Tag Archives: anxiety

Finding My Tribes

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Life is good, but sometimes you have little slumps. I’ve been slumpy lately, but am pulling out of it. One of the big things motivating me to look forward to an un-slumpy future was a trip to Boca Raton for the Appreciative Advising Institute #AAI2016! More about that later once I’ve had more time to process. It all still feels a little raw, but that’s not a bad thing. Let’s just say it was amazing and just what I needed. It filled my cup 😉 (You know what I’m talking about if you were there!)

So, for now. Here’s a bit about part of my journey – the tangible actual there and back again journey. The mental, emotional, professional life journey will be a separate post!

Empty suitcase – endless possibilities. It’s been way too long since I traveled. I used to just zip, zip zip and fill up a suitcase. I kept getting side tracked. It took me forever but I got everything to fit and didn’t forget my swimsuit. (Although it ended up being unused.)

…even Andy Bear made the trip- my good luck teddy bear!! Yes. I’m 42 and travel with a teddy bear. Don’t judge me. There’s actually a whole huge family story and family history with this bear.

The shirt I wanted to wear but chickened out from packing. I love my thrift store finds!

The shirt I actually wore on the plane! Felt super proud to be representing my home state at this conference.

…and…the adventure. There were snags, but United handled everything wonderfully, they found a qualified co pilot after only a short delay, the firetrucks that met us after our air return 10 minutes out of the Denver airport only ended up having to escort us not douse us with flame retardant and whatever else they use….ya. That kind of journey to Florida. I was honestly so refreshed and amazed at the fact that the hundreds of passengers on the plane really behaved well, didn’t cause scenes, and laughed, joked and helped each other out through 5 hours of delays and a little bit of a scary (smoke in the cabin) situation!

Now to the things I’m amazed I did portion of my trip.  Taking an Uber. It was seriously a big deal for me. Being a strong introvert going to a conference with lots of interaction and small groups… Well, thinking about that wore me out! I was pretty nervous about having a roommate in the dorm but signed up for the dorm anyway. Huge win for me.

I was tired and could easily have eaten junk food, but didn’t. Doubly amazed because I had to walk to Whole Foods and back in the Florida heat and humidity – 5 miles round trip. I needed the miles anyway!

I talked on occasion in my small group! I was pretty tired. Exhausted really the first two days. I was glutened at the Denver airport first thing on the trip and then discovered I’m pretty much allergic to Florida. At one point I was close to showing someone how to use my epipen just in case. Mold…grrrrrr! The first day or so was an antihistamine and inhaler filled fog of dizziness and coffee. Even then, I was able to take things in and keep smiling, enjoying and learning.

…and I even rallied enough energy to be social. GASP! I know!!!!! Wow!!!

I didn’t get to go see the beach because I made the decision to get a treadmill run in. But I did get some amazing seafood!! I’ll just have to go back to FL soon to go to the beach!

And one of the coolest things is…all those worries about having a roommate. Unfounded. I know…you all would have told me that from the start! Roomie and I were on the same flight back to Denver, too, and arranged to have our seats next to each other. The Uber driver to the airport kept saying, as we animatedly chatted on the drive, “You guys just met?” “Really…you guys didn’t know each other before?” OH…and we even colored one night. Because of course, essential conference packing involves a 74 colored pencil set and a motivational coloring book!

Ok. Yep…was going to write more about the conference but am still a little overwhelmed in a good way by all of the positivity and wonderful people I met. OK. Whew. Yep…coming back to this one. (This introvert needs more processing time!) Let’s just say #besthumansever and I’m feeling so refreshed and can’t wait to keep in touch with this new tribe of mine!

As soon as I got home I hung out a bit with one of my other tribes at a pizza fundraiser. I’m so blessed to have all of these wonderful, amazing, strong, powerful people in my life.

Before this conference I knew I had a lot of wonderful, amazing, caring, people in my life, but looked on it as kind of this fleeting, little pocket of luckiness I had stumbled upon. Now I believe I can go out and find my tribes and its not just me (individually) doing this “thing”…I feel the power of togetherness. Instead of seeing me as just one distinct little piece doing my own thing for the great good…I see and feel everyone lifting me up when I need it and surrounding me with love, hope and happiness…and feel the strength of my muscles and arms and legs, my heart and my brain providing support to all of these other wonderful people when they need it. I need you guys and am so grateful we found each other.

Also…Thanks Coach Jeff if you’re reading this! I said thank you last night for the encouragement. It’s really, really, really, really, really been life changing and has helped me so much on this journey to battle my depression and anxiety and to find my confidence again! You see the change…don’t minimize how you helped me get there!

So I challenge you…go find your tribes. If you read this…tell me in the comments who they are. Tell them who they are, too! Being told I was part of a tribe (or a family or whatever word resonates with you) is one of the things that helped me change my perspective from being one piece of something….to being something (Hope that makes sense!)

 

Oh yes…and ummmm…help me fight cancer here!   I’ll be updating this blog with a running update soon!

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Accidentally Posh…am I doing this right? 

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 So…one of the little things that surprisingly has helped me push back my depression has been my monthly Birchbox subscription. Fun little packets and of hair oils, makeup samples and skin treatments.  (Thanks for renewing my subscription mom!) I don’t know how to use some of the stuff and am too stubborn to read the directions!  I have fun playing though. 

And…since I’m experiencing some kind of sudden and surprising massive reprieve/remission from some of my “blues” right now, I decided to have some fun. Not sure how long this will last…but I’m not thinking about that! I finally pulled out the red (Cozy Crimson)  POP lipstick I got one month. I didn’t smear it all over my face, I didn’t get it on my teeth and it lasted a long time. Win win! 

 This isn’t about The look or the makeup people…it’s about confidence! I felt ok doing something that didn’t make me blend in! Confidence…what a foreign concept! It felt really odd…

  

I even debated pinning my hair back, but that was too much for one day…slightly overwhelming.  That’ll be for another day! 

Now, this isn’t to say I have to use makeup to feel pretty.  I’m completely fine going out like this (no makeup…air dried hair).

 
 That red lipstick was a visual benchmark that I’m winning this battle for mental health. I tried something new. I felt self conscious, but didn’t wipe it off. This was a huge step! It’s the little things, the collection of little things like this that help me gain momentum! Suck it, depression. You’re going down!! 

Damn Hard Work

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Fighting depression is damn hard work. Sorry about the language…but it’s true! I’m beat. As I was napping on my lunch break I tried to figure out how to visualize what depression physically felt like to me.  Lots of times I know I look like this:


Happy, smiling and supportive. Which I am, really, sometimes. I don’t have melancholy. Even with depression I can be happy. But sometimes I’m not. 

Sometimes I feel like this on the inside: 

 
I was watching the Doctor Who in that last picture! 

It’s hard to explain. So…strangely enough…the image that popped into my head when I tried to visualize my depression…Being on Peter Pan’s Flight at Disney! I know, right?!? Odd!  

Peter Pan’s Flight is a happy, fun KIDS ride! It’s one of my favorites. If you don’t know it, just search for it on YouTube. Lots of people have filmed ride throughs. It’s gentle, magical and slightly suspenseful. 

But your ship rocks a little. Sometimes it feels like you make abrupt movements. The ground drops out from under you and things get dark. I think there is also an element of being reminded of not wanting to grow up and adult on a daily basis. That stinks. 

I would have thought the Haunted Mansion would be more appropriate, but nope! You go to the haunted mansion for the thrill. You know the drop is coming. Even though you know Peter Pan has a dark side, you don’t go into it thinking its a scary thrill ride! You are lulled into peacefulness with happy music and much loved memories from childhood.  The ride has subtle fear, jerks you around the tiniest bit and maybe even disorients you for a second …just like my brain with messed up neurotransmitters! 

In the end, though, you leave the ride smiling and just maybe have a sense again of what life could be if you rediscover that childish wonder! That’s my depression, too. It comes and goes, blindsides me, makes me fight it…and in the end I come out victorious-just like Peter Pan! It’s hard work though…
 

It wasn’t  a nightmare! 

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Part of my therapy is going to be talking about my dreams. I was ever so thrilled (read that dripping with sarcasm) when my therapist asked if I’d been remembering more dreams after starting the antidepressant. This lead me to believe I should be remembering more dreams…My dreams have historically been amazingly scary! This was not good news. 

So, here’s the deal…and I’m not sure what to make if it. I AM remembering more dreams. But for the most part, they aren’t scary! They are golden. They are funny and they’ve been cracking me up! Unfortunately, most of the details dissipate into a gossamer mist soon after my eyes open. I’m left with only a vague memory of laughter or accomplishment. 

Last night was different -I remembered! In the dream, Von Miller and I were on some kind of reality show team. (I wonder where my brain got that idea??) We won a prize of some sort.  In the dream, He taught me archery (?!?),  convinced me to get a tattoo of an arrow, and in this dream, he funded my team in training fundraising season. Hahahaha….here’s the link 😉 http://pages.teamintraining.org/rm/lvrnr16/HCollins#My-Fundraising-Page

The funny, to me, part is that I only know  a few things about Von – he  is apparently pretty good at football and he’s on Dancing with the Stars. To be honest-the first thing I think of, though, when I hear his name in the media is Von’s Vision. What a great mission and what a great inspiration. Since this is my “Go Big” year….I want to be in a position someday when I can give so much back to my community! 

Ok. The funniest dream I’ve ever had is still the one about saving myself from a squadron of flying, twinkling, vampire turkeys by folding my laundry….

Leave it! 

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Some of you may have picked up that I’m struggling (again) with some anxiety and depression. I don’t always talk about it, but feel ok sharing on social media. Go figure! 

Mantra’s work for me when I’m running: you’ve got this, just make it to one more tree, strong lungs, strong legs, etc. So, I’ve been searching for a new mantra to use when I feel anxious. The old ones are now too much like an old movie you’ve seen way too many times and don’t pay attention to anymore… 

As I was leaving the house today, I found my mantra! The front door was closing and I was dashing to my bus when I caught a glimpse of something out of place on the counter. No big deal to anything but my anxious mind… Instinctively, I said forcefully out loud “Leave it!” And off I went, a happy commuting camper! It doesn’t work for my dogs…but it works for me!  

Now…I just need to start training these little stinkers to follow commands!