Powerful Words (Songs To Make You Cry)

Yesterday was not a good day. Anything that could go wrong, did. It was almost as if the universe decided that I needed to be taken down a couple of notches on the mental scale. I felt off-kilter, out of sorts if you’d like. I simply wanted to crawl in the nearest hole and hide away for a few decades.

Today is slightly better, but not by much. The stars still haven’t aligned but I have hope yet. The world is still spinning, the sun is still shining, and I’m still on the living side of the grass. As much as that sounds like a complete picture of being blessed, I still feel….well…off.

I love listening to music. Whether on my phone, in the car, or at home, music is my go-to for mental balancing. Music guides my meditation, my exercise workouts, and even spontaneous episodes of dancing in my kitchen. Music moves my emotions in every day routines. Feelings are stirred and evoked by a moving movie soundtrack.

A few months ago I happened upon the soundtrack the movie, “The Greatest Showman.” I listened to a few tracks while cleaning house, enjoying the themes of each song. Then….BAM. Keala Settle came out of nowhere. Her voice and words hit me like a ton of bricks, seemingly speaking to the very darkest, deepest corners of my soul. I found myself sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor sobbing like a baby whose toy had been lost. All of a sudden, every moment of pain, anger, frustration came washing over me. Every person in my past who had ever bullied me, bashed me, trampled down my spirit no longer mattered. In this moment, the sudden realization of who I am today and am destined to be tomorrow is no longer weighed down by the anguish heaped upon me in my past.

Every time I hear this song, sing this beautiful soul sing, I feel another stony layer of the emotional wall fall. Brick by brick, layer by layer, the armor that I placed around my heart over the last couple of decades is slowly being eroded. By a simple, yet powerful message.

THIS IS ME — Song by Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman Ensemble

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are.

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious.

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down.
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ‘em out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ‘cause here I come.
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me.

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ‘cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become.

And I know that I deserve your love
There’s nothing I’m not worthy of
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ‘em out
This is brave, this is bruised
This is who I’m meant to be, this is me.

Beautiful people, don’t ever let someone try to tell you who you should be. Don’t let them dictate your present and future just because of your past. You are worthy. Worthy of love, of respect, of BEING YOU. Send that flood, break down those walls, bust through those barricades. Never be ashamed of your scars. Embrace your inner warrior. Reach for the sun.

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mental Meditation (Why I Need To Refuel)

Happy Thursday morning beautiful Peeps!

After almost a week of daily rain showers and power outages, I finally feel energized to sit down down and type out a short little ditty for you lovely folks.

Ever have a week where everything has been nice and smooth, and yet, you still feel physically and mentally exhausted? Yep, that pretty much sums up how I feel this week. Despite having a solid eight hours of sleep every night (without needing melatonin), I am still noticing a definite lack of zip in my step.

No amount of coffee has helped me feeling any less tired in the past few days. My brain and body are screaming for any activity not dealing with being an adult. I know it sounds silly, but this ole gal is bone tired. I don’t mean physically overworked tired, but a deep seated mental depletion that goes beyond my normal. I’ve tried pinpointing what could be causing this state and haven’t found an obvious cause as of today. Maybe I’m just feeling older than my age today.

I’m trying to stay off of social media this week in hopes that this will help to recharge my daily mental batteries. While there has been a minute improvement, I still have a ways to go. There have been so many posts on my timeline from friends and family who are currently experiencing some kind of trial or tribulation in their lives. While I feel pulled towards offering a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent into, I know that I am in shape mental-wise to offer any sage advice. I feel bad that I am not comfortable with putting myself out there for my family, but I also know that to do so means risking an even further drain on my spirit.

So, today I’ve turned to just simply sitting and listening to meditative music from You Tube. It has a soundtrack lifted from classic Star Wars and it features soft chimes, bells, and chanting. Sounds weird huh? Yet, something about it really seems to appeal to my sanity. It makes me feel more calm. I also love to listen to other music, but I tend to come back to my SW music. There are so many different variations of the soundtracks, ranging from monastic chanting to soft piano versions of DV’s theme music.

Typically, I meditate in the she-cave at home. There are window-darkening curtains, candles and a floor fan. I call it my she-cave because this is my go-to room where I can exercise, meditate, and generally hang out without being bothered for short periods of time. The room contains a treadmill, stationary bike, and inversion table. My Oculus and accessories have their own charging dock. My hand weights are tucked away in a corner next to the television. The walls harbor photographs of my family and the medal holders hold proof of my love of 5ks. In another corner, a dressmaker’s dummy wears my favorite SW running costume (complete with cape, no less….lol)

However, as much as I love my little room of peace and tranquility, I find myself craving a little something more this summer. I would love to escape for the weekend to someplace away from theme parks. Some place with a lovely, large pool and a pool-side bar. I want to lay beside said pool, drink in hand, and just BE. Oh goodness, this would feel like the equivalent of hitting the mental lottery! Anyone else feel this way? No? Just me?

My batteries need recharging, folks. I need sunshine, sand, and what ever drink is easiest to get my hands on. I crave a warm, soft breeze. Maybe some steel drum music in the background. C’mon, I mean, is this too much to ask? 🙂

Actually, just sitting here and writing about all of this (plus the soft background music) seems to be helping elevate my energy levels a little bit. All I need is a scented candle (preferably Baby Yoda scented candle, and yes its a real thing…look it up on Etsy…baby powder and lavender) and my morning would be complete.

But alas, due to a new grand baby arriving soon, my credit card is currently crying and begging for mercy. I’ve seriously contemplated donating plasma and putting the money in a jar that I’ve designated as a mental Go-Fund Me. Hmmm, I think I’ll revisit this over coffee on Saturday morning.

If anyone has their own favorite ways to recharge their batteries, I’d be interested in hearing from you. I’d love to write a future post based on viewer posts! Anyways, I will sign off for now. I hope you all have a beautiful and blessed day. May your caffeine be strong and your sunshine be stronger! Much love, “C”

You Have Anxiety? No Way!!!

I remember those pre-pandemic days. Back before we were all advised to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet from the people around us, and wash, wash, wash our hands. The world pretty much shut down. People lost their ever loving minds at the thought of being forced to stay home. No going out to restaurants, shopping, church services, concerts, sports events. Cries of government control rang out through the country.

Mental illness was still pretty much a stigma to those unaffected by it. People tended to suffer in silence, faces hidden behind polite smiles. Medical prescriptions were not discussed outside of doctor’s offices.

Now, everyone is claiming depression and anxiety. Where were these people at when we needed more open discussions about these disorders? All it took was one world-wide global viral outbreak and suddenly, everyone has it! Discussions about treatment options, medications, essential oils, blah blah blah. Hell, after being shut up in homes for over a year and I would lose my mind too. Except for one tiny detail. I prefer the silence over people. At the onset of the lockdown, I was in my element. Staying home was what I did best!

Only thing is, I was considered an essential front-line worker for the first time in my life. My job was important enough that I was not allowed to stay home. Stimulus checks didn’t even put a dent in what we would have lost if hubs and I had been forced to stay home.

Now, as the world slowly begins to spin again, no one wants to leave their home. Companies desperate for workers are offering sign on bonuses, and extra perks. Folks are turning up their noses at going back to work, saying they are now making more money staying home than they were working. They have zero problem spending the money but no place to spend it because no one wants to work anymore! But I digress…..

Having restrictions slowly lifted has allowed families to once again spent precious time together. Our local parks and playgrounds are swamped with families celebrating milestones, birthdays, and anniversaries while the little ones enjoy the slides and swings. Theme parks have started opening up again with Disney being the first, provided you wear a mask, social distance, and make reservations.

Being in the healthcare profession, i have met so many people over the past decade. Conversations covered different topics, and I enjoying listening other people. Since COVID hit, conversations have turned relatively darker over the past year. keyboard warriors came out in record numbers, bashing anyone and everyone for their own opinions and beliefs. As bullying increased online, I decreased my time spent online and on social media. I simply couldn’t handle the amount of negativity occurring right before my eyes.

I began having friends and family question me as to why they never saw me online anymore. The questions were, in the beginning, easy to answer. Simple….ANXIETY. No way! They would answer with looks of disbelief evident in their faces. Shaking their heads, they simply didn’t believe that I could be suffering from anxiety and depression, even in the midst of a global pandemic. In their minds, I was always too happy/upbeat, always on the go (to and from work), and constantly on the go (to get groceries and gas).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety disorders affect nearly one in five adults (probably more now that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic). There are plenty of common misconceptions surrounding these anxiety disorders.

Myth #1: Anxiety isn’t a “real” medical problem.

Uh, yeah it is. Anxiety disorders are types of mental illness that are based on extreme fears. Feelings of anxiety include:

  • Fear
  • Worry
  • Nervousness

Experiencing some anxiety from time to time is normal for everybody. For those who experience severe anxiety, it can interfere with your daily thoughts and activities. With these conditions, your anxiety doesn’t go away and hangs around for six months or more.

Some of the most common types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Phobia/Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Myth #2: Anxiety is a temporary problem.

Really, people? Facts are, for people with anxiety disorders, the fears do not go away. Descriptions of anxiety range from paralyzing, overwhelming, and suffocating. If unchecked and untreated, the symptoms can get worse over time and can end up getting in the way of daily activities. Job/school performance will begin to suffer, as will relationships.

Anxiety disorders are, thankfully, treatable and most people can go on to lead normal, productive lives.

Myth #3: Medications are the only way to manage an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are often treated with psychotherapy (talk therapy), medications, or both. In fact, research has shown that people receiving both treatments tend to have better outcomes than those treated with only one or the other (NIMH). While medication does not cure anxiety disorders, it can often help relieve symptoms.

Another type of therapy, called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. This therapy teaches different ways of thinking about fearful situations, and addresses your behaviors and reactions to your fears.

Myth #4: Anxiety is just someone’s way of getting attention

With someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder, the symptoms that can come with the disorder affect the person’s body, mind, and behavior. There may be physical symptoms that affect breathing, stomach, muscles, and sleep.

Thoughts can be affected with overwhelming worry over everyday life, nightmares, anger, and irritability. A sufferer may lose their temper easily, avoid certain people or places, be easily startled, or limit life experiences.

These are all real symptoms that are not attention-getting behaviors,but physical signs of an illness.

Myth #5: There is no difference between anxiety and stress.

False. Even with celebrities like Selena Gomez, and Kristen Stewart talking about anxiety in the media, it’s still very easy to confuse the condition with a plain old case of the nerves. While they’re both driven by an intense feeling of impending doom, there are important differences between the two.

“Stress is almost always rooted in thoughts about a specific, identifiable external situation.”

Aimee Barr, LCSW, psychotherapist

When the event passes, so does the uncomfortable, on-edge feeling. However, with anxiety, the feeling is more pervasive and consistent. It doesn’t require any external stimuli – often, those with anxiety can’t pinpoint exactly why they’re feeling anxious, trying to pep talk them out of it isn’t going to help.

Myth #6: Anxiety is something you can just grow out of”

Anxiety is a persistent state, explains therapist Kathryn Smerling, PHD. Dr. Smerling says that when you tell someone that anxiety is something they’ll eventually “grow out of,” you’re doing them a disservice because they may wait for things to get better instead of proactively seeking help.

In reality, the way anxiety presents itself may change over time, and so can the way someone copes with it. But Dr. Smerling says that doesn’t mean the anxiety disappears – and it’s important to take steps to treat it in order to find relief from its symptoms.

Myth #7: Anxiety is only a women’s illness.

Fact is, I’ve known many people who have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, both men and women. To say anxiety only affects women effectively tells men that they’ll have to suffer in silence.

Anxiety often looks different on the surface for men and women – perhaps leading some to believe that it doesn’t affect men as frequently. One study found that men were far more likely to experience outward anger and addiction in response to anxiety, while women were more likely to internalize their feelings.

“It seems likely that what one group calls anxiety (for women), another might call anger for men,” explains wellness expert Sarah Wilson. If you or someone you know/love is experiencing a change in behavior, it’s important to look beneath the surface and find out what’s really going on.

Myth #8: When someone is anxious, there’s nothing you can do to help

Watching someone you love experience anxiety can make you feel helpless, but the is showing them you care. People suffering from anxiety often feel as if they are alone. Reaching out and letting them know they aren’t in it by themselves can be incredibly relieving.

Instead of asking how you can help, taking action is more important. The same part of the brain that makes decisions is the same part that gets anxious. So make arrangements for the two of you to an activity together. You’ll likely be helping your friend or loved one more than you know.

Myth #9: Taking deep breaths will fix your anxiety.

Anxiety can bring about a lot of different symptoms. For example:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Choking sensations
  • Sweating

While certain breathing techniques may help, most people will need more than one coping mechanism depending on what they are experiencing. If deep breathing doesn’t do anything for you, that’s not to say you’re out of options.

Some experts recommend grounding to help regain your center, while others recommend muscle relaxation techniques, weighted blankets, magnesium supplements—the list goes on.

The best way to live and thrive with anxiety is to be patient with yourself as you discover what works best for you.

Myth #10: Taking medicine for anxiety is a sign of weakness.

For me, getting a prescription for Wellbutrin was a real life-saver for me three years ago. Nothing I had tried prior to that had really helped me. In fact, one in six Americans take medication for anxiety, and it’s helped many people get their lives back from crippling anxiety.

Admitting that you need more help than just simple exercises is a sign of strength and self-awareness, But medication can’t cure anxiety. Coupling medications with professional counseling is the most successful way to pinpoint and treat the root cause of the condition.

Just remember that anxiety isn’t your enemy. It’s your body talking to you and giving you information to help guide you. I know this is hard to believe, but I wouldn’t trade my anxiety for anything. It’s a part of me.

And while it may not happen overnight, and it may not happen this month, but with time you will learn that your anxiety have a purpose, Talking openly and respectfully about mental illness can only help other sufferers.

For further information on this article, “9 common anxiety misconceptions” please visit:http://www.wellandgood.com

Write Is Feeling, right?

“Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.”

Holly Garth

Happy Sunday, my beautiful Peeps! I hope the sun is shining and warm wherever you are today.

Looking back over my previous posts, I realized that I tend to type the same way I talk in real life. Being from the South, I have a strong Southern accent and a lot of mannerisms come across in my writing.

When I was a lot younger and in school, my teachers would always write on my report cards that I had a love for words. They would always continue by saying that I should work on writing more than talking! God, I loved to run my mouth. From dawn to dusk, you couldn’t shut me up unless you were stuffing my face with food.

My relationship with words began at a very young age. I always remember my mother having a book in her hand when not tending to us kids. Her love of reading radiated down to me and I soaked it up like a sponge. When not in school or playing sports, I could be found at our local library hidden among the rows of polished wood and alphabetized literary works. Reading allowed me to submerse myself into different worlds and cultures without leaving the sanctuary of home. Whether following Alice down the rabbit hole to Neverland or following Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys as they solved a mystery, I spent many a day hidden away from the world.

To this day, as the world has evolved from paper books to electronic reading devices, I continue to read. The last time I checked my Kindle library, the number of books I had numbered into the hundreds. I still pick up an actual book or magazine from time to time and have discovered the joys of an audiobook while driving.

I also have a habit of listening to different podcasts during my day, whether at home or at work. I love a good paranormal/crime story. I follow Em and Christine on “And That’s Why We Drink”, and adore Ash and Alaina on “Morbid.” One podcast that I watch rather than listen to is Bailey Sarian. She can spin a good yarn all while applying her makeup. God, if only I could do my makeup like she does!

Having a strong grip of the English language and a love for reading, I would always look forward to English Comp classes in School (good ole class of ‘89!). One particular Lit teacher would always give us a random sentence at the beginning of class and instruct us to write any type of story using the sentence as the opening line. I could always come up with a doozy.

Sadly, as I began to grow into adulthood and all the responsibilities that came with it, my imagination seemed to disappear. No longer could I immerse myself in a good story like I used to. My days were spent working a lot of hours and tending to my little family. Drives consisted more of listening to my children chatter and argue and less of listening to the radio. Back then we didn’t have internet or the electronics that are so abundant in my home nowadays. I didn’t know anything about WiFi. I was in my late 20s before I even got my very first cell phone.

You see, I grew up in the 80s. I wouldn’t see my very first computer until high school. We played games and code on Radio Shacks Tandy computers. You know the ones, green cursors on a black screen. Oregon Trail, anyone? I did, however, get to play the occasional game on my sister’s Atari console. If you’ve never seen one in person, google the original Atari 2600 console, and you’ll see what was popular back in the 80s.

I didn’t even know what a handheld computer game was until my daughters received Gameboys when they were little. The cheeky little mites did allow me to learn how to play Tetris. Now, I have a Nintendo Switch that I carry with me to play at work when everyone is asleep for the night. I have an XBox One when I want to play my Star Wars video games and Guitar Hero. Cell phone? Yep, I’ve got at least 5 games on it too!

As much as I adore all of my little electronic gadgets, laptops, and tablets, though, I’m still old enough (or maybe young enough? Who knows!) to remember playing outside in the yard until dark. I loved riding my bicycle up and down the sidewalk. Playing with my dolls on our old front porch while it rained was soothing to my little girl soul. Our backyard was the site for many a pickup football game amongst my brothers and their friends. It was roughly double the size of the mobile home I live in now. My swing set sat off to the side of the backyard. The frame was still in the same spot the day I got married and moved away from home for the last time.

As much as I’ve thankful for the distraction electronics provide my grandchildren and even my kids when they were growing up, I still miss the days spent out in the sunshine playing in the yard. I miss chasing fireflies at dusk, catching them in a mason jar and watching me them glow until Daddy made me release them back into the night air.

The old porch rocker that Mama would sit in and rock while shelling snap peas. The smell of azaleas in bloom at the first of spring. Hunting Easter eggs with all of my siblings and cousins. These are all memories of my childhood that I will hang on to and look back on occasionally.

With all of the cherished memories of my childhood resurfacing even if for a brief moment today, I would gladly trade all of the electric gadgets in my house for just one more long, hot summer spent in that old house on Broad Street.

More Coffee, Please!

Good morning my beautiful Peeps. I hope you’re having an amazing day. Happy Friday!

I’ve taken a few days off recently to visit the grand babies. Last weekend was non-stop traveling for our sweet Ellie’s first dance recital. While our visit was short, we enjoyed spending time with our daughter and her family.

Seeing the tiny dancers experiencing the stage for the very first time brought smiles to the families sitting in the audience. It also reminded me of other first steps in my children’s lives.

Having raised two daughters of my own, I have witnessed so many new beginnings. From the day they were born, my girls have experienced so many first days. Now, I get to watch as they see the world through the eyes of their children. The wonder and excitement that each child brings helps give us older folks a chain to enjoy feeling young again, even if for only a brief moment in time.

Family stuff aside, I also think about my professional life too and what first steps brought me to where I am today. I always strive to remember what it was like being the new nurse and feeling scared and overwhelmed in those first few months. Many years later, I occasionally am given the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with newly graduated nurses who are exploring the world of community nursing. When the call comes that a new nurse is in need of orientation to our particular case, I sit down and make a list of everything that needs to be gone over. Everything regarding my client is noted in detail, medication lists and care plans are laid out carefully.

Usually, these visits go very smoothly and the new nurse grasps ahold of the new knowledge quickly. Their enthusiasm tends to be contagious and I find myself reliving those days of being fresh out of nursing school. However, there are those times that I catch that one rare creature who fails to recognize that there will be times that not everything we learn in school is set in concrete, and we have to learn to adapt to our client’s needs and not the other way around. As caregivers, we learn to recognize and respond to what works best for our client so that they continue to have a positive outcome and thrive accordingly.

At the best of times, everything works out for the best and gradually the new nurse learns how to interpret the plan of care for our client and acts accordingly. The client thrives under the care of the new nurse and all is well in our little bubble.

The worst of times, you ask? The new nurse will LITERALLY try to school us seasoned nurses on what they think is best for our client and “guide” us into doing the actions he/she feels is correct for the client. Now, for the most part, these little nuggets of “advice” tend to be mild enough that nothing adverse happens and the client continues to be happy and healthy. On the other hand, if gone unchecked, these actions can, and often do, spiral downward into, shall I dare say, a crappy situation.

Having said all of this, I want to explain how all of this brings me to today’s topic. Hang on to your coffee cup, folks!

For the past two weeks, I have had the pleasure of working with a young lady who, in our first encounter, appeared to be a very bright and diligent new nurse. She had explained to me during our orientation that she had just graduated and was looking forward to experiencing the different types of care that community nursing has to offer. I patiently walked her through our client’s plan of care, medication lists, and daily routine. The newbie made detailed notes on medication schedules, nutrition requirements, and such. At the end of our visit, she gushed that she was looking forward to working with our client and family, wondering at the way the client appeared to be thriving under the care of the nurses.

Usually, I can get a good read on any new nurses signing on to our case. This one has me at a loss and scratching my head. Within the first couple of days of working with her, she managed to take three of my might shifts, leaving me to pick up day shifts. Bear in mind, this didn’t bother me one bit, as I had been wanting to shift over to days for a while. This change, in itself, is not has me wanting to scream and pull my hair out.

The newbie (now, remember she is fresh out of nursing school and has very little experience in home nursing, her words, not mine) took it upon herself to sit me down during a recent shift change and explain how I was not following our client’s plan of care. I won’t give details, but our ensuing debate left me very upset. After she left for the day, I pulled out the plan of care and went over it with a fine-toothed comb, let me tell ya.

Anyways….long story short. This whole situation has left me with higher than normal stress levels. I’ve been drinking more and more coffee which leads to less and less sleep. Up until recently, I had been able to lower the prescribed dosage of my anxiety medication. Now, I have to take the full dose in the mornings, and then take my secondary medication in the evenings.

I have to be careful nowadays. I feel like I’m swimming against a current that is threatening to carry me out to sea. For the past few days, I’ve become a recluse again, not wanting to go anywhere or do anything. All of the progress that I’ve made in the past few months has been destroyed. I find myself functioning on autopilot. Zero motivation. No energy. Nothing. Burnout has become a real fear again.

THIS IS NOT ME. I have to find a way back to myself again. I’m tired of simply existing. I want more! My reflection in the mirror scares me. The person I see looking back at me looks old and fatigued. She appears to be a shell of her former self, and I don’t like her very much. The dark circles can’t be hidden under layers of makeup now. The smile lines around her mouth are gone. Her eyes are sad and dark, the lids are sagging in defeat.

But finding myself again is what I’m having trouble with today. I’ve spent the morning looking at different articles on Dr. Google (cause we all know how I adore Google), researching different point of views. The first article I found was at lifecoach.com, titled “How To Find Yourself Again When You’re Feeling Lost.”

The article starts with the feeling of grief and the process is similar to when you lose a loved one.

The first stage of grief is denial, the stage most stay in their entire lives. Then there is anger and frustration, when you start to recognize that you are just going through the motions instead of being who you want to be.”

Okay. I can relate to that. I have noticed that I’ve been feeling like something is missing and can’t remember for the life of me what it is exactly. The feeling that I has lost something is very real, very sad; almost as if I’m mourning the loss of something very personal and dear to me.

The author explains that bargaining with yourself is a common next step. Something better will happen eventually, right? Negativity sets in. Nothing will change as long as I don’t do anything.

The last paragraph in the introduction is about acceptance.

You have accepted that you’ve lost touch with who you are, want to get back something you lost, and you’re ready to find yourself.”

So, why exactly am I feeling lost? Why do I feel like I’m running on autopilot with fuel tanks on empty, ready to crash? Daily routines are what comfort me. I don’t even feel excitement anymore. Life Coach explains:

“Falling out of touch with yourself happens when you buy into other ideas of what you are supposed to be or should be doing. This can happen whether those ideas come from family, friends, society, or even yourself .”

So basically when you’re following what you think you are supposed to be doing instead of what you want to be doing, you’re bound to get lost. By letting others dictate what you’re supposed to be doing as opposed to what YOU want to be doing, you’re not even living your own life.

The example given in the article tells you to picture yourself walking down an unfamiliar path in woods you’ve never been in before. The further you go down into the woods, the more lost you become. Yet, a lot of us find comfort in those woods, That’s because that’s all we’ve ever known. We’ve been told for so long what to do with our lives, that our wishes and dreams become forgotten. We’ve followed someone else’s plans for us for so long, we’ve simply forgotten who we are deep inside.

This is why so many people don’t know what’s happening and aren’t able to recognize the situation for what it actually is. Admitting to themselves that they are lost is so difficult to overcome. The question is…how do we get back on the right path for us?

“The idea of finding yourself simply means accessing your confidence, natural and potential abilities, sense of self-worth, self-reliance, and independence.

Learning how to discover yourself again doesn’t mean understanding where you are currently; it’s figuring out who you are and where you can go.”

Have you ever heard that old life adage, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life?” Well, that’s exactly what Life Coach is telling you to do here. Find what makes you truly, deeply happy and go with it! Don’t settle for mediocre. Go for the gold! Ring that damned bell! Sorry…..I just couldn’t help myself…

Also, another little quip they use is about laying in the bed that you’ve made for yourself. Except now they are telling you to put the old bed out in the past and make yourself a new one. Build the bed of your dreams. Don’t be shy. Go for the all the bells and whistles, if that’s what makes you happy. Folks won’t understand or care what was wrong with the old one. They certainly won’t care or understand the need you have for a new one. Sometimes, they will refuse to help you build the new one, preferring you stay in the old one.

This is what causes us to lose sight of who we were, are, and will be. Allowing others to tell you what is right for you (and sometimes that’s not necessarily a bad thing…) and you blindly believe it without doubt? This is what causes you to lose your sense of self over time.

So, we’ve made it this far. Where do we sign up? What’s our next step? Many life coaches agree that making a time line of your life is a good first step. It can be fun and beneficial for people. Taking stock of your life allows you to look at your achievements, regrets, and various moments of your life, both good and bad.

For every bad thing you’ve ever experienced, list everything good that you learned from it. What lessons did you take away? For every good thing that happened, what was the result and how good did it make you feel?

Next, write down what your goals are? What do you dream of doing or achieving? You can make it a general list of things that make you truly happy, or specific. You can use this as a point of reference as you go along.

Life coaches found that people who have found themselves will make short work of these lists. This means usually that they are doing what they want and love and are happy in their accomplishments and daily lives.

Having made it this far, you’re showing that you’re ready to find yourself again. Here’s some tips from our good friends at lifecoach.com:

  • Take responsibility, then accept it. Don’t stay stuck in the past. It’s over, it’s done. It’s time to get over it.
  • Self-acceptance. Don’t get this confused with self-esteem. It’s simply the ability to accept negative things about ourselves.
  • Take small steps, but dream big dreams. Figure out what your true calling in life is. The best place to start is to narrow down goals to what best fits your passion, and gradually work up to completing them.
  • Take note of those who you admire and don’t admire. Look at other people as a mirror and take note of those qualities you admire or don’t admire about them. Attempt to reflect the positive and shed the negative.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle. When you are healthier, you feel healthier. When you feel healthier, you feel better in general.
  • Write in a journal. List out all of the most impactful moments of your life. You can’t figure out where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.
  • Ask yourself questions. Who are you? What do you want? What can you do today that will make you feel satisfied? Where are you going? There is no wrong question and there is no right answer.
  • Do more of what you love.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Get lost, literally. Try something new or be somewhere new. Follow your instinct.
  • Consult a life coach. They can clarify things and help develop a game plan that will lead you to finding yourself
  • Pick up new hobbies and learn new skills.
  • Reconsider your career and relationships.
  • Open up to those around you. Get things off your chest.
  • Express how you feel.
  • Meditate.
  • Rekindle past friendships.
  • Do something crazy. Letting go of your inhibitions and acting a little crazy loosens you up and clears negative energy. Just make sure it’s legal…just sayin’.
  • Embrace spontaneity. Seize the day, the moment, the excitement.
  • Forgive yourself for everything. Your past is in the past for a reason. Whatever you have done, whatever skeletons you have in the closet, forgive yourself for them.
  • Live in the moment. Laugh, sing, dance, FEEL. Every single second of life is a gift. Make the most of each one.

Changed My Latitude, Not My Attitude

Good morning folks! I hope your day has started great and that your coffee is heavenly! With that being said, I thought I’d just give you guys an update on my sanity today…LOL. Everything is much better than last week. That feeling of something about to happen has gone away. There is some slight residual tension, but nothing that I can’t handle.

Speaking of handling, I’ve talked a bit about the different activities that I’ve been trying in an attempt to keep my mind engaged and my body moving. This week I’m researching more information about meditation and different techniques.

According to my good friend Mr. Google, “Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity- to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.” – Wikipedia

Meditation is an age-old tradition among many cultures and is still practiced the world over. It helps to create a sense of inner peace, and harmony. The practice, while having ties to different religions, is less about faith and more about consciousness, awareness, and peace.

Being in the midst of a pandemic, there is a greater need to lower stress levels and increase inner calm, and people are turning towards meditation to accomplish this.

Most anyone can learn to meditate. There is no right or wrong way. Research the different types and techniques and find one that fits your needs.

Healthline.com recently wrote an article stating that there are nine popular types of meditation:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Spiritual meditation
  • Focused meditation
  • Movement meditation
  • Mantra meditation
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Progressive meditation
  • Loving-kindness meditation
  • Visualization meditation

So, how does one begin to meditate? Try sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing. It’s best to start in small increments of time, such as five or ten minutes, and work to increase the time spent meditating. Mindful.com offers the following tips for meditating:

  • Take a seat: find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet.
  • Set a time limit: if just beginning, choose a short time, such as 5 or 10 minutes
  • Notice your body: no matter your body position, just make sure you’re stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.
  • Feel your breath: feel as the air goes in and comes out.
  • Notice when your mind has wandered: simply return your attention to your breathing
  • Be kind to your wandering mind: don’t judge yourself or obsess over your thoughts. Return your attention to your breathing
  • Close with kindness: when you’re done, gently open your eyes or lift your gaze. Take a look around. Notice how your body feels. Notice your thoughts and emotions.

How do I know if I’m doing it right?

  • Being still. Check your own body. If you’re moving around, shifting in your seat or fiddling with something, you might want to take a moment to settle those.
  • Just being. Be present in yourself. Focus on breathing, chant, or simply take a mental inventory of your body and where it is. Make sure you feel light and easy, not tight or pressured. Even if you can’t settle your mind, you can still be relaxed.
  • No reactions. The goal is less about emptying your mind and more about your reaction to thoughts. It’s important to learn that you can allow thoughts and ideas to flow past you without letting your mind dwell on them.
  • Total awareness. Being still, present, and having no reaction can increase your awareness of the world around you. You may notice new smells, sounds…just be sure to register them.
  • Time flies. A short meditation can pass in the blink of an eye. A great meditation can feel like a vacation for your mind.

How can meditation help me?

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Decreases pain
  • Eases symptoms of depression
  • Improves sleep

In conclusion, if anyone out there has tried or is using meditation, shoot me an email letting me know what you’re doing and how its working for you! Until next time, much love, “C”

Anxiety, Depression, and Panic Attacks, Oh My! Part 2

Generalized Anxiety Disorder by definition is an “anxiety disorder characterized by general, uncontrolled feelings of anxiety, without a single or definitive trigger or source. It may be caused as a result of a traumatic situation, but often appears to have no source at all when it occurs.” – http://www.better help.com

GAD, as it is abbreviated, involves “chronic, persistent, and unresolved anxiety, often concerning everyday things that wouldn’t typically cause severe stress or worry. While it can appear with other disorders, the symptoms are unique on their own.”

Someone who suffers from GAD has problems concentrating, relaxing, and letting go. This is because their mind is continually in a worried state and cannot change direction to other avenues of thoughts. In addition to the mental symptoms, there are numerous physical ailments as well:

  • headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Feeling of choking or throat closing

With anxiety attacks, the onset is gradual and you’ll feel some symptoms prior to the actual attack, as it’s happening, and then afterwards. Feelings of apprehension/worry, distress, restlessness, or fear can start before and last after the attack ends.

Panic attacks most often happen immediately out of the blue, so there may not be any warning signs. When an attack occurs, you experience debilitating fear and will feel afraid of losing control. There may even be a fear of dying due to the severity of the symptoms. Attacks also are accompanied by a feeling of self-detachment or from the world around you.

The physical symptoms of a PA are the same as anxiety. The only difference is the intensity of the symptoms. A recent study showed that “anxiety attacks in which a specific situation or stimuli perpetuated the attack held stronger, more intense physical symptoms than panic attacks that came on out of the blue.” (Betterhelp.com)

How long a particular attack lasts is distinctly different. A panic attack can happen at any given time out of the blue and can last on average of ten minutes. They don’t last long and symptoms quickly disappear.

Anxiety attacks, on the other hand, can last a lot longer. Since they can have a gradual onset, you may feel like the attack is going to last forever! If your situation is what’s causing your attack, it will most likely persist until you change your situation or are removed from it. Your symptoms of restlessness, worry, and distress, will last for a while after the attack is done.

So what are some triggers you ask. Anxiety attacks tend to occur because of a situation, such as being in a crowd of people if you suffer from social anxiety. If you fear small spaces such as closets or elevators, you might experience an attack. There are so many triggers. Depending on the person, there are a multitude of anxiety triggers.

Triggers for panic attacks are unknown for the most part. They happen suddenly and without warning, with no obvious cause. A person having had such an attack may try to look back on what caused the attack and finds no reason or cause.

How does one know if they’re at risk for these attacks?

  • Experience of trauma
  • Experience of stressful life event
  • Experience of ongoing stress or worries
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Co-morbidity of another mental health disorder
  • Family history of anxiety or panic disorders
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

How treatment is delivered is determined by the particular disorder. If order to obtain the appropriate treatment, you have to understand the difference so you can have a discussion with your doctor or therapist. Due to the differences in both disorders, they have to be approached in different ways.

Anxiety attacks can be treated in many different ways and are preventable. Medications can be taken on a daily basis to help you stay calm. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you to change your thinking and behavior by teaching you to be mindful of your thoughts and actions. It teaches you to make conscious decisions to change thoughts and actions.

Panic attacks, on the other hand are treated differently because they tend to be infrequent and cannot be predicted. Therapy can be helpful in learning how to manage the attacks. This aids you in making the attacks more bearable and last as short as possible.

If you happen to feel an attack coming on, what you do can help make a difference.

  • Focus on your breathing. Don’t allow it to quicken.
  • Recognize what’s happening and accept it.
  • Remind yourself that this has happened before and the symptoms will pass.
  • Relaxation techniques such as visualization. Visualize a peaceful place.
  • Grounding. Look around you for five things that you can relate to your senses. This will allow you to stop the detached feeling that comes with panic attacks.

Above all else, be it anxiety or panic attacks, you should seek out professional help. Only a licensed professional can help you address your issues.

A huge thank you and shout out to better help.com for their amazing article on anxiety attacks versus panic attacks. If you want more information about anxiety or panic disorders, or any other topics, visit http://www.betterhelp.com

Much love always, “C”

Anxiety, Depression, and Panic Attacks, Oh My! Part One

As one who suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD, if you prefer), panic attacks have become my worst nightmare. The attacks can occur at any given time, day or night, at home or work; even in the middle of a major theme park!

I first received the diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder back in 2006. After recovering from a devastating divorce (I was blamed for HIS cheating), moving to a different state (to get away from the drama of aforementioned ex-husband and his mistress/new wife), and the loss of my father, I was at an all-time mental health low.

What started as an invitation to make a fresh start for myself and my children grew into a relationship that has now lasted over sixteen years, I packed up my little household and moved 60 miles away to the Sunshine State. My children and I seemed to flourish from being away from the small town drama that my ex’s blatant infidelity fueled. We no longer had to worry about running into those folks who loved nothing more than fanning the flames of gossip. Not having to constantly look over our shoulders, smiles and happiness became part of our lives once more.

After finally getting settled in our new home, I decided to take the plunge and apply for nursing school again. I had put my education on hold during the separation/divorce to focus on earning enough money to support myself and my children. After a short interview process, I was accepted in the nursing program with the provision that I pass the necessary prerequisite courses.

Once the preliminary classes were completed, I was accepted into the second “cohort” of our nursing program. (Cohort was the term used by the university to describe the second class to begin the local program.) Using private loans, I was able to purchase uniforms and textbooks without having to dip into our finances. My husband was working full time and his sales commission allowed me to fully concentrate on school while only working part time to supplement my tuition costs. My part-time job was at the local hospital as a CNA/nurse extern on the weekends. This mean that I could focus on classes and clinical rotation during the week. My girls were in high school and were responsible enough to get themselves to and from school by themselves. Things were going great! Then my clinical rotations began, and this is where I began having problems.

As a board certified nursing assistant, nursing fundamentals was a breeze. We were in class three days a week and at our clinical site two days a week (one for gathering background information about our patients, and the other for the actual clinical day). The first couple of clinical rotations were okay and I only experienced mild anxiety trying to drive into the city from the rural area where we lived. By the third week, I began having increased episodes of heart racing, profuse sweating, and shortness of breath. Concerned that I might be having a heart attack (chest pain was a symptom too), I quickly made an appointment with my primary care doctor.

After discussing my worsening symptoms and that I was no longer suffering them during my commute to and from school/clinical, he wrote me a prescription for Lexapro and sent me on my way. Over the course of the next year, I would suffer anxiety attacks severe enough that I would have to be treated in the local ER with supplemental oxygen and medications for the accompanying migraines and nausea/vomiting.

At the beginning of my second year of nursing school, I suffered a major panic attack while asleep in bed! It was severe enough that I felt paralyzed and couldn’t breathe. My husband woke up and called 911 out of worry. Paramedics arrived and began asking us questions, As per protocol, the EMT happened to scope out my nursing textbooks next to my bed and realized what my problem was. He assured me that I was not dying; that my anxiety was side effect of the stress of being in nursing school. What could I do to survive? I asked the young man kneeling next to my bedside. He looked me dead in the eye, and no lie, said, “GRADUATE.”

Fast forward to September 2018. I assure you that I did, in fact graduate from nursing school, passed my boards, and became a nurse. My husband and I finally had the luxury of being able to spend time working around our home. With the exception of the empty field across the tree line from our house, we were surrounded by nice enough neighbors. Then came that fateful evening that drove me to finally seek mental health counseling.

Prior to the evening in question, new neighbors move a new double wide onto the next door property and set up residence. They weren’t very sociable (you’ll understand why shortly), but loved throwing raucous drinking parties. Their property began to look like an old car junkyard. Cars would come and go at all hours of the night (we even had a couple pull into our driveway and blow the horn).

Then one Saturday night, hubs and I were enjoying a what we thought would be a quiet evening at home. I was in my recliner reading a book and hubs was paying bills. The television was on but set to a low volume. One moment we were relaxing, and then the next had us jumping out of our chairs and sprinting for safety! During the course of drinking themselves stupid, our idiot neighbors thought it would be hilariously fun to shoot high-powered weapons in the direction of our house! (Now, bear in mind, the law had been called on them several weeks earlier for the same thing and they were told not to shoot after dark).

Hubs had grabbed his phone at ran to the end of our driveway to call 911. Even the 911 operator could hear the guns over the phone. Deputies were dispatched to our location. Even though there were no arrests made that evening, evidently the deputy saw something so suspicious that SWAT made a raid on the property several months later and found drugs and stolen weapons!

Anyways….I digress.

Within days after the discovery of bullet holes in the walls of our house and learning how close we had been to being hit by stray bullets, PTSD became a real thing. Increased agitation, hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, fear, severe anxiety and inability to sleep became my norm. After two weeks of severe suffering, I found myself in an exam at my doctor’s office crying my eyes out for more than two hours. Having the most awesome ARNP in the world, she sat with me and talked me through everything that I was experiencing. We came up with a game plan and have been tweaking it with different medications ever since.

So, my dear peeps, you can see how I arrived at where I am today in my journey. In the second part of this post, I’ll walk you through some of the more common aspects of Anxiety and panic attacks. If you have similar experiences that you want to share with me, just hit that email button at on my home page and send me a message. Hugs, “C”