Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014

What a wonderful year. Not because if all the good things that happened. There were bad too... my year certainly had its low points. Happens to all of us.

This year I learned how to create goodness. Take things in. Find beauty in anything. Revel in clarity. These are super important lessons that I will treasure going forward.

So I can't really do one of those "see ya 2014" or "2015 is going to be my year" posts. Every day has greatness, positivity and beauty. If that doesn't come to us, we have to go out and create it. We have to make moments. We have to work hard to grow. We have to add good things into our lives.  If we can, that supercedes any negatives. And it makes life pretty dang spectacular.

No bad days. Still my mantra of choice. That's the key to writing an "I had a great year and next year's going to be even better" post.

My wish is for you to find happiness and peace. Happy new year, friends.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Heavy thoughts.

Every year, Christmastime gets a little easier. I'm one who focuses on The Reason for the Season, but it's hard not to get sad about loved ones that are no longer with me. Somehow, I think they should be here at Christmas. I mean, I miss them all the time, but Christmas can just be hard when you're celebrating with someone you love in Heaven.

This year, I lost two cats. Two. That's insane, and there doesn't seem to be a reason why two of my furbabies went to the Rainbow Bridge. All I can do is trust that they are where they're supposed to be, and that we'll be reunited again.

Trying to focus on the positive and embrace Christmas as an adult.  It's different than when I was a kid and it was the biggest deal ever. It's still a big deal, I just need to come to grips that it won't always be the same--it's not supposed to.

I was thinking about an old friend today. I don't know why... I guess because I was thinking of people who aren't with me. There's so much I wish I could tell her, but at the same time, it would be a waste. Though I've told her I forgave her for what she did to me, I want her to know that I no longer want her in my life--she probably thinks I do. She's nice, but she's a bad person. She was in my life when I was unhealthy and lived by emotion. This is the type of person I don't miss at Christmas. I wish her well, but that doesn't mean I miss her. I miss the role she had in my life, but God filled it with so many more true friends. Still, sometimes I hate that anything bad ever went down between us. (She probably doesn't even think so, hence the reason why I don't want her in my life.) I wish every connection, even when a person leaves our life, could be on good terms. I hate unresolved things. And I hate wasting my energy thinking about someone that doesn't deserve it.

On the flip side, I am so proud of the person I have become. I sometimes wish I was this person during my whole life. I didn't always live with intention. Didn't always communicate well. And I wasn't always grateful. I guess it's just part of growing up...but when you get to a good point, you kind of want to go back.

I need to stop looking back. There's nothing good for me there. Except for the people--and cats--I miss in Heaven. Those are parts of my past I want to embrace...but look forward at the same time. I move forward with them.

Lots of heavy thoughts this time of year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Losing it, gaining it.

The past week or so got a little crazy. We hosted one Thanksgiving and went to another, so Tim and I are a little turkeyed out.

Then, poof, it's Christmas time and the shopping begins--except I'm not really that interested in it this year. Didn't buy a single thing on Cyber Monday.

I realized about two weeks ago that my wedding rings are MIA. It's been utterly devastating, but I can honestly see all the lessons and insights one can gain from being in a bad situation. It helped me see that life could be so much worse. And remind me about what matters most. I still pray they turn up. If nothing else, maybe it'll be a good essay.

Lately, I'm a tad down in the dumps about my career, though. I mean, the ups and downs come with being a self-employed writer--and yes, I wrote a book on it, too. It just seems like no cool things are coming through. I'm working and I have projects, but I'm getting low-balled on a few. And this whole "just charge more" mentality doesn't always work unless you can go out there and get new clients. And I had, but then they kind of fell of the wagon as far as giving me more work. My days are filled with endless rejection letters (mainly because I'm shopping my kids book idea) but also filled with a lot of silence. Just when you think a client has forgotten you, they often pop back in with something they needed done last week. Makes you feel like you're the bottom of the barrel sometimes, no matter how "glamorous" writing my seem.

It's hard to get "in" to where I want to to--ideas for stories are great, but a magazine doesn't want them; great marketing agencies only want someone onsite hours away. I know my time will come. That's the great thing: Anything can happen. One call can turn my world back around, so I'm just working quietly and trusting that it will come in.

Those are my latest ramblings. Still grateful through it all, and staying positive. I'm glad, because these feelings used to really derail me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The waiting game.

Busy with work, and busy feels good.

I'm also waiting...waiting for word that an agent will take me on to rep my kids book. I also have it out to a few publishers and would love to publish it directly, too. Just waiting. Something great could happen at any moment, and that wonder and possibility is a good feeling to immerse myself in. I like having something to look forward to.

I am so much more confident than I was when I started writing/publishing books about a decade ago. One rejection doesn't destroy me; I can appreciate a good critique and someone taking the time to evaluate my work. And I know the right person for this project is out there. I just cannot wait to meet him or her...but alas, I must, right?

This morning it was 26 degrees outside. And after much complaining, I went to the gym. I'm not where I was fitness wise since I had that cold last month. But I went. Check.

What are you waiting on? Are you enjoying the wait?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Autumn walks.

 
I'm into long walks lately. Mindful meditation types of walks where it's not really about fitness--though, it counts, right?--but it's more about recentering.

Today I was completely frustrated. I wonder sometimes how I go from an overflow of work to feeling like opportunities are drying up left and right. I mean, I believe that whole "one door closes, another opens" thing. It's just hard to accept it when a door closes--or when a few do at a time. That is what derails me, mentally.

Money, and fearing I won't have enough of it, has always been a fear. I grew up in a cash-strapped house.With one parent that worked her tail off, and another who didn't care to lift a finger. So money is always on my brain, especially because I am self-employed.

I work myself up every few months when projects stop flowing in. It's worse when I don't have too much money coming in; otherwise, it's not so bad. Then I try try try to drum up new opportunities and get frustrated when they don't pan out immediately. It's a vicious cycle--one I'm working on breaking.

That's where the walks come in. The walks, oh the glorious walks.

When every part of me wants to scream, "Nail your butt to your desk chair and keep working!" I take off. Today I worked all day and then took off for an hour to the reservoir--it's 1.6 miles around and I went twice. There was much to ponder, a lot of Il Volo and For King & Country to listen to along the way, and a lot of peace that came from it all.

Sometimes, you just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going...even if you're only going in circles. The time to wander, to process, to move...it all recenters me. It helps me plot my next steps, which definitely are leading to wonderful places.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Turn it down, turn it off or tune it out.

Words are like seeds. If you dwell on them long enough, they will take root and flourish. -Joel Osteen

Lately, my inner critic thinks it's time to speak up--and I must admit, it seems I have been listening. I've been going hard on myself lately, and the critic isn't anyone else's voice--it's my perception blended with the critic that we all have. I've been interpreting some actions as critical, and then the inner beatdown starts.

I think all of us have an inner critic, and many anxious people probably battle this even more. This is why I'm glad I've recognized that I'm going too hard on myself; I guess that's me reaping all the therapy I have put myself through. I love when you can start to see positive changes.

The truth is, there's enough things out in this world against us. Maybe people are being mean and critical to you, or maybe you're the one that's just too tough on yourself. Why? This critic doesn't really get us anywhere. And when we know how to spot the voice, which loves to mimic our unconscious thoughts, we can turn it down or tune it out.

So today, I'm turning the volume down on my inner critic. Will you do the same?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Articulate it.

How do I put it into words? Writing is never really difficult for me. That is, until I started writing my own memoir.

I feel that "it" is all ready to come out. But I'm so far removed from the acute moments and memories. I feel as if I can relive them and write about it, but only to a certain degree. Is that enough?

I fear I will never be able to write this book, this book that I feel is so much my purpose in life. I want to show readers the depths of where I was, and I seem mostly to only be able to vaguely look back on the moments that changed, defined and healed me.

I'm just going to keep on believing in myself. I'm going to keep on working in small doses. And most importantly, I am going to keep the faith that I am right where God wants me....that gives me the most peace.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rave: Joel Osteen

I'm kind of obsessed with Joel Osteen. When I first heard him years ago, I thought he had such a funky Southern accent and smiled perhaps too much. I almost let those things overlook his inspiring messages. Nowadays, I can't get enough. Why?

It's his message. (Now I love his accent, smile and funny jokes!) He doesn't focus on religion--he's all about bringing people to God. I love that. I love that instead of trying to sell people on a relationship with God, he just brings people to God's goodness and lets God handle the rest.

The pressure is off, there's no judgment. You just listen to his inspiring messages without any condemnation. He brings all the great things about God to the masses. He doesn't preach fear-based messages. Because of him, I've learned all the good things God wants for us. That God wants us to be happy. And as a person with an anxiety disorder, that it's perfectly okay to take care of ourselves. That's huge--usually we're taught that we're not good enough for God,. We are--God loves us! Life can be wonderful and there are so many good things out there for us!!

I encourage you to listen. He's not preachy at all...in fact, half his messages aren't really about the Bible as much as its principles. He also uses real-life experiences to inspire you. (Not that hearing about the Bible is a bad thing.)

My point is that Joel brings a whole new perspective to what people otherwise write off as religion. Anxious people need spirituality; in fact, all people do. If you want to hear something inspiring and not feel like someone is pushing religion down your throat, check out one of his sermons. I think he has a great way of speaking to anxious people especially. Through his sermons, I've learned so much about taking care of myself and giving myself permission to be happy, and how to be at peace during the hard times. He's taught me so much about thinking positively--something I have needed so much because of all the negative messages that are somehow ingrained in my mind.

Even better, he's on SiriusXM Channel 128. I can't stop listening:)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sand bar.

Fed up with my ever-so-slowly-ending cold, I decided to get back to physical activity today. There could be no other perfect place to go than Sea Girt, N.J. It is my bliss, my heaven. Thank God it is a short drive away.

I walked on the boards and blasted Il Volo. They provided the perfect soundtrack to my day of exercise, which on the boardwalk, is always about inner discovery as well. How can you not look inward and feel small and powerful and motivated when you're on the beach? It's so big, so vast. It has so many lessons to teach us--in the water and out.

After my walk, I went down to the water. I was in about a week ago and it was cold, but it was not as bad today. I went in up to my calves and enjoyed the most majestic sand bar ever. Yes, when inspired, even a sand bar can move you!

I wished I had my phone on me, but I have a Galaxy Note 2, which is similar to bringing a small laptop on the beach...it's too big to carry. I thought about how God wanted only me to capture the moment. No Instagram, no blog. Just my memory, and a gift to me on this otherwise ordinary day.

Little things, I tell you.

Let the joy in and you'll be overwhelmed by all of the goodness. You just have to look for it and let the flood gates open.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Study on emotional abuse, neglect.

For those of us who have been emotionally abused, this probably isn't anything shocking. But interesting, to say the least.

Children who are emotionally abused and neglected face similar and sometimes worse mental health problems as children who are physically or sexually abused, yet psychological abuse is rarely addressed in prevention programs or in treating victims, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

"Given the prevalence of childhood psychological abuse and the severity of harm to young victims, it should be at the forefront of mental health and social service training," said study lead author Joseph Spinazzola, PhD, of The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, Brookline, Massachusetts. The article appears in a special online issue of the APA journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.
Researchers used the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Data Set to analyze data from 5,616 youths with lifetime histories of one or more of three types of abuse: psychological maltreatment (emotional abuse or emotional neglect), physical abuse and sexual abuse. The majority (62 percent) had a history of psychological maltreatment, and nearly a quarter (24 percent) of all the cases were exclusively psychological maltreatment, which the study defined as care-giver inflicted bullying, terrorizing, coercive control, severe insults, debasement, threats, overwhelming demands, shunning and/or isolation.

Children who had been psychologically abused suffered from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, symptoms of post-traumatic stress  and suicidality at the same rate and, in some cases, at a greater rate than children who were physically or sexually abused. Among the three types of abuse, psychological maltreatment was most strongly associated with depression, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, attachment problems and substance abuse.

Psychological maltreatment that occurred alongside physical or sexual abuse was associated with significantly more severe and far-ranging negative outcomes than when children were sexually and physically abused and not psychologically abused, the study found. Moreover, sexual and physical abuse had to occur at the same time to have the same effect as psychological abuse alone on behavioral issues at school, attachment problems and self-injurious behaviors, the research found.

"Child protective service case workers may have a harder time recognizing and substantiating emotional neglect and abuse because there are no physical wounds," said Spinazzola. "Also, psychological abuse isn't considered a serious social taboo like physical and sexual child abuse. We need public awareness initiatives to help people understand just how harmful psychological maltreatment is for children and adolescents."

Nearly 3 million U.S. children experience some form of maltreatment annually, predominantly by a parent, family member or other adult caregiver, according to the U.S. Children's Bureau. The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012 identified psychological maltreatment as "the most challenging and prevalent form of child abuse and neglect."

Friday, October 3, 2014

Live on.

Life goes on. It's a beauty and burden.

My mind still stings when I remember the day Leo passed. I miss him dearly. I loved his gentle, "easy lion" soul. I have no choice, I have to move on.

Sometimes though, that's the best thing for us. Even though we have no say in going forward. We're all going forward in some way, just by breathing into the future.

I think a lot about just living life and being in the moment. That's how we're supposed to live, right? I mean, realize that things can be gone in a snap, but you can't really focus on that all the time. Or should you remind yourself that life is fleeting, life is short, etc....so you don't miss a thing?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Feel it all.

When I get super-busy and she doesn't hear from my husband, my mother-in-law jokes that she wants to put out an APB on us.

That's where I am right now. Busy. And grieving.

Our kitty Leo was hit by a car last week. I'm heartbroken, and I decided that I could grieve while still letting more joy in--so we have two new kittens. I just can't watch my little Skeeter be depressed after losing Leo, just nine months after he lost Brady. So it's a sad and happy time.

One thing I know, we were BLESSED to have Leo. He helped us do so much healing.

 Sweet Leonard "Leo" Gronkowski Fischer


And I'm super busy with work, hence the lack of updates.

Right now, just settling. Sometimes in grief, sometimes in joy. Always in love.




Emmett and Lucy

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

No bad days.


How is that even possible if you're in the depths of an anxiety attack, or going through the depression that can accompany it?

It's hard to hear, or believe, if you're feeling your worst. But I saw this the other day and thought that it had to become my new mantra.

Yes, there are "bad days," or "frustrating days" but that doesn't mean they're a waste. It doesn't mean they are necessarily bad. Those are the days when we are learning, or are in the midst of something we can learn from. They are valuable.

Same thing goes with rainy days. Lately it's been cloudy and cool, and I've been frustrated that I haven't been able to get to the beach. I mean, I can "get" there, but I wanted to enjoy as many "beach days" as I could this year, in September, when summer still exists and all the crowds here at the Shore are gone.

You know what, though? I need fall. It's time to take all the good feelings from summer and let them translate into another season. I need that change. I can't get stuck in this mode of semi- or non-productivity forever. While I've loved more lazier days of summer, I miss working. I miss being productive. I miss having time to take care of details instead of working my days around must-do projects. It was nice for the summer, to be able to relax more, but it's causing this unrest in me. Even though I'd rather sit in my beach chair or swim in the ocean, I also would rather feel more focused on my career.

Today it's cloudy, and I'm not going to go to the beach. That's okay, It's not a bad day.

I know many of you out there may be having a much worse day than I am. Just remember that whatever you're dealing with, it can be for good. That means there can be no bad days, no matter how much we want to write them off.

Think of it this way: Whatever you devote your day to is something that you give one day of your life to. Even if you don't choose it, we give our time to things--sometimes we have to, especially in times of crisis. Is that thing worth it, even if you don't want to do it, or enjoy doing it?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This is why.

 
Is this a blog about anxiety...or the beach? I bet you think it's a beach blog because that's all I seem to write or talk about.

No, it's not a beach blog, though.

It's a blog about anxiety. Life. And during the summer, expect to see photos of the beach. I live at the Jersey Shore, people!

And summer's not over, at least for me. Today I went down for about two hours, sunned out and swam. Watched others like me who refuse to accept that beach days have to be over because of the calendar. I met an adorable dog, Vinny, who was so very happy that he can frolick on the beach during the day once again (he can't during summer season). 

I've been blogging a lot about the beach lately because it's healed me this summer. It's brought me so much tranqulity and insight. It gave me a summer vacation. It's right here, it never changes. And even a few years back when it underwent its own storm during Hurricane Sandy, it survived. Just like me.

So it's all about the healing. And a few good tan lines that I'm still working on!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Perfect timing.

Been a very thought-provoking past few days.

I went to a memorial service the other day. Not a "funeral," technically. I was still sad. It was still moving. People still cried.

My mother's friend, Ruth, passed away after such a brave battle with lung cancer. I met Ruth separately, when I was house-hunting. The house she was selling wasn't what I wanted, but I swear I almost bought it because she was so nice and inviting. I told mom about her, and then was surprised when I went to church one day and mom introduced me to her new friend, Ruth. Instant connection.

Ruth was a connector. She was lively, busy, friendly, and always wore a smile. She was the type of person that would email you with information on something she knew you were interested in--even if you hadn't told her. Last year, she said I would be perfect to do a segment on local TV. She was taking a course with a senior group in video production. I was kind of terrified, but did it to improve my public speaking and use it as a building block. I am so glad I did that because it made her happy. She didn't have to offer to promote me, my writing or my books, but she did because she cared so much about others. Helping others. Connecting others.

At Ruth's funeral, several thoughts came to mind. First, I always fear that life is too short and I'm not going to get to write my memoir on anxiety. What if I suddenly pass away? My purpose wouldn't be attained. God better put the right publisher in front of me ASAP or I won't achieve my life's purpose. (I really do think that is to write my book, which is taking forever to complete not just in the time it takes to write, but in the time it takes for me to continue healing, and continue to write about that healing. And also to eloquently put into words trauma and show its truth as a positive.)

I realized that God's time is perfect. No one expected Ruth to pass quite when she did because she'd been doing so well. No one quite expected her to be put into Hospice so soon, but I tried to remember that this was God's timing. Not ours. It never makes sense to us. God's timing, though, is perfect. Who am I to doubt it?

I also thought about how people perceive me. Not in a shallow "OMG I hope they like me" kind of way. More of in a "I really hope I am having the positive impact on others that I so desperately want to give off." I haven't always been the kind of person I want to be...the person that I am now. I know that person isn't perfect, but I want that person to be someone who:
  • Inspires others to take negatives and turn them into positives
  • Shows compassion and helps others through their trials
  • Motivates others to go for their goals
  • Shows others that life's details matter
  • And if I'm good at all that, ultimately everyone will see that God is behind all of it, and they'll want to know Him.
I'm not going to be God-preachy here--that's totally not my style. I guess I just feel like funerals/deaths can teach us so much. I don't want Ruth's life--her legacy--to be forgotten. She reminded me about the kind of person I want to be, and to do my best to align that person with my actions and words.

That's no easy task. I'm emotional. I'm quite Italian! I have a short temper. I don't want people to remember me for that. I don't even want people to "remember me" when I'm gone, I just want to know that being here was purposeful. Maybe I can help others to develop a part of themselves, or do something, that they may not have done. I want them to be better for it. Not because I led them there or inspired them. But for their own self-worth.

I'm going to miss Ruth tremendously, as I know my mother will. They were activity buddies, and I'm so grateful for the time Ruth spent with my mother to show her that there's more to retirement than what's traditionally acceptable. You can serve. You can smile. You can impact others.

How we do that is up to us. But undoubtedly, it is all in God's time. We are enough. In our hopes and aspirations...and if those goals don't get accomplished, we have to have faith that God has us here for what He wants.

His timing is perfect.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A sadness...





"…if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in the palm of its hand and will not let you fall." 
-- Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, August 25, 2014

End of summer.

It's a crazy time of year, kind of like the week before Christmas. It's go-go-go. Squeeze in the last-minute visits. Squeeze in trips to the beach. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. It seems like so many people I want to spend time with are all available this week. So I've cancelled some other things and am trying to accommodate it.

Trying to go with the flow. That's something that us anxious folks aren't too good with. We love to control it all, and we detest that inner angst that comes with the shift in plans or change in the way things work. It's a constant battle to try to let go. First you have to see the value in loosening your grip, then you have to tell yourself "It's okay, things will work out." Over and over. Rinse and repeat.

Trying not to get overwhelmed when life gets busy is tough. It's also important to know what things you can delay or reschedule. Make room. Breathe. Expand. Rinse and repeat.

Hope the rest of your summer is enjoyable and relaxing, not all busy and overwhelming. I keep trying to tell myself that summer doesn't end labor day weekend. I usually loooove fall but this summer was so great and enjoyable (largely because of the mild weather here at the Jersey Shore) that I'm hanging on tightly. Nice day? Get outside. Beach visit? Must go in water. I have to ease up on the pressure, even the kind I induce on myself.

Summer doesn't end when Labor Day comes. There are still friends to see and gorgeous days ahead. I think for me, I just have to remember that. Over and over again.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Healing music: Mary Lambert

I've been listening to Mary Lambert for a while, but her new song is even more amazing. She just keeps getting better with intimate, honest lyrics and a great sound.

Love this song...great mental health message about being open about our issues.

Two videos--first has lyrics the other is the official.






"Secrets"

I've got bi-polar disorder
My shit's not in order
I'm overweight
I'm always late
I've got too many things to say
I rock mom jeans, cat earrings
Extrapolate my feelings
My family is dysfunctional
But we have a good time killing each other

[Pre-Chorus:]
They tell us from the time we're young
To hide the things that we don't like about ourselves
Inside ourselves
I know I'm not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I'm over it

[Chorus:]
I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are) So-o-o-o-o what
So what
So what
So what

I can't think straight, I'm so gay
Sometimes I cry a whole day
I care a lot, use an analog clock
And never know when to stop
And I'm passive, aggressive
I'm scared of the dark and the dentist
I love my butt and won't shut up
And I never really grew up

[Pre-Chorus]

They tell us from the time we're young
To hide the things that we don't like about ourselves
Inside ourselves
I know I'm not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I'm over it

[Chorus:]
I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
So what
So what
So what
So what
I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
So what
So what
So what
So what

(I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are)
So what
So what
So what
So what

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Go under.



When you love the ocean so much, it's hard to imagine that it could scare you. But there I was yesterday, standing on the shoreline mulling whether or not to go in.

The waves were rough, and (for the Jersey Shore) a tad high. I thought of wiping out on my paddleboard last week...a wave crashed on me and my board went flying. Paddle whacked me in the face, and I had a fat lip for an afternoon. So not sexy.

But I went for it yesterday, because how many more days and weeks will I be able to immerse myself in salt water. To feel free and relaxed and engulfed in calm? Not too much longer. That's why I always try to go in the water, even though it hasn't hit 70 this summer yet.

I wish I was in when we saw two pods of dolphins go by. They were so close to shore, and so majestic. Still, I am glad I got in. Once I was in, the fear crept up when a big wave would roll in, similar to obstacles in life. They look intimidating and strong and you're sure they're going to pummel you.

The secret: Go under.

When a wave comes, you have a few choices. Ride it if you're in the right position, whether that's on a board or body-surfing. You can also bob up with it so long as it's not breaking yet. But when you're right in the position where you know you don't have time to get out more and go with the flow...when you know it's going to break hard, you can just GO UNDER.

What a metaphor! There I was, scared shitless of a wave in the gorgeous ocean. I just held my nose and ducked down, and the once-strong wave felt like a passing current going overhead. It wasn't so strong after all. And when I emerged from the water, I was fine.

I know, not all of life's waves can be avoided by going under. Some can, though. Sometimes there's no need to get wrapped up in a wave crashing on us. Sometimes, we can avoid pain and stress.

We simply have to outsmart the wave...and in doing so, find the peace and lesson underneath it, where the water is still calm.




Listening to: Matt Kearney--Crashing Down (irony?)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lazy summer.

Busy with the summer of things.
Beach days, paddleboarding. All blissful.

Also, in thought about my career--where it's headed, what's right and what's wrong. And what sucks.
Returning to faith, because ultimately, it will all be okay.
Still working, but not as much on the whole.

Not ready for summer to be over, but eager for the fall at the same time.
Still, a month to go of more lazy summer. That's kind of what I'm having.
And I'm okay with that. Kind of the first time ever that I've been able to kick back for a summer.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Healing music: "In Your Shoes" by Sarah McLachlan


In Your Shoes
by Sarah McLachlan


You turn the radio on play your favorite song and cry… cry
You let it all disappear push back the doubt and fear they try… try

To hold your head under the waves but you’re breathing all the same
You are stronger than their hate

Time for you to walk out walk in your own shoes
Lay down your footprints wherever you choose
Leave it all behind and move on you are your own woman

You never asked for trouble but you’ve got fire that burns so bright… bright
You turn and face the struggle when all the others turn and hide… hide

You hold your head above the waves above the war they try to wage
You are stronger than their hate

Time for you to walk out walk in your own shoes
Lay down your footprints wherever you choose
Leave it all behind and move on ’cause you are your own woman

Time for you to walk out walk in your own shoes
Lay down your footprints wherever you choose
Leave it all behind and move on you are your own woman move on yeah
Time for you to walk out walk in your own shoes
Lay down your footprints wherever you choose
Say what’s on your mind with pride ‘cause you are your own woman

You’ve got a light that always guides you
You speak of hope and change as something good
Live your truth and know you’re not alone

You turn the radio on play your favorite song and sing out so loud

Monday, July 14, 2014

The party.

Thunderstorm coming in here at the Jersey Shore. Oh, how I love them. Especially during the summer. Correction: Especially during the summer on days when I can't make it to the beach.

This weekend was busy, busy, busy. Tim's 40th birthday was great, and I was surrounded by so many people I love it was almost hard to take it all in. We had a blast.



I realized though, that the party prep wasn't just about the BBQ and the party--for the months leading up, I was busting my butt getting our basement ready for our after-party. We managed to finish most of it, get the skeeball and air hockey and basketball down there. Everyone came back from the park and went nuts playing and having fun. But it's been an exhausting three months...I also redid the mudroom leading to the basement. It was so many Fridays and Saturdays of working nonstop in a coffee coma. Thank God I have SiriusXM on my phone.

So many details, paint, hardware, drying between coats, new curtains, faux finishing, organizing, dehumidifying. Now I'm coming down from all of it. I'm exhausted. I slept all day yesterday like I used to after I drank heavily in my 20s. I haven't had a drop of booze all weekend.

It was all worth it because we've got this great basement gameroom. But I'm pooped. Need to unwind. It was a lot on my sensitive system.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lessons from Bogie.

Spent all weekend at the beach, which was blissful.

I was a little nervous paddling out for the first time this season into the ocean. It was rather cold and when I got out past the breaking waves, I looked back at the shore. Dang, I was out really far!

Bogie is my paddleboard, something I was blessed to win online last year. I named it, the same way I name everything. (My Jeep is named Randy Moss, after the Patriots' football star!)



I tried to take it all in out on the ocean, and I did. Which is good, because us anxious peeps are always worried about the future. Forget it all, I told myself as I inhaled and exhaled salt air. I realize doing this would make most people anxious. Most people couldn't do paddleboarding. But I found it wonderful.

That just goes to show how we're all different, and how we can't beat ourselves up for our fears. Up ahead, planes were flying. Someone in it may have saw the speck of a girl in Sea Girt, N.J., paddleboarding on a gorgeous Sunday. Perhaps flying was easy for that person, looking down on me, but they'd never think of getting in the water. I looked up at the planes passing by, realizing that I still have some fears. Some things that are majorly hard for me.

There were so many analogies to anxiety and healing that hit me as I paddled along, taking breaks to go on my knees, strike a downward-facing dog or just lay there with my tummy against the board. Even when the surge made me a little seasick, I stayed out there. Sometimes the bliss of doing something isn't realized until we push past fear and uncomfortableness. And not that I was super-scared to paddleboard, but it's just another analogy for ya.

It was weird being in the ocean, and I had to remind myself much like I do with my panic disorder that I can always do something to make it easier. If I was nervous (or saw a Jaws-like fin pop up!) I was just a quick paddle away to shore. I can always get to a safe place.

In many ways, the ocean is my safe place. Sure, sharks and huge fish are in the water. Sure, I hate the way rocks feel under my feet. And there are a ton of slimy and questionable things (especially at the Jersey Shore). But when you take in the salt air and the sunlight's twinkle on the water, and when you feel like you're walking on it as you paddle on it, life feels blissful. All is safe. One is present...if only for a little while.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fearless.

Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.
-Mary Shelley, English novelist

Monday, June 16, 2014

Stay in faith.


Day 2 of taking a crazy-long walk on the beach in Sea Girt. I'm finding it's like a meditation. It's a way to just think. Get lost in my head and try to sort things out. On this walk, I felt everything. Upsetment over feeling my latest bout of depression (I know, it only really started yesterday but it's been gripping) and excitement.

One thing I learned, the big takeaway, was that I am trying too hard to figure out what I want. I am feeling bummed about my career for different reasons. I am feeling purposeless, or at least low on purpose fuel. 

Why am I trying to figure it all out though? What's the point of believing in God if I don't practice what He teaches me? 

He teaches me to stay in faith.
To take one day at a time.
Not to figure it all out.
To lean on Him.

Why am I not doing that???

Why am I not proving my faith? All I have to do is trust that He holds what's best. That He will help me heal, find solutions, find my way. 

I don't have to figure it all out.

I just need to walk my own walk. Staying in faith as I march on.

One step in front of another.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The haze.

Today was like being beat in the face by my anxiety. I'm not sure why, but I woke up lonely and feeling aimless. I think I'm starting to see that if I want an enjoyable "fun" day, it sucks to be alone. I can do most anything alone. I work alone. I work on the house projects alone (and I love doing most of it alone), but when I want to relax, I kind of panic.

I felt depressed for no reason. I was more anxious because I couldn't gauge how I was feeling. I felt powerless, which made me feel more anxious. I had this weird "drifting" feeling, like no matter what I did or where I was, it didn't matter. And physically, I felt a little spacey, my head a little sore and not "dizzy" but the familiar anxiety haze.

I did go to Sea Girt and walk the boards, and that helped. Now I'm  home, still unsure of what I'm doing with today. My husband works a lot of crazy hours, you see. He works a lot of weekends. On weekdays when he's home, I try to be there with him, but I've usually got to stop and do work stuff.

It's hard to put that feeling out there, that lonely, vulnerable feeling. I can just hear everyone else saying, "I wish I was bored and had a day for nothing."

That's not true. I have tons to do, but I'm trying to take a day off. I think this is where I sort of stumble. Maybe it's in not having a plan? Maybe it's in this depressing feeling that the weekend is over soon, or that I have a big drive tonight (but to see Il Volo in concert, which I know will be all worth it). I wish I knew how to make my weekdays feel more like weekends. Like, why don't I go work on the boardwalk one day? Or take time off on weekdays? It just feels odd. Therefore, I dread work weeks sometimes.

I'm also in a fog about my next book, and I'm not sure if I can say much about it. A publisher is interested, but I'm not sure if we're aligning, or if I should change too much about my work to please them. Others just haven't responded. So frustrating.

So tomorrow, my solution is to wake up and tell myself it's Saturday. I'm going to try to tell myself that lie all week. Maybe that will make things better.

I guess the good thing--as it should be, after a decade in therapy--is that I see how I feel and I don't get stuck in it too long. That is, I hope I won't be here too long. I know there are good things coming, and I know there are good things even in struggle. Really, this is just strength conditioning...mental strength conditioning.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Conscious booksmith.

Did I tell you I'm a writer? I am. It's what I do for a living . I work full-time from home as a copywriter and journalist.

This blog isn't directly tied into my work stuff, because I want to keep my copywriting and journalism sort of separate. This blog is personal to me, but I'm not afraid to share it with the world. (Hopefully a client doesn't hear I am "crazy" and rethink hiring me, right?)

Maybe this blog will be more professional. That is, if I can publish a book on anxiety and tie the blog into it. Maybe then, www.everylastbreath.com will be splashed across www.kristenfischer.com. Who knows. I'm not there yet.

That's my next project. Not the only one, but one of them. It's my main focus, as I wait to try to get another project published.

I have been pecking away at this book, a hodgepodge right now. I am in the "just freaking write" stage. Elaborating on personal memories that I thought were long gone. Really getting down to detail. And when I do this, my writing comes alive. Seriously freaking alive.

I'm hoping to maybe take snippets from the blog and put them in the book or vice versa. Or to use the blog as a supplement when the book is in print. (Note, I said "when" because I'm all about that law-of-attraction-positive-faith thing.) I'd love to publish the book with a pretty url to this page on it, so people can keep up with my journey and continue to connect.

Today, I got all my materials for the Conscious Booksmith course by Christine Mason Miller. Okay, I admit that I contributed to it, but the course has 30 chapters packed with information about writing mindfully. So I'm going to use it as I continue with my book. My dream. My vision. My baby.

Christine was awesome enough to put a quote of mine in her gorgeous handwriting. I totally treasure this:



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Beat anxiety now.


Beat Anxiety Now
ADAA is a partner in the largest worldwide event for people with anxiety or depression. The Beat Anxiety Now World Online Summit runs June 16-25, 2014. Learn from more than 20 experts how to beat your anxiety and depression. Up to four presentations will be held live in real time every day.

* Learn the tools, techniques, and    
  information to help alleviate your anxiety symptoms.
* Discover how to help someone in your life who is living
  with an anxiety disorder or depression.

Register here and then log in from your computer anywhere in the world to attend. Early-bird price ends at midnight June 4 ET. (Use special promo code BAN14 at checkout.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Desire Map.

Tonight I began The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. I love starting a new book and knowing it is an exact place where I am supposed to be.

Rest.

Woke up feeling completely under the weather. I thought it was just allergies, but I'm thinking it's not. Good thing I'm not bogged down with too much work today. I was able to take a nap, but I couldn't tell if I was sleeping. It was one of those kinds of days.

I'm feeling a little muddy lately, mentally. Unfocused. I want to work work work but I always find myself wanting to take a break, too.

This weekend, I did a lot of driving. And while driving used to be super-difficult and not event attemptable when I was really sick, it was okay this weekend. It helped me see how far I've come. I was still cautious though. In the past, I had panic attacks on the road, and it's the scariest. But I've taken baby steps to get comfortable on the road, and by myself. If I hadn't, I doubt I'd leave the house or do much else. We have to make those small steps when it feels right. We always have to try.

And we have to know when to back off. When to rest. When to give ourselves a break. Our bodies can help us tune into our needs, though that can be hard when you're acutely riddled by anxiety.

Today, I'm not anxious. Just exhausted. So I'm backing off, taking a break, and giving myself a sick day.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The writing game.

http://www.hplyrikz.com/

I don't recommend being a writer if you're the anxious type. One day your career is glamorous and you're interviewing celebrities, and the next you're feeling defeated. You feel like a sham. Like there are no good opportunities. Like it's all crumbling.

I'm smart enough to know that's not true, but it feels like it. And I don't want to get swept away by my feelings.

I feel defeated. I wish more magazines would publish my articles--or at least respond to my queries. I wish opportunities wouldn't dry up just because an editor moves to another position. I wish longstanding clients wouldn't disappear. I wish a publisher would just publish my kids book. I wish I had the energy to write my other book idea. I wish I could take a break from it all, refocus, and then re-attack. I can't imagine having the energy to feel good enough to attack...to be go-getter Kristen.

I'm tired. Lots going on and it's left me burned out. At the same time, I'm eager to get back in the game and start pitching.

I just get deflated my rejection and silence so easily.

In the past, it made me doubt my abilities. Today, it just makes me exhausted from playing the game.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Your body on anxiety.

When I first started experiencing issues with anxiety in my late teens and early 20s, I was desperate for answers. I thought I was going crazy so I started looking for answers. I wanted to confirm it--that I was nuts.

Instead, I learned that I was experiencing anxiety. That helped, because then everything made sense. For me, it started with stomach issues, which the doctor thought was an ulcer. My stomach would be "on" even when I wasn't anxious. But really, I was so anxious and didn't really stop feeling that way, even when I thought all was good. It was like my mind was eating my stomach and I didn't even know it.

When I saw this infographic on anxiety at Huffinton Post, I figured I'd share. If you're not sure what you're going through, this may help you see that you're not crazy. Our bodies react to our minds. Once we know that, we can begin to learn how to deal with it all. 

How did your anxiety physically manifest? 

 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

B+ living.

I recently heard about this blog and I had to share it. It's a blog by a gal named Sarah Bagley, and she's kind of my hero. She's built this whole blog--updated daily, nothing you'll find here!--blog around the concept of letting go of perfection. That's gold for the anxious peeps like me. We need to be reminded constantly that it's okay to let go a little. Many of us are Type A overachievers. (Wrote about that recently here, too!)

Sarah's message isn't about being lazier. It's about living more simply. Giving ourselves permission. That's something my therapist has stressed, and it's worked wonders for me. Now when something challenging comes up, I give myself permission to face it however I see fit. I don't have to be on go-go-go mode. I can take a break, or cancel, or do whatever I want. It's not being selfish like it may be for some people. For an anxious person, that's called self-care. And we all deserve it!

Who needs an A+ life when B+ can be just as fabulous...and less taxing?


Monday, May 19, 2014

Basement.

I have been such a busy girl.

Painted walls. Finished faux floor tonight. Tomorrow nothing on my day planner.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sending up my own self-care red flag.



Why do we never take care of ourselves until we’re on the verge of a breakdown? I know, I know. If I was practicing yoga and making time for “me” things, I may not have gotten this bad. But I’m feeling stressed. So stressed that I’m impatient and probably shouldn’t be driving. (Hey, there are some real asshats on the roads here in NJ…I can’t help it if I make gestures at them when they won't drive correctly!) In reality, though, that's not the person I want to be. I'm so stressed and I clearly see that I'm not the person I want to be when I'm like that.
I’ve been working for weeks on my basement. Making an unfinished basement a more finished-yet-unfinished space. I really want it to be a nice place for my husband, and I like painting and doing that kind of stuff. But compound it with other stressors such as piles of yardwork, a birthday party to coordinate, a mom to transport, family obligations, and a job (as well as a broken vacuum), and now I’m kind of a mess. Well, not a full mess, but I’m feeling my stress levels boil over.
Sometimes, I can’t tell the signals for when I need to slow down. I like renovating my house and taking care of my lawn. I’m pleased with the painstaking detail I’ve put into my husband’s 40th birthday invites. Yet these things stress me at the same time.
It’s easy to know you’re truly relaxing when you’re reading or doing yoga I suppose. When you’re doing something that you like, even though you like them, they’re still work. And too much of anything, no matter how much we like it (or too tight a deadline) spells disaster for an anxious, neurotic girl like me.
Breathe and reboot. I won’t do that by painting a concrete floor, but I will make some time to unwind. I swear.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mental Health Month.

It's Mental Health Month

More than 15 million American men and woman experience social anxiety disorder. Symptoms typically begin around age 13. Some 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report living with symptoms for 10 years or more before seeking help. Is this you or a loved one?

ADAA offers 5 new video shorts on social anxiety, including one on effective treatment.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Birthdays, aging, doctors, and chai.


It's weird that when May comes around, I sort of get depressed. My birthday is in May, and I hate the thought of getting older. I know that I have it pretty good now. 

But in recent years, I've been trying to shift my mindset around aging. I think of the couple of friends I've lost who were young. And how they never got the privilege of aging. All the good stuff in my life that has come as I've aged...especially the few years. I also think that birthdays are a badge of honor...as in, I made it another year. And in an odd way, I think I'm brave for aging, because some people just give up on their lives (and yes, take them). 

Aging has always seemed scary to me. In my early 20s, I was panicked at the thought of paying bills and taking care of my own health. I went through a lot of health anxiety fretting that I could not care for my body, which would inevitably get sick. Things have changed, thank God. I took proactive care of myself and went to great lengths to find doctors I'm comfortable around. They make it easy for me to want to be proactive. They make otherwise scary procedures less daunting. And while I may never "like" doctors, I can take care of myself. When I think about getting older, I'm so grateful for this ability. For so many years, I didn't have it. Maybe that's why I feared aging.

In a few weeks, I will be 36. And while I like the ring of 35 (and the fact that it undoubtedly puts me in my mid-thirties), I'm going to embrace the new age. But not without relishing all the fun things my 35-year-old self has done, and still will do. My 35-year-old self has written another book, made brave advancements in her career,  completed testing to start medication for hypothyroidism, went paddleboarding, was a maid of honor at her sister's wedding, went through the loss of her furbaby, swam in the ocean, spent time with her beloved cousins, adopted another child (cat), took her vitamins almost daily, spent quality time with her nieces and nephews, took care of her home, started eating chia seeds and flax seeds, got published in a major women's health magazine, continued practicing yoga, consumed and relished each Starbucks skim chai, lifted more weights, painted a basement, went on bike rides, cared for her mother, loved her husband, prayed and expressed gratitude...oh my list goes on.

Grateful. 35. 36. Whatever. Age is just a number.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Anxiety webinar!

Webinars                   
Scott Stossel is the author of My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind. The next ADAA webinar on Wednesday, May 7, features a live interview with him about his lifelong struggles with anxiety.
Send an e-mail for the login details; type "Stossel" in the subject line and include your first and last name.
Please send your request by 5:00 pm ET, May 7.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Leo.

This is our new addition, Leonard (Leo). We've had him just about two weeks. I miss Brady so much and it kind of cements that he's gone. I know I was ready to get a new cat, though. But I'll never forget Brady. It still stings that we lost him so suddenly in December.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mole mode.

I think I'm going into what my buddy Von calls "mole mode." It's when you're totally swamped with a project and therefore hibernating, sort of.

I have a huge work project that's due at the end of the month, and I'm quite engrossed in it...hence not blogging much. This also means I am drinking way too much caffeine, but it's not really making me anxious.

Maybe sometimes we need mole mode. Whether it's for work, or to hibernate in other ways. Unplugging for a weekend or a day. Going on vacation. Being silent. It's just the ebb and flow of life, and I guess you can't be "on" all the time, right?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Triggers.

Anxiety is all about triggers. Over time, if you can, you're able to recognize those triggers and see that the way you feel as a result of a trigger isn't dangerous--it's just a feeling. Sometimes, though, those feelings are the worst. The pits. They can engulf you.

When you're triggered, and in a state of acute anxiety, you can't really recognize the triggers. All you feel as the negative feelings wash over you and erode your sense of self. If you don't stop that process, you can be completely eroded. Still, there's always hope. For many of us, stopping the process means turning to meds. Or starting therapy. Or having a breakthrough of some sort. Getting fed up with the garbage our brains--and our triggers--are feeding ourselves.

I think it's only then that we really start to start turning the tables and eroding the power of those triggers and the negative feelings they produce.

How do you get to the point where you're in control? When do you know you can get a grip on triggers and negative mindsets that keep you engulfed?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Self-care.

So busy lately. I had a nice weekend with friends and family. Sad it's Monday but I want to find greatness and beauty in every day.

I'm just under a lot of stress from work. I have a lot of projects this month. Then I'm still kind of getting over all the time taking care of mom. She stayed with us a few weeks after her knee replacement. She still can't drive so I take her to PT, but I'm not doing her daily workouts with her. So I'm just focusing on her but she's more independent.

Takes me a while to come down from all of that. I've had a sore throat and exhaustion forvweeks...so my body is screaming for self-care.  I kind of know when I'm pushing too hard. Still, I feel like I should just push through. That's my old unhealthy mind at work.

So now it's all about balancing self-care and work.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Self-care.

Sorry for being so quiet. I'm so busy and trying to focus on self-care. A lot is going on, and it's usually just work stuff, but I have a ton of personal stuff going on too. Family stuff.

Really, it's hard sometimes to stay afloat. Sometimes you just have to retreat from the extras. Take extra-special care of yourself. And that's what I'm trying to do. It's really tough, though, to try to adopt my healthier practices during the midst of a super-hectic time. But really, it's the only way out.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Good good feeling.

Today was kind of blissful, and I needed it bigtime.

Two huge writing opportunities fell into my lap, and I'm so grateful. To be busy and have work coming in--I mean, I've been solo freelancing full-time for nine years. I'm still amazed at my career.

I drove home from meeting with a client who I instantly clicked with and realized how far I've come. I used to rush out of meetings fearing I'd pass out just talking to someone. Today, we chatted. I then left, grabbed Starbucks and blasted the radio with the windows open, because it's finally sort of spring here. Even though I am battling a bit of a cold, I felt good.

I feel good!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thoughts.

I have so many profound thoughts related to anxiety and healing. I just can't always blog about them. So most of my good content runs through my head....and then, poof, it's gone. Your getting ripped off then, eh?

I have been thinking a lot lately about change. I feel so much calmer in the past few years. Things that used to destroy me bounce off more easily. I have less patience though, for people who still flip out. Who haven't done their healing...I mean the ones who haven't even tried.

So much of healing comes with making conscious decisions. That's easy for most people but when you're in the hold of anxiety, you can't think straight you are perpetually frazzled. Breaking that cycle is key.  For me, it required medication....then when calm and thinking more calmly, therapy really started to work well.

I was dealing with someone today that is in it. And can't really make conscious decidions. It's sad and I feel for this person. At ty he same time, when life isn't uprooted, this person doesn't make much of an effort to heal. Or to consciously, perhaps it the by little,  attempt healthy thought patterns and actions. That's hard to deal with...and hard to see that I was there in many ways. Nor so long ago really.

Look, I don't want to knock anybody....no matter where they are in their healing. These are just things I've been thinking and noiticing. I am better, but boy I don't forget what it was like to be in that cycle. But I can say it's possible to at least see out...and to get out.

If you're there "in it," please know I am wishing you a bold, brave and positive journey to a happier, more peaceful life.