Thursday, December 30, 2010

What it is like.

I have been told numerous times lately that it is beneficial to try and see other people's viewpoints. This may seem simple to most people and just like a "duh" kind of thing but to me its difficult. It has nothing to do with what I want for myself and more to do with how my mind interprets information. But I am slowly relearning some things and working on it. But that isn't really what this post is about. But this idea of see other people's perspective and putting myself in their shoes for a moment has made me ponder if people who don't have anxiety know what it is like.

I can't begin to explain what having an anxiety disorder is like so that people "get it". But maybe I can share someone else's experience that maybe you haven't thought of. Or maybe you absolutely know exactly what I mean. Whichever case... this is just what I feel like writing about today.

I hate when people are late. Like... loathe it. It is borderline obsessive how upset I get. At about 5 minutes past our meeting time, my heart starts racing, my throat starts closing up, my head starts spinning with thoughts.  It is not that I want to be rude or lose friends. It is that I literally am terrified when someone is late. They have gotten hit by a car, or their child was kidnapped, or they are being held hostage at a bank... I have a hard time keeping my thoughts under control. She caught all of the stop lights red or she got held up in a slow line at the convenience store or she had to go get gas before heading my way... those seem like logical enough thoughts except they are never the ones that come.

I also can't be late. It, too, is obsessive. And the anxiety is a bit different. I start feeling overwhelmed, nauseous, irritable, angry and upset when I run late. My hands start sweating, head pounding, sometimes if I think I 'might' be late... there are tears. I have actually told my counselor before that if I am late for a session she should probably call my husband or the police because it would really be an emergency if I were late. I just can't handle it. I feel like I am being a disappointment, that I am holding people up, that I am setting myself up for an odd social experience. I start to feel like I am being rude and that people will judge me or won't ask me to do things with them anymore.

And social stuff... yea, I pretty much hate it all. It is all overwhelming and scary. What if she doesn't like me, what if I spill something, what if I have nothing to talk about. I am stupid, I don't have a degree, I hate feeling judged. Sweaty, sick, avoidant. Shy... I don't like talking to new people. It is so hard. Crowds freak me out. What if there is a fire when I am in a crowd. All I can think of is that episode from Seinfeld where George is running out of his girlfriends sons birthday party pushing over all the kids and old ladies to save himself. And I am short so I just feel like I am all closed in.

And family, my family is like the source of so much fear and anxiety. What if I die? What if one of them dies? What if no one likes my sons and they hate school and... What if my husband leaves me? How can I handle something like that (so not even a legitimate fear just so anyone knows... that is a huge part of why anxiety sucks... most of it is not logical, I just can't stop my brain)? What if someone kidnaps my children? What if someone hurts them?... I literally do not leave my kids with anyone. I have when it was absolutely necessary... like when I had a baby or when I had surgery but I have so much fear and anxiety about leaving them with people. I know they are mostly safe with me. That I won't hurt or abuse them. That Daddy won't hurt or abuse them. But I was abused by a babysitter in various ways so I know there is distrust there that comes from somewhere but it doesn't mean its logical for me now.

This is the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on and on. My mind just runs like a crazy fool into the land of scary. And if it were as easy as just thinking differently, I would do it. I do take medication that helps somewhat but it just never completely fades and if I get too quiet I start worrying again. I have tried praying, I have tried meditation and working out and they all only help... while I am doing them.

Not that I want people to feel sorry for me. Because that would suck. But I do want people to understand anxiety and how it affects people a little better... maybe? I don't want to worry. I am envious of how my husband can put things on a shelf and say "there is nothing i can do about it, I will think about it when it happens." But all you can do is work on it right... slowly but surely it gets a little better, a little less overwhelming. I even let someone be 10 minutes late the other day and didn't cry :) Not that I want it to happen again or anything but its a step in the right direction.

I do really want to be able to understand people better and I want to be more honest so people can understand me better. I guess that is part of healing and figuring it all out. If I have been a pain in the butt to you in the past with how stubborn I can be on some subjects, I am sorry. I am trying to be more... I don't know... empathetic. It takes time and unlearning a lot of stuff and replacing it with healthy stuff so give me some time but I am trying.

Wow, long super rambling kind of post. Sorry about that.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I am learning a lot about myself. Starting to figure out what is truly important to me and what is meaningless. Starting to learn how I actually feel instead of covering it up with pleasing everyone. Addressing all the hard stuff in my past and even present and putting them in their place, assigning feelings and emotions, and working... legitimately... through them. 

One thing that i have learned through this is that expectations get you in trouble. Not that I am good at letting go of expectations yet. In fact, I suck at it. But I want to get better and am working on figuring out how to get my expectations for people lower. It is two-fold... I want to get hurt less. Even if I can meet the expectations I set for others, it is hurtful to me when they can't. It is so hard to have people in your life that you can't even hold reasonable expectations on because they can't come near meeting them. I feel like I am babying them because I literally have to strip down everything I had thought and expected before to nothing. And ideals get in the way too. Family "should" do this or family "should" do that. Family should never speak to me that way or they should respect my feelings and needs. Or they should not hit below the belt because they are angry (by the way, I really think its ridiculous to attack someone's beliefs because you disagree with how they are behaving... it is a low blow and I may have a very hard time getting over it). And it is hard and frustrating. I want to be able to have relationships that I can depend on and where I don't have to do so much teaching and boundary setting. I desperately want normal but that is an absolutely unreasonable expectation. So my expectations set me up to get hurt a lot. But also the high expectations give me an easy out for relationships. It is a protection mechanism. I have these expectations and once you piss me off... I can pretty easily write you off. Unreliable, untrustworthy, liar, incompetent... it leads to lots of judging on my part. And I realize these are learned behaviors and they will take a while to unlearn but I am so done. I just wish I could get it. That things would click and I would be able to make friends and that I would be able to accept my family for what it is. Manage relationships in ways that are healthy for me and not feel obligated to others. 

One of my 12 steppers (I have two amazing women in my life in recovery and I refer to them as 12 stepping me when they pull out things they learn in the 12 step program :)) told me the other day that "expectations are resentments waiting to happen". And when I look back on my life I see that pretty clearly. Especially as an adult... most of the time I get upset or angry with someone is when they don't meet my expectations. Even if my expectations are low... it is not my job to enforce expectations on others. I mean I can set boundaries, I can back away from the relationships, I can stand up for what I feel is right... but I can't push my own morals and views onto other people. That is their choice and I have to find a way to let other people handle their own "stuff" without feeling so hurt by it. And I also need to figure out how to give people 2nd chances so I can make friends. I need to stop dismissing people for mistakes. 

A friend of mine and I had dinner together the other night. One thing we discussed is knowing when its time to have children. She has been married for a bit over a year. And she said to me that she was scared of loving another person because she is scared that they will... not always be there (the particular conversation was referring to death)... but it struck a chord with me because I feel the same way. My fears hinge on something different but they are very similar. I am terrified of being abandoned. I am scared to death to get close to people and have them leave me or hurt me or disappoint me in ways that can't be repaired. It is pretty much all I have known. My husband and best friend are really the only two people I trust not to do that. And sometimes I even doubt that pretty strongly. And I am not sure, today, how to get past that fear. I want to badly because I really want to work on having relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial to me and the other parties... I just don't know how yet. I keep reminding myself that it is a process. So I am going to keep pushing and keep learning about myself and... try to lower my expectations. Even if just a little at a time, I will be moving toward some of my goals.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I had been expecting a package to come in the mail for my boys for about a week. On Thursday night the doorbell rang and I peeked out the blinds and saw that the ups man had just made a delivery. I was very excited to go get the gifts that were being delivered to my little men. Ooohh... pretty plasma cars. They are not from me and MW so I was even going to let them open them that night. We were planning on having a fun time trying them out! I went outside and the ups guy yells to me that he put the package behind my door. I went and picked it up and was rather confused because it was 1 very small package. Not heavy at all like I expected the gifts to be. I walked inside and went into my room to open the box stealthily in case I had forgotten another Christmas gift that was being delivered to our house. When I opened the box I found the weirdest box I think I have ever seen. It had a hamster on it with a helmet and like this hamster wheel and bolts and a rocket with fire coming out of it. Well take a look for yourself. I was very confused. I slowly opened the box very curious about what could be inside. And it was google's new Cr-48 notebook! It was pretty. No logos, tiny, light. I was excited!

On December 9th, I think, my husband messaged me and told me I needed to apply for this pilot program google was doing to test out their new operating system (Chrome OS). He gave me this long tech nerd story about why he couldn't and suggested that I might be part of a unique demographic they could use. So I applied. Two days later people were getting their notebooks and we had nothing. We assumed I wasn't chosen and went on about life. Which is why I was very confused by the package. I had completely forgotten about it. Anyway, I did a happy dance. My desktop is seriously about to implode. And honestly, trying to figure out how to get the money for a new computer wasn't seeming like a top priority right now so I was just going to have to make do.

Anyway, I have been playing with the Cr-48 for a few days now and have some initial thoughts...
1) It is FAST. It boots fast, it wakes fast. You close the notebook and as soon as you open it... like within a second it has woken up and returned to your screen.
2) it is tiny and portable. 12.1 in screen, sleek, light. I think it weighs like 3 lbs. Not quite as small as a netbook but not nearly as bulky as a heavy duty laptop. The resolution is awesome too. I think its a really nice size. I have seen and fiddled with some netbooks and they are just tiny.
3) full size keyboard with individually spaced keys. Love the keyboard. So easy to get used to and type on. I like that the keys are individual buttons.
4) Google Chrome. Great browser... you can synchronize everything in chrome. The apps are easy to get to and use. I was worried when things turned on and the only thing on the computer was a web browser. It takes a minute to get used to but you really can do 99% of what you use a computer for on the web. Well me anyway, there are a lot more people who use computers for way more complicated stuff that facebook, shopping, communicating and educating small children. Obviously a notebook like this is not going to be conducive to programs like photoshop or lightroom. But once I learned how to find apps that were useful, I was up and doing all the things I do on my desktop pretty easily.
5) Battery life. This little puppy can get up to 8 hrs of battery life when in use. Up to like 8 days in sleep mode. That is insane. I have used it all day without plugging it in once. It really is travel friendly because of that.
6) No caps lock! Ha, yea I think this is cool. They replaced the caps lock with a search key. I am a fan. If you must needs caps lock though there is a keyboard shortcut to get to it. Although I never use caps so I couldn't tell you what the short cut is.

1) Wifi only. That pretty much speaks for itself. The laptop only connects to the internets via Wifi or 3g network (although we do get a small amt of data free from verizon every month for 2 years but... a tiny amount. Any more and that is a pretty penny to pay).
2) The OS is web based. So if you are not connected to the internet, it is not of much use. Not a huge deal... you can find wifi if you need it pretty much anywhere. But, even writing documents and such is done through the web based OS right now. I think they are working on tasks like that being able to be done without the internet though. This operating system is in the testing stages so I am sure there will be lots of changes and more to learn about as I go.
3) Buggy... and will be as they test and fix and test and fix. But that is part of testing a new operating system.

So far I like it. It is way simple and if you live on the web it will be perfect for that. Its weird. There are no desktops or files or anything you are used to. Just a browser. But it really hasn't taken long to get used to at all. I am sure I will have more opinions later as things improve but so far I am impressed with the ease of use. I am not a "tech nerd" like most of the people who got these. I am a mom that blogs and uses the computer to teach my curious 4 year old about all of lifes most pressing questions. But I do live with a tech nerd so he is helping me navigate the waters so it is working out very well.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A big change

I only have the time and or... energy to discuss one huge life altering event at a time. And since there are plenty of them going on in my life right now... I guess you just have to wait in suspense. Or something like that. I highly doubt anyone actually waits in suspense for me to update my blog but I can dream. Ha!

Anyway, I guess the real story starts back in October. I was working on telling my family big stuff and writing letters and doing all sorts of stuff in counseling. Just a lot of stuff going on... when I got an email from my biological father. To me, it was complicating an already complicated time. I am angry with him and don't understand what is going on at all. The email basically said that he has been thinking about us (me and my brothers) and that he was interested in meeting up with me in December to explain everything or answer questions or just to... try and see if we can get to know one another. He wanted to be in my life and in the life of my family. I was pissed. I hadn't seen him for 20 years. He missed everything important in my life. Christmases, graduations, basketball games, my wedding, the birth of my kids, trips to mcdonalds... anything as big or small as you can imagine, he missed. He was completely absent in my life throughout my entire childhood. I did not at all understand any of it. Why now? Why if he changed his life 15 years ago... why not then? There are just so many questions going through my head. It is all so confusing. And I sat on it and stewed on it for a good long time. Well over a month of just thinking about it. Spending lots of time talking to my younger brother, counselor and husband about it. Getting angry, getting hopeful, getting confused and frustrated. I feel like my younger brother is the only person in the world who understands me right now and I just kept talking to him about it. Getting angry together... cooling off together.

Then I came to a point of... I am trying to change some of the things in my personality and life that have held me back from relationships. I am trying to change my black and white thinking. I am trying to see more sides of the situation than just mine and open up to the fact that sometimes there is more than one right. I am trying to become open minded and more forgiving. There are several people in my life who I have given chance after chance after chance to. Why can't I give him a chance to show me that he has changed and is sincere. With no expectations. I don't expect to get a dad out of this. Most of me feels like that ship has sailed. But, I could have some sort of relationship with him that works for us. And my kids could gain someone in their lives who will hopefully care for them and be good to them. So why can't I just meet with him and let him explain? Why can't I let him give my boys a Christmas gift if he wants to do that? Why can't I try and put the past behind me and really, genuinely try and get to know who he is now? There was really no good reason that I could think of. I was acting out of hurt and fear and anger. My first reaction was all frustration and anger. But it wasn't logical and it wasn't a reaction that took what I am trying to do with myself into play. Once I realized my brother was warming up to the idea and starting to feel like maybe we should give him a chance to explain, I pretty much knew that is what I needed to do. So my younger brother and I are going to go have lunch with a man that we haven't seen in 20 years next week. A man that provided the genetics to bring us into this world but that neither of us know. And I am scared and nervous and scared. But I will have my brother with me for support and he makes me feel safer. He has made me feel understood lately when no one else has been able to. And I know its because we have been through so many of the same things together. We genuinely do understand what its like.

I figure... what is the worst that can happen? The worst that can happen is I find out he hasn't changed and is a jerk... and I don't have a relationship with him. But it brings closure to the whole thing. I already haven't had a relationship with him for most of my life. So the worst that can happen is things stay the same but I shut the door to a lot of unanswered questions. There is a whole list of better outcomes than that so I guess my odds are pretty good at a positive learning experience. I am hanging onto that. Keep us in your prayers and thoughts. Most likely we will be doing lunch on the 21st...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sicky boys

Sorry about the long break. My Super Muscles was very sill for almost a week. He is finally getting better and it looks like little bub has croup. So I am in the middle of juggling sick kiddos with all of life's other adventures. I do have some big life updates coming soon though. So... I know you are on the edge of your seat. I hope to update very soon. Just keep thinking and sending and praying good stuff for me right now. A lot going on. A lot of challenges and new experiences to come. I will post more when I have some time. I am going to try and get sleep though while the small child is finally sleeping (poor bubs had to fall asleep upright on me tonight before I could lay him down for bed).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grief comes in waves

The other day I was adding some items to our registry like I do every year. Our families really like having this so they have ideas about what we need and would like. They don't live close so this really helps everyone out in many ways. Anyway, I went to the page and signed in... and I saw that the last visitor to my registry had been MW Grandfather. And I just sat there and cried for a while. Sad that he won't be picking out the boys' Christmas gifts this year. Every year since we had Super Muscles, Papa had picked out their Christmas and birthday gifts. It is just what he did. They never really bought anyone else gifts. They gave cards and money to their children and grandchildren. But he loved picking out gifts for our boys. After that I was getting Slobber Rocket's shoes on and they were the gift that Papa had picked out for him last year. His very first pair of sneakers. The shoes he learned to walk in. And since he is so tiny, he is just now starting to get real snug in these shoes and we have recently went up a half a size but he can wear these if his bigger shoes are hiding and that is what happened that day. And I just thought to myself, I am not sure if I can ever get rid of these cute blue stride rites. They were the last thing that he gave to my son. And it has all hit me like a wave... the first Christmas since I was 15 that I won't spend with this great man. With a man that had so much influence on my husband and the person he grew into.

The paintings on my wall that he did for us. The gift my husband gave me when we were 16. It was right after his grandfather started painting again after his stroke. It is a painting based off of a special place that we went the summer before. It was given to me on our first official date (I wasn't allowed to date alone until I was 16... pretty sure its a good rule and will be the rule for my children too). It reminds me of such a happy day in my life. And it was so special because it was the first painting of the MANY that he would paint over the next several years. My husband asked him for this and it sparked something in his grandfather... and it was something we would come to enjoy watching from then on out. Every time we would return home from college for a break, we would drop in and see the newest paintings. And the joy that he had creating something beautiful. And I love having a piece (or a few pieces) of that in my home. I miss him today. I am heartbroken that my boys will never know him the way I knew him. Funny and witty and charming and talented and smart.

But they will get to see him as we saw him through stories and memories. And I am sure my husband will bust out the "Hey stand up, I think you have something on you"... "While you are up, can you get me a soda?" haha... on our kids. His grandfather did that to me one of the first times I had dinner at their house. It was so funny, I still laugh about it. I was so confused. lol.

Like a wave... today I am a bit overwhelmed by the sadness that comes with losing someone you love so much. He wasn't biological family but he adopted me the day he met me. And treated me just like I had always been a part of his family. This Christmas is our first with out him and I know its going to be hard on so many people. I just wish there was more I could do to ease the pain for my family this holiday season. Love you all.