Rituals and Lies

Every Sunday morning I divvy up my medications and vitamins in one of those little medication holders to remind me if I ignore my alarms and forgot to take my morning, afternoon, or late afternoon pills. I usually don’t forget bedtime because that is usually the only routine I stick to….going to bed. Now that I don’t suffer from insomnia any more, bedtime is a real treat.

This Sunday I had to smile and kind of laugh at myself for something I told my dentist. I handed over my scroll of medications and all the over-the-counter medications and vitamins I ingest on a daily basis. I had to have a tooth pulled and one of my medications has a reminder that I’m supposed to tell the dentist if I should have any dental work performed.

He looked over my list and said…..”these look to be mostly….” and I finished his sentence with “vitamins”.


I take quite a few vitamins and probably many of them aren’t absorbed by my body and end up in the bottom of the toilet but, in my mind, they are important to take.

However, the amount of vitamins is small in comparison to the number of psychiatric drugs I take.

Not that I don’t appreciate my medications—they gave me my life back. I laugh because I believe I like convincing myself that my medications are actually vitamins.

The little white lies we tell ourselves to make it through the day.

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Sunday With April

What a stinkin’ cycle life can become. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

I’m neither experiencing too much anxiety – does that ever go away? – nor am I depressed, but it takes a monumental effort to make myself do something.


So, is it that I don’t care? Am I depressed and don’t want to accept it? Or am I just a lazy person?

As a compulsive knitter, I can’t believe I haven’t touched yarn in over…..well, has it been two months? Three?

There is a quote out there about being thankful if all you did today was breathe, but I’m taking that a little too far. Yes, I have given myself permission to just relax for 15 minutes, 2 hours, all day………every day. This has gotten out of hand.

I suppose it’s going to take some forceful self-butt-kicking and get moving. My back is feeling a bit better, I have run out of excuses. If I’m totally honest with myself, I have accomplished some things and I need to give myself some credit and move along.

This is what I found to make me smile: (some may be repeats)

  • We are starting to have milder weather. The kind we can open our windows and turn off the air conditioning
  • My Nerf gun
  • A sappy movie I watched on the Hallmark channel
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie scraps Sensible Girlfriend brought to me from the bakery she works
  • The patience of my husband
  • Realizing I’m not thinking about cancer and the what ifs…..Every. Single. Day.
  • Waking up this morning and realizing it’s Football Sunday!

Now, I’m off to catch up on some blog reading before the games start. Hope you find something to make you smile today!

Oh! A little random thinking……I don’t understand why some women are offended if a man asks…well I guess tells her to smile. Even in my darkest of dark days….if I’m in the presence of people….I always make eye contact and smile. It’s my mask, and when someone smiles back, it makes me feel better. Perhaps that is why I don’t understand it……nobody has asked me to smile before. I have been assaulted but that doesn’t compare to someone telling me to smile. Am I that naive?

Posted in Anxeity and Depression, Sunday's Smiles | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Sunday With April

Well, here I am. Able to sit upright, and for that I’m thankful. I did something to screw up my back and have been spending weeks lying flat on the floor to get some relief.

A little list of what has made me smile recently:

  • My back spasms and pain have subsided
  • Being successful working through my thoughts about a potential major life change
  • My arms are a bit stronger from having to hold a book up in the air in order to read while flat on my back
  • My cats believe I make a good bed while lying flat. Yes, they took advantage of my temporary disability.
  • My anxiety created by flying has turned into plain old hate. Yes, I hate it. It’s not like I can get on an airplane without fear and or panic, but my hate seems to be a good counterbalance.
  • I find it interesting how my brain works.
  • My husband did something I found to be hilarious but I am sworn to secrecy to keep it to myself. So….it has become one of those thoughts I can pull upon when I feel like I’m heading down the rabbit hole because it makes me laugh my silly head off. By the way, he isn’t amused.
  • My husband killed a snake lurking in the basement of our home in Nowhere, Missouri

I hope that you find something to make you smile today!

Posted in Grattitude, Sunday's Smiles | Tagged | 22 Comments

Habitual Thinking

Bad habits can become good habits with the proper help, determination, and a healthy belief system……in my personal experience.

Many, many years ago I realized that what I thought about I will focus on it and believe it. Of course, it was a ton of negative things about myself. I was never perfect enough. I thought about my past and berated myself for doing stupid things.

I learned how to stop the negative thinking but never replaced it with anything positive. I existed in a kind of limbo. I worked on blocking negative thoughts on a daily basis until I finally thought I had control of my life.

When I received my lung cancer diagnosis, all that practice washed away in an instant. I smoked when I was younger but had stopped 23 years prior to my diagnosis. This was my payback for being so reckless with my health all those years ago. Maybe I ended up with cancer for all the stupid things I had done in my past. Every bit of anger I held, every bad word spoken, every thought….I was being held responsible, and paying the consequences for my actions.

With the help of some medications that were right for me and help from my therapist, I relearned how to block the negative thoughts but this time I replaced them with positive thoughts.

I have been striving to change my thoughts for five years this time. Since I had spent so many years already blocking negative thoughts, that part was a bit easier to rebuild. Replacing those thoughts with positive ones has been a challenge.

I wonder why evil has always prevailed over good in my life.

I allowed it to happen.

I created a perception of myself through false thoughts. I lied to myself over and over. Not that I’m perfect, I’m human after all. However, I’m not bad either. I just had to believe it.

I have a habit of sitting cross-legged. Everywhere. Wherever I have space, I cross my legs. Not like a lady, like a kid in kindergarten….crisscross applesauce. You see, I have a bad hip and this type of sitting brings on extreme hip pain. I can’t sleep on that particular side or I wake up in pain….all night long. A habit I’m struggling to change. I would think that I would do anything to avoid physical pain since I have been trying to avoid anything that causes mental pain.

So why is it so hard?





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Every Little Step is a Success

A strange feeling occurs when depression lifts. I think I have lived with depression and more grief than I could handle in such a narrow space of time, I never thought I would make it through the muck. It kind of became a part of how I defined myself. No more. It is something that may happen to me but I am not depression, nor anxiety.

I made that second trip to the city not far from us. I focused on my driving because that’s what one does when they are driving–at least most of us. As I sat down in the waiting room, there was another odd feeling, I wasn’t really nervous/anxious. I sat there and enjoyed the moment. For the first time, in I don’t know how long, I was void of depression and had very low anxiety.

A moment of peace. Talk about something to make me smile, that certainly made me smile—big!

Somewhere along the way, I lost confidence in my abilities. I’m usually not afraid to try anything. Everything is new to us at some point but we will never know what we are capable of if we let fear get in the way. So far, I’m pretty darn good at demolition and cleaning up after. I have also created more work while trying to stretch beyond my perceived abilities, but I have learned from my mistakes.

Some of you know that we are remodeling a house in rural Missouri that my husband inherited from his dad. The house wasn’t in any shape to sell, we have been considering retiring there but haven’t made the final decision. We may just sell the cute little house and move on.

Anyway, that house has created a lot of areas of challenge and I just keep moving forward.

Between going back and forth between that house, hunting season, and my husband’s responsibility for his share of keeping the hunting property maintained, we have been redoing our two story decks. We had a pro come in to make sure the structure was sound but we are going to replace the decking and the rails.

My husband laid a few boards down and told me I was going to screw them into the joists.

Ummm…no way…what if I screw things up? (haha, pun intended) We didn’t go to The Home Depot for our decking, we went to a specialty lumber yard and purchased good decking because we enjoy our deck and wanted it to be the best we could afford.

By the time we reached the top deck, I decided to give driving screws a try. I may have only drove in one screw to my husband’s four but I helped, and he appreciated the time saved.

What did I learn? I have muscles I haven’t used in quite a while.

During a break, I read a quote via Instragram, which I can’t find now—It’s perfectly okay to not be perfect. -unknown to me.

Such a simple concept, isn’t it? You know what? I didn’t have my screws evenly spaced and in a straight line but I can live with that. I kept repeating that phrase to myself because it’s true.

I’m loving this strange feeling of not being depressed so that I can really focus my time on that which makes me anxious. I will not fear depression creeping up behind me because I have survived…and I will again.



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Changing Focus and Pushing to the Limit

My husband and I were discussing my anxiety over everything. I told him that a friend of mine who is dealing with the same type of driving problem that I have, asked me if I may be more anxious about where I’m going and what will happen once I arrive at my destination. My husband told me that was exactly what he thinks about my anxiety over driving.

I’ve been thinking.

And thinking.

I even took a trip to a city not too far from us. Not a city like Atlanta but bigger than where we live.

I asked myself the regular therapist-in-my-mind question….such as, what’s the worst that can happen?

Well…..a tire could fall off my car. Someone could slam into me from the side, front, or back. I could get lost. I won’t be able to find a parking spot once I arrive (that’s a biggie). There could be road construction. I could be late. Once I get there, I have to talk to strangers, or not. I could just walk around as if they don’t exist. But there could be one among the crowd that I have to keep my eye on….you know, one of the bad people.

Then I asked myself another therapist-in-my-mind question….what do I have control of?

My thoughts! That’s it! I have control over what I think about and how much time I focus on the subject.

A tire isn’t going to fall off my car. I am a good driver and pay attention to the texters and the people driving batshit crazy. I always find a parking spot, even if I have to walk. There is always road construction no matter which direction I go. I’ve been late one time because I got lost. However, I give myself plenty of time to get to appointments, on top of that, I know where I’m going! I talk to strangers and really don’t have too much anxiety over it…more than I should, but I’m working on that one. There are more good people in this world than there are bad.

So, I made that trip. I survived and will remember my survival because I have to make the same trip tomorrow.



Posted in Anxeity and Depression | Tagged | 22 Comments

My Anxiety Makes Me Anxious

Fear, we all have it. I know it, but my mind takes that fear and feeds it until I have a mountain instead of a molehill. My insides churn until I’m sick to my stomach and all I seem to think about is that which makes me anxious. I can identify the source and work on this type of fear.

I’m working on my fears until I have control over my reactions to normal daily business.

However, I have times of feeling extreme anxiety and haven’t a clue where it comes from. Standing in a store and finding that I can’t see, everything seems to blur and the people around me seem like they are floating around. Heart beating so fast, palms profusely sweating, can’t breathe, oh-my-I-think-I’m-going-to-die-right-here. That kind of fear is really scary.

I have learned how to live through the attacks of pure panic. Stepping aside and letting them pass through me has helped, but usually I’m at home and can sit alone for a while. I’m determined to not let my fear overcome my life anymore. While I get a little reprieve from depression, I will work on this with great determination and the help of my medications and therapy. Maybe, one day, I will learn the source of the extreme anxiety that overcomes my mind without warning.

I made it out yesterday. All went fine. I actually had two errands to run and had to make a U-turn in order to go the right direction for one of them. I will head out today, and I have plans for next week. Instead of driving a child hauler, I have a new, fun car to drive and I feel more comfortable behind the wheel…..now I just need to quit letting the fear of the fear overtake my mind.

I’ve got this.

See what I’m doing here? I’m taking that anxiety and standing up to it. I expect to have some, just as everybody does, but I don’t have to let it control me to the point of keeping me from an active life. I can stop my mind from feeding those fears. Later, I will work on the “unknown” anxiety.

There are many ways to conquer a mountain and I shall step on those molehills. If this fraidy cat can do it, so can you.





Posted in Anxeity and Depression | Tagged | 24 Comments

Anxiety in the Moment

I read something along the line….if you are anxious, you are thinking about the future….live in the moment. So, I’ve been practicing living in the moment, even the sucky ones. I feel the moment and let it pass. If I learn something from it that will help me in the future, then that was a great moment. I breathe in all the great moments.

As a retired taxi driver for my kids, I have developed a bit of a phobia/anxiety over driving. Well, I think I have always had anxiety over driving. Having the lives of little people in my hands always created anxiety. I tried to hide it and I think I did pretty well. My kids think I simply don’t like driving.

Anyway, I had an appointment with one of my -ist doctors that is about a 40-minute drive from our house. A couple of days before, I felt the anxiety start to build. Was I going to make it to my appointment on time? What if I get lost? (which was silly because I know where I’m going) What if someone runs into me? I have to get on the freeway! What if someone won’t let me merge into the lane of traffic?

I reminded myself about the living in the moment exercise, and realized that when I’m driving I have no other choice than to live in the moment. There are cars here and there and a speed limit to follow. Every moment I am on the road is an anxious moment.

So, therein lies my problem. I have anxiety about driving so I avoid it as much as I can. I have done this to the point of isolating myself at home and not enjoying the moments spent there.

Exposure therapy is the answer given to me by my therapist and I don’t like it. Who likes putting themselves outside their comfort zone all the time?

I watched a documentary about a mountain/ice climber. I found it quite interesting since our daughter is dating a mountain/ice climber. Oh. My. Other than the blissful fact that I am not the mother or wife of a mountain/ice climber I found it quite interesting. They push themselves to conquer what is in front of them. It’s not that they have no fear, they just know themselves and their capabilities….and live in the moment. They control their destiny and if Mother Nature doesn’t interfere with an avalanche or a rock breaking off, they face that fear and are exhilarated when they reach the summit.

Why is it that I feel like a deflated balloon when I conquer a fear? Why can’t I look at the end goal and go for it with confidence?

Avoiding it won’t get me anywhere so I’m off to the veterinarian for the special animal diets to keep our cats healthy. Will I be anxious? Probably….even though it is a 5-minute drive from our house…..so I’ll go when the traffic isn’t so heavy. I will feel anxious every moment and be thankful when I return to my little isolated world.

I have plans for a 15-minute drive for tomorrow to do a little shopping where Sensible Girlfriend works.

Dammit, I will climb that mountain.


Posted in Anxeity and Depression, Uncategorized | Tagged | 27 Comments

Sunday With April

I’ve been focusing on the wrong things. However, the following made me smile:

  • Leaving a building of here or there, finding my Mini in the parking lot and knowing it’s mine!
  • A little “just because” gift from Sensible Girlfriend
  • Small progress on our deck remodel
  • The weather forecast showing we’re probably going to have temps under 90F for a while
  • The way my daughter really knows me
  • Breakfast with my husband
  • No Cancer!!!!

I hope you find something to make you smile today!

Posted in Sunday's Smiles | Tagged | 20 Comments

I Stand Tall, Even Through Defeat

Well, the second medication taper didn’t work exactly as I planned. I had to resume the original dosage prescribed by my doctor. Even though he questioned my desire to reduce medication, I was determined, and he let me try. It took a while to see if my mood was temporary or if it was here to stay. I know where my breaking point is and depression got the best of me this time.

Am I disappointed? No, I’m just giving my mind a rest. I’m on a quest to see if I can maintain a life imagined, with as little medication as possible. For now, I’ve gotten rid of one of six medications.

After I see Dr. Wonky Pants, I think I’ll work on reducing my crutch, Xanax. It’s my go to medication when I don’t want to deal with real life stressors. I understand that some of my anxiety just happens and I’m not sure where it comes from, but some of it I can manage by being aware of it and letting it move right on by. There isn’t one person who has absolutely no stress/anxiety at some point. I have to learn that my little, normal, anxiety producing stressors are felt by everybody. It’s all in how we look at it and face the fear.

For me, personally, Xanax dulls my senses enough that I don’t really care what is going on around me. I’ve used it to get through funerals, the anxiety of waiting for CT scan results, unknown sources of anxiety, and to simply escape daily life.

It’s about time I stand and face my fears, it’s okay if I have them. Maybe if I’m not depending upon Xanax, I will find the source of those panic periods I don’t understand. My therapist kept telling me that an anxiety/panic attack lasts 20 minutes on average. I have felt if I could only last those 20 minutes, I’ll be home free. But that’s the point, anxiety is keeping me at home. I’m afraid of doing anything at this point, and I have to get rid of the escape pill so that I can work on what is really at the bottom of my fears. Which fears have I created out of fears, and which ones I can honestly deal with.

I’ve been afraid of getting rid of my crutch but I don’t feel that it’s right to have one. The other pills are helping me stave depression and I’m okay with that. I’ve been trying to reduce the wrong medication because I wanted to hang onto my little crutch. I’ve been afraid I will fall apart at the most inopportune times. I need to learn that I have the pill if I need it but I cannot depend on it to escape being uncomfortable.

I know what I have to do. I’m a big girl now and I know I can do it. (pounds fists on chest) I’ve fallen apart many times and guest what? I’m still standing! Tall!

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