Mental Health

Thinking the worst and jumping to conclusions

If thinking the worst and jumping to conclusions were an Olympic sport I WOULD DOMINATE on a global scale. It’s my go too, My wheelhouse, my comfort zone. Is it wrong? Hell yes it’s wrong..but can I stop? No way.

I always joke that I can go from sniffles to death on a simple google search. I can take a minor thing like not texting back right away to them being mad and hating me. If my boss asks to chat with me quick I automatically think I’m getting fired.

Just yesterday I picked up my guy at the airport. I typically get out of the drivers side to go to the passenger side so he can drive. After I pop the truck and get out so he can put his bags in the back we typically meet in the middle somewhere Iwhile I am going around and hug and kiss as a welcome home I love and miss you gesture. This time he walked right into the car and buckled up. No kiss, no hug NOTHING. I of course think the worst. OMG he is mad, he hates me, he’s going to break up with me in the car, He’s got bad news…blah blah blah. I run through EVERYTHING before I even get in the passengers seat. Meanwhile he’s all like what’s your deal while I run through all my feats with him before he pulls away from the curb. I panic and he’s like oh sorry..I was just getting in the car no biggie. He immediately calms my fears and we go about our day like nothing ever happened.

I’m highly aware how exhausting I must be, always having to reassure me the sky is not falling. I really do try and let things play out without a freak-out but if my anxiety is already at a high there is no stopping the panic.

But why do I do this? My therapist says it’s because I have had a lot of loss in my life. Like I need to make sure nothing else happens. Also because of my past abuse I always think I’m in trouble or in the wrong so I need to hurry up and figure out what’s happening so I can brace for impact of bad things and possibly try and fix it. Meanwhile the other person simply forgot to text back. It probably is just a small cold or in my guys case just wanted to get in the car.

So what can we do to try and stop the spiral? Here are the things that I do. It’s still a work in progress obviously but I do try and practice these steps.

  1. Stop Time Traveling– Most of the thoughts I have would be happening in the future. The what if’s. What if I fail? What if he’s going to be mad? What if I see a pretty cloud and am looking up and then get hit by a huge bus and DIE? If we take a minute to think in the present. We can maybe slow our roll. Maybe look at the clouds AND check traffic. Maybe wait and see if he or she is mad before you keep pestering them by asking IF they are mad. Fun Fact: It will probably make them mad if you keep asking.

2. Play out the worst case- So if you must go down the dark path of what if’s.. Then let’s go there. What if you fail? Ok we fail. Do we try again, move on or work harder and figure out what went wrong. What if he’s mad? Ok he’s PISSED. What can we do to make it better? Let’s apologize and figure out where we went wrong so it’s not an issue moving forward. Clouds and getting hit by a bus. Maybe we get everything in a secure place for our loved ones. Let’s not take the day for granted. Let’s always put our best foot forward and live for the moment. Unless that one foot is the foot that get’s you hit by a bus:) By playing it out you take back a little control and will know exactly what to do if the worst does come. You can totally let out a I TOLD YOU SO as well if it makes you happy.

3. Play out the best case- It’s the same game as above but with the better outcome. Again either way you are going to be in control with whatever way it pans out.

4. Would you say this out loud? With the likes like the sniffles turning into a rare illness that will kill you in 6 months. Would you actually tell someone that? Out Loud? With things that can be a little out there I always ask myself that question to see if I’m willing to share my paranoia with others. If it’s my guy I’m more prone to blurt it out since he knows how my head works. If it’s a co worker and telling them my sniffles is going to kill me in 6 months so I’m gifting you my stapler is a bit harder. If it’s hard to sat to other people maybe take a step back and think to yourself am I making this a HUGE deal when it’s in the nothing stage yet.

5. Journal- Sometimes all the steps above are no match for anxiety. I have found that journaling or writing down the fears can have a positive impact. I play the best/worst case on paper so I can see just how outrageous it can be when I read it back. This blog is a bit of a helpful tool for me as well. I know if I write it down others can read. It’s a gut check sometimes.

Everyone is different is how they handle things. Some people are full on jumpers like me and others it’s just a quick thought and then they move on. Wherever you land on the scale just know that we all have moments like this. It’s just how you handle them that makes a difference.

The one thing I found that can help is once I play out worst case I can typically laugh at it so I thought we could all share (if your comfortable) our funniest worst case/ jumping to conclusions moments.

Here’s mine:

I dated a man that lived out of town and when he would come stay with me he always brought a little duffle bag with him for the weekend. One weekend he came and he had a lock on the bag. I’m not one to really go through peoples stuff but I was so worried why all of a sudden he had a lock on the bag. Why? What the eff was in there? Why now? Why can’t you be open and honest with me? Are they murder supplies like a knife and a tarp to hide my body? My thoughts got to the point where I finally had to confront my future murderer. He then opened the lock to the bag and pulled out a fancy blue tiffany’s box and presented me with my DAMN BIRTHDAY PRESENT. Yes folks, I confronted him on my birthday. He put the lock on it because he wanted the gift to be secure while he was traveling. UGH. I’m an idiot.

Ok your next. What have you done when you should of just slowed down and walked through everything?

XOXO

Amy

Author Stories, Therapy

Do you lie to your therapist?

My guess is if you you have ever been in the chair staring across the room at them with the notepad and pen in hand you have TOTALLY lied to them. Right? RIGHT? Or is it just me?

I’ll be the first to admit it that it usually takes me like 6 sessions before I go all in. The very first appointment it’s usually like a get to know you on the surface level. Hi My name is Amy and I’m having a few issues and thought it’s best to maybe come and talk to someone. I have dogs, I work here and I like doing this stuff. Totally like a dating app bio. Putting your best out there first so your not coming off too crazy right?

The next few sessions I ease into what is going on with me but not the ugly crying on the bathroom floor type stuff. It’s weird how I don’t go all in when it’s clear I’m there for help. They ask how I’m doing. I dance around and say I’m fine just sad or “off”. They dig deeper. I give a little but then it’s time to go:) Success in not having to get to the ugly stuff.

By the time the 6th session is happening I’m a freaking mess and then spill it and it’s not pretty. I’m crying, UGLY crying and they are totally going to have to restock the tissues because I’m USING THEM ALL!!

For me when I was in my abusive relationship we moved every 6 months or so. I would have to sneak around to get to my therapy sessions. During that time I would always have to start over with someone new and the cat and mouse game would start all over. My issue was I was still in protective mode and I wanted to feel better but I was scared to give up too much info for fear I would get him in trouble. Like the secret would get out. I would talk about me being depressed. How I lost interest in things I once loved. Moving all the time was hard. All the things but being abused. I would talk about it without talking about it. I always wondered if they knew or if they were going to let me bring it out on my own in my own time. Did they notice my bruises that I was trying to hide?

When I was finally out of my relationship it still took me that long to finally get comfortable with opening up about the abuse. There were some very ugly things that I knew I had to talk about but even the thought of retelling it made me want to throw up. I think I actually had to get up in the middle of a session once to do just that. YUCK!

So why do we feel we have to lie or sugarcoat to our therapists? Are we scared? Too much pain? Embarrassed? I’m sure it could be all three or at least one of them…so how do we get more comfortable with it all? We are paying big bucks for it after all.

After doing a little research I found Time magazine did a little study and found a whopping 93% of us have lied in our therapy sessions. Most of the reasons why is what I listed above.

Regardless of what your in therapy for most of us may find it weird to have someone attentive to your thoughts and feelings. They listen and don’t interrupt and when they start asking questions our defenses go up and lying seems like a way to protect ourselves.

Here are a few things to remember and help you feel comfortable while talking about uncomfortable things.

1. Remember they are there to help you feel better. You took the first step to call to make the appointment. Ease into it like I have done but you and the therapist will become partners in your recovery so you do your part so they can do theirs.

2. I usually wear comfy clothes to my appointments. I tend to bring my legs under my body and if I’m going to be sitting that way I sure as hell better not be in skinny jeans. The more comfortable you are personally, the more you will be in a comfy headspace to open up.

3. Bring a water bottle. If your a cryer like me you need to stay hydrated. I tend to get wicked headaches when I cry so stay hydrated and maybe have some Advil handy too!

4. Just always remember these guys have heard way more crazy stories that you could ever tell. As sad as that sounds you are doing a hell of a good job just for walking in the door. They are there for you. They know the best ways to maneuver around your issues. It took me a bit to understand I could not fix it on my own. Had to bring in the pinch hitter.

5. Just breathe. Keep an open mind. Speak your truth at the pace your comfortable with and know you are strong and going to come out a bit better than the day before. You got this!!

What’s the biggest lie you told your therapist?

I swear she HAD to know I was full of it but I told mine once that the reason why my eyes are puffy is because I have extreme allergies and it kept me up all night. Ugh so lame. Meanwhile I was on my bathroom floor crying all night but of course the allergy lie felt easier to say.

Any tips you have that makes therapy a bit easier I’d love yo hear them.

Til next time

XOXO,

Amy

Author Stories, Mental Health

My in real time mental breakdown starting in 3..2..1

Hey all,

So what you are about to read is extremely hard for me to post. I’ve been gone for a few weeks due to me relapsing into a deep state of depression and panic attacks triggered from my abusive past.

During my worst meltdown, I decided to write out all that was going through my head. My worst thoughts, the panic rambling, the trying to understand and getting more and more frustrated.

I promised myself that I would not edit or alter my words. What you read below was me in real time writing my exact thoughts. No filter. No spellcheck. Just raw painful emotions. I’m fully exposed here and this is just as terrifying as the episode itself.

Why would I share this? Because it’s real life. I’m just one of many who battle mental health issues each day and below was my day to battle.

Here we go.

Feb 20th 2022 at 2:35am

What the fuck am I doing up again? I’m so tired but I’m wide awake and I can’t sleep. My head feels so heavy. It’s like my body and brain are so disconnected. My body is barely moving. Exhausted. My damn brain is telling me all the things I hate about myself. Right now I believe every word. I want the words to stop. Each word is flashing like a neon light.

Worthless, stupid, idiot,fat,ugly,broke,selfish

It feels like one of those scrolling news feeds on CNN or ESPN. Constant and never ending and I can’t shut it off.

I’m on the bathroom floor. It’s cool on my skin. I want to cover up. I’m embarrassed being exposed even though I’m the only one here. I want to wear so many layers to hide but I’m too fucking lazy to get up off the floor.

I hate that I’m like this. I’m so embarrassed. Everything is falling apart. My body, mind, relationship, money. I feel like a piece of shit not worth being here. I’m more of a burden than a asset to anyone. C has not spoken to me for a week. He left for Florida and has not called since he left. My heart is beating out of my chest and it’s hard to breathe. He can’t handle my past very well and doesn’t understand my future is still traumatized. I need to stop letting it interfere. It’s ruining everything. My ex 3 years later is still in my head hurting me. I’m not allowed to be happy. Please god make the pain go away. I can’t take much more.

My heart hurts like it’s going to explode. I can’t calm down. Writing this down is keeping me alive I think. It’s making me look at the words. I hate words.

My eyes are burning from my tears. I have a huge rash on my neck and chest that is starting to itch. Last time I scratched until I bled. I’m going to not do that this time. I did hit my head when I was falling to the floor. I’m sure my head will continue to pound until tomorrow. I hate that I am so pathetic. Why cant I be strong like I used to be. Or was I ever? Was I always this shitty? I’m spiraling out of control and nobody is here to catch me. I don’t blame them.

I feel like screaming “please help me”. I want someone here to hold my hand. To speak softly to tell me everything is going to be ok. But I’m so alone. Sometimes I think I’ll die alone.

I think that is scarier than anything.. dying alone. I’m an only child. I don’t have kids and my relationships are spotty at best. Who will be there for me? Am I worth taking care of?

I want to go to bed so bad but I know if I get up off the floor I will start spinning. My vertigo is in full force once I hit this manic state. If I move to quick I throw up and fall over. So here I sit.

It’s been over an hour now since I’ve been in here. My heart rate is slowing down and I feel I can breathe better. The feeling is coming back to my hands and feet. They always tingle when I’m hyperventilating. Popping the Xanax once I got to the floor was a good call. I hate taking it but it’s works so well for me. I wonder if this will always be my life. Crying on the bathroom floor ashamed and popping pills to calm down.

I’m finally getting sleepy and I’m both mentally and physically exhausted. I’m wondering if I should write these attacks down more often. I helps me focus on this I guess even though I’m rambling. I’m going to try and get some sleep until my alarm goes off at 7. It’s going to be a long day.

So there you have it guys.. Whew! I hate reading that to be honest but it’s my truth sometimes and that is ok. I do want everyone to know that I am ok and no need to worry. I am on the right meds. A support team that just needed a breather and I’m doing much better.

I will always be a work in progress and some days are WAY better than others. I am pretty proud of myself for the courage to post this. I know everyone says you are not alone but you really do have allies out there, I am here fighting right along side with you. We can have better days and as long as we have others to rely on on the not so great days we will be ok. All you need to do is reach out and ask.

Love to all,

XOXO

Amy

Mental Health

NFL address mental health in PSA with current players

Hey All,

So it’s Sunday and I’m a DIE HARD football fan. The Minnesota Vikings are my team and through ups and down I’ll ride or die.

But Over the last few months I have been loving these NFL PSA’S with active players talking about struggles with mental health. When you think the rough and outthought game of football you really have not seen many come forward with the struggles controlling fears and sadness. It’s for sure not typical. Speaking out on your internal fears, loneliness, depression , anxiety and panic attacks can be considered a weakness and could be exploited. Most never come forward to get the help they need because of this very reason.

We have all seen the news stories over the past years surrounding domestic violence and CTE brain disorders. They have not been pretty. Just a few weeks ago a former player threw his baby’s mother across the room into a TV. Link is below with video but trigger warning for sure.

https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2021/11/19/former-nfl-player-zac-stacy-arrested-at-orlando-airport-after-ex-girlfriend-shared-video-of-him-throwing-her-into-a-television

The NFL for sure has had some ugly bumps but I do appreciate the effort they are making to normalize the conversation to the fans and in particular the younger fans. These guys speaking out have a HUGE platform and I applaud the courage they have for speaking openly about it know the stigma it still has.

Due to copywrites I’m not allowed to play the PSA’s here on the blog but you have time look for them on Youtube. They are super easy to find.

The list includes:

Joey Bosa from the Los Angeles Chargers- Joey is talking about how he always put his physical health first but is now starting to work on mental health as well.

Soloman Thomas from The Las Vegas Raiders- Soloman has experienced the loss of his sister by suicide and has struggled with the sadness.

Hayden Hurst from the Atlanta Falcons- Hayden discusses how he has been struggling with depression and anxiety for years.

and DJ Clark from the Jacksonville Jaguars. He talks about having bouts of panic and fear.

The NFL and the NFL players Association have both confirmed they do offer mental health services to the players and front office staff but they vary from team to team. Some go all out like the Indianapolis Colts to having very little resources.

Get what the Colts are doing..

https://www.colts.com/community/kicking-the-stigma

They have launched a full fledge campaign dedicated to mental health. Donated funds stick close to home which makes sense but this is yet again another way to reach a huge platform to normalize the conversation which is important. They are Kicking the Stigma indeed.

Ok that is all for now because Football has officially started and my Vikes are playing the Lions today. #SKOL

XOXO,

Amy

Mental Health

Real Talk: Anxiety and Depression Pt. 1

Hey all,

So today is going to get real..so let’s get to it.

My truth is that I have been struggling with anxiety and depression for going on 20 years. Some days are better than others, but the others really do kick the ever loving shit out of me. Up until recently I have always put on the brave face and acted like nothing was wrong. If you saw me at a 9 am meeting with bags under my eyes and a coffee the size of my ass you would think I would have just had a fun night the night before. Truth would be I was probably up all night crying on the floor of my bathroom struggling to breathe. Trying to figure out why and getting more and more upset and frustrated because I couldn’t pinpoint it.

If you truly have never experienced a panic attack let me break it down. Depends on how severe they are..but for me it starts as a slow bubbling of nerves. Feeling agitated, frustrated or maybe even angry but not sure exactly why. The more I think about it the worse it gets. Then the tears start to flow. Hopefully at this point I’m at home or at least can get to a private or semi private place. (I could write a whole post on my pubic place freak-outs but another day another time.) Once the tears start to flow I worry about who will notice and how to hide. That’s when the real fun begins. At this point I feel like the whole world knows and everyone is watching me. Heart and chest starts to pound and race. Breathing shortens and the big gasps of air start to come. If it’s a really good one my vision may start to get blurry and then the spins come, along with losing feeling in my toes and fingers from lack of oxygen. During this whole ordeal my only thought at the moment is I quiet possibly will die from this. Of course that has not happened but every damn time that’s the end result in my head. These can last anywhere from 5 minutes to a half hour. In your head though it feels like seconds are minutes. I have worked on coping skills to help shorten them and try and fend them off the best I can but not all of these little bastards can be tamed.

If you can relate than you know. I have a few people in my life that come from the “snap out of it” mentality and do not quite understand just how hard it is to do just that. I also want to scream “OH!!!!..I never thought to just snap out of it. Let me try that.” I know they probably mean well and wish me no harm but damn…That’s the wrong thing to say to someone.

When they first started coming on a lot of it was mostly situational. Like something actually happened to get me worried or sad or stressed. What is actually kind of scary is now they come on out of nowhere. I could be having a fantastic day and then boom..panic attack. I do have a few things I still struggle with so my guess is that is part of it. I’ll get into those in another post but my hope is once I work though those they will start to be less often.

I do have a prescription for Xanax that I do take for when they come on. I have gone up in dosage over the years but I try and tough it out without them sometimes to just feel somewhat in control and not dependent. I just don’t want it to be my go to. I want to learn to control and minimize instead of masking it with pills. Not above taking it though. Sometimes as my blog title states. Fuck it.. take the pill and keep it moving.

Here is a short list of things that tend to help me come out of them sooner. These are just my things but I would love to hear others thoughts and ways. Maybe we can learn other coping skills to help each other.

  1. Find a quiet space. If I am anywhere other than my home I try and look for a place where I can get out of the way. I need quiet because sometimes the outside stimulation makes it worse. I need to quiet and calm my brain so I need a place that will allow me to do that. I have had them in stores before and I will try and get back out to my car or a bathroom. (big shout out to bathroom designers that make a full room with full door. Not the open bathroom stalls with the cracks big enough where people can see in and out.) If I am at home..I tend to gravitate to my bathroom. Small spaces is my go to. I have even sat in my small shower stall. The smaller the better. I feel more in control of the small space around me and feel a bit safer.
  2. If home I have an icepack or cooling towel in my freezer at all times. I tend to overheat so having that cool item next to your chest or even forehead help me regulate my body temp. If I am out in public I may dip into the bathroom if I’m not already in there and just wet a paper towel and blot around my face or put it on my wrists.
  3. If in public and I’ve found my quiet place or even if I could not find one I will pop my earbuds in and use a soothing app like Calm or Headspace to listen to meditation or a follow along breathing technique to help calm down. Something about a British accent is super soothing. HA! If at home I have Alexa set up with soothing sounds and the apps above to talk to me while I calm myself down.
  4. Worst case take my Xanax if it’s getting worse or if it’s lasting longer than I am comfortable with. If I’m still struggling after a half hour after trying my self soothing ideas I will take one.

Bonus tip…Once you are actually calmed down.. please still take it easy if you can. If at work or out and about. Buy yourself something soothing as a treat. Starbucks is my go too. If you can take a minute to just gather your thoughts and sip on something you love it will help get you back to somewhat normal. Doing something you love or enjoy can help feel like you again and know that you made it and are going to be ok. If I’m at home I put on something comfy and fuzzy socks and do my dirty little secret I talked about here. This helps me calm down and focus on something else that I enjoy.

The tips I just listed are the things that help me but everyone has their own way of dealing with things. The main thing is to just really be aware of your surroundings and feelings and you do what YOU need to do to make it to the other side. Don’t let anyone ever tell you to snap put of it. The main goal is to get through it and understand that it will pass. It may not feel like it at the time and nothing will make sense but you are strong and will make it. I promise.

So that is part 1 of 2 of the things that messes with me. Tomorrow I’ll talk about the depression side of things that likes to take over when the panic attacks are not happening. It’s always nice to keep my mind busy. HAHAHA.

XOXO

Amy