Can you walk? Then go!!”  Because he can and will do whatever he sets his mind to.

It’s been heartbreaking to see his spirit broken and the light in his eyes a little dimmer. His laugh had just an edge of bitterness and he didn’t laugh as easily. I was watching the hero of the story being beaten to a pulp.

But now, I’m watching that unbelievable scene. You know the one. That rally. That second wind, that rush of adrenaline, that light appearing in the hero’s eyes, that comeback. The hero broke those chains in the dungeon or found that sword that was buried or got his sonic screwdriver working or stood up when the bad guy started gloating.

And you know the feeling you get when you watch that scene in the movie theater? With the full surround sound, Dolby Digital, 3D experience. When your heart swells up into your throat and you want to jump up and cheer (but you usually don’t because, well, people…. But sometimes someone else does so you do too and the whole theater goes wild cheering?)

Well, let me tell you, it’s even more amazing when you see it in person.

The hero is back.  He’s winning.  And I’m cheering him on.

Stories are Powerful

I was thinking about what to write for my next blog post a few days ago. J and I had been talking about how our lives are made of such distinct chapters. I was driving along in the car by myself on a cold, rainy day, thinking about how this part of my life actually seems like a totally separate book. Thinking back a little further, it seems like the previous section was like a separate book too (different husband, different city, totally different life). Okay. So it’s a trilogy. Great, I thought. That means this is the last book. Well, that’s kind of depressing.

My daughter and I watched Maleficent a couple of weeks ago (We’re late to the party. I know. Don’t judge me.) She kept asking why everyone liked Maleficent, since she was the bad guy. Seeing as how her — and our — only point of reference for the character was the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty, we talked about perspective. We talked about how the story can change depending on who is telling it.

I went for a run tonight (Stream of consciousness is fun! Right?!) I had to make myself. I didn’t want to but it was a pretty day and it was 50 degrees and there was no rain or snow and I knew I needed to go outside. But it was getting dark. I was going to run on the main road near my house because it is well-lit and close to home and because my brain told me that was the best thing to do. So I decided to go to the Battlefield instead.

The Battlefield is a mostly wooded area (National Park) where the streets are runner and cyclist friendly, so I train there a lot. It was getting dark, but that doesn’t really bother me. I decided to do the basic 5K route I have done a million times. I am so not into training right now that a 5K is about all I can muster. My brain told me that I was going to run the 5K, no matter what. You’ll never get back into training if you don’t just do it. No stopping. You’re here to run. Suck it up and run.

About 1.5 miles into the run I heard it. One of my favorite sounds. The sound of summertime evenings in the country. The sound of peace and relaxation. The frogs. I heard them even with the music from my headphones pumped straight into my ears. I stopped. No! No. You don’t stop. Runners don’t stop. My brain was so adamant. If you don’t do it today, you won’t ever be able to do it. But another part of me said, Stop and listen to the frogs. They’re only here for a little while. They’re the sound of little me, catching lightning bugs and running barefoot. I stopped. I listened to those frogs and I looked around. I saw the deer wandering around in the fields and in the woods. I watched the squirrels run up the trees. I saw a hawk heading home for the night. I took a deep breath and things changed. I walked the rest of the 5K, headphones off, enjoying the gloaming and the air and the sounds.

Just like that, Maleficent was no longer the villain. My book was not the last of a trilogy. It’s just Book 3 of a series. (It’s probably that character building one that is hard to read and hard to get through, but really important to the storyline…)

Just. Like. That.

Sometimes I need the same lessons as a 5-year-old watching Maleficent.

The story changes depending on who is telling the story. The same is true whether it’s in an old storybook, a movie, or in my head. I have to be careful how I let my mind tell my story. I can choose to be the heroine, not the victim. I can choose to be in a comedy-fantasy-drama (think The Princess Bride), not a tragedy or a Lifetime drama.

We tell ourselves so many stories every day about how we’re not good enough or how we failed at something or how things are going to end badly or how that thing we said was SOOOOO dumb or how we made the wrong decision for our patient/our child/our life or how we’re just not good enough. Well, that’s bullshit. That narrator is really just the worst. So she’s fired.

I get to be the author of my story and it’s going to be a good one.

I Am (not) A Failure

Well, it happened. Here I was thinking that I am so mentally healthy now and I’ve finally gotten control of this whole depression thing and – WHAM – I got knocked back a few steps. Out of nowhere, those thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness and anxiety just hit me. Everything was fine. It was great, really. Hanging out with my husband and my kid, off work, dinner with friends, mostly cleaned up house. Then there was (as my husband describes it) “a click”. Not audible, I hope, but a distinct change in my thoughts and my actions. I was cranky, I started picking fights, I stopped making eye contact. And in my head, I was only a little aware that I was doing all this. I don’t even remember it all that well. I just remember thinking, “I don’t want to be here anymore. This is all bad and it is never going to be good and it’s all my fault.” What. The. Hell? I’m fine now, so don’t worry. No need to call and check on me. I have a great husband who has had to deal with me for a while now and he’s getting better at noticing when my anxiety is showing. After many, many tears (mine) and some frustration (his) and some confusion (ours), everything calmed down in my head and I was able to go to sleep. The next day, though, I kept thinking about what a failure I was for letting myself get that far down into that hole again. Why didn’t I notice sooner? Why didn’t I try harder to stop those negative thoughts? I scared J. I scared me. It caught us both off guard just enough to shake our sense of stability. It was nothing, nothing like “The Incident”, but it was enough of a reminder of my mental state at the time to shake us both. How had I let that happen?! I had failed. Again.

Failure is my biggest fear. No one likes to fail. I am scared to fail. Terrified. As a matter of fact, I’m just waiting for everyone to figure out that I am really just a big failure who has been fooling them all this time. I lie awake worrying that I made the wrong decision for a patient, that I missed something. I worry that I’m failing as a mother. There are so many things I should be doing that I’m not. I’m not as active as I should be politically; I’m failing to make the world better. Sometimes my fear of failure keeps me from doing potentially awesome things, like auditioning for a stage performance (with speaking parts?!) or joining a chorus or karaoke or dancing with friends or even just dinner if it means having to have conversation with people I don’t know well. Because they might see me as a failure at acting or singing or dancing or conversation or being interesting.

I really have tried to push myself beyond that fear of failure. It’s getting easier (sort of) the more I fail. And I have had some doozies. Here is a tiny sampling: I was booed at a speech in high school (still not sure if that’s a fail, but it was a bit traumatic). My first marriage failed. Of course, there was “The Incident” splashed all over local and regional media. And then there were my first 2 Ironman attempts. Ugh.

My first Ironman was going to be in Cozumel in 2012. I was so dedicated to training. I ate healthy. I trained according to schedule. I lost time with my little girl to go and ride my bike for 5 hours. I was ready. But then the swim happened. I’m not a really strong swimmer, but I’m okay. The water was already choppy when we all got in to tread water until the start. The race started and things were going ok. Initially, you swim “upstream” against the pretty mild current. I started having more trouble making progress and the waves got bigger. Once I made the turn and headed “downstream”, I couldn’t see the buoys. I could see on the ocean floor that they had been dragged down the course. I followed the drag marks as best I could. A paddleboarder helped call out where the next buoy was. I was starting to get really tired and dehydrated (my tongue felt like sandpaper and about 10 times too big in my mouth) from the salt water I kept swallowing. I reached the next turn to head back “upstream”, only this time, it was like a river. The current had picked up tremendously. I held on to a life guard’s float and vomited into the water (it wasn’t too gross because it was immediately swept away by the current). I tried to swim away, but came back to throw up one more time. Then I headed toward the swim exit. Except I didn’t. I swam in place. I swam HARD in place. The paddleboarder said she would stay with me until I got out of the water. She said she had to paddle hard and continuously just to stay with me. If we stopped, we lost so much ground so quickly! I had 20 minutes left before the cut off, but I was making no headway and I started to vomit again. I waved for the boat pick me up. It was my first DNF (Did Not Finish, for you tri-newbs) I cried so hard, hanging onto the paddleboard while we waited for the boat. (Little did I know that it was taking so long because they were busy picking up 400 –FOUR HUNDRED – other swimmers who were also DNFing) I cried because I had failed. I had taken so much time to prepare for this epic thing and I had failed. I wasn’t prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared to fail.

Other swimmers in the boat tried to console me, including a 5 time Ironman finisher and former Flying Tiger. But I sobbed. I had to walk/ride my bike back to the bike transition area, past the cyclists who hadn’t failed. The volunteers were sweet but weren’t sure how I was supposed to get my bike where it needed to be. They weren’t prepared for a failure. I finally racked my bike and waited at the bike course to cheer for my husband, who had waited 40 minutes for me to get out of the water. (This alone was pretty telling. He’s a much stronger swimmer than I, but it had taken him an hour to swim that last 0.5 miles.) Then I jogged back to the hotel at the end of the marathon course to drop off all the stuff in my transition bags that I should have needed but didn’t get to use. People cheered for me, thinking I was still in the race. Thinking I was not a failure. I cried some more. I met J at the beginning of his marathon, wearing my race number, and did the marathon with him. People cheered for us, but it didn’t count for me. Because I was a failure. I was an imposter. He finished and I cheered for him because he is awesome and he never quits. I couldn’t enjoy the full beauty and fun of COZUMEL for the next few days because I had failed.

Then came Ironman Louisville. I was definitely going to do this. I couldn’t deal with failing again. I had trained and trained for the heat and the hills. I knew this race, because J had done it 2 times before. The swim was fine. Upstream and crowded for a little bit but then downstream and just fine. I rolled onto my back and smiled (which broke the seal on my goggles and made them leak for the rest of the swim, but whatever). The bike was going pretty well, but then I couldn’t choke down my nutrition. All the foods and drinks I had practiced with on all those 75, 100, 110 mile rides? Not. Going. To. Happen. I wasted a lot of time trying to get those calories into my stomach, even getting off the bike a few times. Nope. I got off the bike before the cut off, but pretty late. And I couldn’t make my body run. Those brick workouts were for naught. I had no calories and no energy. After mostly walking, I realized there was no way for me to finish in time. I met a girl who was injured and crying because she wasn’t going to finish and I made the decision to DNF. I walked in with her. We talked and I told her about my DNF in Cozumel. I reassured her that it was ok. Whether she finished or not, her friends knew she was awesome. Her husband thought she was incredible for training with all the other stuff she had on her plate. The world would go on. She would get another chance.

I paused and I heard myself. She wasn’t a failure.

This time, I only cried a little when they took my timing chip and confirmed that I was DNF-ing. I stood at that finish line and I cheered as loud as I could for those Ironmen coming into the chute. I was so proud of them. I cheered them in and got so many smiles in return. I loved each one of those sweaty, exhausted, slightly (but only temporarily) broken people as they became Ironmen that night. And I felt only somewhat of a failure.

Now removed from those failures, I can see them as they are. I failed to complete those races, but I was not a failure. I worked hard. I gave everything I could. I made it to the start lines and I pushed myself forward again and again. I got knocked back a few times. But I was not a failure.

Failing to complete something as big as an Ironman is pretty much the worst for someone as afraid of failure as I am. But it happened. And I learned. I learned that my friends love me whether I finish the Ironman or not. My family loves me even if I fail to keep it together all the time. My husband and my daughter love me even if I fail to keep anxiety and depression at bay all the time. And the rest of the world doesn’t care at all. They’re not watching me. They’re worrying about failing at whatever they’re doing.

Each time I fail, it gets easier. It still really, really sucks, but it takes less of a toll on me. Even though I failed to control my depression a few days ago, I’m not a failure. I’m a work in progress.

After all, I’m awesome, not perfect!

Sometimes I need to hear my own voice

I’m having a hard time tonight. I feel like crying. I think it’s hormones. These days, the few days before my period, I am like a toddler. Uncontrollable mood swings from hell. And my tolerance for people is at -45.

Right now I’m sitting at work, even though I could have left 2.5 hours ago, because if I go to the old house, I will fall asleep as soon as I sit down. And I have some shit I need to get done.

My daughter is staying with her grandparents tonight, which is totally cool since she isn’t staying with them as often as she used to. I will have grand plans to write or read or clean or pack or even just paint my nails, but I will sit down and the next thing I know J will be calling to check on me and it will be 11:00. And I will have mush brain but won’t be able to fall back into as deep of a sleep again until 10 minutes before my alarm goes off in the morning. Then boom. Mush brain again.

Plus, I don’t have wi-fi at the old house and I wanted to download some updates for the ol’ electronic devices. And I don’t know what I want to eat. And I’m cranky. And I’m mad at myself for not being healthier or training or just getting my shit together. Right now, I don’t even know where my shit is, much less if it’s together!
————————————————————————————————————-

Whoa.

I was interrupted in my stream-of-consciousness rambling rant when J called to chat. We talked and he was going to get something to eat and play COD (that’s Call of Duty to you uninitiated folks.) That’s how exciting our phone conversations are. When we hung up, I decided to go through some voice memos on my phone. I’m not really sure why. I’m weird like that.

I just listened to a very frustrated, very unhappy, very lost little girl. She hated her job and she couldn’t think and she was feeling very overwhelmed and very much like a failure. She was thinking of writing a letter to a self-help person because she didn’t know what else to do. She cried when she talked about how lucky she was but how broken she felt. I have to admit, I teared up when I heard her. Okay. I ugly cried. I wanted to call her and hug her and tell her everything is ok. That she is ok. That she is depressed and she just needs a little help to get moving again. She needs to tell someone else all that stuff she just told the recorder on her phone. Because she doesn’t have to hide behind a façade of everything being just fine.

I wanted to give my 4 years younger self the gift of knowing she has the strength to get through this, but she can’t do it alone.

It has been a hard 4 years. Until I listened to that scared, broken woman, I didn’t realize how far I had come. I didn’t really realize how long I had been fighting my depression and then fighting even harder to hide it. I’ve survived a lot. My depression was brought out into the sunlight (and internet and tv and newspapers) for all to see and to make — usually erroneous– judgments about.

And here I am.

I am standing. I am smiling more than I am not. I have a happy, healthy, super smart and hilarious daughter and I have a husband who stood by my side through it all.

Oh younger me, I am so sorry I let you stay in that dark place for so long! And I am sorry to know what trauma you have to go through to get back into the sunlight. But I am not sorry to say that you are awesome. You are tough and you are loved and you are amazing. You still have bad days and you still are tired sometimes and you’re not as perfect as you would like. But you are standing tall and you will continue on in the sunlight with the help of all those people who love you, whether you’re perfect or not. (Mostly not. And that’s ok.)

By the way, “those people?” That’s you guys. Thank you for being cheerleaders and companions and spectators along this journey. I appreciate you more than you know. I love you and you are all tougher than you think.

Pondering

Haha. So that’s how my goals always seem to go… I was planning to post once a week on Sundays and now I’ve missed 2!! What to do?!? Just hop right back into the saddle, I guess.

Today I was pondering, as I do when not cursing the traffic lights and the poor planning associated with them on my way to work. (Seriously… NO ONE turns there. I have NEVER seen a line to turn there. Why do we all have to sit there for a full 60 seconds for a turn signal no one needs?!?)

I woke up this morning with anxiety. I washed all my clothes yesterday, put up most of them, and set out my outfit last night. My legs were shaved and my hair washed and my body clean before I went to bed. My gym bag was packed with swim gear and running stuff (I like to keep my options open.) My phone was fully charged and the alarm even woke me up this time!! I knew what I was taking for lunch even though it needed to be repackaged. The Tupperware bowls and lids were easily accessible (yay me!!) My car had gas. I left in plenty of time with my cup of coffee in my hand – and I didn’t even spill it on my shirt! The weather was beautiful. And I was so anxious. I felt like the world was just going to explode at any minute.

Something. Bad. Was. Going. To. Happen. Any minute. No really, any second now… But it didn’t. Traffic was fine. No coffee was spilled during the drive. I went a different way that has fewer traffic lights. At work I didn’t have any nasty messages from unreasonable clients or any patients on death’s door or even any super frustrating or confusing cases. Still anxious.

Back to pondering. Some days I wake up and I feel so positive. Even when things go wrong, nothing can get me down. On those days, I am conscious of that great attitude and I try to pinpoint how I can recreate that every day. A few days might even go along that way, then – BOOM – anxiety, stress, bad attitude. Sometimes it’s hormonal. Those days, everyone is stupid and my “dealing with other people (especially their stupid shit)” tank is e-m-p-t-y. But that’s pretty predictable and transient and I can usually find a friend to commiserate. It’s the unpredictable, unexpected negative days that catch me off guard and scare me a little. I don’t want to go back down the slippery, dark slide back into depression.

I’ve decided (vaguely several weeks ago and now definitively because it’s in print – sort of) I’m going to approach these anxious days with a new tactic. I’m going to treat myself like a very young child. When I feel anxious, I’m going to say to myself, “Self, I can see you are anxious. That’s not a good feeling. Can you tell why you’re so anxious? No? That’s no fun…. Oooooh! The sky is so blue today. How pretty! I wonder what it smells like outside right now. I bet it smells like those honeysuckles across the street! Breathe in deep. Wow it feels good to have air in those lungs. They really stretch out! Blow out through your lips slowly. Let’s see how long you can blow air out….” Distraction FTW! (For the win. Is that a thing outside online gaming?  Are my nerd roots showing?)

Yes, I realize I didn’t invent the idea of focusing on your breath to bring yourself into the moment and mindfulness and all that. But my anxious mind will have to be tricked into focusing on sensations rather than speculations!  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Like most of my best-laid plans, I’ll probably stumble. A lot. But I’ll just get back up (look around to see who saw that) and keep on going.