The (hair) struggle is real

Does anyone else think about chopping off their hair at least once a day.  I’ve been going back and forth every day between “I’m going to cut all this off” and “but it takes so long to grow back out”.

I loved when my hair was shorter. It felt funky and I felt like I wore it down and/or actually did my hair more often.

However when my hair is long I like the way that looks as well. I’ve always thoughts beachy waves were a-maz-ing looking and even though my hair is naturally straight as a board, it still is a idea in the back of my mind that I could have long mermaid-ish beach hair… if only I had the patience to get there.

So – the question is… choppy choppy, or patience / mermaid hair… in training?

You know, the normal questions that keep a girl up at night.

We are entitled to do the dreaming…

… not to have them come true…that part is up to us.

That part is up to me.

I read that on one of my favorite blogs this morning (www.curlygirldesign.com/blog) and it totally spoke to me.  So much so, that I had to share it. 

I’ve been struggling lately.  I’ve been (attempting) to deal with anxiety and panic attacks for the last month or so. That (less than successful) effort has left me feeling oppressed and suffocated.  I find myself stopping to take a big breath and it feels so good I have to wonder when the last time I bothered to actually breath was.  Then I get dragged back into the fray and forget to breath again. 

Everything comes a little easier when your soul is happier.  When the depths of your being is light-footed and frolicking, everything looks, feels, smells, and tastes better.  It is a feeling that sometimes I take for granted.  Especially during times of turbulence when I feel like I will never feel frolicky again (sounds dramatic to me to write that out loud, but so true). 

It is hard to not wallow in a little pity and think, “what’s wrong with me?”, “why can’t I fix this?”, “why aren’t I strong enough?”.  I am logically well-aware that this kind of thinking does -.07% bit of good towards improving the situation, however when you’re already feeling a fondness towards drudgery and struggle… it is these thoughts and emotions that flow easily in and out through my mind and body. 

Where are the, “zippity doo dah”, “life is great”, “just do it” attitudes and thoughts that I feel when I’m rising above all this negative weight?  No, seriously… where do they go?  On a vacation to somewhere a lot more positive and relaxing, I’m quite sure.  I do try on these thoughts during heightened times of struggle and strut around in them, hoping to “fake it until I make it”.  Sometimes though, they just don’t really shine down or touch the ball of black unrest sitting heavy in my chest.  They kinda float around it, wishing it away… with no luck. (In my mind I am picturing scenes from Harry Potter including wands and sorcery…)

Logically I know it will get better.  I also logically know (but am having a hard time accepting) that sometimes a person just can’t fix it all by themselves and they need help.  I’m working on getting to that place of acceptance (before I need to be carried there). 

I need the yin to make me yang.  I need to take the un- out of my unbalanced.  I need the room to stretch all this out, shake it all off and get the ol’ giddy-meter flowing again. I have never been luckier, happier or more in the right place at the right time in my life… and damned if I’m not going to enjoy it because I’m too stubborn to stop attempting to get my shit together long enough… to actually get my shit together.

Boom. <– that’s for Joni.

 

 

Courage

Courage:

Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.

That word has really been resonating with me lately.  I have some people in my life who need it right now.  Although it is free, it is sometimes hard to grasp.  In order to persevere you need to have bravery and patience. 

I think it’s the latter of the two that give me pause.  I have no problem smearing war paint on my body and running into battle screaming and waving an axe about.  However, if you tell me I’m going to have to do this in a month.  I’m probably going to lose interest and decide I’d rather just move than fight for my freedom, land, blah blah.

Also, if you told me I’d have to battle now, and tomorrow and next month so that next year I could live a cozy and war-free life… I would still give pause because that’s a lot of struggle and strife just to live better later… when I’m suffering now.

Now, end the scene on the battle field and imagine someone in the middle of some sort of life turmoil (pick one, I’m sure you are having one on some level or another right now).  It is the same concept.  You know that the next month, six months or year will be a battle.  Every day. To get up, get dressed, go to work, shower, eat and do mundane tasks to get by. 

All the while you are wearing your turmoil like one of those pregnancy bellies that teenagers have to wear.  It’s totally hot, sweaty and uncomfortable.  However your turmoil is invisible so not only are you hot, sweaty and uncomfortable, but no one else knows why and they just think you are a cranky person.

What advise do you get from the kind, loving people in your life?

Time heals all wounds.

This too shall pass.

Time will go on.

These three phrases separately are just about the last thing someone going through anything traumatic wants to hear.  Mostly because they all infer that at some unknown point in the future, things will be better. But for now, right now… your life still sucks.  Sorry. 

It is infuriating to hear.  I know that when I’ve been told these generic phrases in the past, I’ve been tempted to pull a three stooges “Curly” move and poke someone in the eye while dancing around them and slapping my own face.  Heal that.

To really be meaningful advice they should be combined and messaged differently.  Something like:

These things are for certain; Time heals all wounds, time (whether slow or fast) will pass.  It’s how you spend that time that will define your healing and recovery. 

That is what they can work on, focus on  and deal with right now.  Something tangible and a distraction (which we all know makes time go faster).  If someone can focus 5 minutes of their day on something positive.  Maybe they can write a list of good things in their life.  Just writing the list means they are alive, have hands and can spell!  Congratulations, you’re better off than a lot of other people in this world. 

During times of struggle and adversity is when the really true tests of someone’s character rise.  Do you want to look back at yourself and think, boy was I courageous and I don’t know how I did it?  Or do you want to look back and think, huh… no wonder I gained 30 pounds, have no friends and a DUI?  (The answer was the first one in case you were pondering those options at all)

Look for good, you’ll find it.  Give yourself excuses and opportunities to be courageous, you’ll surprise yourself.  Throw away that damn calendar because just like a watched pot, a watched calendar doesn’t boil either… neither does it make the time go faster.

Be Courageous.

Be Brave.

Give yourself many reasons to be proud of the person you are, when you look back at the person you were during tough times.

… And if you can’t do either of those for yourself, do it for the people around you who count on you, love you and don’t want to bail you out of jail for having a Britney Spears inspired meltdown.

Definition of Hidden Pain and Confusion

My story… since I was 19.  The below is the black and white.  My posts that generally deal with day to day struggles, confusion, loneliness, frustration… are the explosions of color.  All together, they paint a large part of my life… that isn’t often shared.  It’s a beautiful painting to an outsider… but being the painting… I am acutely aware of  the flaws.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Taken from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/generalized-anxiety-disorder/DS00502

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment and coping skills.
Definition

It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time, especially if your life is stressful. However, if you have ongoing anxiety that interferes with day-to-day activities and relationships and makes it hard to enjoy life, you may have generalized anxiety disorder.

It’s possible to develop generalized anxiety disorder as a child or as an adult. Generalized anxiety disorder has similar symptoms as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other types of anxiety, but they’re all different conditions.

Living with generalized anxiety disorder can be a long-term challenge. In many cases, it occurs along with other anxiety or mood disorders. In most cases, generalized anxiety disorder improves with medications or psychotherapy. Making lifestyle changes, learning coping skills and using relaxation techniques also can help.

Symptoms

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms can vary in combination and severity. They can include:

  • Constant worrying or obsession about small or large concerns
  • Restlessness and feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or your mind “going blank”
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension or muscle aches
  • Trembling, feeling twitchy or being easily startled
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sweating, nausea or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath or rapid heartbeat

There may be times when your worries don’t completely consume you, but you still feel anxious even when there’s no apparent reason. For example, you may feel intense worry about your safety or that of your loved ones, or you may have a general sense that something bad is about to happen.

Generalized anxiety disorder often begins at an early age, and the signs and symptoms may develop more slowly than in other anxiety disorders. Many people with generalized anxiety disorder can’t recall when they last felt relaxed or at ease.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment. Especially with treatment, you may not feel anxious all of the time. But you’re always susceptible to becoming anxious, especially when life becomes stressful.

Generalized anxiety disorder usually occurs along with other mental health conditions, such as other anxiety disorders, substance abuse problems and mood disorders. It commonly co-occurs with major depression.

    Complications

    Generalized anxiety disorder does more than make you worry. It can also lead to, or worsen, other mental and physical health conditions, including:

    • Depression
    • Substance abuse
    • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
    • Digestive or bowel problems
    • Headaches
    • Teeth grinding (bruxism)

    The following criteria must be met for a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder:

    • Excessive anxiety and worry about several events or activities most days of the week, for at least six months
    • Difficulty controlling your feelings of worry
    • Anxiety or worry that causes you significant distress or interferes with your daily life
    • Anxiety that isn’t related to another mental health condition, such as panic attacks, substance abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • At least three of the following symptoms in adults and one of the following in children: restlessness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability, muscle tension or sleep problems

    Generalized anxiety disorder often occurs along with other mental health problems, which can make diagnosis and treatment more challenging. Some disorders that commonly occur with generalized anxiety disorder include:

    • Phobias
    • Panic disorder
    • Depression
    • Substance abuse
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder

    Physical health conditions also can cause anxiety. These include:

    • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
    • Heart disease
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Menopause

    While most people with generalized anxiety disorder need psychotherapy or medications to get anxiety under control, lifestyle changes also can make a difference. Here are a few things that you can do:

    • Get daily exercise. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer, can improve your mood and can keep you healthy. It’s best if you develop a regular routine and work out most days of the week. Start out slow and gradually increase the amount and intensity of exercise.
    • Eat a healthy diet. Avoid fatty, sugary and processed foods. Include foods in your diet that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins.
    • Avoid alcohol and other sedatives. These can worsen anxiety.
    • Use relaxation techniques. Visualization techniques, meditation and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety.
    • Make sleep a priority. Do what you can to make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep. If you aren’t sleeping well, see your doctor.
    Coping and support

    To cope with generalized anxiety disorder, here are some things you can do:

    • Join an anxiety support group. Here, you can find compassion, understanding and shared experiences. You may find support groups in your community, and there are also several available on the Internet.
    • Take action. Work with your mental health provider to figure out what’s making you anxious and address it. For example, if finances are your concern, work toward drawing up a budget.
    • Let it go. Don’t dwell on past concerns. Change what you can and let the rest take its course.
    • Break the cycle. When you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or delve into a hobby to refocus your mind away from your worries.
    • Stick to your treatment plan. Take medications as directed. Keep therapy appointments. Consistency can make a big difference, especially when it comes to taking your medication.
    • Socialize. Don’t let worries isolate you from loved ones or enjoyable activities. Social interaction and caring relationships can lessen your worries.