Category Archives: Anxiety

Stress Management or Lack There Of

Hi friends. Sorry it’s been a reaaaally long time since I last posted. My life has been the opposite of easy in the past week. Headaches continue to rage, work was beyond stressful last week and I’ve got my exam coming up on Saturday. Not to mention there is just a bunch of stuff going on in my personal life. AND I’m starting my fourth step. It’s not the cause of a great deal of stress at the moment, but you know…I am definitely a bit fearful about it. I just need to dive in head first. Tonight.

When I checked in with ASL on the phone last night she said she could hear it in my voice that I hadn’t been to a meeting in a while and she was correct. So we met at Chelsea Riverside for the 9pm speaker meeting. It was just what I needed! We then headed over to Whole Foods to hunt down my new obsession: Coconut Water.

A bunch of different brands make it, and I’m not partial to any one in particular yet. It’s just delicious and refreshing and I want it all the time. I’m such an addict…

Speaking of Coconut Water, I was so stressed out on Friday due to Migraines and an unrelenting amount of work and time pressure I couldn’t handle it. So on my way home I stopped by Walgreens to pick up a pack of cigarettes (I know, I know) I just wanted to calm down for 5 minutes. I decided I’d get a bottle of coconut water while I was at it. When I walked down the beverage aisle to get it they didn’t have any, but they did have a bunch of cheap wine and I really wanted to buy a bottle or 5. Of course I didn’t, but it was the first time in a while that I’ve felt like drinking.

I bought the pack of cigarettes and went home. I smoked the first one and initially felt relaxed. 20 minutes later I felt like vomiting and vowed never to smoke again. Thanks HP, for proving to me that I am in fact an idiot. My body is officially done with that crap. GOOD THING! What a waste of $12… that’s what my brain does to me though. It feels stressed and automatically seeks something outside of myself to make it better. That experience (like many before it) just proves that those outside things never make anything better and usually just make things worse. Like the tummy ache I had for the rest of the night.

Life can get really hard sometimes, even in sobriety. Especially in sobriety. Today I have the tools to help myself though. The tools I never had when I was drinking and using. It’s my choice to utilize those tools or not though. I can’t act like a victim in my own life. That’s pathetic and irresponsible – hense the Friday night incident. All I can do is accept things for what they are and do whatever I can to make things better, not worse.

How do you manage your stress?

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Filed under Anxiety, Headache, Recovery

More Down than Up

This weekend had its ups and downs. Friday night we saw Horrible Bosses which was anything but horrible – it was SO FUNNY! Best part of the weekend by far.

Saturday I woke up with a raging headache which calmed down for about an hour with the help of meds and then raged again for the rest of the day. I had to run a few errands and then go into work for a but, but instead of taking a practice exam I sat on my couch for 6 hours before Leo got back to the city. It was miserable. I couldn’t even nap my headache was so bad. Finally the 2nd round of meds started to work and I could be mobile again. Around 8pm, Leo picked me up and we headed to Hill Country Fried Chicken. Holy moly it was good. We were both exhausted, so we spent the rest of the night in – watching various things on Netflix until I had to get to bed before my head exploded again.

Sunday I was determined to take my practice test since my headswelling had made it impossible the day before. My brain was feeling relatively clear, so Leo went off to hit golf balls in the sunshine and I headed to the office to take my exam. It didn’t turn out quite how I would have liked, but I really haven’t studied much lately. Exam retake is in weeks and then I’m done with that thing forever. I will put my head to the books for the next 13 days. The rest of Sunday I was moody and cranky and unfortunately Leo caught the brunt of it. I always act out and say things that aren’t great when I feel like crap. No good excuses for my behavior, hopefully I’ll be better today.

Basically my weekend sucked. It’s ok though – not every day is a good day and I know when I have bad days they will pass. I see my neurologist tomorrow, hopefully she’ll actually pay attention to what I’m saying, read my lengthy headache diary and come up with a solution that actually works. Otherwise I’m changing doctors.

What do you do when things are crappy?

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Filed under Anxiety, Headache, Movies, Recovery

This is Incredibly Hard

Happy Tuesday! Life is busy as ever with me. My family reunion this past weekend was incredibly beautiful and relaxing and I was headache free on Saturday which was nice. I wish I could share some pictures with you but my camera is at home. Perhaps later this week!

Work has been busy, but in the good way. My headaches, on the other hand have completely devoured any sense of well being I once had. I am in pain most of the time and also frustrated with the lack of relief. I feel as if I’m doing everything possible to help myself and my health and it seems to be worse than it was just a few months ago. I know I’m not in charge of my own life, but it’s incredibly frustrating not to be. I know I need to have faith and to trust in all the processes I’m going through, but the pain makes it so hard to believe most days. Physical therapy, acupuncture, significant diet changes, off caffiene and nicotine, on medication and herbs, there just doesn’t seem to be an end to it.

Unfortunately headaches are not like a cold – they are very nuanced and can change and be caused by a zillion different things. I feel like a cripple though – I can’t wear contacts anymore, I can’t seem to do as much socially as I was before and studying for my next exam seems to be incredibly difficult to do after a long day of working on a computer under bright flourescent lights. All I want to do is curl up on my couch and try to zone out before going to bed early.

I hate being negative, I hate having problems and living in the problem. I am trying to live in the solution the best I can, it just doesn’t seem to be that simple in this case. It’s so hard to be positive when my brain feels like its swelling and full of gravel. I just can’t take it anymore. I’ve had more health issues in the past 2 years than all the years before that combined. It’s a signal – my body is telling me that something is very wrong, I guess I just wish I knew what that was. This is a practice in the third step…turning my will and my life over to the care of the God of my understanding. I’m experiencing a challenging situation and as with most situation like this I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel but with these headeaches, it’s really hard to see that light.

I miss writing about all the fun things that I do here in the city. Unfortunately I’m just not doing as much lately and/or I just don’t have the brain power to write about it…hope things start to clear up soon. I’ll keep praying.

Have you ever had a problem you can’t seem to fix?

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Filed under Anxiety, Headache

Time to Change Perspective

I have writer’s block today. Actually, I have life block. I simply don’t want to do anything. I definitely don’t even want to post…but I know it always makes me feel better when I do, so I will.

I have a headache, I have no appetite for salad, I am getting stressed about my upcoming exam, I only want to eat these raw macaroons:

My neck and shoulders and back are sore and stiff, I feel sleepy regardless of sleeping 10 hours last night, I didn’t go to a meeting last  night even though I told ASL that I would, I feel unaccomplished.

And even though I just complained A LOT, I’m OK. These macaroons are delicious and make me happy. I’ll probably have a salad for dinner. I will study tonight and still have about 10 days before my exam. I have physical therapy tonight to help with all the soreness/stiffness. I have two options for new meetings tonight on the UWS at 8:15pm or 8:30pm which will not interfere with bedtime. 

There is always a different way to look at the yuck in your life. There is always another perspective and a solution. Sometimes I still choose to live in the crap, but at least I know there is another way.

What crap can you turn into gold today?

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Filed under Anxiety, Food, Headache, Recovery

The Worst Massage Ever

Morning kidlits! Another fabulous story from my weekend is about to unfold…

A month or two ago I bought two Groupons for 75% off a 60 minute massage at a place in my neighborhood that a friend raves about. Last week I decided to make an appointment for Saturday afternoon. I was so excited because A. I love massages and B. It was so inexpensive for NYC. So after I finishing another practice exam (30 points lower than last week – sadface) I headed over to the spa.

I get up the stairs to the reception area and wait for about 10 minutes. They had snacks on the table which was nice. Other people came in with their Groupons as well. Sweet! My appointment was with a man and although this doesn’t make me entirely comfortable, I am secure enough to know that I’ll be fine and he’s probably somewhere along the lines of… gay. He takes me up another flight of stairs to the treatment room where birds were chirping over the soundsystem. Very soothing.

He tells me to get undressed except for my underwear and lie on my stomach under the blanket and he would come back when I was settled. It felt like I was lying under there forever. Finally he comes back in and starts to warm up my back. It was ok, but I’ve always had massage therapists that would do things symmetrically: start with the whole back, along the spine, do each shoulder, each arm, each hand, etc. He was not following any pattern whatsoever.

This is not me and I did not look this happy

All the sudden it felt extremely hot, like he was rubbing burning lotion in streaks on my back. I realized after a few minutes that he was using hot stones. I should have realized this earlier, but I did not request a “hot stone” massage. It actually felt pretty good when I realized what it was. But then he ran a hot stone all the way down my left arm and left it in my hand. It felt like a fireball was burning layers and layers of skin off my palms. I panicked. I could just see the red hole of burning flesh that I would find after he was done. I am one of those people that hates to say anything when I am having services done – pedicure, manicure, even when waitresses serve me the wrong food. I always feel bad about complaining – I am SUCH a people pleaser. So I stayed quiet and politely moved the stone to the table and out of my burning palm of flesh. Of course I realized he was going to this with my other hand and took that thing off right away.

I wanted to do this.

When he moved to my legs, I think he actually washed my feet with what felt like some sort of squeegee. Sanitary I suppose, but totally gross feeling. So the leg part was pretty awful and I felt like he wasn’t keeping enough blanket on top of my… down under region. He did manage to work out some tension in my calves I didn’t know I had.

Suddenly I felt the blanket come completely off me. Granted, I was lying on my stomach and all necessary items were covered, but I didn’t know what was happening. “Time to turn over” I heard him say. I peered up and saw that he was holding the blanket in front of him like a shower curtain so he couldnt see anything. Phew. I turned over and he laid the blanket across my frontal region. He did his top-part-of-the-leg routine. It was possibly worse than the back-part-of-the-leg routine.

Then, the worst part of the whole 60 minutes happened.

He moved over to the side of the table and uncovered my stomach. My pelvic and chest region were still covered.  He then started to massage my stomach. WHAT??! I have never in my entire life had anyone massage my stomach. What tension do my organs hold? Ugh, it was so incredibly uncomfortable I can’t even describe to you how awful it was.

Plus, my abs do not look like this.

To finish off the worst massage ever, instead of rubbing my T-zone and temples on my head he just pressed super hard into like three different spots. I was so relieved when he was done. I got dressed with all this grainy lotion all over me, checked out at reception and ran out of there as fast as I could. Immediately after my appointment, I had to  meet a fellow bridesmaid for the September wedding for coffee for the first time . I felt so out of sorts because of the massage she probably thinks I’m a nutjob. Ok, more of a nutjob than usual.

I can’t believe how awful it was. I am hoping that it was just a bad experience with the specific massage guy and not a reflection of the Spa itself. My friend raves about it, so if I dare go back to use my 2nd Groupon – I will make sure to schedule with the woman she normally sees and hope for the best. I decided not to name the spa directly, so they don’t get any bad press. I really am a people pleaser. 

Have you ever had an awful massage experience?

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Filed under Anxiety, healthy Living

Answers, Answers and No Answers?

Hey kids, it’s Friday! That means it’s almost the weekend and you are looking for advice as to what you should do that’s fun and what will help you stay sober. I am going to a sober bachelorette party which will be fantastic and a good meeting called Straight 12! The rest of the weekend I will be studying with Leo. Sorry I don’t have much else to tell you. Oh wait there’s going to be a cool flea market in Hell’s Kitchen this weekend so check it out!

For those of you who don’t feel like reading about my headache drama anymore, you can stop here and check back in next week for some fun insights. I still love you so here’s a nice parting gift:

For those of you who are interested to hear the outcome of yesterday, read onnnnn!

I’ll give you the punchline first: I have Chronic Sinusitis and may need Balloon Sinuplasty (aka surgery)

My rheumatologist looked at my CTScan first (since she works at the same hospital as my ENT) and told me I had a cyst in my sinus cavity but that it probably wasn’t the cause of my headaches. So of course when I got to the office I started googling sinus cysts and every website I read was describing my symptoms. Sometimes I wonder if googling health issues is like reading horoscopes – a horoscope is going to resonate with everyone on some level no matter what it says.

Then I had to wait until I saw my ENT in the afternoon, so that’s what I did. At 2:30 I skipped over to my ENT’s office to find out my fate. She decongested me with these huge Q-Tips and I sat there with chopsticks sticking out of my nose for 10 minutes. When the nurse came in to put supplies in the room I swore I saw her snicker. Finally the doctor came in to tell me the CTscan showed that my sinus cavities are extremely narrow and that the pressure is the cause of my headaches. She went all medical on me and then basically said I have Chronic Sinusitis and that I would benefit from having balloon surgery. SURGERY???

What the eff????!?!

Ok, I’m calmer now. It’s minimally invasive surgery and I could even have it done in her office while remaining awake. Um, no thanks. If you’re going to break bones in my face I’d rather be asleep for that. It sounds incredibly painful, though she claims I’d have 3.5 on a pain scale of 1 to 10. The other option is to do it in a hospital with a tube down my throat. Either way, I can be back at work the next day with no problem.

So last night I was weighing my options, thinking about getting a second opinion and/or jumping off the

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Hi! Kidding!

After sleeping on it and getting some advice from a family nurse practioner, I think I will try to get a second opinion. I also may see my eye  doctor, get a neurologist involved, etc. Basically I am not convinced that the sinuses are causing my headaches and although I could take the easy way out … I’ll probably try to seek more advice. In other news…I am officially done with Enbrel now. I can have my immune system back! It better not attack me anytime soon…

What would YOU do?

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Filed under Anxiety, Fun, Headache, healthy Living

Leo is a Leo

I found out this weekend that Leo is a Leo. I am an idiot.

On Sunday I finally decided to tell Leo (the longterm boy) about my current project: this blog. I can hear all of you now: What? He didn’t already know?

No, no he didn’t. I was under the impression he disapproved of blogs, since he finds my sister’s mommy blog a bit ridiculous. Ahem, it’s really cute. If this wasn’t such an anonymous operation and my sister knew I was in recovery (eek), I would provide you the link! Anyhoo…in case he did think all blogs were dumb (note: they are not!!!), I didn’t want to feel discouraged or put down, so I decided to hold off telling him until I’d built it into some kind of empire. God I am so insecure…

I consider this blog to be part of my recovery. Leo isn’t an active part of my recovery since he doesn’t come to meetings with me, has never met my sponsor and couldn’t tell you what the 12 steps are or what step I’m currently on. Four, if you’re curious! I also don’t write intimate details about him on SATC so I didn’t feel the need to tell him. Yet at the same time, keeping a new and exciting part of my daily life from him felt kind of wrong.

Sunday night we were driving back to NYC from our dinner in Connecticut. We always have good talks when we’re in the car. Maybe because we can’t be easily distracted by other things. I asked him if he would like to come to my 4-year Anniversary Meeting in July. Come on, don’t make a face. You know I’m a planner. I invited him early since my non-AA bestfriend will be in town that weekend and she has already expressed excitement in attending! Thanks M, you are the bestest! Our conversation developed into me saying that I would love for him to become more involved in my recovery and he was receptive. Score!

It seemed like the perfect time to tell him about SATC. I decided to put all my anxiety about his possible reaction aside and tell him about it. To my surprise he thought the blog was a great idea! He even suggested we try and do even more fun things together so I can continue to write! He even said something about it being source of income for me down the road too. I don’t want to profit from this blog of course, but if I end up learning a thing or two about writing and social media – I could possibly run with it in other directions. A girl can dream right? Right.

The funniest part about revealing the blog to him was telling him his pseudonym. I explained why I chose it and the meaning behind it (as it is in no way similar to his real name) and he looks at me and goes- “You know I’m a Leo, right?” I stared at him blankly. Really? I am mostly un-concerned with astrological signage. Except of course, when someone told me months ago my sign might have changed – I was worried for about five minutes my whole life was going to turn upside down. Turns out because I was born in the 1980s, my sign remains in tact.

I thought I was being so clever coming up with pseudonyms for myself and for him that had real literary relevance. If you’d love to know what they mean, all guesses are welcome! Turns out Leo has always been a Leo and I have always been a bit ignorant of details. It’s hard not to believe in this description of him as a Leo too, aside from the talkative part. Addictive much?:

Being honest, even about the smallest things, can still terrify me. Yet everytime I am honest, I always get something good in return.

Medical Update: CTScan is scheduled for Friday. Let’s hope my head doesn’t explode before then.

What’s your sign?

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Filed under Anxiety, Fun, Love

Story Time

Wow, I can’t believe it’s Friday again. Story time!

I took a second practice exam on Wednesday night. It was terrifying.

I sat down at my new desk (without eating dinner first – not smart). My laptop was all plugged in and ready to go. I started to shake. I logged in to the test site online. My heart was racing. I clicked start on the 75-minute 37-question Math section. FREAKING OUT. In the first problem it took me 3 minutes to remember how to add the numbers 3 and 5. It felt as if at that exact moment my brain decided to melt into a pool of dumb.

Not to mention that Crazy and The Dark One were relentless in their attempts to hijack my laptop for the 75 whole minutes.

Every time a new math question came up my I was so scared and/or stupid my brain just went blank. Why God, why? Oh, wait. I sometimes forget that I was a humanities major in college and I am half way to idiot-ville when it comes to numbers. I pray every day that my boss doesn’t find out the truth about my lack of math skills. Thank goodness for Microsoft Excel and financial calculators.

Somehow I completed all 37 questions with time to spare.

I was going to do the Verbal part of the exam Thursday night but decided I wanted to know my score really badly and therefore had to finish both parts. I took a break to eat dinner between the sections because it’s so much easier to think clearly with a full tummy. Pizza Rolls!

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I know, super healthy. When it came time to start the verbal I was much more calm and ready. I took my time on each question and before I knew it the test was over. Hooray! Then it was time for the moment of truth…

Exam 2 Results: Verbal: 85% ; Math: 48%

Yay for verbal! I was up 18 percentage points from Exam 1. But with math I was only up 3 percentage points. I couldn’t believe it. After 6-7 weeks of class and homework I’m still basically at square one on the math front. I will have to consult my teacher about what to do. Luckily I know it’s not the concepts I don’t understand. I just felt terrified when I was actually taking the exam. It was as if someone was holding a gun to my head the whole time. A math teacher I had in high school once told me to take a few Tylenol before my tests because it might help calm me down. What kind of ridiculous advice is that?? I do need to find some way of controlling my anxiety though – preferably sans drugs.

My total score was up 60 points from Exam 1 and I am aiming to increase it another 70-80 points before I take the official exam. Let’s just hope it’s not a nightmare when I attempt a practice test again in two weeks.

For those of you who don’t care about my trials with standardized testing…

I AM CURRENTLY FIRST IN MY OFFICE MARCH MADNESS POOL! And you know how I did it? I made picks solely based on ranking. I am awesome. Some of my colleagues are less than pleased with my success.

And for those of you who don’t care about standardized tests OR college basketball… Happy Friday!

Do you have any secrets for taking exams?

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Filed under Anxiety, Kitties, March Madness, Studying