Black Friday

life-me-orlando-espinosaI had a panic attack on Friday. It came out of nowhere. I was just watching TV enjoying myself when BOOM! What the hell stress? Where’s your decency? My last panic attack was in December. I felt like things were going so well and then I get hit with a pretty bad panic attack. I laid in bed for at least 5 hours feeling like I was going to die. I tried to dial it back by taking rose root and some of the oatmeal drops that are supposed to help with nerves and then I did some yoga but it didn’t keep the panic attack from rolling over me. Maybe it made it less severe but still….

If I’m completely honest, I’m really disappointed and a bit sad about it. I bit the bullet today and called for a doctors appointment. I’m sure there’s some medication that I can take for when a panic attack hits. There must be something I can take if I have an attack so I don’t have to feel like I’m going to die. I can’t take care of myself in that state let alone my children. I look at my stress situation like a glass of water. Each day stress fills up my glass to a certain degree and each session of meditation or yoga, etc eearth-water2mpties the glass to a certain degree. Everything is fine as long as whatever I’m doing empties the glass faster than it fills but this last month, with my daughters long illness, the pressure to get the building done and the awful chaos which is work at the moment seem to fill my glass faster than I can empty it. I keep wondering when my life is going to calm down into some kind of quiet normalcy. I need normalcy to back off my stress levels. I know there’s this analogy going around that “put down that glass” but what if you can’t? What if you HAVE to deal with your child’s illness? What if you HAVE to deal with your kid having problems in school. You have to deal with the day to day things. Children need to eat and need clean clothes. There are some things you can put down and some things you can’t. I’ve really cut down on the things I do. I’ve cut out all extra curricular actives with the school etc. I don’t volunteer for anything anymore. The only extra thing I do is bass lessons and that’s purely for me and something I really enjoy and empties my glass so to speak. I don’t wash the sheets every week or do laundry every time the laundry basket is exploding. I don’t cook every day either. So you see, I’ve let go of a lot.

My life, I guess everyones life, goes in a cycle. It’s up and down all the time. When I first started experiencing stress symptoms, things were about as bad as they could get. My husband had lost his job. I had just had our 2nd child so the 1st child wouldn’t let me sleep during the day and the 2nd wouldn’t let me sleep at night. The income we had was tiny. Then I lost my job while on maternity leave. We were both unemployed and about to lose the house. We were also building our house at the time so talk about stress. High stress was my constant companion for a while. My husband was unemployed for 2 years and I went from job to job. My job security was terrible then. I never knew how long I’d have the job and if we’d be able to pay the bills. The good news is that both my husband and I got jobs and we didn’t lose the house but those years of stress had done their damage. I still had a temporary job and didn’t know where my next job would come from and then I did a dumb thing and studied for my Master’s Degree.

That did nothing good for my stress levels. At the end of my studies, my job also ended. Talk about stressful. I managed to get a new job through the graces of some really wonderful people that recommended me. The new job was not without it’s stressors. The first year was pretty awful as my boss didn’t really trust me and made my work life rather uncomfortable. Add on top of that building the house and taking care of little kids and well, not much reprieve from the stress monster. I finally have a steady job and it really was a job I liked until things were restructured and people were moved into positions they didn’t want. Now theres constant negativity at my workplace. Needless to say, it’s stressful at home and stressful at work. Where’s my reprieve? There are brief moments where things are great and normal, but I seem to have a lot a shit hitting my life fan if you know what I mean?

We’ll see what the doctor says tomorrow. I’m so tired of feeling like a hostage to stress. I deal with things pretty well but everyone has their limits and I’m at the point where I feel I need a little help. I would at least like something that I can lean on if I have an attack. At least then, I’d have a little security.

Classes for the week

  • Sunday: Pause. Breathe. Meditate
  • Monday: Yoga Nidra
  • Tuesday: Yoga Nidra
  • Wednesday: Yoga Nidra
  • Thursday: Yoga Nidra
  • Friday: Yoga for Stress & Anxiety
  • Saturday: Relax, Release & Reset and Drop Into Stillness

I really feel that Nidra isn’t enough anymore. I need classes that make my body release the stresses of the day as well as my mind. Nidra was great for relaxing the mind but I don’t think it does enough to release the tension that builds up on my body. So now it’s time to explore some new sessions.

I also signed up for Reiki Healing lessons. Have I lost my mind? Maybe. I want to check out every avenue. Who knows, maybe I can learn to heal my imbalances and then maybe help other people? I want to help other people like me. Normal people that have had just way too much adventure (not the good kind) thrown at them. I know life is going to get easier, I just need to wade my way through this part until I get there. You know what they say….”When you’re going through hell, just keep going.”


The Meds Don’t Work

I’ve got several friends that are taking medication for anxiety. I’ve always been just a little bit envious that my friends got medication but I didn’t get any. The doctor told me no and so did the psychiatrist. Their reasoning is that my attitude is too positive. I always thought that medication was the fix all for anxiety. Pop a pill and the attack slinks off into a corner and weeps a little, having had its hiney whipped by captain Xanax.

864362d0b90c14b9901b13a0d8ae05c4One of my friends (blessed with medication) told me that they had a major attack even though they had medication. This shook my belief system to the core. All this time I’ve been thinking that medication is the be all end all help to make the anxiety boogie man go away. Imagine my shock when I found out that you can still have attacks while on the meds. All of the sudden I’m not so ready to take a pill to tame anxiety. What’s a girl to do? Is there no escaping the big A? It’s a bit like feeling secure in knowing the emergency exit is near by only to find that it’s been bricked up.

I guess there’s only one thing to do. Keep going on my current path and not rely on medication as an alternative path. Nothing is for sure. You ever notice that medication and meditation are nearly identical words? Change out the ‘c’ for a ‘t’ and there you go. These weeks have been very busy, and frankly, I’m amazed that I’ve been pretty ok. I’ve had some days where breathing has been hard (can’t catch my breath) and my heart was beating in my ears but it was manageable. Lately, whenever i’ve been feeling like life was spinning out of control, I just think to myself, “None of this is real or truly important”. If you read the previous post about the holographic universe, you’ll know why.  In fact, I’ll share the video with you. It’s a five part series but it’s so worth it. You’re welcome.

This week (and the past several weeks) I’ve been doing a lot of building. I’m beginning to think my fingernails will never recover. The goal is to get the building done by the end of April so we’re in full insanity mode. Me and my husband are crazy non-stop building. My job has been tiling lately. Tiling adhesive stuff eats your fingers and your nails. I think when we’re all done, I’ll go have a manicure and pedicure to celebrate. Add a bottle of Champagne to that list. You can bet your ass I’ll be celebrating when I paint that last wall.

This week has been another week of Yoga Nidra. Building is all the exercise I need at the moment. My ass muscles hurt and I can feel every single joint in my body when I wake up in the morning. I think it’s safe to say I’m getting plenty of exercise. I would love to do some yin yoga though. That’s so lovely. I just need to find more time in my day. Generally I come home from work, cook food, go build, come down and put kids to bed maybe, build more and come down when I’m too exhausted to continue and then fall into bed. One benefit of doing Yoga Nidra is that you can do it in the bed under warm blankets. It really makes it easy to fall asleep. Sometimes I even fall alseep during the session. It keeps my head from thinking about all the crap I need to get done and all the crap I didn’t get done.

I just need to keep breathing. I know I’ll get through this phase of my life. In Finland, they have a really nice phrase for the years with young children. They’re called “ruhkavuodet”. That basically translates as busy years. How are people dealing with all the stuff going on? I’m just hanging on for dear life. I guess that’s why we have captain Xanax.

The Mother of All New Year’s Resolutions

Stress sneaks into your life. It’s insidious, and silent. At least in my case it was. I didn’t even know I was suffering from stress and thought I had some weirdo illness. My digestion was going crazy, I felt naseous and horrible. It went on for years without me even knowing what I was suffering from. That, in itself, made it even worse. Can you imagine feeling horrible all of the time and always thinking you must be sick?

Eventually, it got worse. It went from nausea to running to the bathroom all the time. Then I broke out in hives. My hair began to fall out and then the near end of the world arrived. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest and I struggled for air. I went to the emergency room thinking I was dying. The doctors didn’t find anything wrong with me and sent me home without any kind of diagnosis. I felt like I was being held hostage by my body and I felt let down by the doctors that basically looked at me like I was nuts. “You’re healthy. We can’t find anything wrong with you.”  It turns out, I had had my first massive panic attack.

Finally, a friend of mine, seeing and understanding what I was going through (she’d been through it too), recommended I see both a doctor and psychologist. Needless to say, I took her advice. Both the doctor and psychologist said that I wasn’t in need of medication but was suffering from acute stress and was basically just overloaded. That’s basically the really short version of whats gone on over the last 8 years and the beginning of a quest for balance. A little stress is ok but when it’s falling on you like bricks, it affects your ability to function and enjoy life. I dunno about you, but dang it, I love my life and I want to enjoy it without having to worry about how my body reacts to every little thing.

The funny thing is that my attitude is great. I laugh all the time and am annoyingly optimistic. Just ask anyone I know what I’m like on a Monday morning. They’ll tell you. Girl….she cray cray. Strangely though, my body reacts to things that happen during the day. I like to think of my ability to deal with stress like a glass. The glass can only hold so much. Once the glass is too full, I can no longer function. The body basically screams, NO MORE INPUT! and shuts down. I’ll bet there are TONS of people like me out there, too ashamed or afraid to talk about it. There’s this weird stigma surrounding stress. Having panic attacks does not make you crazy or less of a person. It just means you’ve had to deal with far too much for far too long.

Finally, I knew what I was dealing with. My evil foe had a name and, by George, I was going to look it in the face defeat it! I did lots of research. I found guided meditation with a professional the helped me to train and hopefully rewire my brain. That helped a lot by the way. There are lots of nice meditations in YouTube but you won’t find the meditations I learned there. Maybe I’ll share the things I’ve learned in later posts if anyones interested. Anyway..that brought me to yoga. I’m too cheap to buy a yoga studio membership,  but I wanted to try it. I’d heard so many good things about it. It’s good for the body, good for the mind, yada yada yada. I figured there might be something to it. Enter

I signed up for Yogaia about a year ago. I found that when I used Yogaia, I felt better but I was really inconsistent about it. That got me thinking. If doing yoga or mediation every now and again reduced my stress response, what would happen to me if I did a Yogaia class every single day for a year? Would my stress dissapear? Would my body look better? So here begins this crazy adventure and this beautiful blog. Tomorrow is the 1st of January. Let the craziness being.

For the record, Yogaia hasn’t paid me for any of this. I’m doing this for myself, for my health because, dang it, I love life and I want to get on living!