Tag Archives: Anxiety

Bona Drag? Listen in Order.

“This is the last song I will ever sing… No, I’ve changed my mind again. Good night and thank you.” – Disappointed by, Morrissey

Holy hand grenade, I’ve been going through a time. Let’s review. A neighbor dog killed one of our ducks in our yard, never tried to make it right, and someone is shooting arrows at my side porch.

Along with those slings and arrows, I’ve had: two funerals, two stomach viruses, looking for a new SS lawyer, phone calls and paperwork, and that most Karen of 90s holdouts, faxes!

Speaking of 90s holdouts, I found a copy of the CD Bona Drag, by Morrissey. The original with the red shirt on the blue background. I had that on tape! It was five bucks at a music store. Snapped it up.

When I finally sat down to listen, I realized that every single one of the songs was a hit that would show up as the first song on a Pandora playlist. But they were all together! These iconic songs were all ordered into one entire unfolding experience. A two year journey of delicious pop, with 60s girl band throwbacks, the slyest and snarkiest of lyrics, and a smooth yet odd and expressive voice. I had never fully appreciated those songs until I heard them set in that order.

That’s what the rest of my life has been in want of: order. I’m world-renowned for my intense dislike of chaos (and people going barefoot). I needed to get my life in some form of order, and I needed to let nature dictate that order. I needed to listen to each piece of it all in its own time, in order.

I love not worrying. Worry gives me panic attacks and agita. But when needs must, at least let me take it one at a time.

The first part to call was physical. Take a shower. Clean clothes. Drink water. Eat! Your brain is hardwired to react to scarcity, or any physical discomfort. You ever get depressed when you’re sick? And you ever tried eating? It’s like magic! Your body and brain work. I also highly recommend sleep. Melatonin helps.

This can all be truly hard when you are worried or anxious or depressed. But they’re some of the first parts of myself I try to reclaim from disrepair after a shock, sickness, or emergency.

I hate that I’ve become this person, but I gotta move my body! Slowly start walking about, swing my arms, dance a little, do some gentle yoga. My body becomes a Gordian knot after a few sedentary days. Only I slowly work it out, unlike other, “greater,” Greeks. My body is screaming, “move that arse.”

While we all are forced to make quick calls, literal and figurative, most of the time, those calls can wait a day or so for us to recover. And even for us to clean our normal work and life space. I’m a big fan of dedicated spaces that are ready for whatever.

And of course: can’t ignore the call to self-soothe. I try being very kind to myself. Let myself have permission to not be top functioning. I struggle with this. I feel I should do every dreaded task at once, when I could probably put aside time every day to work on the pieces. But if I don’t stop to just do a thing that soothes my mind and body, I can’t function at all.

The sooner I get myself on my regularly scheduled program, the better. But it does take time to come back from a major life whalloping. But at least there is plenty of daylight to get things done. Plenty of long summer days to tend to myself and life.

Obviously, things are still rough going. But I’m taking it in stages. Pasito a pasito. Baby steps. Making time for fun/good for me stuff. Even stopping at that music store for no reason was a win. I also got “Viva Hate” by, Morrissey. So I’ll sit down for a proper listen in good time, and in order.

– JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ’πŸ––πŸΌ

PS – Fax machines are an arcane, invasive species of communication. There is no limit on killing them.

While you’re here: check out the wonderful work done by NAMI: The National Alliance on Mental Illness. Use their resources to find free help or donate.

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Predictions Five to Punish my Pride

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Ugh. It’s still me.

I always say that my two greatest motivators are Vanity and Anger. I hasten to add that somehow these emotions eventually turn to the Light Side. I’m not truly certain of that last fact, but it helps me convince myself that I’m not an absolute monster. However, I am certain that at some point vanity and self-respect meet, as do anger and motivation. Who knows? Who cares? I actually care. And about who cares. That’s the problem. Or have I been taught it’s a problem?!

Look, I obviously need to examine this thoughtling a bit more deeply, and with my therapist.

Until that undoubtedly world-changing — and stilted, trite, and poorly edited — post, I offer this abbreviated list of what my Pride, Insecurity, Awkwardness, Anxiety, Mood Issues, Social Anxiety, and PTSD will probably cost me if I’m lucky. I need hopes.

1) All of the souls of those I’ve held hostage and forced to listen to Morrissey and/or my lectures on the Late Republican Roman era will haunt my waking life.

2) If there is an afterlife, I will be similarly bound and forced to listen to derivative drivel obviously written for culturally uninformed troglodytes and watch historically inaccurate depictions of Roman warfare in Caesar’s Gallic campaigns.

3) Someday, someone smarter than I will call me “basic” for loving The Plague and Camus.

4) I will never have enough fame or money to exact all of the revenge I seek.

5) I will be having a bad hair day and wearing the wrong shoes when I finally meet Adam Driver and/or Morrissey.

I’ll also probably die first in the zombie apocalypse.πŸ˜’ Therapy tomorrow. Breathe. Listen to Morrissey.

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Panic and Peace for Nerds

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“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential.”  – Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work

Two weeks ago, I awoke on a sunny day with the intention of weeding my garden. Instead I ended up at my doctor’s office convinced I needed emergency asthma treatment. Turns out my lungs were fine. I had a panic attack.

I felt silly. I mean, I ought to know a panic attack by now, right? So I began a renewed interest in my mental health, in what, let’s face it, are trying times for anyone who cares about anything anymore. At least here in the US, and anyone watching us thinking, “Well, this can’t be good.”

After checking all of my vitals and listening to my lungs, my doctor asked me what had I been doing when I first felt I couldn’t breathe. She nodded at my answer: I was reading the morning news. I had a psychiatrist and therapist appointment in a few days, so she referred me to them with some questions. And she told me to stay away from the news.

That last bit really ticked me off. I felt like she was talking down to this “mentally ill” child. But I did lay off the news. When I met with my psychiatrist, she understood my panic attack perfectly well. She did ask me to challenge myself to find more ways to cope with and manage both my news intake and my anxiety. Although she did increase my anxiety medication a small bit to help ease me through.

My therapist was also understanding, but again she admonished me against news. And she challenged me to find more ways to use my energy towards that which made me feel peace. She suggested “simple” things. She also asked if I had a more “spiritual” back up plan for strength.

I was totally pissed again. Am I so gaslighted and fragile that I have be both ignorant, mindless, AND reliant on unknowable whims of unknowable sky fairies to live in Trump’s America? Seriously!?

And then I did some really hard work. I did my monthly budget. I carefully looked for where we were leaking the ten and twenty dollars here and there that kills our finances. I fixed it. I felt better.

After a few weeks of hemming and hawing, I redid my student loan repayment, and got back on track with that. I felt better.

I returned a book to Audible and got a credit for the book of Roman history I wanted. I felt better.

And, when my friends suggested a hike-in and camp trip on the Appalachian Trail, I signed on. Like Bilbo Baggins, I was going to have an adventure on my birthday! I was excited, and terrified. But there was a lot to do. Firstly, the house needed to be cleaned for when they came over to plan. Did it! Felt better.

Then they came over. We had a fire, toasted my birthday, christened my new knife Uncle Joe — to match my machete, Killary. And we all sang along to Abbey Road loudly. “Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight a long time.” I felt better.

Saturday dawned, and I knew we had to get ready for the trip. Having read The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks, and being old hands at camping, we were mostly ready…mostly.  Even our dog Abbey got her own backpack because she was carrying her weight, too! She liked it. I felt better.

But I was still nervous. Until my friend told me something important: It’s safe to be cautious on a trip like this. What we were doing was unknown to me, and potentially dangerous. But we would be with more experienced campers. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo Baggins, going out your door.” How I felt was normal. I felt better.

We set off on our trek as on a 14:00 away mission, but with hobbits. But that exciting vibe fell away quickly. After struggling a third of the five miles straight up — carrying one third of my body weight– everything became so clear. All I had to do was keep putting one foot ahead of the other. “Simple.” I remembered what my Dad said about Korea. The marching back and forth in the cold and mud. “Your feet are the most important thing.” Simple isn’t mindless. It’s mindfulness itself.

My life became my feet. One in front of the other. “I am one with The Force. The Force is with me. I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.” One foot in front of the other.

Well, suffice to say, I made it there and back again. And I felt washed clean, although I was filthy.  I had literally bugged-out. Now what? OK. Clean up all the dirty and wet gear. Now what? Make an action list for materials I need to gather for an appointment I have soon. Ok. Now what? Write.

And I feel better.

I did eventually get the news via my Mom.  That’s not such a bad way to stay informed. As far as my “spiritual” strength, I realized  that comes from the same places as always with me: Tolkien, Trek, Star Wars, history, The Beatles, challenging myself, my writing, and things my Father’s Force Ghost still says in my ear.

So, what’s my point? Firstly, it’s OK to feel anxious. It’s normal. Life, more uncertain than usual, will try to gaslight you. Secondly, you may need to “bug-out.” I don’t mean that you need to walk 500 ft up and sleep in the rain. But a change and a challenge you feel you are ready for…mostly. Something that reduces life to essentials and is “one foot in front of the other.” Simple.

Finally, you don’t have to give up your mind’s critical ability, sacrifice what is yourself and be a mindless sheep to get on in the brave new insane world. We rented Rogue One when we got home, and watched it twice since. I’m now convinced that I adore that movie!  I don’t need no religious education. An exciting and dramatic daughter-daddy Star Wars movie, a trek through the forest of the adventure with my mythological companions, taking care of my life, a bit of help from my friends, a bit of writing, and a book of Roman history, and I’m good.

Now what? Make food.

I am one with The Force. The Force is with me.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll weed the garden. πŸ˜‰

How are you all holding up? What is helping — or hurting — you right now?

While you’re here:  Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of things I like and hate! πŸ˜Š

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