Monday, February 16, 2015


I might just be coming out of this month long dark tunnel of anxiety. Slowly, very slowly, but surely. The weekend was nice and easy for me, mostly. A few moments of anxiety tummy and some crazy moodswings where I go from happy mom to pissed off mom in 2.5 seconds. I'm working on it. I've been taking relaxing baths and have had a bit more of an appetite again (I can tell because I instantly gained back the three pounds I lost. BAH!).

We welcomed a beautiful new family member into our home on Friday (2.13.2015). His name is Lennon Fitness and he (she? We don't actually know) is a Ball Python. He's adjusting really well to his new home and we were learning each others' tricks. We are both getting more and more comfortable with each other - I let him crawl up my arm and wrap around for a bit this afternoon. Before anyone freaks out, he doesn't squeeze! It's more of a loose bracelet type hold that he does. I think it's more for his comfort and stability than actually trying to "constrict." He has never at all even come close to looking like he's wanted to bite me or the kids even when they are swarming him to give him attention and snuggles. (Yes, he is a snuggly snake!). He is around a year old judging by his size which is about 18-24" long.

The kids don't have school today, but we're making the best of it. We took a drive for trains today and not only did we catch a train, but we found two! Very exciting day :) Now we're hanging out - Nat is watching Spy Kids and the boys made hideouts for themselves. I got Timmy's haircut and picked up a heat mat for Lennon and a bigger water dish for him to be able to go in to lounge if he so chooses.

Thanks again to everyone for has stuck by me while I lost my mind. It's not back, but at least I've adjusted to the lack of sanity.

Friday, February 13, 2015

My Best Buddy

First, I want to thank everyone for their kind words on FB, in the comments, and in messages. I know so many people struggle with anxiety, depression, etc and if there wasn't such a stigma surrounding these disorders, more people would be willing to discuss their battles. I guess I'm just at the point where I can't hide it anymore. Writing has always been my outlet and maybe through my writing I can not only work through my own issues, but others might feel they can as well.

Now, on to My Best Buddy. That would be my Sammy. He's 3.5 now and for awhile we've always just called each other Best Buddy. He's been by my side since he was born unlike his older siblings, he's spent much of his toddler (and older) years having a lot of one on one time with me because the other two are in school. Timmy only had 17 months to himself before he had to share me. Natalie never got that time because Sammy came along when she was 22 months old. But Sammy has been enjoying one on one time with me since he was two, even if it was only for a few mornings a week. But now he has all day every day with me and we do everything together. He's my "baby" and I do a lot of talking to him throughout the day. Sometimes we talk about kitties and birdies and other times we talk about why we feel sad or why we feel angry or happy or upset, pretty much how I'm feeling on any given day because when my shadow is with me, I can't hide anything.

I woke up with anxiety tummy today, as I have for the last month. I'm at the end of my rope with this and I just can't do it anymore. After my shower this morning, I sat down on the steps and cried. Sammy was downstairs riding his bike and I heard him come running upstairs. He sits down with me, looks worried, and says, "Mommy, you crying?" He looks like he's about to cry too and says, "You have a tummy ache? I hug you. I make you feel better." We snuggle and he says, "Mommy, you feel better now?" And you know what? I do. My tummy isn't as anxious as it was before. I think I might even feel a little bit hungry, which I haven't really felt true hunger in days.

My Best Buddy is an amazing little person. He's already in tune to how people are feeling and wants to make people feel better. In fact, all of my kids are this way and I think it's because of all the people in the world I don't hide my feelings from, it's them. They've seen me at my worst - when I've been so mad over the littlest things where I have thrown toys and cursed and yelled and totally lost it in front of them - but then when I'm done, we all sit down and talk about it. I apologize for how I acted, explain how I was feeling and that it was NOT them and that sometimes I have very little control over how my body reacts to things. Other times they've seen me so down that I sit and cry for an hour. During that time my sweet little people rally around me and snuggle with me and draw me pictures and hug me and tell me they love me. My children are my support system and I can't imagine them not being with me. I'm only admitting this for the reason I stated above - I can't be the only one who has totally lost it on their kids and I can't be the only one who is an emotional wreck in front of their kids. It's how we work through it with our kids after all is said and done that is important. I am never afraid to apologize to my kids for things I have said and done around them or to them. I let them ask me any questions they want and I will always answer them honestly. I don't baby talk to my children and I don't blow smoke up their butts. For this, my children are incredibly in tune with their own feelings, and with people around them. In their short lives they've had to witness much more than most people have in their entire lives and they will continue to learn about other real life issues as they grow (not all including me, and honestly, this isn't an all the time thing. MOST of the time I'm a normal boring adult who wants to just sit and veg out in front of the TV and feed my kids mac n cheese.)

Anyway, so there's that. Just opening up here. I'm owning it. I'm owning my imperfections and my struggles. I am not going to hide anymore. I am going to force myself to be happy and to put myself out there and it's not to be faking it til I make it anymore. It's going to be because sitting at home feeling like crap is not going to change anything. I want to feel better and I want to get past this, so the only thing I can do is try. I remember a very early episode of The Simpsons - Lisa Gets the Blues. At the end of the episode, Marge has Lisa force a smile. Later Marge realizes she was wrong to make Lisa force herself to smile, but at the same time Lisa ended up feeling like smiling because she did. So it's a little bit of both - you don't have to fake your feelings, but trying to feel better just might work.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Very Personal Look at Anxiety & Panic

Hi. My name is Liza and I suffer from Anxiety.

No, I'm not just saying "oh, I'm feeling anxious today."

Yes, I do mean suffer.

For the last month or so, I have been dealing with nonstop anxiety and daily panic attacks. Unless you have ever had a very real panic attack or deal with long term anxiety, you might think that this post is a garbage or that I'm exaggerating, but for those of us who suffer from GAD, this post is just a taste of what I have been dealing with for the last few weeks, and on and off throughout my entire life.

Every day - EVERY DAY - for the last month I have had "Anxiety Tummy" - a ball in my stomach that just won't go away. I have no appetite, my stomach and guts are all sorts of messed up, and I just feel sick and nauseous all day long. Quite often this leads into a full panic attack, which is not the same as anxiety, but the two quite often go hand-in-hand.

A few weeks ago, Buzzfeed posted a video describing what a panic attack feels like. While there are moments in the video that do accurately describe a panic attack, I highly recommend reading the comments instead for a true description. Some of the commenters describe the video as "a panic attack on Ambien" and I very much agree. And to be honest, I hate how the video ends with "but it passes" as if it's just that simple. It's not.

Let me describe, as best as I can, what a panic attack is like for me. It quite often starts with a racing heart - pounding so hard I can feel it in my throat and I get concerned that maybe it's not panic and maybe I am having a heart attack. I break out in a rash across my face and chest. My body itches from head to toe. My hands and feet tingle and quite often go completely numb. I can't focus on anything visually and my head is in a fog. I attempt to function normally while repeating to myself "this will pass, this will pass" but it's not uncommon for me to walk into a room and have no idea when or why I walked in there. I try to focus on my breathing, but no matter how hard I try to slow it down or to slow my heart down, it just doesn't happen. My chest hurts. My head hurts. My throat feels like it's closing. This lasts for HOURS, friends. This isn't just a "oh hey, I just had a panic attack, glad that passed." No, for me, this will start at any time, usually with no real trigger, and it will last at the very least for an hour, but sometimes all day long.

Chances are, for those of you who have seen me in the last month, you have seen me while I've been smack dab in the middle of a panic attack, or at least struggling with anxiety tummy. I've been doing a really good job at "faking it til I make it." Sometimes that's what you have to do in order to survive day to day life. It's very much an hour by hour thing for me right now.

I've always been someone who worries about everything and stews about stuff. Why did he say that? Did I do that wrong? Is she mad at me? Why didn't this person call me back? Why didn't he answer the phone? Why is she calling me? It's never just "oh, oops, I made a mistake, I'll move on." No. For me, it's "OH MY GOSH HOW COULD I HAVE DONE THAT?" and then I spend an entire day beating the crap out of myself. I'm so hard on myself and can't ever just move on. I dwell on everything. I'm not an easy person to be around lately, so I am grateful for the friends and family that do take the time to be with me right now. I need it. I need people to talk to and distractions.

I saw my counselor today for the first time in a year. I'm going back in two weeks. It's a start. In the meantime, I am doing my best to find the best coping methods. I take lots of baths and listen to my favorite music. I sit down with a nice smelling candle and do my puzzle books. I snuggle with my kids (even though the anxiety has made me a pretty impatient and hard to deal with Mommy). I watch Impractical Jokers and laugh as much as I can. When I'm laughing, I can't feel anxiety tummy.

There is so much more I'd like to say about this, but I can't get any of it out in a way that makes any sense at all, so I'll just say this is an introduction. I know I've talked about anxiety before, and discussed my experience with PPD and other things before, so this isn't new. I just needed to kinda throw it out that that when you ask me if I'm okay, and I say "yes" and I seem super upbeat, I'm totally full of it right now, but please just take it for what it is because I am trying. And really, I have had some really good days in the last month - I treasure them. It usually means I actually slept well the night before. Two nights ago I was up at 2am. For the day. Woot.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far :)