Tag Archives: Anxiety

Gratitude

I recently seized an opportunity to write for an inspirational website called The Easier Softer Way.  Writing for a new audience gave me a chance to distance myself a bit from LifeofKi and challenge myself as a writer to speak in a new voice. I hope to have opportunities such as this one in the future to branch out — reaching new eyes and ears. For now, I’d like to share the intimate ‘original piece’ I wrote in honor of my dear friend’s late father.

“It happened again today – when I learned that my childhood best friend’s father is dying. I am, once again, intimate with fear; death; dying. I think I pushed it away when my Grandpa passed.  Could be any day now – his death. What to say when all we do is wait for him to die? Words fail me in this moment. Words fail me today.”

With eyes blinded by tears and hearts stricken with grief, we mourn the loss of my dear friend’s father. His soul left his body but a few weeks ago. As she drowns in his memories, my friend feels lost and alone. I cannot begin to comprehend her grief; the enormity of the loss; the depth of the void she now feels. Words fail me yet again. So I offer to her the most beautiful healer of all, Mother Nature….  for the ‘original piece’ in its entirety —  The Easier Softer Way

 

Related:

In a Sea of Unknowns — (Post for The Easier Softer Way)

 

 

 

 

 

Trains

Some days I wonder if Lucas is my child. I really wonder, “Should I take a maternity test??” He is just so brilliant, so social, so – opposite — from me.

 

I think such thoughts, with sarcasm of course, but I really do wonder. I do. I wonder if he is going to be like me? In what areas of academia he will take after me? I wonder if he will be stricken with anxiety, like me? Or if he will be of an even temperament; calm, cool, collected, like his dad? (Fingers crossed!!!)

For thinking such thoughts, I know my Karma is dealing her hand to me every morning before the sun is awake. How? You might wonder.

Trains.

 

Before I can even open my eyes in the morning, it happens without fail – Lucas is screaming and crying in desperation. Running out of his room and into the hallway. Why??  Answer again: Trains. We live on a relatively quiet road. Quiet, except for the fact that a rather busy railroad track is located practically in our backyard. Ah, so lovely at first to admire the passing trains – three years ago when we first moved in. Yet, now. Those damn trains have become Lucas’ obsession. I’m not even sure if obsession is the strongest word to use in this moment. He lives trains. He breathes trains. If he could eat trains, I’m sure he would be delighted. The first train passes at 6AM, and Lucas runs out of his room, down the stairs, and outside to say “Hi” and “Bye” each morning – accompanied by a parent, of course.

I just cannot tell you how awful and beautiful this situation really is. I begin my day with screaming, crying, sheer panic (if you ask me). Anxiety about whether I can scoop him up and rush him outside quick enough so as to ensure we DO NOT miss the first train, really, it’s exhausting. I’m exhausted. Side note, now that I’m thinking about it — is this a means of spoiling him?? Ahhhhh, I will blog about this at a later date. Awful, as I said.

Yet, so wonderful. We all have our ‘trains.’ Don’t you think? We all have our passions – often disguised as obsessions, right? So why should I be so stressed, so impatient with my lovely screaming wake-up call? I can relate to little, panicky Lucas. I see an opportunity to write and I think, “Ahhhhhhhh!!! The thoughts are flooding, get it down on paper NOW!!!”  I become quite obsessed in those moments, frantically searching for the first sign of a decently sharpened pencil and any piece of paper (receipt, paid bill, unpaid bill for that matter) to ensure my thoughts have a final destination, a place to rest while my mind recovers from the downpour of thoughts. Obsession, as I said. Beautiful – because quite honestly – it is a love. A creative love, a passionate love, a love deep down in my core. That obsession, that constant state of — “What can I create today? What will I write today?” – That is the same fuel in Lucas that boils as he is running, tears flowing, to see his love, trains.  

I think we have to remember to appreciate others’ paths in life, even if we do not quite understand them. We have to really look at what drives others, what motivates others, to do what they do. Look around at your loved ones, family and friends alike. Do you see their trains?

Why not hop on for a ride? You may not know where they are going. You may not even reach a destination on their trip. But why not sit back and enjoy the scenery? Take a few pictures, perhaps. Share those moments with them. Enjoy the ride.

 

Cheers, readers.

Dear August

Dear August,

Ahhh hello, my friend. So… lovely? to see you. Another year has come and gone, and we meet again. And so it begins. You steal my daylight, walk hand in hand with the cool winds of change, and leave me anxiously pulling my hair out by your 31st day. You bring so many questions to mind. Why do you do this to me each year? You come and go so quickly, leaving my stomach turning; my mind racing.

Feeling queasy and confused, I’ll be thankful as ever with your departing gift — Rich hues of red, orange, yellow, and brown; the scent of dried and crunchy leaves that tickle my nose; and a chill that sends me clinging to the first sign of warmth – You always do remind me of the necessity for human touch; a longing to be near others during my quarterly attempt to avoid the inevitable: change.

Your message is beautiful – find strength in change, solace in letting go, and comfort in relinquishing fear.

The circadian rhythm of your song is undeniably sung each year. Perhaps I will try to hum a few notes. Be patient with me.

 

Warming up to you,

Ki

Weeks Like This

Sometimes I wonder if I’m truly getting better.

The seed of doubt enters my mind and spreads like wildfire. Am I really defeating the anxiety, the depression, the fill in the blank, you name it? – Maybe I’ve unknowingly perfected the art of convincing my ego that “Yeah, Ki you’re doing great! No panic attacks this week, good for you! You’ve finally got a hold on this thing. This thing called life.” Bullshit.

Well, it has been one of those weeks. The kind of week where emotions plan the daily agenda. My intimate Waltz with Fear is practiced every day at noon — followed by Stretching with Tears at 1PM and Dinner with Self Loathing at 7PM. It is the kind of week where I find myself staying preoccupied at home, avoiding friends, and choking back the tears when anyone asks, “How are you doing, Ki?” It is the kind of week where even small chat with neighbors is terrifying – terrifying because frankly, I don’t even know what the hell to say to people anymore. My smile is painted for show, conversation is forced, and quite honestly – I am really terrible at pretending like I care about weather forecasts and association fees.

This is the kind of week that leaves me stuck at the corner of What am I doing with my life? and You will never amount to anything short of a total f*^ck up. Yep, these thoughts are real. I go through them every now and then (And by that I mean, every couple of days, ha). I allow fear into my life, and this is what it does. I let it drag me down. I fear opportunity. I fear advancement. I fear life. I fear living.

Aside from continuous support from friends and family (even text messages every morning reassuring me that I am worthy, beautiful, and not alone – love you Lindsey), the only thing getting me through weeks such as this is a quote I read a few weeks ago. I will paraphrase terribly, my apologies in advance. The quote says something along the lines of, “It is as though people nowadays are more afraid of living than they are afraid of death.”

I’ll admit: I am among those people who are afraid to live. I am terrified to take chances. Terrified to ‘put myself out there.’ Terrified of change. I’m terrified of people reading this blog. Terrified of people seeing me. Yes, literally just walking past unfamiliar people gives me anxiety because I hate the feeling of other people looking at me. Side note, please do not inquire about why I’ve pursued modeling lately – as that is still an unknown to me. Bottom line, I fear everything… during weeks like this.

I know some of my readers experience anxiety and depression on a daily basis. A few have commented on how I seem to be doing better – as it has been a while since I have written about my struggle. I thought I would share these feelings because although I am doing much better than, say, a year ago — I do continue to have intimate encounters with these devils quite often. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if it ever goes away. I’m not sure if there comes a time when you just have to accept it. I’m not sure if there is a perfect concoction of medication that will be enough – for those of you taking any. All I know is that the struggle is real, but you must continue to fight. There are so many beautiful moments in life that are worth fighting for. Don’t fear living because if you are reading this right now, Life is on your side. Live every day as best you can. Force the smile if you have to, engage in the small chat that you would rather avoid. Keep pushing through it. Live your way into the answers of the unresolved issues in your heart. Life is meant to be lived, not avoided. Take a deep breath and remember: During weeks like this, you are not alone.

——————————————-

Related posts on anxiety&depression:

Reflections

For Lucas

Cabin Fever

Panic

How do you know?

Multiple Personalities

I have multiple personalities. I am an actress. I decide which role to play every waking moment of the day. One minute I am the loving, nurturing mother to the guy around which my world revolves. The next, I am texting friends inquiring about jobs, weekend plans, and drunken escapades from the previous night’s work party. Just as I designate warm- and cold-weather areas in my closet for clothing to reside separately, each role I assume reigns over a separate, yet cozy, lair in my beautifully chaotic mind.

Unfortunately as of late, it is more difficult to compartmentalize all of my ‘roles.’  I often find myself lecturing friends; giving parental advice; and loaning a dollar here or there only to be acknowledged with, “Thanks, Mom.” (Lindsey – you will never live this down!) Sadly, I am over-empathizing and psychoanalyzing friends so much so that a text is no longer reciprocated with, “Hey Ki, what’s up?” but rather – “Hey mom, how are you?” Good grief Charlie Brown! Since when did my friends start to view me as a MOM? Or worse – a substitute for their mothers? (Only at the most dire times when their lovely mothers are unavailable to chat, of course) I guess I figured that if I was compartmentalizing in my own mind, then my friends were doing the same, right? Wrong.

When we got pregnant – yes, we… it takes two to tango – I never imagined how awkward it would be trying to integrate 20-something Kiley’s lifestyle with, err, Momma Kis lifestyle. When friends ask, “Hey want to meet up for dinner tonight?” my first thoughts are, Oh shit – does that mean Lucas is invited? Should I ask? Do I need to get a babysitter? Who was the last person to babysit Lucas? I wonder if so-and-so would mind watching him a second time this week? Even more awkward, truthfully just plain heartbreaking, is when 20-something Ki wants to go out on a Saturday night and has to break the news to bright-eyed Lucas that mommy isn’t partaking in bath, books, and bedtime. Serious Catch-22 happening here, people!! Rock and a hard place!! Welcome to mommyhood, readers. Oy vey.

I play many roles. All of which leave me feeling stressed, anxious, mentally exhausted when tackled individually. Isolating Momma Ki from alter-ego crazy Ki is one of my biggest challenges recently – aside from battling a stubborn 2-year-old who refuses to use his Cars potty – but I digress. Balancing both roles is a daily conundrum. And yet, I am certain that integrating the two is the only solution to maintaining an ounce of sanity in this self-imposed frenzy of a world I call mine.

I prefer not to be the Mom of the group with my friends, but just as I am warming up to reality that I am — in fact — a momma, perhaps I should get cozy with the idea that my friends view me as one as well.

Will 20-something Ki ever accept Momma Ki? Ha, I’ll probably keep on trudging the path of multiple-personalities until my bones grow old and heart, weak. But who knows, maybe I’ll come around one day. Hopefully my inner post-Oz Dorothy scolds me just enough to guilt me into putting on my big girl, Ruby red slippers so as to walk the road toward accepting every part of myself. After all, it is only I who holds the power to change how I view myself. Just gotta click those heels and have a little faith! Such a long road it is. 

And yet, it is an even longer road running away.

 

 

————————————–

 

 

Learn to accept, love and better yourself

Cheers!

Panic

You are alone in a room full of people. Yes, alone. You’re like that fly on the wall. You feel smaller. You are smaller. Or maybe you were always small. In this moment you are no longer human. You are insignificant. Your eyes dart from human to human. Your presence annoys them. Distracts them. The weight of their thoughts consumes you. Crushes you until you are breathless.
 
Out of breath, you cannot speak. The undertow of thoughts swallows you whole. Your body is floating. The wave carries you to the cloud that blankets your sight and suffocates your mind. You feel nothing but pure panic. No thought. No word. Nothing. You are nothing. You are sure they hear your heart pounding – no, screaming.
 
You are left weak, sweating, exhausted. A human approaches. Your eyes meet. Tunnel vision subsides, and you realize – you too – are human. Your feet are, in fact, on the ground. Your shirt is stained from perspiration, but practically no one notices. Practically. You catch your breath. You flip the switch. You are back on earth.
 
You just had a panic attack.
 
And you survived.
 
————————————–
 
Had a request from a reader to share exactly what I experience during a panic attack. I hope this sheds some light on my struggle.
 
————————————-
 
**Featured image taken for Righno Boutique, LLC photo shoot — See MORE!

What are you fighting for?

Can you answer the question – What are you fighting for – without hesitation? When prompted this question just a day ago, I hesitated and felt tears swell up behind my eyes as a large lump collected in my throat. What an intense, loaded question. What am I fighting for in my life?
 
Let me back track for a moment… this question came about during a highly anticipated phone call with a complete stranger located halfway across the world. Perhaps I will explain in a later blog post how this situation came about. But for now, that bit of information is highly relevant because as most of my readers know, I am a ball of nerves on every day ending in –y. Therefore, a phone call with a stranger was not the easiest task for me to complete, let alone think clearly through and answer intelligently to any questions all the while. Thus, the perfect storm for emotions to swallow me up and spit me out.
 
Back to the question – What are you fighting for?
 
As I paused to think, the only courage I could muster up was to say, “independence.” I was so nervous at that moment that I’m not exactly sure of her response. After coming down from the clouds and shedding my blanket of anxiety, I was able to explain to her the significance of my answer: independence as an individual – a desire to pursue my passions, finish my education, continue writing. Simply to take time, for me.
 
Her next question: “Then why haven’t you gone back to school –thus furthered this path?” I felt the tears come back. A total rush of emotions prevented sound from escaping.
This lovely stranger sensed hesitation and prompted some answers. She kindly said:
  • Are you afraid that you can’t do it?
  • Are you worried about giving up time with Lucas? Or lastly,
  • Do you not know exactly what you want to do with your life?
I had to laugh and asked her, “Can I answer all of the above?”
———————-
What the hell was I thinking answering independence? I’ve been stuck on my subconscious answer since speaking with the lovely stranger. Yes, I’ve talked about my dreams and aspirations on this blog before, but I can’t help but wonder if a little voice inside me was screaming independence instead of calmly answering, independence. As an adult, I have all the freedom in the world to do as I please, but something is holding me back. I wonder sometimes if the only thing holding me back, is me?
 
Sometimes our sixth sense, that gut feeling we all have deep down inside, screams so loudly – but too often our minds get in the way and muffle the cry. The mind tells us change is foreign; change is scary; beware of change! What would happen if we quieted the mind, if only for a moment, and let the sixth sense sing its song?
 
I woke up this morning and felt the urge to write. My mind emphatically interjected and reminded me, “Child is awake, get breakfast ready, don’t forget to go to the store, and DON’T forget the list.”
 
Instead, I listened to the song within… and I wrote it down. After vehemently denying my mind’s attempt to list off my motherly duties and deciding instead to tap into my inner poet, I was left with one final thought…

 “I get so excited when thoughts flow from hand to pen; from pen to paper. Although transient, for that moment in time I am reassured of something bigger, something far greater than myself.”

—————————————-
Listen to that inner voice and sing your song. Fight for it, and it will set you free.
“When we feel responsible, concerned, and committed, we begin to feel deep emotion and great courage.”
– 14th Dalai Lama

How do you know?

Most days I wake up and I just know. Some days, I’m really good at fooling myself. I am greeted every morning by the sweetest little face I’ve ever seen and think to myself, “Today can be a really good day… that face will make it all better.” Lucas and I make breakfast, run around and sing, but something’s just not right. I remind myself, “Stay positive Ki, it is only 9AM.” We get dressed and finish the morning routine, and I’m more certain of it now: it’s clear. After the sweet, innocent snugglyness of a newly awoken Lucas wears off and the terrible-twoness sneaks in, there’s no fooling myself anymore… it’s going to be a fever day.
How do you know it’s a fever day?
It’s really difficult for me to explain to people the difference between being in a bad mood (and being able to come out of it) vs. being clinically depressed. Let’s face it, I’m not a doctor and don’t try to recite the fancy terms that go along with the laundry-list of symptomatic feelings linked to depression. Rather, I just like to tell it how it is. I’ll be honest, I’m not ecstatic about using the term “clinically depressed” because it is a very limiting title. I do not believe I’m limited exclusively to depression, or anxiety, or OCD, or (fill in the blank) … I experience symptoms from all of the above.
 
Let me just start with this – if you’re reading this and suspect someone you love is going through something that you don’t quite understand (or necessarily agree with – because I acknowledge some people believe depression can be cured by pulling up your big girl panties and getting through the day, HA) here are a few tips to help clue you in…
 
How she/he is dressed – I mentioned in an earlier post a recent panic attack I experienced at a mall. I expressed my conflicting emotions about a hat I was wearing at the time of the attack – the feeling that I was hiding behind it. Often times if I am struggling, I cling to tangible items that I feel will hide who I am – I.E. hats, jewelry, baggy sweatshirts, scarves – anything to divert attention from the person I am. I steer clear of fitted clothing (that may bring unwanted attention) and wear less makeup. So remember, if your loved one displays drastic differences in appearance from day to day, it may be a red flag.
 
Excessive crying – If your loved one is a woman, this may be a normal occurrence especially during “that time of the month.” (haha, okay now let’s get serious) For me, however, this can be a dead giveaway that the day is going to be paired with speed bumps… or more appropriately, mountains.
 
Fears & Obsessive behavior – Does your loved one express irrational fears about the world around him/her? Ex. – Fear of leaving the house, avoidance of specific places that in reality pose little threat of danger. Or perhaps you notice repetitive actions such as excessive cleaning or checking… all of these examples can be serious signs of anxiety. Here is a great summary of everyday anxiety vs. an anxiety disorder.
 
Irritability  If you call your loved one and he/she gets upset that you called at 12:04PM instead of 12:05PM, then perhaps he/she is having a rough go that day (yes, this is an actual example). On days when my fiancé comes home from work, exhausted and hungry, and I start bitching that the dog needs to go to the vet before I even utter “Hello, how was your day?” – it probably hasn’t been one of my better days. Make sure to really listen to what your loved one is saying… if he/she is stressing over minuscule tasks, is quick to argue, or is making rude comments out of the blue, try to take a step back and empathize with that person. It is easy to be offended and argue back; it is beneficial to observe and take notes.
 
The first step in helping someone is understanding his/her behavior. Like anything else, you have to KNOW before you DO.
 
**This list of ‘clues’ only skims the surface of signs of mental health disorders. In no way am I saying if you experience these, you have a problem… but these CAN be serious signs that should not be overlooked. It is better to be annoyingly observant of your loved one than to accept his/her actions as quirks and ignore the severity of what the signs could really mean.