Friday, February 28, 2014

Meme.

Swiped this from this blog. I love me a good meme.

Outside my window it's sunny but cold. More snow is headed our way. But I just know winter will wear off.
I am thinking about how much I love pretty blogs like this one, this one and this one.
I am thankful for my mother coming out of surgery. Just knowing she was alive was so special.
In the kitchen it's cold because my kitties want the back door open. Even the door that closes to the mudroom can't keep that kitchen warm.
I am wearing jeans, a tank and a long-sleeved shirt. Out of the yoga pants!
I am creating a magazine article for a client.
I am going to get my mother settled at the rehabilitation center this afternoon.
I am wondering how to engage more people on this blog.
I am reading "My Age of Anxiety" by Scott Stossel.
I am hoping to try the vanilla macchiato at Starbucks soon
I am looking forward to hearing that a publisher wants my latest book.
I am learning to take better care of myself and make more time for yoga. I was soooo out of practice today. Even though I still work out, I have to get back to flow classes.
Around the house is quiet, as it should be.
I am pondering about taking a week off to write my fifth book. A whole week OFF.
A favorite quote for today: The one I posted in my last post--like my new writing app on my phone? I'd like to post more handwritten stuff!
One of my favorite things is Mary Lambert's music.
A few plans for the rest of the week: None--it's Friday!!
A peek into my day:

From the hand...and heart.


Yoga.

Back to my normal Friday mornings....ahhhh. namaste. And coffee.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beauty in the battle.

Past few days have certainly "upped" my stress. My mother had another knee surgery (she had two replacements on one knee and a "manipulation" to break up scar tissue--all in the past few years). Tuesday, she went in for her right knee. There are no more knees to operate on, and I pray everything goes super smoothly.

Being in a hospital is like sensory overload for me. At least in a mall there are things you want to look at and see. Not so in a hospital.

I was proud of myself, though. Years ago, I would get panic attacks at the thought of going. But I've been doing so much better with it.

There were a few touch-and-go moments--for me, mind you. One nurse was so horribly rude and mean, over and over, and I swear I nearly punched her. Then nurses were fighting in front of my mom after surgery (who does that? Professional, much?) and I started shaking. I looked around at all these people, incapacitated. Wires, tubes, scents. Ugh. All the stuff that used to send me overboard. I just breathed and tried to focus on mom, and stay in the moment. Though the Jersey girl in me wanted to hit them, too (the rude nurses, not the recovering patients). The rest of the staff were wonderful once she was in a room.

I met a few very nice people in the hospital, and that positivity made the experience so much better. There really is beauty everywhere.

It's raised my sensitivity though...just the whole thing of traveling there and dealing with the emotions of seeing your parent ill.

So, some down time is in order. I wonder when it will come.

In all non-sarcasticness, though, I need to make the time. I need to take care of myself--no one else will.

I slept like a log last night, like one of those incapacitated patients in the recovery room. It's amazing how much the two days at the hospital took out of me. I guess to the normal person, it's no big deal. This will take days to recover from, though.

Friday, February 21, 2014

To medicate or not to medicate?

Epic fail for that beach trip. Since I posted that entry it's been raining mostly nonstop. And when it wasn't, I had to work.

Such is my life.

Anywhoo...

I was posting in a message board to someone who was leery about starting medication for her anxiety problem. She said she wanted to treat it naturally, which I can understand.

But it got me to thinking about what signal that sends when we avoid all we can to take medication. At first, who wants to take another medication? There's the cost and hassle of it, and the addition of a medication (especially if you're on other drugs), but many people get stuck on the notion of having to take a "mental health medication."

(So funny, because a friend in an anxiety chat made a great point--it's always referred to as "medication" when it's mental health. But it's "medicine" when it comes to physical health. Right? I told him once you take medication for a mental health issue, it's about taking your "meds.")

I get wanting to be med-free, but if anxiety gets to a point of severe interruption, you have to come to some form of acceptance. Maybe you need a medication. (Or a medicine!) Maybe that drug is only a temporary thing. And most importantly, it will probably give you a little relief so things like therapy and other self-help measures work. Cuz they sure don't seem to when you're a frantic mess like I was at times. Sometimes there is a chemical component to anxiety that can only be helped by taking medicine.

But in avoiding it all together or not even considering it, we perpetuate that mental health/medication stigma that many of us detest. If you  need medication for another condition like diabetes or heart disease, or an eye infection, wouldn't you take it? Probably so.  Most women in labor have no problem asking for an epidural. Why are we so afraid of medication?

Here's the obligatory disclaimer: I'm not a doctor so I can't say if meds are good or necessary or bad. Unfortunately, you have to see a doctor to know. I just think anyone struggling with anxiety for a prolonged period of time, and experiencing major interruptions to their life, should consider going on meds. It's not the end of the world.

For many  anxiety sufferers, it's the beginning!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rock bottom is a foundation.


The beginning of spring?

It's 44 degrees out. In New Jersey, in February, that might as well be summer.

Winter has been plagued by snowstorm after snowstorm. Seriously...anytime we get any meltage, there's a new dusting of snow the next morning. We've blown through an entire snow shovel over here at the Casa de Fischer.

Today, the sun is out and the sky is blue. Even though I've been trying not to complain about the weather--especially on Facebook, the hub of negativity--I must admit I'm excited. There are mild temps predicted all week...by mild, I mean in the 40s. The 40s is my new 70s...at least until it hits 60. I have some work to do today but I'm kind of feeling a trip to the beach. And by that, I mean pull up in your car, stand on a dune walk-over and take in the sights for about five minutes until my cold-related hives kick in and I start to itch.

I haven't made many winter beach trips this season or last season...the beach feels like a distant memory. Most of the walk-overs were destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. While our house was fine, everything nearby was destroyed. (We live about five minutes to the beach.) All the places that used to be solace are still destroyed. Houses are still mangled. Some areas have rebuilt, but my beach (Mantoloking) is still wrecked.

All that sand used to be houses next to each other. There are no more wooden walk-overs...just a mountain where a dune used to be. Summer, 2013

Each year around this time, I'm always eager to get to the beach. Last spring you literally couldn't get near it because of all the storm response. This year, I know I can get back there, but I'm kind of not looking forward to seeing the beach still in disrepair. Maybe I need to purchase a new badge this year in another town a little north, just so I don't have to see the crumbled houses.

But seeing the beach, no matter what the coast looks like, will still be lovely. And I hope to do that today.





View from a walk-over, Summer 2012

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Type A...and Type Anxious.

I was reading Scott Stossel's book, which I am loving. And he mentioned something about us Type A people. In truth, we do perpetuate the stigma of anxiety. I kind of feel horrible about that.

I thought about it and I'm kind of a textbook Type A. I am super driven and always pushing to excel. My career is really much more about who I am instead of the job I do. I strive. And I succeed. But I do it at a cost because my body is prone to taking on the stress that comes with that.

It's often people that are out in the world making it all look easy that send the message to everyone that they should be able to, too. Little does everyone else know that the people out there are often coping with something horrible deep down--but we are masters of disguise. Even at my worst, very few people knew about my condition. I knew how to get out of sticky situations. I knew how to give killer presentations, but the dread and horror leading up to them--not to mention the downtime needed to recover after--told a different story.

When my agent got the deal for my most recent book, I wasn't petrified about the six-month deadline or the amount of work that had to go into it--I was worried about being able to be strong for all the marketing. Book signings, appearances, etc. That was what terrified me. I knew that TODAY wasn't calling anytime soon, but I always thought, "What if they do? I can't do television!"

TODAY didn't call. I expected that. But it was really a metaphor for me over-thinking things. In my defense, I kind of had to--I didn't want to commit to a publisher if I couldn't handle the job and part of publishing a book is promoting it.

A few months after my book was published, I had the chance to do a local television segment and I was feeling strong. I was in a place where I could give myself permission to use it as practice. (And it wasn't live, so I could take breaks if I needed to!) I did fairly well minus the overuse of my hands. Once I started speaking again, I felt like the person I was in high school and college (I was very involved in leadership roles with Key Club and Circle K, traveling the country and speaking in public a lot!) This highly driven personality is great, but it's hard on my anxiety.

And now that I think about it, being that way and not being open about my struggles made feel like I was living a double life. I perpetuated this stigma of sorts. Type A's hide it so well.

Nowadays, I'm going for a mix. I want to be driven and successful, but I want to be honest about who I am and my condition. I don't want to limit myself, but I think anxious people do have to know when to push--and know when to back off. It doesn't make us weak. It helps us get stronger. I've built up so much strength in the past few years, but I know when I need to back off of work. When I lower my stress, I lower my anxiety.

Whether you're in something high-profile or not, have you ever felt that not being open about your condition makes you feel phony? I'm not saying anyone is phony if they don't tell everyone, "Hey, I have an anxiety disorder!" I'm just kind of wondering if I'm not alone in this.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bray.

 

















Today, like every day since he passed, I miss my boy Brady.

We are starting to look at new cats. I feel like I should fill that "third slot," yanno? I don't want to replace my boy. I just think my other male, Skeeter, misses the paws-on play. I think he's lonely. Plus, we cared for three cats before, why deny another cat a good home?

Him and Hope are boring together, quite frankly. Not that I don't adore them both. I do--Bray was just the life of this house. Without him, it's just quiet. Hope, our female, is okay. Skeeter misses his buddy, I just know it. Maybe it's time. I still hurt, but I'm not the kind to just shut down...so many kitties need a good owner like me. I just want to keep loving, even though the loss of Brady still hurts. I know it will never stop. That's why I don't want to wait too long to find another cat. But it has to be juuuuust right ala Goldilocks.

Losing a pet is one of the worst feelings ever, especially when it's suddenly, like it was with Bray. There's not a day my heart doesn't ache for him, yet at the same time, I'm at peace because I trust God's plan.

Still, I just miss him. Aching, deep wound.

I miss you, Brady boy. You are my champion.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Writing writing writing away.


Life has been hectic. Busy. Overwhelming.

Work, namely, has been the culprit. But I'm making some changes as my business goes along.

First, for those of you who don't know, I'm a self-employed writer. I am a copywriter, which is someone who writes business collateral such as brochures, website content and newsletters. Lately, though, it's been all about the journalism. For years, I've been pitching magazines with stories. And it seems like finally, they're noticing. Doors are flying open, which is so-beyond exciting.

So I've had a hard time balancing my copy and magazine work. Plus, I had a gig that I liked but it didn't pay as great. I took a leap of faith and tapered down on my hours there. Years ago, that kind of thing would have sent me into a tailspin.

Now, I no longer wake up to an alarm clock--something I am loving more than most things. I still get up early, but my days are more free. I work around my deadlines, and I work at my own pace. Which is usually all day and into the night. Sometimes it's hard to take a break.

My other news is that I'm working with my agent on a children's book. She didn't hate it, which was amazing. I have three other books but this is my first kids book. Then, you know, in my spare time, I'm working on two other nonfiction titles.

So I'm a busy girl.

Just need to make more time for going to the gym. That not only helps ma bod, but I feel so much better when I workout. Kind of hard with all the cold snowy weather here lately. (Can you hear the excuses building up like inches of snow?)


In other news, there's a new anxiety study--and you know I like to stay up on those. They found a new area of the brain that promotes anxiety. Actually promotes it. Chances are if you're reading this, your lateral septum is working just fine. Is that good news?