Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fear

This clip from SNL pretty much sums up where I am at this moment.

Saturday Night Live

I have not been in a good place. When I woke to the news Wednesday morning that Donald Trump was our president elect, I went into shock. I watched about 20 minutes of news and realized I was at the edge of a panic attack. I turned off the news.

I pulled up Facebook, and my panic grew.

Twitter . . . more panic

At this point, I had been awake for maybe an hour. I was shaking and crying and trying not to hyperventilate. I had to take a lorazepam.

See, I was disappointed Hillary Clinton hadn't won. Very, very sad and disappointed. But my extreme emotional reaction didn't come from disappointment, it came from fear. And that fear has had a paralyzing effect on me. This thick, heavy depression that settled on me was surprising. I had not anticipated having a reaction anywhere near this. I could not get out of bed. I left my house once in 3 days, to go to the doctor because I have ANOTHER sinus infection - probably brought on by my immune system, which is also depressed. I have not been able to do more than watch you-tube videos of cats and remember to eat every now and then. (I've lost 3 pounds without trying)

As horrible and real this experience has been, it is also incredibly embarrassing. A person shouldn't fall apart just because their candidate didn't win. Certainly, I should be stronger than that, right?

It's taken several days for me to realize a couple of things . . . One, I had not allowed myself to even consider a Trump win, so I had no plan of how I was going to process those emotions. Second, I did not realize the fear I would feel. It's not personal fear, but fear for all the marginalized groups Trump threatened and degraded during his campaign. What will happen to the marriages of my gay & lesbian friends? What racist words and symbols will be written on buildings and shouted at humans. How many Muslim women will be harassed because they wear a hijab? How many humans who "look" middle-eastern will be targeted with hate crimes? How many Hispanic and Latino humans will be told to go home because they aren't welcome?

As I've spent the past few days hovering between panic and trying to think rationally (while also avoiding social media, because - TRIGGER!) I've been trying to remember anxiety management skills learned through years of therapy. I think I finally have a plan to move through the next weeks. (It may or may not be coincidence that I was able to come up with this plan once my 102 fever broke)Here are the things I CAN do:
1. Be an ally. Be aware when someone is being bullied or harassed and be their ally in that moment.
2. Allow myself to be angry, but don't react with anger. "When they go low, we go high"
3. Choose kindness, every time

I'm still avoiding most of social media, because it really does trigger my anxiety, but I'm getting my "crazy" to a more manageable place. I may actually leave the house today.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Gah.

I am so out-of-touch with blogging I didn't even think about yesterday's post until 30 seconds ago. And this is all that will be of today's post . . .

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Enochlophobia

Today I went to a political rally - Chelsea Clinton was campaigning for her mother Hillary Clinton. I got there early, standing in line for 2 hours in order to be right up front. As more people came in and pushed those of us in the front further forward, we became so squashed in that it was difficult to move. After standing right at the front for about 10 minutes, I started to feel the beginning tingles of a panic attack. I struggle with enochlophobia, and way way way underestimated my ability to handle being stuck in this large crowd. I turned around, and couldn't see the door because there were so many people. I could feel the panic begin. I took about 30 seconds to try and talk myself out of freaking out. At the end of the 30 seconds I turned around and fought my way to the very back. Where I could breathe. And see the door. And move around. As I listened to Senator Tammy Baldwin, and then listened to Chelsea Clinton, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to be right up front. When this kind of panic hits, it makes me feel small because it's out of my control. I guess if I need to put a positive spin on it, I didn't pass out or vomit on Chelsea. So, there's that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo November 2016


It's National Blog Posting Month, so if I'm ever going to get back into blogging - here's my chance. I've been thinking about getting back into blog-mode for a while, and have been pondering where my desire to blog comes from. What do I get out of it? 
1. I am able to record bits of life I want to remember. Both the good and the bad. I read through old blog posts and can't believe some of the things I forget about - until I'm reminded through my writing.
2. I need the writing practice. I go through "phases" with writing, some inspired, some mechanical. Some of it good, some of it definitely not good, much of it mediocre. All of it with potential that can only be realized with practice.
3. I get satisfaction in entertaining, even if I only entertain myself. 
4. I can work through strong emotions more effectively if I write through them. I have lived with varying degrees of depression for many years, with my biggest struggles coming during winter. The short days limit the light in my soul. Writing prevents me from burrowing in, doesn't let me hide from the emotions I need to process and work through.

Committing myself to NaBloPoMo means I will be writing every day in November. I'm intimidated, but also curious to discover the arrangement my words will take.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Bad Thing

Dear blog . . .

Dear interwebs . . .

I have been intentionally ignoring you. . .

I have wanted to write, but everything is stuck. 

Because I have to write about the bad thing if I ever want to write about anything else ever again. Which sounds melodramatic but is perfectly true.

But I'm so scared because writing about the bad thing will make it real. If I have to read the words I write there is no going back.

The bad thing isn't about me, though it consumes my heart and mind and soul every moment I'm not occupied. And there is nothing. I. Can. Do. About. It.

And it is the most helpless and alone I have ever felt in my life. Again, so melodramatic. But not one bit of exaggeration.

So I'm going to write about the bad thing. And maybe it will allow me to take a deep breath. Because I have not been able to do that in so long.

I am losing my mom. That is the bad thing.

To dementia? Alzheimer's? Stroke related brain damage? We don't know yet. But honestly, it doesn't matter. Because the core of who my mom is. Was. Isn't there. 

And I don't know how to do this. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Vegas

My 2 days in Vegas were a whirlwind, but there is one event that will stay in my heart and mind for a long time. I have been trying to find the right words . . .

Wednesday evening, after a day filled with friends, reunions and great meetings, I decided I was going to be brave enough to play Blackjack. For real. With actual money. I found a table that had an open seat with very kind players and a dealer who was GREAT at teaching. As I got into my groove, a young man sat down in the remaining empty seat next to me and began to play. Being several drinks in (they were free!) I was chatty and we exchanged names and small talk. I detected a Middle Eastern accent. We reached a pause in the game when the dealer needed to shuffle the cards. Out of the blue I had a question I needed answered, so with my liquid courage, I asked where he was from. "Syria" was his answer, but there was defensiveness in his posture and voice. Then I asked, "Have people been kind to you since . . ." and I didn't know how to end the question. He ended it for me, ". . . since the war? No. They tell me daily to go back where I came from." He went on to explain his family fled several years ago to escape persecution, and they now manage/own a gas station. I was stunned. I know this kind of cruelty happens, but to have the proof in front of me broke my heart. I said the only thing I could think of, "I'm so very sorry." He smiled a sad smile and turned back as the next round was dealt.

This will haunt me for a while, mostly because it has me wondering what I can do to make the world, or at least the world around me a kinder place. I don't know that I have an answer, but saying "I'm sorry" seemed like a start.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sleep

Isn't it funny how there are periods when sleep comes easily and lasts all night, and other times you sleep in fits and spurts, never quite sinking all the way in. The latter has been my reality the last week. I think my preoccupation with Nora's Marine graduation AND preparing for the largest forensics tournament of the fall semester AND being buried under a mountain of grading . . . well, it's no wonder I wake up at 3:30 am and can't get back to sleep.

So, this morning I got up (at 3:30!) and after a cup of coffee, decided I was going to tackle the grading for one class before I had to shower and leave for the day. I'm kind of proud of myself that all those papers are graded - it's a weight off my chest!

I still have 30 minutes before I need to get ready for the day. So I'm going to savor this cup of coffee, enjoy the morning news, and gear up for a GREAT DAY!