Figuring out my Triggers

I had an interesting occurrence at work today.  It kind of made me put into very specific words some issues I’ve noticed over the years but wasn’t able to quantify.

I was out of the office yesterday, Valentine’s Day, and the team had decorated our pod w balloons. Evidently at the end of the day they decided to put all the balloons on my desk.  Funny.

And suddenly it reminded me of a comment I heard once, “You get unnecessarily upset when things don’t go your way.”  Which, frankly, is not true.  Things don’t go my way all the time, and usually they roll right off me.  But things that get in the way of, say, clocking in to work on time, or making it to a play on time, or finish a project on time, those upset me.  More specifically, they trigger my anxiety.

So instead of forging ahead in my attempt to ween myself off drugs at work, I found myself panicking and causing my coworkers to all say “It wasn’t my idea!” and “I’m sorry, it was just a joke!”  I don’t really want to be the girl with no sense of humor, but the anxiety makes me… different.  It’s not that I can’t see the humor in it, I just didn’t want it to be the reason I potentially lost attendance points to be because I was trying to get to my equipment to log in.  Because I was visibly upset, people helped me out, and I was in in plenty of time, but it just set a tone.

I still tried to muddle through, but the first couple customers were crabby and demanding.  So now I’m medicated.  And trying to be compassionate toward myself.  I’ll put a note on my to do list to find compassion, I really will.

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Better Living Through Blah Blah Blah

It’s no secret I am fighting really hard not to have to drug myself to get through life.  I have the utmost respect for the people that know they need it and for whom it helps–my feelings are completely, 100% personal.  And maybe I could stand to take a little advice from my shrink and “reframe” the way I think about them (she was trying to speak to me as an artist, it was really quite adorable and frankly a little genius).  That said, I find pharmaceuticals to induce existentialism in myself.  Namely, it feels that there isn’t a whole lot of point to life if I have to drug myself to get through it.  I know it’s not the healthiest attitude, but it’s the one I currently have, and I’m just being honest about my feelings.  Maybe one day I’ll try a different frame around it.

However, I do fully admit there are times when medications are needed.  I take antibiotics (grudgingly, if I absolutely have to, and then I also take additional meds for the unintended consequences), I take pain killers and anti-inflammatories.  But I’d also be pretty upset if I had to take them all the time.  Like, really upset.

I’ve recently also started taking anti-anxiety meds.  Benzos.  Because I didn’t want to have to take something every day.  At first I was pretty “meh” about them.  Not really understanding if they helped at all.  After I had a panic attack at work, I started taking one every day, as a preventative, but I’m really trying to get away from them.  Again, I don’t want to have to take them every day.  If I have to take them everyday, then that says something pathetic about my job.  But even still, I wasn’t sure if they were working.  Maybe I’m just starting to feel more confident because I’m getting more experienced?  Who knows.

So I tried something I knew would absolutely tell me, without a doubt, they were working.

I took one, and promptly made my way to the Mall of America to go for a stroll.  First floor, easy peasy (always is).  Second floor, smooth sailing (usually is, unless I go close to a rail).  Third floor, hey, are we still on the second floor? (Usually at this point I have to start walking faster to get back to the second floor as soon as possible).  Fourth floor… I know I should be nervous, but there are literally no physical reactions.  None.

A little history… I could probably count the number of times I’ve been on the fourth floor, and each of those times my heart practically beat out of my chest, and I had to fight the urge to crawl flat on the floor.

But not today.  Today the fourth floor was my bitch.  Take that, fourth floor!

Next stop? Ropes course!  Who’s with me?

2013, You Say?

Well, that last year sort of flew right on by, didn’t it?  It seriously feels like it was only a couple weeks ago that I was dressing up for Halloween and regretting painting my nails black and green because I had a job interview all of a sudden.  But now it’s 2013, and everyone is doing the resolution thing, and I’m contemplating jumping on that bandwagon.

Rather than resolutions, I’m going to try to have some goals.  Resolutions fail because people generally don’t have a plan.  Goals require planning and steps and follow through.  Since I have a lot of things I want to accomplish, my “resolution” is to plan my goals this year.

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Since I consider this poster (and the video from which it sprang) highly instrumental in putting me on the path to changing my life, I’m going to use it here as a reminder of what I can accomplish this year if I just freaking do it.  I unofficially gave last year the theme of “fearless” about halfway through the year.  I’m going to continue with that and officially make 2013 the year of being fearless.  And that’s goal one.

What will being fearless look like?  Well, maybe it will be as crazy as sky diving.  One friend in particular will be thrilled if that’s the case. I think it definitely needs to include attempting the ropes course at the Mall of America (and yes, I understand it’s intended for kids to be able to participate).  It might involved doing karaoke.  Fearless might look like speaking up when I need to speak up and going for things at work that will help move me forward.

Goal two is to get things organized.  This is going to be a slightly more involved goal.  I’ll need to sit down and go through my closets (clothes and fabric).  I’ll need to find storage solutions and get rid of things.  I will need to pare down room by room.

Goal three is to relearn how to eat.  2012 was a year of convenience.  I went out to grocery shop yesterday and realized I no longer remembered how to plan meals or how to eat healthy.  Ideally I’d like to lose weight, but first I need to learn how to eat again.  I think goal two will take the most man hours, but goal three is going to take the most planning and educating.  If I want to be successful and not rely on convenience, I’m going to need to have a detailed list of recipes and snacks so I don’t need to flounder.

Goal four feels like it should take a back burner to goal two, but I also think this one is important toward my sanity just as much as getting organized.  Goal four is to create.  It’s sad when someone needs to schedule in time for fun, but it feels as if we often don’t leave ourselves much choice.  So my goal is to work on the backlog of ideas–things I’ve wanted to make for years and just never have.  And in some ways, this will help with goal two.  How much fabric do I have laying around?  How much better would it be to see that fabric get turned into something awesome, something that I’ve wanted for a long time?

Four goals is probably ambitious, but I think each has a different level of difficulty and a different level of conscious involvement needed.  And this is really just a brief overview of each goal.  Ideally, I will plan each of these out more than what I’ve just said here–two through four, anyway, goal one is a little more spontaneous.  So in this I seek your support–if you have any suggestions toward achieving these goals, feel free to leave a comment.  If you have any goals of your own that you’re attempting, share those puppies as well.

Seeking Motivation

I started running again after a couple month long hiatus.  It was just like getting on a bike, or something.  You know, a bike without wheels.

To be honest, I haven’t been just running.  I’ve been working really hard at cross training.  One day I run, the next day I stationary bike, the next day I run, then I elliptical, then I run, then I quickly walk inclines….  I’m enjoying the bountiful options that the exercise room provides.  One of these days I’m going to pick up the weights, but I have an easier time maintaining a workout on a machine than trying to figure out what weight routine to do next.  So maybe I’ll take that leap soon, but I’ll need some research first.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying out a website called SlimKicker.  To be honest, it’s not terribly different from all your other fitness/health motivation sites.  You can enter the food you eat, you can enter the exercising you do, you can enter challenges to push you, you can join a community for encouragement….  Right now I’m kind of on the fence about the site, but I’m giving it a shot.

As for entering food… I suck at that.  I know I should probably do it.  I know it will make me more mindful of the calories I take it.  But to be honest?  I hate doing it.  And I’m not going to keep up with something I hate doing.

I’ve been tracking my exercise, and earning “points” for the exercising I do, but it’s a very limited amount of motivation.  I’m not saying that I need something for free, but the points you earn for doing things on the site (everything you do, not just working out) go toward a reward you plan to give yourself when you level up.

I know people say that rewarding yourself is important, but I can’t think of anything I’d like to reward myself with.  Food seems a very dangerous thing to reward myself with, and also a little pointless since I don’t believe in depriving myself.  I can’t really justify buying myself stuff because 1. I don’t really need more stuff and 2. I don’t really have the money for stuff.  At the moment I’m at an impasse.  I’m sure there are other ways to reward myself, I just can’t think of them.  I might consider looking in to treating myself with a massage, but I’ll have to investigate my budget.

The challenges seem the most promising.  If you haven’t noticed, I somewhat respond to giving myself short little challenges.  I also like that there are emotional health challenges as well as physical health challenges.  I think they are important and go hand in hand.  So lately I’ve been browsing the challenges trying to figure out what I’d like to try first.  I hope they come up with more variety.  Honestly, this site has a lot of room to grow.

The thing I find most disappointing about SlimKicker is you can only track your weight.  I only weigh myself a couple times a year.  I prefer to track my progress with my body measurements.  If they added body measurements to the site, I would consider it darn close to a win.

So right now?  Right now I get a little kick about adding points toward my goal every day.  Right now it gives me something to plan.  A month from now I may have forgotten about it, or moved on to the next big thing.  Maybe a massage will change how I feel and make it a forever thing.  Let’s find out.

Five Minute Therapy

Or at least multiple five minute chunks of therapy.

Earlier I posted a video from Ze Frank.  I mentioned I was so damn happy that he decided to make videos again.  You see, the last time around he was a delightful diversion and the right amount of insanity that made me feel normal and gleeful.  I haven’t watched “The Show” since its final airing, so I really don’t know if anything has changed other than my state of mind, but now I see “A Show”, at least in part, a little snippets of therapy.  At the very least, it’s fantastic to be reminded that there is someone else out there that thinks like me.

I just want to take a minute to share the videos that were significant for my mental health:


Seriously, I want this poster. Amazing words to jump start, with just the right amount of silly.


This is why I write what I write. Plain and simple.


This last one is the most important one of all. I think no matter who you are, it’s fantastic advice. I am a strong advocate of being silly. I think that people aren’t silly enough. And I think it’s incredibly important to be silly when you least want to be silly.

Oddly, as I write this, I am reminded that I had a really crap ass day.  My usual escape of running turned into a rather crappy run.  The very opposite of what I wrote about here happened.  I was not once but twice mocked by random passersby for being out running.  I commented on facebook that I’d become a hammer, and everything was starting to look like a nail.  So now in the last few hours that I’m awake, I need to chase that happy.  Watching Ze Frank was a pretty good start.

On Comfort

I recently discovered that Ze Frank is making videos again, which is just about the most amazing thing ever.  More on that later.  But in catching up, I ran into this video:

TMMTO something of my own:

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This is Mr. Neilson.  I’ve had him since I was, I think, five.  I remember opening a package in a dark family room when I received him.  My sister got a stuffed owl.  The only part of all that that I’m 100% sure of is that his name is Mr. Neilson, but those are the memories associated with him, so there you go.  I also remember standing on the stairs to our basement and noting that his tag said “Gund”.  I also remember that his name wasn’t always Mr. Neilson, I think it was actually Peanuts, but then I became obsessed with Pippi Longstocking.  And if you’re curious, I’m still obsessed with Pippi.

Because Mr. Neilson has been part of my life for so long (and, since he is my “comfort object”, he typically doesn’t sit idly on a shelf), he’s a little worse for wear.  Since my early teens, he’s had this hole in his tail.

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Then in or shortly after college I discovered he had a small hole in his head.  On which my sister commented “HAHAHAHAHA!  I mean, Oh no!”

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And now, a month or so ago, I noticed he had a large split in his side.

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On top of all that, his stuffing has clumped into a couple solid masses, leaving much of him unstuffed.  If only I knew someone with stuffing, a needle, and some thread….

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Head wound all stitched up

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Side wound all stitched up

I didn’t bother fixing the tail.  There’s no stuffing in the tail, so it’s not really causing any harm.  I stuffed him perhaps a little too full, but he now sits up on his own again and the stuffing will eventually compress.  And I will likely have him until the day I die.  I’ve laid in bed at night thinking that if the house were to start on fire, he’d come with me.

And maybe that’s a little crazy, but the video got me thinking.  There are a lot of things I do in my life, and likely there are a lot of things you do in yours, that make you happy, but that others might find weird.  And I think that if you don’t have some oddball happiness, then I might feel sorry for you.  And if you look down on others’ oddball happinesses, then I think I feel even more sorry for you.  I mean, unless looking down on people is your oddball happiness.  Which…. I guess I don’t really know where I stand on that one.  I think I’d recommend branching out.
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Now.  Go forth and find comfort.