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New Day

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Good Morning!

I am running a little late this morning. My thoughts are a tad bit scattered. There is so much zipping around in my brain that it is taking a good amount of effort to get going today.

I have job interview today at 2 p.m. It is making me jumpy and of course, anxious. I need to get this job. The company I am interviewing with is a work from home company. Which I’ve attempted in the past. I wasn’t very successful with it. My anxiety crashed in all around me and I quit the job after the training period was over.

But, I need to work somewhere. Going out and physically working, is just not a real option for me. I worked the seasonal job and it just about killed me. I barely made it through. The more I worked the job, the more symptoms that I experienced. Every day I worked at the warehouse, the sicker I became. It would take me four days of rest and being home bound so that I could scrape through three days of work. The more I am outside of my home, the worse my physical condition gets. Everything makes me sick. I feel so trapped.

I can’t think about this now. I have to stay focused on coming up with a solution that allows me to work from home. I am brainstorming an online store and hoping it will be success this time. I am also hoping to get this customer service job. As much as I despise customer service work, I have no other choice at the moment.

Have a good day. I’ll be back tomorrow. Hopefully with good news.
Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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Seeing Things

Seeing is believing or so they say.

I have been searching for a way to articulate anxiety. It is something that I have great difficulty putting into words so that others can see a little of what it is like to live with anxiety. I believe that if you can catch a glimpse of what others are experiencing in their personal struggles then, more often than not, we find a little more compassion and  understanding for things we don’t completely comprehend. At least, I hope that’s the way it goes.

I can only speak for myself but the more I begin to understand my own struggles with PTSD and anxiety, the more I wish someone else would just say, I get it, I get you. Intellectually, I know that there are a lot of other people living their best life with PTSD and anxiety. I know, that I am not alone. Bold, honest truth is that sometimes what you feel trumps what you know and those are the moments when we long for someone to love, accept and understand our struggles.

This past week, I’ve spent a fair amount of time watching the BBC hit, Luther. Thanks to Netflix, I’ve been able to catch up on four series just as filming begins on series five of the show. During one of my late night binge sessions, I came face to face with anxiety. It was the episode where Justin Ripley has been taken hostage. He is being held by the demented villain, hanging from a noose in a dark, damp, stone tunnel. He’s been beaten, branded and left for dead with a plastic bag over his head. Miraculously, Justin Ripley frees himself and begins to run toward the rusty ladder and a creaky hatch door that is presumably leading to his freedom. Up the ladder he goes and boom…that is when I see anxiety.

In a split second, as Ripley reaches the top of the ladder, I think to myself, “Oh no, don’t go out there! You don’t know what is out there!” Slamming the hatch door open, he barges out into the streets on London and his freedom. I slump back on my chair and mutter, “Oh my gosh, that is what anxiety like…” I am stunned. Suddenly, I have a visual representation of what my PTSD and anxiety feels like.

Life with anxiety and PTSD is just like being held hostage, constantly tormented by a nasty villain, all the while knowing that to survive you must break free. When you muster the strength and make a bold dash for freedom, the what if’s stop you at the bottom of the ladder. You never make it to the top and throw open the hatch door. You are crushed by a fear, worry and long list of unknowns and what if’s at the very first rung. You can see the door. You can see the noose on the wall. You need to get out. You want to get out. You’re paralyzed just long enough for the boogey man to get you again and suddenly, you’re hanging by your neck staring up at that hatch door, summoning the strength and courage to make another mad dash for freedom.

Hostage. Break out. Collapse. Repeat. Once a day or ten times in a day. It doesn’t really matter. To accomplish anything against anxiety and PTSD, you inevitably have to do it a hundreds times before you reach the top of a rusty ladder and find your freedom.

You see, I’m not trying to fail. I’m not the big screw up that you told me I was. I am not incompetent at life. I’m just a little tired. I’ve broken free a hundred times just to make a phone call. I’ve scrambled down a long, dark, damp tunnel repeatedly just to make a social event at Christmas. I’ve stood sobbing at the bottom of my rusty ladder under the weight of a thousand villainous thoughts attacking and dragging me backward just to mail a package at the post office.

I know you can do these things with ease, trust me, I know freedom is easy for you.
This is what it is like for me.

Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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PTSD

I was diagnosed with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in 1997. This may sound strange, but, I am just beginning to really understand how much it affects me and my life every day. Well, sort of, not really. It is all just so difficult to explain to myself and near impossible to convey to others what I handle on a daily basis. In the past few years, I have gained an even broader sight into my own self, particularly, my anxiety. I am noticing that for the most part, I am experiencing anxiety symptoms all day, every day. I live in a near constant state of anxiety. What is even stranger to me, most people I meet would never know.

I came across this article on Facebook about PTSD. I had difficulty finishing the article because the symptoms were spot on. I will have to read it in short sessions. One paragraph at a time, slowly absorbing the accuracy, until I can finish. Why? Because I read it and I am overwhelmed with the realization that this, too, is me.

Suddenly, I experience anxiety. I practice breathing. I pace a little. I gain control and push forward with my efforts to stifle the spinning out of control feelings in my mind. I’ve been managing the whirlwind for most of my life. I am used to it. So familiar with it that I am just now beginning to see that not everyone lives like me. Any way, I stumbled onto this article and it struck home so I am sharing it. Maybe you will understand more. Maybe I will understand more.

Five Invisible Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress

Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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Lonely Girl

Loneliness.

At one point in time, in everyone’s life, we all come face to face with the formidable opponent called loneliness. None of us are immune from experiencing seasons where we feel like we have been hung out in the storms of life all by ourselves. I wish I could change that but it is simply a fact of life that we all must learn how to wade our way through. No amount of wishing will ever change that reality. We all will face loneliness. Each of us will be alone at some point for whatever reason.

I must stress that it is imperative to say, loud and clear, I have had tremendous support and friendships throughout my life. I have been on the receiving end of some of the greatest outpourings of love in my life. I am extremely thankful for the people who joined my life and provided support whether it was in the form of friendship or money or just a phone conversation to let me vent my frustration. I am an abundantly blessed gal in this department of life. I see these loved ones. I acknowledge their gifts and help in my life. I am in both debt and gratitude to some superb people.

I am not speaking about having a life void of family, friends, loved ones and all the brilliant, extended support they contribute to our lives. I am talking about the loneliness that shows up right as you are about to fall asleep and in the dark, you come face to face with the stark reality that despite generous love and support, when it comes down to the grit of life, it is only you.

Your life may be full of loving family and friends but when the gnarly, huffing, beast of loneliness stares into your soul, you are stripped of all pretenses and you know, you are the only one who is responsible. You are the only one who is going to catch it when the shit hits the fan. You are the one who will feel the brunt of any bad choices. You are the one who has to muster the strength to carry it, whatever it is.

Loved. Supported. Encouraged. Helped. Alone.
Truth is, we can have all the extended love and support in this world but still be alone.
At least, I have always felt this way. Maybe this is my truth.

I had one of those lone moments again today. Only this time there was added element. I’ve been looking for housing in Prescott. It is turning into a nightmare. Any place that we can afford, doesn’t take pets. Any place that takes pets, we can’t afford. That is only part of the problem. The few places that we can afford and allows for pets don’t have rental units open for months. Which means, if we move and have no place to live, I am spending our savings on a hotel while we wait for a place to live and I can’t do that because as a mother, as a human being, this reality makes you the biggest failure. Ever.

I was on the verge a major meltdown today when I stopped myself, closed the bedroom door and applied for a job in Prescott. When I successfully applied for a job, I sat staring at the computer screen and was overwhelm with the ugly glare of that haunting, burdened beast. I uttered, to myself, “I never thought I would still be alone at almost 50 years old.” That’s the blaring, cold reality. I am still alone and responsible.

When I was a naive, 23 year old, single mother whom struck on her own to make the best life anyone ever had come true, I envisioned a life that blossomed and grew as I headed into my senior years. I dreamed of a large loving family and a warm, picture perfect home with a roaring fireplace. Life did not turn out like I tried to make it happen. Instead, I am alone, carrying more responsibility, handling one crisis after another and just starting over again. Hell, I’ve started over so many times, I can’t even remember how many times I’ve done it.

I don’t know what this is but it is not the life I set out to create and the older I get the colder it gets and the more alone I am.

Just not cool, life. Just not cool.

Be brave.
Jamie Christine

 

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Don’t Give Up. Don’t Give In.

I had a wonderful day yesterday. First day on the new (seasonal) job went fantastic!

I am working in a warehouse for the holiday season. My station is in the cards shipping department. Basically, I package cards in shipping boxes, put labels on them and send them on their way. I really enjoyed it. Every one that I worked with was friendly and always helpful. Willing to answer all my “need to know” questions. The hours are long. Standing for extended periods of time is a challenge for me physically. I wear my hiking boots and inserts for good support. Drink lots of water. Eat healthy. I may make it through physically. If I was going to stay in Arizona, I would most certainly be seeking a permanent job there. I really had a fun day. Best part of the day was not one feeling of anxiety! I am looking forward to working there for the next few months.

No surprise that I was in bed early last night. When the alarm went off this morning, I admit, I was not ready to get out of bed but I’ve waited months for employment. I can’t sleep in now. While I was resting my eyes, post alarm clock, I kept hearing in my head, “and if you don’t give up, don’t give in, you may just be okay.” It is a line from the song, The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics. I think it is a good message. Timely for me.

Whatever your struggle. Where-ever you are. Just don’t give up and don’t give in. Time will wander on and you will be okay. The Living Years

Have to get ready for work. Have a wonderful day!
Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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Anxiety Rising

Wow…missed yesterday’s blog post. Anxiety is stirring in the pit of my stomach. Just to be clear, anxiety is not nerves or worry. It is an entirely different beast all together. When I am nervous about something, I can push through the nerves and do what I need or want to do. When I am experiencing anxiety or having panic attacks about something, the more I push, the worse it fights back. Currently, there are so many changes occurring right now in my life, that my anxiety is already starting to rumble, deep and low in my stomach. I am doing everything I can to ward off an anxiety filled explosion the size of a super volcano.

I am already crying off and on about leaving Arizona. There is so much that I am going to miss. There are so many things that I didn’t get the time or money to go do and see. There are people who I never got to meet in person. I am trying not to panic over all that I will miss and all that I never got to do while living here. I am making my best effort to keep my focus on all the new adventures that are waiting ahead for me. Besides, I can always come back. I know the way.

Yesterday, I was thinking about moving and leaving my home. It occurred to me, all change is hard, isn’t it? Even if we are happy about the changes or excited for new frontiers, change is difficult, challenging and often times, overwhelming. Just ask any mother.

Many women have decide to have a baby. You work at it until finally you get pregnant. Everything changes. Your body, your emotions, your thoughts, your plans for your future, it all changes and you are thrilled! At the first twang of birth pains, there is a moment and I think for most it is only a moment, but in one painful, reality filled moment, you say…O.M.G.! The weight of it all hits you and somewhere in between breathing exercises and pain, your mind fully grasps the imminent arrival of a tiny, helpless human being that you created and are now fully responsible for. O.M.G…change.

Change that you desired. Change that you purposely decided upon. Change that you know is the right step for you in your life. Change that brings more change.

Anyone who tells you that change, good or bad is easy-peasy, is faking it or lying to you. Period. Be real. Be honest. Change is hard.

Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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Waiting Sucks

So, I am sitting here trying to work on my posts for the week. I am having trouble focusing on the tasks that I would love to get done. My stumbling block today is the job interview followed by the painful waiting to learn if you impressed enough to be employed! Ugh! You never really know how patient you are until some one asks you to wait. Am I right?

It is entirely possible that I would be more patient with the waiting if I had not woken up with a dreadful anxiety storm brewing in my gut. I had a couple of dreams that caused me to fret. From the moment, I woke up, the stage was set for worry. The moment my feet hit the floor, my day has been centered on keeping my anxiety and worry in check. I am not sure I could accurately articulate how exhausting it is to be in a state where most of your energy and focus are consistently trained on keeping your thoughts and emotions in control.

I struggle with anxiety on any given day, however, suddenly today, I find myself blindsided in an intense battle to keep myself from falling of the edge of normal. Days like today, where even my dreams cause me to barely sleep and I wake up in a panicked worrisome condition, I often feel down right defeated before I ever open my eyes. I am tired of fighting with it.

Over the years, I’ve learned ways to cope. Today, while I wait to hear about my job interview, will simply be a day of coping. One coping trick to another until I go to bed and pray to God that I do not have any more bad dreams or wake up screaming.

I struggle all day to stay on the right track and keep moving forward. Most days I am successful. Some days take more effort and determination. I wrestle all night just to get a few hours of undisturbed sleep.

I guess, I am just realizing, it is no wonder I am always tired. There is never a reprieve from stress, worry, anxiety or fear. I have nowhere to run. It’s never going to change or end. There is no way out. I have spent my whole life holding on for the day when it all stop and I can have peace. I used to believe that day was going to arrive, some day, some where, some how. I used to hope that peace would show up like a knight on white horse and rescue me but now, I do not think that is ever going to happen.

Wow.
Be brave.
Jamie Christine