Anxious still

After about a month of absolutely debilitating anxiety that has kept me from, well… everything…. I finally worked up the courage today to go to the doctor and seek some help.

This wasn’t an easy step for me to take for many reasons, one of which being that, even with doctor’s offices being very careful with respect to COVID, the idea of being in a small waiting room with someone who was potentially ill made me very anxious. Nevertheless, I did it.

When I got to the doctor I learned that maximum capacity had already been met for the day and they could not take any more patients because they would not be able to see any more patients before closing. Their waiting room was full and with the amount of people who were in there already, they were likely going to be there late.

While I completely understand the situation, I left feeling really defeated. It’d taken me so long to work up the courage to go and admit to my anxiety and when I got there, I was turned away.

The woman whom I spoke with at the clinic told me that I could come back during the week. I just, I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to work up the nerve to go for a second time.

I know that I have to do something. I was just hoping that everything would’ve worked out the way I wanted it to. Being anxious is not important enough means for me to be in the emergency room. So, I think I just need to muster the strength to get back there at some point this week.

The last time that I saw a doctor about my anxiety, they provided me a referral for a therapist. Attending those appointments actually helped me considerably at the time. I wasn’t able to continue because the referral that I was given was only for a certain number of appointments. While that therapist is in another province, I still somehow wish I could just go back and see her. She understood me.

Right now my anxiety is so bad that hypotheticals of hypotheticals of hypotheticals are keeping me from sleeping. Ex: My landlord works for a company that was talked about on the news this past week because they announced massive COVID related layoffs. Immediately I was hit with a fear that he’s getting laid off and because he’s getting laid off he’s going to sell his house because he needs they money and when he sells his house then I’ll be without residence and needing a place to land, in the middle of the winter.

Why is my mind trailing so far down these rabbit holes and why can’t I stop it?

I have to stop watching the news.

I have to do something.

I can do this.

I can do this.

I think I can do this. I think I can get back to the Doctor this week.

I hope I can.

Overheard on discord: The CEO dropping wisdom

Today’s a real zinger. A short, simple and relevant quote left by the CEO.

“If you don’t make time for your wellness you will be forced to make time for your illness.”

Let that sink in.


From time to time I have been sharing stories of things seen on my company discord.

If you missed the first posts, you should check them out!

Story time: The office frat-boy

Story time: Overheard on Discord

When panic attacks attack

I had a panic attack at the end of work today.

My three month probationary period review is on Thursday. It was supposed to be last week, but it got moved to this week, so I’ve had to carry that nervousness around with me for an extra seven days.

I’ve been very anxious about the review.

If I make it through this review without getting fired, I’ll have passed the probationary period, I’ll be an official employee with benefits and holiday time and get a work credit card and all that jazz.

But I keep telling myself ‘if’. ‘If’. ‘If’. It’s a word that can really eat away at you if you let it. And, for some reason, I’ve been letting it eat away at me since my review was rescheduled from last week to this week.

I’m worried.

What if they fire me?

What if they say ‘hasta la vista’ and they just don’t give a damn?

What if this all ends and comes crashing down around me as quickly as it started?

I’ve been doing really good with respect to my anxiety for the past two months. I’ve had very few major issues and, for the most part, when I get anxious, I’ve been able to be reasonable and calm myself down.

This afternoon I sent my boss a message on Microsoft Teams chat and they read it and didn’t respond. They didn’t respond and my mind just started racing.

‘What if I’ve failed?’

‘What if this all ends on Thursday?’

‘What if I’m fired?’

It didn’t take long before I was struggling to breathe and found myself curled up in a ball unsure of what to do. I’d like to think I’m calmer and a lot more collected than having a panic attack because my boss left me on read.

All that being said, perhaps if I survive Thursday then I will be.

Here’s to hoping they don’t fire me. Confident me says they won’t. Anxious me says that the worst case scenario is always possible, no matter how confident I am.

Do weighted blankets make a difference?

I don’t normally do product reviews on my blog. Actually, I don’t know that I’ve ever done one before. But, on January 1, I made a New Year’s Resolution that I was going to get myself a weighted blanket. Now that I have it, I want to talk about it.

This is a product review for the YNM Weighted Blanket.

YNM’s description of their blanket:

YnM is a premium-grade weighted blanket that helps relax your body by simulating the feeling of being held or hugged, making you fall asleep faster and sleep better throughout the night.

After years of research and practical application and learning from our countless customer feedbacks and reviews, the YnM R&D team achieved this fabulous 2.0 Weighted Blanket.

Sleep: 10/10
Price: 10/10
Quality: 10/10
Size: 6/10
Aesthetic: 6/10

SLEEP
As someone who suffers from anxiety, I can say without a doubt in my mind that this blanket has improved my sleep ten fold. I’m someone who tosses and turns in my sleep and frequently has bad dreams that wake me up. At times I can lay awake for hours on end feeling anxious with my mind racing a mile a minute. Sleeping an entire night through seems like the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest some nights. Since incorporating a weighted blanket into my night’s I’ve felt a lot calmer. I feel as though I am falling asleep easier and I’m staying asleep longer.

I’ll admit, when I read about these blankets online, I was worried that it was a gimmick. Which is partially why I wanted to test it for myself… I wanted to say ‘AH-HA! You’re lying!’ Truth is… they’re not lying. A weighted blanket feels a bit like sleeping in a cocoon. You feel safe and warm and comforted.

A weighted blanket won’t make your anxiety disappear, but it will help you sleep if you’re feeling anxious. It does help you feel comforted. It does help you feel warm and snug and cozy.

PRICE
I had put off testing one of these for a long time due to financial strain. They aren’t cheap, and given that they’re so heavy, a lot of companies that sell them charge astronomical shipping.

Recently, though, I stumbled upon the YNM Brand of weighted blankets on Amazon and they were on sale at the time. Instead of being $119 it was just $73. To me, this seemed like a reasonable price to test it out as a basic comforter would cost you at least $100 at Wal Mart. The extra benefit to ordering it off Amazon was that it had free shipping.

I strongly recommend looking for, or waiting for, a sale for weighted blankets. They can be quite pricey ($300+ and added shipping) if you just purchase the first one that comes up on google.

QUALITY
For $73, I continue to be thoroughly impressed with the quality of this blanket. It’s thick, the stitching is deep and each individual 4×4 square is measured evenly and reinforced to ensure there is no disproportionate weight distribution over time/use.

The fabric is cooling so it’ll be a nice sleep companion in any season, especially now in the heat of summer. All in all, it’s a very well made blanket.

The YNM quality information graphic explaining how the blankets are made.

SIZE
This is where I’m thoroughly confused about weighted blankets. I have a queen sized blanket on my full sized mattress (pictured here) and the blanket drapes over the side of the mattress with just enough length to cover the mattress (which makes my OCD happy). So, after measuring my mattress and the blanket that I have, I thought I would be safe to order a queen sized weighted blanket for my full sized bed. When the queen sized weighted blanket showed up, it only covered the top of my bed.

After doing some reading online, I see that a lot of people say that the weighted blanket is only supposed to cover the top of the mattress because the weight of the blanket can cause it to fall off either side of the bed if it drapes over the edges. Also, apparently the blanket is supposed to drape over you and not your bed.

So, I guess it’s supposed to be that way…

That being said, I did order a queen sized blanket for a full sized mattress and it fits the top of the mattress perfectly. So, keep the side discrepancy in mind when considering a weighted blanket from this brand as a queen size mattress is seven inches wider and five inches longer than a full size mattress.

AESTHETIC
It’s not pretty. It’s just not. If you’re someone who cares a lot about what your bedding looks like, you may want to do some hunting for appropriate covers or patterns on a weighted blanket. For me, I always intended to put the blanket underneath the blanket already on my bed, so I really didn’t care what it looked like. That being said, if you wish to only use the weighted blanket on your bed and nothing else, the basic grey is a little dull. I should also note that, as a weighted blanket, it’s prone to wrinkles. A lot of wrinkles. If that’s something that might bother you, I recommend getting a thin comforter or throw to put over top so you cannot see the wrinkles.

Overall Ranking: 7.5/10

Could it be better? Absolutely. In spite of what people online say, I do think it would be better if the blanket itself draped over the side of the mattress. The sizing could possibly just be an issue with the YNM brand of blanket I bought. It seems like it would be a little excessive to order a king sized blanket for a full sized mattress. Perhaps other brands don’t have the same issues. Definitely do your research.

Am I keeping it? Absolutely. It’s comforting. It makes me feel good when I lay down at night. I can look past the aesthetic and weird sizing, so it’s a great fit for me. For $73, I think it was well worth the money spent. And, I can completely see why so many people love these blankets.

A couple of noteworthy points:

  • A lot of websites state that the weight of the blanket you order should coincide with your body-weight. I ignored that recommendation. I ordered a fifteen pound blanket and I honestly don’t think I’d want one that’s any heavier. I don’t want to feel like I’m being smothered in my sleep.
  • Weighted blankets cannot be put in a traditional washing machine. So, either purchase a cover or do not let pets on your bed. Otherwise, your dry-cleaning bill will go way up.
  • If you’re worried your partner won’t like a weighted blanket, you can purchase a small one, such a twin-sized blanket and then use it on the bottom of your bed as a ‘throw’. Then when you’re feeling anxious you can pull it over you without disrupting your partner at all.

New Year’s Resolution to purchase a weighted blanket – done. And I’m glad that I did. I think I might buy one as a gift for my friends/family when birthdays and Christmas come around.

1:10 AM

I’ve been having panic attacks on and off for the past three hours.

I haven’t slept for three days. Not really. I’ve has small naps here and there but I haven’t been able to physically lay down and shut my eyes for any considerable length of time (longer than an hour).

The toll of not sleeping is deep. My mind is exhausted, my body is aching and I have this overarching pit in my stomach that is making it difficult for me to consume food.

I need to be up for work in five hours. Am I going to sleep tonight? I doubt it. Am I going to lay here anxiously trying to slow my brain down and massage my achy muscles for the next five hours? Well at least for the next four.

I don’t know what to do.

I really don’t.

Nothing is working.

I lay down with every intention of sleeping and life… it just fucking has other plans. I’m literally running myself ragged.

Guest post: The monster that is anxiety

The following is a guest post written by Tiffany from the blog Ethereal Empathy.


When I was little I made friends with a monster.  She kept me company wherever I went, stayed with me as I grew, and often showed up when I needed a friend the most.  Even though she validated my feelings, was reliable, and was always there for me… it wasn’t healthy.  The truth of the matter was, this monster wanted to keep me for herself.  The only feelings she confirmed were those of fear, and her company never made me feel good about myself.

My monster friend kept me awake at night with her chatter, and convinced me to stay home when other friends invited me out.  She stripped me of my self-worth and confidence, and reminded me of how different I was from everyone else.  In that loneliness I accepted this monster, which we refer to as Anxiety.  After all, she appeared to know me so well. 

Perhaps I clung to Anxiety because she was familiar, or maybe it was because she wasn’t all bad, all the time.  This little monster helped me see potential threats and kept me aware.  The deep understanding of fear, that I had developed, helped me to relate with individuals who suffered similar stress. Still, I had become a prisoner of fear with no boundaries to keep my monster at bay.

“Without darkness nothing comes to birth, as without light nothing flowers.” – May Sarton

It was in my self-doubt that Anxiety held me captive.  I had trained my brain to jump to worse case scenarios and to see the prospective negatives of any given situation. Overwhelmed by uncertainty, and my lack of ability to concentrate, relax, or find calm, I struggled with each day.

My body had turned on me, with symptoms of illness, without ever having been truly sick.  Unexplainable pains and tension would come and go as they pleased.  There was no balance or predictability in the waves that rose and fell, and often times came upon me with no warning or explanation. 

Having a panic attack is much like swimming in deep waters during a storm.  It takes everything you are to keep your head above water, and sometime you get hit by the turbulent ocean which pulls you under.  It is a fight for air, for continued existence. 

I could not see what it looked like to thrive when my constant state of panic made basic survival a challenge.  The very thought of working as a productive member of society seemed impossible.  I looked into the dark chasm of the unknown, unable to find the light.  I saw consequence of failure instead of the potential growth that comes with experience.

Instead of trusting in my own capabilities I sought out healers and trusted individuals to fix me, but there was no cure for this.  No instant solution to repair the broken parts of myself.  Medication only numbed my soul, taking more away without giving enough of myself back.  Therapists were a constant reminder that to be whole I needed to dig deep to find answers within. 

How could I mend the fragmented pieces of me when I was incapable of believing in my own worth?  I couldn’t.  My monster never lied, exactly.  We all have a balance of light and dark inside of ourselves.  Where there is the potential for disaster there is also the potential for success.  What I hadn’t been able to see was the strength in both.

I would be naïve to believe that there are those out there without flaws. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time.  When dark times are upon us, and it feels as if they might destroy everything, we find that we are more resilient than we might think.  Living in the shadows of fear makes it hard to see.  Feeling as if we are alone is an illusion.     

Turns out the cost of not taking risks, and not believing in our own natural gifts, is much higher than the upward climb of facing the monster.  If the choice is to succumb to a life of worry and suffer a stagnant existence, or to battle a life gripped by fear for the chance of actually living…  I choose to face the unknown. 

Anxiety is not a true friend, but it is not my enemy either.  This alter ego, my anxious self, is debilitating but only has power if I give it.  I can use it as a crutch or I can learn her moods and motives, triggers and tastes, in order to respond appropriately.  What is so easy to forget is that we have the power to change the world, starting with our own being.

So I learned to consistently make course corrections along an unpredictable path.  Staying ahead of the waves when possible and bringing along a life preserve just in case the waters get the best of me.  Most importantly I discovered the importance of second guessing my own self-doubt. 

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

The path is hard.  There are times I slip and fall, get scraped up along the way, have setbacks and face detours… but I keep moving forward.  That steep cliff edge that I started on has gotten easier, the journey less rocky.  Somewhere along the way I learned to trust myself and accept that I am capable and deserving of so much more.

Anxiety is still with me, she is my twin who is just looking out for my well-being and here to protect me.  Although misguided her intentions are good.  I accept her for what she is even though she cannot see the error of her ways.  It is my job to not let her define me or keep me from the life I deserve.

It is through this understanding that the light began to seep through and point me in a direction of confidence.  I found my balance and overcame obstacles I never thought possible before.  Instead of struggling each day to survive I learned how to thrive, to have a life that is mine, and meet my fears wisely. 

Anxiety is a sheep in wolf’s clothing, an innocent wearing the mask of a monster.  Although frightening she doesn’t decide your fate.  Her power over you is limited and only exasperated by your own insecurity.  Believe in yourself, trust your own intuition, and the gray clouds looming over will clear. 

There is hope, I am proof of that. 

“On particularly rough days, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%, and that’s pretty good.”  – Unknown


Thank you to Tiffany from Ethereal Empathy for contributing such a thoughtful and honest post to #MillennialLifeCrisis. If you have the opportunity, I strongly recommend checking out Tiffany’s Blog. She is a ray of kindness and honesty in this crazy world and she brings a unique perspective to the blogging community that is the truest definition of one-of-a-kind.

Letter to an unconfident soul

Dear Self ,

It’s okay to not be okay.

It’s okay to be a mess.

It’s okay to not have to a plan. To not know what’s next. To not know how to fix your problems.

Newsflash: EVERYONE has problems. Everyone has struggles. Not everyone knows how to deal with them. That’s not shameful, or embarassing, nor does it make you stupid. It makes you normal.

What matters is that you continue to make an effort. What matters is that you don’t give up. What matters is that you just keep going, regardless of what the universe throws at you.

You can take it.

I promise you that you can take it. You can conquer it. You can defeat the demons, slay the beasts, defy on the odds and come through this with your head held high.

No one escapes struggles in life. So please, stop thinking that you’re alone in this and realize that people can and want to help. Likewise, people need help themselves and you can be an ally. Be an ally.

As much as you might not believe it, there is a reason for everything in life. If you’re being tested right now, you’re being tested for a reason. If things aren’t falling into place, no matter how much work you put forth, no matter how much progress you feel you’re making, there’s a reason for that.

Buckle in. Be ready for the fight to continue. Until the tables turn, until it’s your time for the limelight, until things fall into place, you need to keep going. You cannot give up.

No matter how messy it gets, no matter how much you doubt yourself, I beg of you, please don’t give up.

Sincerely, Me

Letter to a struggling soul

Dear Self,

The struggle is real.

It really doesn’t matter what others might say or think about what you’re going through, what matters is what you say and think. And truth be told, they’re not you so expecting them to understand what is happening is, in itself, a bit of a lost cause.

Remember that age old wisdom that says ‘Don’t fix a temporary problem with rash decisions’? Listen to that. You know it’s right. You know that quick thinking, or perhaps even no thinking, isn’t going to fix this for you.

The universe is testing you. And let me tell you IT SUCKS. I know it sucks. Every second of it. But, how you react, here and now, to what is happening, this will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of your life. Act wisely. Accept help where you can, give help where you can and keep going, always.

The hardest part of being in this time and place is that you don’t know when this test will end, when things will fix themselves, when things will be normal. Will they ever be normal? There’s no crystal ball to tell you for certain, all you can use for a guide is hard work and hope. Hope for a better world for you and everyone else who lives in it.

When you really stop to think about it, it’s important to be thankful for the things that you do have. You’re not starving. You’re not on the street somewhere, struggling to stay warm. You have a lot of blessings in your life that are very easy to overlook if you allow yourself to. So just remember, as bad as it might seem, you are one of the lucky ones. Because you are.

Remember how far you’ve come. Remember that this is all for a purpose. And, when it’s over, remember that you’re going to be stronger because of it. Scratch that, you already are stronger because of it. Silver linings, self, you need to remember them more often. Struggle teaches us just how strong we are. Struggle teaches us just how far we can bend without breaking. And last time I checked you were still standing, in one piece and all.

Hold on, self. I promise you better is coming. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can feel it. Better is coming. I need you to believe that. This struggle won’t last forever. It can’t. You’re stronger than it.

Sincerely,
Me

Real thoughts

I’m scared.
I’m sad.
I’m anxious.
I don’t know how to fix any of it.

Winter is weighing on me. The darkness is weighing on me. The cold, making it hard to be outside for any length of time, is weighing on me. Looking after sick people is weighing on me. Rejection is weighing on me. Not having a plan for life is weighing on me. Feeling lonely is weighing on me. Lack of steady income is weighing on me. People telling me ‘just do it, it’s easy’ is weighing on me. People saying ‘stop worrying so much’ is weighing on me. Feeling like a disappointment is weighing on me. Feeling like my problems aren’t real problems is weighing on me. Everything is weighing on me.

These thoughts, while I invariably avoid them day-to-day, every once in a while tend to pop up all at once and consume my brain to the point where I can’t do anything but worry.

And so I sit here, trying to distract myself, but inevitably, worrying more than anything else.