Anxiety attacks …

Yesterday I had a full blown anxiety/panic attack.

But I can happily say it’s been almost a year since I’d experienced one. None at all. And I’d been having them daily (or more). Life fell apart two years ago and I’ve pretty much spent the past two years trying to rebuild myself, my health, and my life.

Anyway, I was feeling good about how long I’d been panic attack free. And then, WHAM-O! Another anxiety attack hit in the same afternoon. So I planned a quiet evening at home watching something funny on TV. And lots of mindfulness.

And breathing. Breathing’s always good.

One reason I wanted to start posting on this blog again is that I’ve been learning a lot lately about caring for my health (mental, physical, emotional) and I thought perhaps some of the things I’m learning may be helpful to others.

For example, someone may not have anxiety attacks, but they might deal with social anxiety.  Or nervousness speaking in front of a classroom.  Or … ?  There are so many anxiety-riddled events in our lives.  I’m finding that things I learn for dealing with my more severe symptoms are also helpful in similar — but less severe — experiences, as well.

I may add something to the About Me page detailing a little bit about my journey the past two years so I don’t have to repeat myself.  Then I can just include a link in future posts for new readers.  Whatever I write about it, though, will probably be pretty vague.  I try to be careful about not sharing things online about other people that could cause readers to think poorly of them, and because the events deal with people who were close to me, I want to respect them and not share details about their lives that I know they wouldn’t want me to share.  There are always multiple sides to every story, and since this is my blog, I’ll share my story and avoid sharing others’.

Okay, onward and upward.  Have to go do dishes.  🙂

~Debi

PS:  I’m going to include a photo with each post, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the post.  This is a street in Tacoma, Washington.   The Grand Cinema is a little independent theater (to the left) that I go to fairly often, and the tables on the sidewalk are for a cute little coffeeshop where I usually go either before or after seeing a film.  So I’m well acquainted with this corner.

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The Accidental Vegetarian …

People often threaten to eat my bunny. 😦

I’ve been unable to eat beef for many years. The doctors never figured out why. It isn’t an allergy. It’s not a general digestive issue. Just beef. So the easiest way to deal with it was to stop eating it. Believe me, it caused me so much pain if I did eat it, you might as well just take me out back and put me out of misery. I literally passed out from the pain, it was so severe. Ended up being the easiest food item I’ve ever given up (although I do sometimes miss a good medium-rare steak or a juicy hamburger).

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I was about to bite into a chicken drumstick and suddenly all I could think was, “I’m about to take a bite out of someone’s leg.” I set the drumstick down and haven’t eaten chicken since. Just the thought of it makes me ill.

I was talking with a friend of mine who’s a vegetarian (pescatarian, actually … she eats fish) about my sudden aversion to chicken. I knew she could relate. She looked at me and said, “You might as well become a vegetarian. There’s really only one thing more you’d need to give up. Pork. You already don’t eat beef. And now you don’t eat chicken.”

Well, pork is one of those things I try to trick myself into eating. My friend, Kristina, has a lovely pet pig named Priscilla and if a slice of bacon actually looked like it had been cut from Priscilla’s body, I wouldn’t eat it. But you know how denial works. It’s bacon. It’s not pig.

Yeah, right.

So here I am, realizing that I think I’ve always been a vegetarian at heart. But with a major case of denial. I know it’s not for everyone and I would never try to convince someone else to live by my personal decisions, but I think it’s time for me to live by my own personal feelings.

But I find that now I can’t even stand the smell of chicken (raw or cooked). It smells like something dead. It had been starting to taste that way to me, too.

I even asked my Facebook friends (many of whom are vegetarians), “How long does a person have to go without eating meat before they can call themselves a vegetarian?” Basically they all laughed at me. Nicely. One said I could call myself a flexitarian.

Anyway, technically I guess I’m now a ovo-lacto-pescetarian rather than a vegetarian. I eat eggs, dairy, and fish. Partly because I can’t eat some meat, partly because I don’t want to eat some meat, and partly to reduce my carbon footprint. Yeah, even my impact on the earth comes into my thinking. One thing I’ve discovered since giving up meat is that it’s nice to not be in denial about eating anymore. I don’t have to have internal arguments with myself about whether I want to eat bacon or sausage with my eggs.  The decision’s already made for me.

Honestly, I always sort of thought of vegetarians as being legalistic about their food choices, but I’ve found for myself it’s not legalism so much as it is freedom. Which is sort of surprising to me.

And I want to gently repeat myself, just to make sure it’s clear. This isn’t a message saying everyone should do as I do, foodwise. It’s more of a statement about being true to you, whoever and whatever that might entail. You’ll most likely find freedom in being true to yourself.

And also, it may be time to write another Frozen Assets cookbook since the other books were pretty heavy in meat recipes.  Do I see a project in my future?  😉

Until next time!

~Debi

PS: Play nice in the comment section. This is just my personal experience. Your mileage may (will) vary.

Last week on Facebook …

Nothing too exciting on my Facebook feed this week.  Mainly memes and album covers (“Post the Covers of Your Top 10 Albums You Still Listen To”).

I had a pretty quiet stay-at-home, avoid-all-people sort of week.  Although I did take myself to the symphony one evening, and then took advantage of sunny day and drove up to the University of Washington (Seattle) to enjoy the blooming cherry trees on the Quad.   More photos below.

Here are the highlights (such as they are):

  • Went on Youtube to look up something quickly, and after getting thoroughly distracted, I now know how to do make-up for women over 50, I’ve seen a cow who lives in someone’s house, I’ve learned to style short hairstyles (I have long hair), I’ve watched debates over the pros and cons of getting eyebrow tattoos (that would be a no for me), and I watched a parrot talk to a banana. Yes, my week is complete. Thank you, Youtube!
  • Possible TMI to follow. I inhaled a piece of granola bar. Coughed so hard, it felt like my lungs were going to bleed. Scary thing to inhale crunchy scratchy hard things. I hope it’s all out of there. I’m exhausted.
  • Just finished re-reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. After living through the past couple of years of my life, I have a completely different perspective on the book. I think it’s going to take me a while to process this. I have a feeling this is going to get processed with lots and lots of writing. I’ve already started a file for whatever comes out of this. I may go back and reread the book again but take notes this time. So many times I found myself thinking things like, “Yes, but for me it was different.” Every life is different. It’s interesting to see how different people with different personalities and different emotions and different circumstances can still wind up in somewhat similar situations.

Last night I watched the live production of Jesus Christ Superstar on NBC.  I’ve seen many productions of the show over the years.  Many.  Very many.  And I found this morning when I woke up that I had opinions about almost every scene and every actor/actress.  I may take notes of my thoughts and write it up as a review of sorts later today.  Spoilers:  I enjoyed it.  More spoilers:  I didn’t love it.  😉

Hope everyone out there is doing well this week.  Feel free to leave a comment.  What book(s) have your read recently that made an impact?  What are your top ten albums you still listen to?  What’s the silliest thing that’s distracted you on YouTube or Facebook lately?  What flowers/trees are blooming in your area?

Love hearing from you all!

~Debi

Here are the promised photos:

 

What’s up … ?

This seagull photo has nothing to do with this post. I just wanted to share it.  One of my favorites from this year, so far.  🙂

A friend on Facebook asked everyone what they’re doing in their current stage of life. It brought up some interesting comments and discussion, so I thought I’d try it on here.

What stage of life are you in? What do you do for a living (paid or not)? What is your life’s current focus? What are you passionate about?

I’ll go first:

Recovery from unimaginable loss, regaining health and strength (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual), looking for hope, searching for meaning, staying alive, thinking, reading, pondering.

You know, just the average daily stuff.  And:

I’ve actually been on a bit of a health-related disability leave from work-related activities while I focus on recovery and strength. It’s been a rough couple of years. I have a couple of writing projects in the planning stages, so I’m hoping those will become more of a focus as 2018 progresses.

So, how about you? Where are you at?

I’d love to restart the conversations that used to happen on this blog back in the good old days. There are some great people out there.

~Debi

O, mighty leaf hunter …

My cat Pye’s favorite thing to hunt is dry Rhododendron leaves which he then brings into the house to give to me. Sometimes he even hides them in my blankets on my bed. Which usually involves a squeal or scream when I crawl into bed at night and feel something hard and crackly in my sheets.

Since I’d been battling a stomach bug this past week, I hadn’t really been able to pick up around the house. Yesterday, I made a point to find all the leaves he’d brought in just to see how much had accumulated over four or five days.

Following is a photo of Pye’s special stash. This is just from this week.

When I laid the leaves out so I could take the photo, Pye came over and sat next to the leaves. He was so proud and I imagine quite thrilled that I finally appreciated his hunting trophies enough to photograph them.

DSCN4055

Love my goofy, leaf-hunting fur-baby.

~Debi