The End of August Has Arrived…

…and all my mind hears is “This is Halloween This is Halloween!”

Although the current heat wave is making it a little harder. Although I grew up in Phoenix, AZ so it was never real cold on Halloween or anytime surrounding Halloween. I can’t wait to decorate the apartment and go shopping for Fall items! OMG it’s going to be awesome. As a desert dweller I am taught to fear and hate Summer. I don’t mind admitting I am the Basic Witch who loves all things Fall and especially Halloween!

I woke up again with anxiety over work and worrying I am dropping the ball and doing a bad job. It wasn’t as bad as the previous night but enough to make me tired today. Anxiety doesn’t just poof go away when you figure it out – it continues to flow through your body for awhile. Or at least it does for me. It flows in blood for awhile making all my cells buzz a little with it. That is the best way I can think to describe it. I hope it doesn’t happen again tonight. It is becoming a problem.

After Binging “Ted Lasso…”

I FUCKING LOVE IT (imagine that on Roy Kent’s voice).

If you haven’t watched it – stop reading now SPOILER ALERTS.

The season 2 Christmas Episode is my favorite – so good. They address mental health and the cheeriest person you know suffering from it. The person trying to hide it is the one suffering behind the scenes. Not saying Ted isn’t a positive person, I am saying watch those who put positivity so far out front that you can’t see what is behind it. Most of us do it. After finally facing and working with his anxiety and panic attacks a trusted friend tells the world for Ted to be ridiculed. 1) Can we move past a world where there is this stigma with mental health? It is like any other imbalance – if your arm was broken you would fix it. If your hormones are out of alignment you fix it. Mental health isn’t any different. Why is the world making seeking help with mental health a sign of weakness or something bad? It’s not. It’s brave. 2) I might hate Nate more then any other TV character ever. Seriously – fuck that asshole. Grow up. You have shit with your friends you talk it out. 3) LOVE Roy Kent. Love him.

Seriously though – good show. I highly recommend you give it a watch. I know late to the Ted Lasso bus but I am on board now. Can’t wait for season 3.

Is It Normal…

…to constantly feel like you are failing at something?

If it’s not work then it’s personal relationships or school or hobbies or something. I always sort of feel like I am somehow failing to live up to expectations of those around me. At work, I feel like no matter how much I do I am always missing something. Something that seems obvious to everyone else around me and I am an idiot for missing. In my personal relationships, I feel like I am never doing enough for everyone and I have somehow failed them and to live up to what they expect from me as well. And everyone expects something different on different scales. It’s maddening. It’s completely maddening. I am not one, but I hear parents say they feel like they are failing at that too (if you are worried you are failing as a parent – you aren’t). When does the feeling of failing stop? Does it ever? Is that part of this culture we’ve created? When is enough enough? Never – off to see what I fail at next. This concept is killing my mental health at the moment.

20 Fail Memes That'll Keep You In A Good Mood -

Role Models In the Public Eye…

…Simone Biles and the entire women’s gymnastics team.

Not only is Simon Biles the GOAT but she is an advocate for her own mental health. She knew her limits and communicated them. She put herself first and its AMAZING and so, so strong (physically and mentally). I don’t know why anyone is criticizing this move on her part. She isn’t willing to kill her mental and possibly physical health for medal. She is the best (and doesn’t need a medal to prove it), we all know it, and now she’s even better. Didn’t think it was possible but here we are. Also, I am seriously considering trying the Athleta Brand because they stuck by her and spoke to how wise her choice was. I can’t imagine the pressure on her. Just WOW. That is mental trip I never want to take.

This brings me to the rest of the womens gymnastics team. They supported Simone in her decision, respected it, and stepped up. They are AMAZING. Jordan Chiles crushed events she hadn’t even warmed up. I mean damn! Way to show up. They earned a silver medal and that is so awesome. The media keeps portraying it like “they lost the gold’ ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! They won a silver medal at the Olympics. They crushed it. I read something that said they hope America still loves them. Well I am here to say I love you and am DAMN proud of that team of women. ALL OF THEM.

People have been posting the Kerri Strug injury and how horrible it was that she was basically manipulated into competing with an injury that wound up ending her gymnastics career. People called it heroic, and it was, but it shouldn’t have been asked of her. She should have been prioritized over a medal and a coaches career (that didn’t end with that injury).

Simone Biles made the choice that was right for her, her teammates supported her, and they all won a silver medal at the Olympics. All amazing results.

Role Models in the Public Eye…

…Dan Levy.

I am about half way through Schitt$ Creek and have been introduced to the amazing human being that Dan Levy is. He not only costars in the show, but co-created it with his father, Eugene Levy. His sister is in it too and I love the whole family affair aspect. The jokes are hilarious and the timing is perfect. He has created a completely loveable character brought this beautiful LBGTQ character to our screens. He has given a role model for us all, but especially a group of people who needed one.

“To not have to define yourself or categorize yourself, I think, is beneficial to everyone. I think the more we can understand that people just exist and that as long as we’re doing good in this world, we don’t need to bother or worry about defining or classifying people, the sooner we’ll be in a better place.” -DL

One of my favorite moments in the show is when David and Stevie are using wine to discuss his preferences in a sexual partner.

He is open about his anxiety which is amazing. We need more people talking about and normalizing mental health. I really respect his being open and honest on this subject. Sometimes talking about your anxiety really helps! It can also cause some anxiety. It’s a weird oxymoron, but he dives in and lets us know we aren’t alone in our anxiety. Even the best of us deal with it (the best of us being Dan Levy).

He is an amazing guy and great role model. He is who he is and that’s what he gives in his writing, acting, and living life. How can you not love that? I have no idea what makes a better role model.

My Anxiety Got…

…the better of me….again…

I have health insurance again so I can resume therapy – which is the good news. Prioritizing this in my costs among the many, many costs became necessary when the my anxiety burst out of my body a few days ago.

Like most anxiety attacks, it was irrational. Anxiety can not be rationalized away in most cases (for me anyway). I series of things to stress about had just built up (not big things but felt big at that moment) and one little thing (that was mostly in my head) set off and eruption that had no where to go but out my eyeballs. Funny thing tho – I usually calm myself and eventually it passes. My dude happened to be there for this one and he just held me tight and it really helped a lot. I know there is a while science about this with your nerve endings and all and that’s true and cool but this felt like a hug for my soul. He genuinely cared that my anxiety was that bad in a way no one really has before. It was really nice to have.

I need to remember to prioritize my mental health too. A lesson I keep learning and I am sure will learn countless more times.

When Anxiety Has No Where To Go Except…

…out your eyeballs.

I have talked with you all about my issues with anxiety. This morning was a rough one. My main anxiety source is potentially and unintentionally hurting other people (particularly those I love and care for most). Well – I got it in my head that I was definitely going to unintentionally expose my dude to germs. So my anxiety took over and I cloroxed the whole house basically. I scrubbed all the pans with scalding hot water and generally freaked out. Once I had done all that, I just started crying for no other reason then I couldn’t think of another release for my anxiety. It had no other way out of my body then my eyeballs.

Very few people have seen my anxiety get this bad – I can count them on one hand. So I looked around me and I named five things I saw, four things I could touch and feel, three things I could hear, two things I could smell, and one thing I could taste to ground myself. It helped a little. It gave my mind real things to focus on rather then the things running around in my mind. I recommend trying it sometime even if you just need to feel a little more grounded.

A grounding tool for anxiety...
When you need to ground yourself.

Shout out to all my fellow anxiety ridden people and anyone dealing with all the stress in the world today. You aren’t alone friends!

How do you deal with stress and anxiety in the world today? How have you adapted your tools to social distancing and staying home?

Waves of Anxiety

I haven’t been shy about my anxiety or my time in therapy to try to cope with that anxiety. I haven’t been shy about it because it’s not something I am ashamed of or think I need to hide, so I am going to tell you about a type of anxiety I have never experienced…until last night.

I had finally fallen asleep then woke up an hour later at about 1:00 am because my heart was racing. I thought maybe I had a weird dream or something and when it subsided I dismissed it…until about 5 minutes later when it happened again. My heart starts racing, I need to slow my breathing to try to slow my heart rate and anxiety just washes over me. Waves are the best way I can think to describe it because I could feel it coming and it started small, got bigger, crashed into me, then dissipated. These waves continued for about an hour.

While I am not ashamed of my anxiety (I can’t help it), I always feel bad when my anxiety affects other people. I worry they feel I am just being dramatic or out for attention when that isn’t at all the case. So I have anxiety about my anxiety. Also, I feel bad even trying to explain all of this to people in person because all they want to do is help you and tell you it’s okay. Really, this is a nice thing to do, but then I feel bad when them reassuring me doesn’t make the anxiety go away. You can see that they so badly want to help and you want to show them you appreciate it but it’s hard in the midst of anxiety waves.

One of the hardest types of anxiety to explain is the kind that doesn’t have a direct cause or source. This doesn’t happen to me often but that was the case last night – no direct source, it just happened. How do you tell someone that and not look like you are fishing for attention? And anxiety about anxiety comes around all over again.

Let’s talk about the physical manifestations of anxiety because no one else seems to be. For me, the biggest one is digestive system issues. Either I have a stomach that is in knots or it moves to my intestines causing restroom issues. The waves of anxiety destroyed not only my night of sleep but most of dude’s (which I feel pretty bad about, eventually I sent him home so he could actually sleep. I’ll be dammed if my anxiety gets to him too at 2:00 am). Now I have to go to work on very little sleep with these other physical manifestations be a leader.

So why tell you about all this? I want all those out there who are dealing with anxiety (from mild to extreme), and those supporting someone dealing with anxiety, that you aren’t alone. Kudos to those who support those of us with anxiety – you may not think you are helping much but you are, just by being there. Sitting next to us, holding our hand, telling us it’s okay and we are okay, and for me laying next to me and putting your hand on my hand (romantic comforting way) helps more then you know, even when we can’t directly express it. Thanks for listening all and if you need someone to talk to I am here!

Seems silly but this is what happened

From Fitness to Fitting In…

…and setting my own p(e)ace and finding new ways to challenge myself.

Exercise has been an important part of my life for the last five years. It was something I fell into while I was in Hood River, Oregon and felt really alone. I joined a gym and went to group classes with the main goal of making friends. I started taking Zumba because a new friend (from a meetup group) went to that class. Being in that class was the beginning of the road to inclusion in Hood River and a lifelong appreciation for the positive changes it brought to my life that I didn’t expect.

After a few weeks of Zumba my friend suggested I try a class called R.I.P.P.E.D. I was skeptical because I wasn’t in great shape but I showed up…and it changed me. That first class was hard and I was sweating like I had some kind of fever…and it was awesome! The even better part was how welcoming all the members of the class were. The more classes I attended the better it got. I was excited to be a part of a group and have something outside of work in Hood River to be a part of and do.

Then I started seeing changes in my body. I was building muscle for the first time in a long time. I realized that skinny is great but strong is sexy. I felt better about myself both inside and out; the class was a great place to release my anxiety. It is the greatest benefit of exercise I have found. I do workout for my physical health but for my mental health as well.

Fast forward a bit and I was in another new town where I didn’t know anybody, Dana Point. The first thing I did once settled was find a R.I.P.P.E.D. class. Eventually, I found one I could afford and once again I had a group I belonged to in a place foreign to me. I had a touch stone where I was welcomed and made a little fit family. I look forward not only to the class and release of anxiety, but to seeing all of my fit family at the class.

Exercise (R.I.P.P.E.D. specifically) and the people in my fit family have truly made my life better physically and emotionally. I am not sure what I would have done without finding that outlet and I am really grateful for it. R.I.P.P.E.D. is a huge part of setting my own p(e)ace and I will keep it in my life for a long time.

I do want to keep challenging myself with physical goals I never thought I could achieve. That is why I have set the goal of running in the Halloween 5K. Running is never something I have ever thought possible or taken joy in. I know I have discussed this before but now it’s time to really start tackling this challenge. I have no idea how to go from I hate running to crushing a 5K but I will figure it out. Let’s see where this new physical challenge leads me in setting my own p(e)ace.

Check back here and my insta – setmyownp.e.ace to follow my journey to the Halloween 5K and achieving this new fitness goal.

I need a good suggestion for quality running shoes. Anyone have a brand you love?

My newest shirt showing my pride

Meet my New Celebrity Crush…

…Robin Lehner, pro hockey player, Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner, an advocate for mental health awareness. You are absolutely right handsome man – “I’m mentally ill, but that doesn’t mean I am mentally weak.” See the article below to read more about this man setting a beautiful example and being a role model.

@laramerkelross photo credit