Thursday, October 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday Track‬: Is This Love

My Throwback Thursday Track‬ is "Is This Love" a song by Bob Marley and the Wailers, released on his 1978 album Kaya. I personally love the line "I'm willing and able/ So I throw my cards on your table!"

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Howl

I have half-read novels and shiny coffee mugs and stories I wrote down and stories I lived. There's even a story I started writing about you 2 years before you passed through earth into the sky. I never saw beauty and light be ravaged and extinguished as heart achingly fast in my life. I gave up trying to help you and had to close the curtains. Every night you were aching and restless I wish you stayed home. Every day you wanted to feel better, I wish you battled it out until you could walk in the sunlight without needing to get high, higher than 29 shiny yellow birthday balloons you'll never see. I'll never know why you left us in July but it was only now, in October, I feel close to tears every day. When I'm driving that stretch of highway to work I think about you. You really are gone. The finality of it all is stark and cold like standing alone on a stage with no audience, no script, no lights. You left when the hydrangeas were the most beautiful blue and now they are gone. Replaced by imperfect, veiny, red or yellow leaves on the ground. The outdoor patios of July are closed off, now. There's scarecrows and harvest moons and cold, dark nights. There's something about the howl of the Autumn night winds that remind you of past lives, loves, and losses. It'll remind you Summer was just a couple of sunny avenues away. But you wrote the end of your story sloppy and disjointed, closed the pretty ballerina jewelry box and left us with late season sunflowers and the howl of an Autumn wind.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursday Throwback Track: Lately

Thursday Throwback Track Track‬ is Lately by Divine which came out in 1998. Such a lovely song that I often forget about and when I hear it all I wanna do is replay it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

House Projects, House Warming & Engagement Party

       I wrote about settling in to our new house and making it a home with fun projects and decor and also the excitement and planning of being engaged. Saturday, Sept. 26th we planned to have a house warming and engagement party. Of course, before then, there was plenty to do!

       My favorite project was our Instagram wall! Freddie and I printed out our favorite photos from our phones from instagram at Walmart. Easy and cheap to do at the Insta-Prints machine. We chose 4x6 and also bought plain black 4x6 frames also at Walmart. He did all the measuring! I love that our favorite people (and animal) is on display!

As time closed in, I started my hunt for cute invites to send out to the party. I have a huge family on my dad's side and I wanted to extend the invite. I found these cute cardboard price tag looking invites at Hobby Lobby.

The party was a great time! I loved having my family and friends over to see our house. I had so much fun, I took no pictures! But! We got lots of cards and gifts that we truly appreciate:

After the party we went back to work on my office and got it painted. Here's a little sneak peak:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Anxiety, Anxiety Meds and Breaking the Cycle.

                   I remember from a young age having anxiety, OCD, dissociation, depersonalization and panic attacks. I didn't know what they were called. I just thought it was just a part of me. There's a couple highlights in my youth that stuck out to me and I later identified as the beginning of my panic disorder/ocd/anxiety:

          1) When I was playing barbies after my mom's parents died. I was playing with my cousin Beth and my neighbor Aisyhu. I remember playing then all of a sudden looking around. I felt disconnected. I was so young and it was such a strange feeling.

            2.) I started obsessing over death, dying and what happens after people die. I went to Catholic school and was taught about heaven and hell. I stole a packet of seeds from Stop & Shop and for months couldn't sleep because I felt like I was going to hell. This same guilt plagued me when my dad made chocolate eclairs for my St.Mary's bake sale. I was embarrassed that my dad made them, not my mom like everyone else and hated how all the married PTA moms would swoon over him. I put his eclairs on the back of the table and they hardly sold (except said PTA moms bought them). I felt so guilty about being embarrassed I couldn't sleep,again, for months. I'd go over and over and over in my head about it. Why would I do that? I'd think. My obsession with dying was non-stop. I remember playing at the park and looking at my cousin Kate and thinking "why can't I be normal like her? Why can't I have fun? Why am I in second grade and constantly thinking over and over about death and dying?" I'd cry in class or randomly at home about it. I remember it got the point where my parents were concerned for me. I had no answers why I was so scared to the point of tears about it. I remember watching Global Guts and all of sudden the "bad thoughts" about death occured and I couldn't stop crying. My dad took me to the couch and talked to me, comforted me that I was okay, that he was okay that everyone was okay, that I was not dying anytime soon nor was he. I stopped obsessing over it after that even when he did pass away two years later.

 After my father died, I had depression and sleep disturbances but I didn't identify with having anxiety at all, not until I was about 13/14 I realized what it was and finally figured out what the hell was wrong with me. Starting high school, every time I'd sit down for Psychology class (which is just so strangely poetic) I started feeling like I couldn't swallow, my hands would get clammy, I'd be scared I was drugged. I'd want to run out of class, I'd be on the verge of tears. There was a kid who was clearly on drugs that use to write on my hands or this bitchy girl that use to tell me that this kid with blue hair had a crush on me and when he told her she told me "I was like really, her?" Aside from the asshole kids surrounding me, the class was about learning about what the hell is going on in our minds and my mind just couldn't take it. My friend Kristen insisted that all these things were panic attacks. I finally told my therapist all the weird things that I felt, I was scared to because I thought I was out of my mind. She said it was anxiety and panic attacks and ocd.

                 I spent the rest of my life until 19 battling through it. Then Christmas break my freshman year of college happened. My mom and I went to Nashville and coming back, the plane went through turbulence. It was like a movie: the plane was shaking back and forth, lights flickering and the oxygen masks dropped down. I was paralyzed with fear. I remember the plane landing and I swear to god it felt like we were skating so fast on the track we were going to crash and burn. But we didn't. After I couldn't sleep and my whole body went numb. I don't know what set it off but for the rest of my break, I was completely paranoid, crying and drinking wine to help me sleep. Finally my mom took me to the doctor. I had cut my long blonde hair. I had bags under my eyes. I felt like I was having a mental breakdown. I told him everything and he prescribed me ativan. I was too scared to take it at first. Then, I finally did and it worked. I still had panic attacks but finally I could take something that would take it away and I'd feel normal. I didn't feel loopy or high or euphoric. Just content. 

           I'm not exactly sure when it became a dependency. But If I had to pinpoint it, it would be around the time I started working at AT&T. Being on a sales floor got to me. I'm not a competitive person and seeing my numbers ranked to everyone elses just put me on edge everyday. Some people thrive on this work environment - I don't.  I'd be talking to customers and feel drugged or like I was dying and run in the back and take 4 or 6. I stashed pills in my desk. I was making tons of money so when I did run out I'd ask a friend and buy some. At that time I fell in love and moved to Mississippi. It was a disaster, I was alone and heartbroken in a city and state I didn't know. I quit my job for him, I moved away so i didn't have insurance. I found it incredibly hard to find anyone down south who would take me seriously. Mental illness, it seemed, was not as understood as it was where I was from. I was looked at as an addict trying to get drugs. Finally after being employed with insurance I went to the doctor twice - the second time I told myself I need to get my meds. I cried and cried and flipped out, hyperventilated until she believed me. But the pressure of living alone, paying bills in a state by myself an no help got to me. Eventually my boss suggested her therapist and I started getting two scripts. I'd take one then when I ran out, I'd take the other one. I knew it was illegal, yet I still don't think I was an addict. I just thought my anxiety is severe. I kept running out earlier and earlier.

        I moved back to CT, I was in a new relationship. It was nice but we broke up. I felt I had no foundation. I was depressed living back at home, I was waitressing at a place that encouraged their staff to spend their money at their bar. I was drinking a ton. I made a whole lot of mistakes and would get wasted. Ativan was still in my system. Months later, I ended up in a toxic relationship for two years. We drank and fought and I'd take ativan and he'd take god knows what. We had great chemistry but when we were intoxicated it became abusive and ultimately violent. During our relationship, my drinking and ativan use got very scary. I became suicidal at one point and took a whole bunch and drank at bar in town. My friends knew and luckily I woke up. Even after that, I'd wake up hungover and read disturbing suicide notes I wrote in the memo part of my iPhone. Reading it made me so worried about myself. I needed help - bad. I believed the awful things he said but there was something in me that was telling me to keep moving forward.

       When he moved away, I took the time to rebuild myself, heal myself. I took lots of pictures and read. I stopped writing. I focused on my photography and enjoying nature. I lowered my drinking to once a week. At that time, I was hanging out with Freddie. We talked, commiserated, went to shows and on Fridays, drink and dance. It was nice. Eventually we ended up in a relationship. We broke up for some time and when we got back together he was dead set on helping me with my anxiety. I'm 5'6 and at this time I was 118 pounds. My mom had two brain aneurysms this March. I got the call from my brother Connor at work she was unconscious and it turned my life around. (A post will be coming about that) I saw her in the ER then left to pick up benzos and came back. I started controlling my weight by barely eating anything. I thought I had beat my anorexia but it came creeping back in. I tried to hide it but it was evident. I didn't look good and I was running through my meds quicker than ever. I didn't want to look malnourished and feel like I was dying. I let him take my ativan and dole out the recommended dosage every day. And something happened: I'd come home with 2 left, sometimes 3. It's been three months now and with prozac and taking the right amount of ativan, life has been good. Are there times I'd like to take more? Yes.  But I don't. When I drink, I drink casually and don't end up blacked out. It's just a fun, lighthearted time. I went back to writing and creating. I still have attacks. They'd always happen yet they'd feel so foreign. Now, I recognize it's a panic attack. I'm happy my life is in control. 

                    This has been a very long, deeply personal post. I hope it helps someone. I never EVER though I'd be able to conquer my dependency because my anxiety is very real, very scary. But I did and life is so much brighter. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

After the Proposal

       I left off my blog post Settling In with the news that I'm engaged. It's very exciting. It's a whirlwind. For years I've pinned to my pinterest board and even before that I had visions of what my wedding day would like. To be honest, after having a turbulent relationship for 2 years I felt that my wedding dreams were just that: dreams. I didn't think I'd ever fall in love to the point I'd want to share my life with someone. But I have found that, and it's blissful. I know weddings are by far more than tulle, lace, mason jars, white lights and goddess bohemian fairy dreamy dresses. I know they are more than that, they are about the vows and coming together as one for the rest of your life. But all the pretty stuff is just soo fun! :) 

After telling family and friends, I decided who I wanted to be in my wedding party. My friend Kate would be the Maid of Honor and my friends Sarah, Nikki and Danielle would be the bridesmaids. I quickly went to Michael's craft stores (and then Marshall's) to make a Maid of Honor box for Kate and pick up some wedding magazines and a wedding book.

Everything was from Michael's except the mug (Marshalls). I included a small mason jar, two pairs of socks and a note "Two pairs of socks, one for you and one for me if I get cold feet!", a pink bedazzled compact mirror and a picture frame. I went to Marshall's and picked up the mug. I presented her the box (she had already said yes) when we went out to dinner. She surprised me by bringing Nikki and they both got me a wedding magazine and a great wedding planner. 

After that, Freddie and I decided on a theme - Autumn Bohemian and possibly doing a Halloween costume party for the reception. This Saturday, my mom and I went dress shopping. 

She heard there was a sale at David's Bridal so we went there. They have a stylist working with you and the ask you what style you like. I had three dresses picked out for me:

I loved, loved, loved the third dress. The detailing was exquisite, the beaded cap sleeves were so lovely and detailed. Just writing about it, I want it. But my mom and everyone else brought me down to earth: I still have time, there's still many, many other places. I love it but I'm going to enjoy the process of dress shopping with my mom and friends and Freddie (if he wants, but I'd love for him to come!) and if my heart tells me the third dress is it, well then it is!

More shots of the third dress:

( The bra ruins it, ha! )

It's been fun so far and Kate and I have a pinterest board for ideas for the wedding. Right now, I'm remembering to soak in each day. I feel really happy in my relationship. A year goes by fast and I want to enjoy the planning too. It's a lot to do and I just want it to be fun!