Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Hello My Old Friend

August 7, 2017

So nice to get re-acquainted.

Not.

Fuck me man.

I got anxious today.

Now.

That should go without saying, having been diagnosed with clinical anxiety and clinical depression about a decade ago, that I would have anxiety now and then in my life.

But.

Shit.

I’d sort of forgotten.

Good grief.

It snuck up on me today.

Perhaps because I had suddenly some unexpected down time and that can make me a little tight in my chest, a little thread of something is wrong running down my spine, unscheduled down time, what the fuck will I do?

And I had plenty to do, I always have something going on.

I did loads of writing.

I did loads of laundry.

So happy the landlady replaced the washing machine, the gift of not having to go to the laundry mat next to the 7-11 on the corner of Judah and 46th is no joke.

I did yoga.

I had lots of lovely phone conversations today.

I went grocery shopping.

I cooked food for dinner.

I had a scrumptious salad for lunch on the back porch during the half hour of sun that came out in the Outer Sunset.

Man.

It has been foggy.

I’m about ready for that to be over weather wise.

I went and got right with God.

I did some meditation.

Life is great!

And.

I ordered books for school and looked over another syllabus that got published for my fall semester.

That’s when I noticed it, the corroding of my nerves, the odd feeling in my body, the small shivers of panic.

Oh.

Hello.

I had forgotten you.

And.

Oh.

Hello.

Fuck off.

I don’t need you around.

I mean.

I really don’t.

Anxiety pulls me out of the moment, catapults me into the future, where there is not god, there is nothing, there is only fear and terror and pain.

And it’s always a bad future.

It’s not a sweet, kind, gentle, loving future.

Nope.

It’s a.

YOU’RE GOING TO FUCKING FAIL SO YOU BETTER MOVE YOUR ASS NOW.

Kind of future.

And I still might fail.

And that’s ok.

I mean.

It is at least familiar.

I know this feeling, I have had it before, and I can live through it.

And I didn’t have a panic attack.

I had the scattering of one at the beginning of the last semester when I was super uptight about practicum and getting my internship nailed down.

Fortunately I was having a work day where the mom and baby were at her office and I was going to pick up the monkeys from school.

I had some down time at work to do cleaning and fold laundry and prep stuff for dinner and I got an e-mail regarding some financial aid thing and then another about registering for practicum and something in me just popped.

I got super wound up and it felt like a cement bucket of fear was riding on my chest and creeping up my throat.

Yay!

Anxiety.

For two and a half years I took antidepressants to deal with the depression and anxiety.

I stopped right around my five years of sobriety.

I came off them real easy.

I had been on the lowest dosage anyway.

But.

I felt like I didn’t need them anymore and I was riding my bicycle a lot and nannying some pretty energetic kids and I was doing ok.

I was also began eating a diet abstinent from processed flour and all sugars (except those occurring naturally in fruit, bring on the apples!) and that was a big thing too.

My diet got really clean, I got daily biking exercise, and I was out in the sun a lot pushing a stroller to and from multiple playgrounds.

The anxiety dissipated.

And.

The depression fell away.

I lost lots of weight.

I got happy.

Sure.

Shit happened.

Life happened.

When it was a dark and rainy winter the depression would slide back in a little, but for the most part.

Nothing.

Until.

I started grad school.

Anxiety nightmares.

Stress dreams.

Mild depression each winter semester.

Nothing that I couldn’t titrate with a touch more sleep or with a little more exercise and then I added some flax oil into my diet and rode it out.

The anxiety was easily the worst my first semester of school.

Now.

Today.

Not so much.

But.

It was there.

And truth be told.

It annoyed me.

It pissed me off.

I was like.

No.

NO.

I am not doing this again.

I know what this looks like and I know how to handle it and.

AND.

It never has been that bad.

It never has been the nightmare of not having enough time to do all the things and read all the things and write all the papers that my over active imagination likes to tell me it’s going to be.

Not once.

Not.

Never.

I never stopped blogging, which I told myself I would drop if it got bad.

I never stopped doing morning pages, ditto, I’ll stop if I can’t handle the writing load.

Oh.

Sure.

There were days here and there when I didn’t.

But I was pretty steady through it all.

I also know from experience, this for me is the most basic form of faith, that I always get things done.

And that there really is no need to be anxious about things.

I sent out a few messages, got some sweet responses.

Made a phone call to my person.

Wrote out a gratitude list.

And went about my day.

There are things I am going to have to do and my fall semester this year will look different from my last two as I am in practicum and I am seeing clients and I’m basically a practicing psychotherapist.

Not a psycho.

Haha.

Sorry.

Gallows humor is probably not the most attractive thing in a therapist.

Or is it?

Anyway.

I reached out to my supervisor about my schedule and I saw some openings and some things that I may have to adjust to and change-up.

But.

Overall.

I got this.

I got my books ordered.

I am still waiting for the release of one more syllabus though, I may still have to purchase a few books, but that’s fine.

I got my first text-book in the mail and I started reading it yesterday and yes, it will start traveling with me as I go about my week.

I worked through the anxiety.

I had a nice quiet talk with myself, assuaged my worries, gave myself the you can do it pep talk and basically really breathed into it.

All in all.

I can handle this and I was told that this would be a challenging year.

Haven’t they all been?

But.

That I have seen others walk through it and I know if they can do it so can I.

Plus.

I have a pretty amazing support system, fellowship and community.

I’m going to be just fine.

Because.

I already am.

Today.

Right now.

In this beautiful moment.

There is nothing wrong, and my life.

Well.

Let me just say.

It’s fucking fabulous.

Amazing really.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Flip A Bitch

July 23, 2017

I found myself doing a surprising and sudden u-turn on Folsom Street today.

Oh please.

Don’t worry.

My person arched his eyebrow at me when I said that to him tonight over some sumptuous red beans and rice with spicy Andouille sausage at Brenda’s.

“I was careful!” I exclaimed, “I looked both ways and there was no traffic anywhere, and there was a really good reason why I did it.”

And there was.

Tub Tim Siam Massage.

Oh yes.

I got a fucking massage.

I am so proud of myself.

It’s been on my mind for weeks if not months.

I have had on again off again pain in my left arm for a long time, its soft tissue pain and sometimes I get wheedle it out with a Lacrosse ball, those small hard rubber balls massage therapists and rehab therapists use for working through muscle knots.

But most of the time it comes back and harasses the shit out of me at some point and it was really bothering me yesterday.

I don’t know if it was the yoga class I took yesterday or what, I mean, I carry most of my stress in my shoulders anyway, so could be just a big build up, but it has been pretty discomforting now for, well, months.

It’s not so bad that I can’t deal and I do.

I carry the baby at work, I do my blogging and my writing and I show up for yoga.

But I could really feel it yesterday, I could feel it flaring up when I was riding my scooter, I could feel it when I went to bed, it was up and down my arm and into my neck and at one point I swear I felt it in the left side of my face.

I have been to a massage therapist years ago who specialized in pain management through massage and I have thought about going and seeing her, but she was expensive and I had been given a gift certificate from my employers, otherwise I would have never seen her at all.

Anyway.

I had been to Tub Tim one other time when it first opened and that was back in December.

And I hadn’t a massage prior to that in years.

So when I zipped by on my scooter heading out to grab a late lunch after going to my group supervision at my internship, I flipped a bitch and decided it was time to get that massage.

I grabbed a light lunch at Rainbow and went to Tub Tim Siam.

It’s a small spot and I wasn’t sure if they would have time for a walk in, but I was going to check and if they didn’t at least make myself an appointment to be seen and seen soon.

But.

Yes!

They had an opening.

I got a ten minute hot sauna to warm up my muscles and then I got an hour-long traditional Thai massage.

Which means that they manipulate you muscles using hands, feet, elbows, and knees.

It was amazing.

It also hurt like a bitch at times.

Inside my head the conversation went like this: “ow, ow, ow, Oh My God, OW! Oooh, oh that feels so nice, OW, ow ow, ow, ouch, shit, fuck what is that, OMG that feels so good don’t stop, ouch, ow, ow, OWOWWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW, i”m going to die.”

And then I would remind myself to breathe into the pain and to relax and to let it go.

She found spots that I knew where really bothering me, I had circled them on the sheet they asked me to fill out, and then some that I was expecting that were excruciating when they were being worked on, but after, amazing how much better I felt.

I mean, I felt lighter walking out of the shop.

I need to do that more often.

It’s not something I can do weekly, it’s a little too pricey for me, but maybe once a month, alternate between doing a Thai massage and then going and hitting the Imperial Day Spa, the Korean women’s only bath house on Geary.

The spa is only $25 a session.

I think that’s the kind of self-care I really need to let myself have as I continue moving forward with taking on clients and doing the psychotherapy work.

I’ll be back to school soon too.

Eek.

In about a month.

Shit will get really real.

But.

I’m not there yet and I’m not going  to live in the future.

Just today.

All I have to do is today.

I can get lost in the “there won’t be enough time” bullshit story my brain likes to spin me out with.

But the fact is, there is enough time, and all the things I need to do get done and I’m going to be ok.

Because I already am.

I had a beautiful day today.

I did some great self-care.

I went to yoga in the morning, had a super hot shower, washed my hair, I had a yummy breakfast and a big latte, I did laundry, I wrote a bunch, I did some e-mails for my internship and I took care of little household stuff that needed attending.

I dressed becomingly.

I wore a pretty dress and shoes.

I took my time on my scooter and didn’t get crazy trying to speed to my internship.

I had a great group supervision meeting and I got a massage.

Then I went and did the deal and it was fantastic.

Afterwards me and my person went to Brenda’s and had a good catch up.

It was perfect.

The scooter ride home was even perfect.

Not too cold, there was still a kiss of warmth left in the night and I could smell a bonfire down at Ocean Beach.

Note to self time to get in a fire at the beach, that too has been too long.

And now.

I’m home.

Cozy and relaxed.

I even signed up for a yoga class in the morning.

I am held and cared for and I deserve to have these nice things.

Yoga.

Massage.

My scooter.

My home.

I work so damn hard.

It’s nice to take a moment and appreciate my efforts once in a while.

So, yes, I may have made an illegal U-turn in the middle of Folsom Street today.

But it was for a really good reason.

I promise.

 

A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

Especially since I am a therapist in training, although, let me tell you, I felt like a therapist today, seeing clients, filing paperwork, checking all the boxes, circling all the things that needed to be circled and doing the work.

I can get super caught up in how much longer this road is and how the hell am I ever, I mean, ever, going to get 3,000 hours, but I can’t, I just can’t focus on that.

One hour at a time.

Fortunately I have some practice living a day at a time and when I reflect on how those days add up and all my accomplishments have come in small increments, but come they have, then I don’t have to get too caught up in the numbers.

It’s just a numbers game and I’m doing it the best I can as fast as I can without killing myself in the process.

I mean.

I still have to process all my own stuff, plus carrying around my clients in my head.

I do that now.

I have them in my head and sometimes I will think about them and once in a while I have a momentary flash, a connection, a thought or feeling and a little aha moment, that feels pretty special.

But.

Yes.

I do have to process my own stuff too, I have to look at my own emotional life sift through the chafe and dander and see what is needing to seen and what is needing to be let go.

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

On and off all day, with one really big cry in the evening when I was talking with my person on the phone and going over the shock of what had happened and how the death of my friend had not just hit me, but many others, the numbers of people who showed up to be present for each other and for the family of the deceased was extraordinary.

Not to mention all the people in so many other places he had affected, who’s lives he had touched–Portland, Seattle, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Oakland.

Gah.

I can hear him saying “West Oakland” in my head and such joy at his goofiness suffuses me.

For he was joyful.

Oh sure, sad and fucked up and scared and young and insecure, who hasn’t been those things, but also bright and kind and funny and so there for you and warm and sweet and musically talented.

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

Seeing all the pictures, all the photographs, all the expressions of heartbreak, my social media feed was just awash in tears and sadness.

I really had to not look after a while.

And I knew when I woke up having felt puffy eyed and sluggish and a bit off kilter that I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in the emotionalism of social media.

I needed coffee, some ibuprofen, and a good breakfast.

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

And as I expressed to my therapist today after plopping down on her couch and telling her I was going to cry and then immediately doing so, I also realized that some, a lot of the emotion I had in my body, on my heart, in my head, was not mine.

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

So I talked it out, processed it, linked it to other things, made traverses, expressed emotions, cried a lot in the beginning, but by the middle of my session I was going other places.

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

I am a work in progress, people, don’t expect perfection, I am far, far, far from perfect.

But.

I am loving and kind and sweet, I would hazard.

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

Sometimes too much and I get overextended and I give too much, I have been trained well in that way of life, being my mom’s caretaker, taking care of my sister, my oldest niece, an ex-boyfriend of five years who might as well have been my mother for all the caretaking he required, but I have grown a lot.

Oh, so fucking much.

And I know when I need to caretake and when the other person needs to do the job their own damn self.

And there’s no irony that I am in the care taking profession.

A. I am a nanny, I care take all day long.

B. I am a psychotherapist.

But it’s not my job to care take as a therapist and that’s a really intriguing thing for me.

I am also not there to make my client feel better, to sugar coat, or to shoo away uncomfortable feelings.

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

I like to look at them as signposts, directions, “hey this thing you do, it doesn’t work for you.”

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

They are signs that the way things are going, the tools being used for living, well they might not be working so well.

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

I remember the first time I did a line of good blow.

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

And I was fine with the way those answers were conveyed and I rather scoffed at a friends warning that perhaps I like that drug a little more than was perhaps healthy.

Um.

Yeah.

But when those solutions failed I had to find a better way, a different way and there was depression there and there was anxiety and all sorts of other juicy psychological terms and conditions.

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

I won’t tell that to a client, they have to find their own way, I think that I am a mirror, an attachment figure, a person who can and will have to withstand the disappointments and anger and discomfort of others so that they can learn how to use that information and devise their own solution.

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

Just like alcohol, ultimately, and every other drug I took, weren’t for symptom relief.

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

And today when I walked out of my therapist office I felt a lightness and a joy.

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

I have so much joy and passion in my life, such happiness, I felt light and though there is still sadness for the loss of this beautiful person, I have also a deeper connection to how alive I want to be and how alive I am allowed to be.

To be alive, in this moment, sober, and free.

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

Moved beyond words for my experiences and this amazing place I have been lead to.

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

No Rest For The Wicked

May 22, 2017

But.

I am going to try.

I am zonked.

It’s been a long day.

It started at 5 a.m. today, yesterday?  I don’t even know, what day is it?

Yes.

Sunday.

And yes.

I already have my alarm set for the morning.

I have to get up early and go meet with my supervisor.

My internship starts this week.

I’ve the meeting tomorrow and then training starts on Thursday.

And.

You know.

Work.

And um.

Hello.

Jet lag.

Current Paris time is 4:53 a.m.

That means, 24 hours ago I was just about to get up and finish my packing.

And it was a great big last day of a last day.

One last morning of having coffee on the houseboat and then off to Clingancourt.

Which I almost bailed on.

Crowds cause me some anxiety.

My friend I went with pretty much noticed that ASAP.

“You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to,” I was told, and I knew that, but I also wanted to make the effort.

I’d never made it in to Clingancourt before, I had only gone one other time and it was closed.

I wandered around and took street art photography.

The thing about the market is that it’s in not the prettiest neighborhood, lots of low-income housing tenements, it’s just at the Periphery of the city, so it can get quite a bit sketchy, it’s a haven for pick pockets, and there’s a lot of dingy, trashiness to it, plus there was a lot of construction going on.

However, once you make it into the actual market, it’s great.

It’s just getting through shark infested waters.

I’m bad with pushy tourist scam artists and crowds and what feels very edgy and compromised.

I also recognize that I am sensitive and it takes a lot of work for me to shut out that kind of lifestyle and edge.

I used to do it pretty damn well, but truth be told I haven’t had walls up that high in a bit and it felt exhausting and I was a little ashamed that I wasn’t able to keep it better together, apologizing to my friend too much for how I was dealing and it just left an uneasy taste in my mouth.

But.

I did have fun in the market itself, I saw some beautiful things and actually bartered a little bit with a vendor and got 10 Euro knocked off a pair of vintage earrings.

Scoring them for 20 Euro instead of the 30 Euro listed.

Great deal.

Especially considering that the other pair of earrings I had seen that I was very drawn to were 1750 Euro!

Of course they were, but my god, so gorgeous.

I also had a sweet chat with the woman running the stall and it felt nice to be able to at least tell her that I was so grateful for her time showing me her beautiful jewelry and I felt pretty damn good about remembering the word for earrings in French.

The longer I was there the more came back, although when I got tired, which was often, I don’t think I actually ever got a big full eight hours of sleep, I would lapse in the quality of my French.

Still.

Overall.

I think I did pretty good.

And though Clingancourt was a challenge for me, I can say, I did it, and I also got a very cool poster, a 1955 Scandal sheet, that I was able to score for 10 Euro.

Felt fun to do that.

Although I ended up missing seeing a few people I had hoped to catch up with, after I got back from the market I was too zonked out to try to do anything else.

I sat on the prow of the houseboat and I wrote awhile in my journal and just enjoyed the hell out of the sun.

Super grateful that my last day in Paris was sunny.

Not as warm as I might have liked, but really nice.

And.

After I got packed and sorted a friend and I went out to grab a bite to eat and I decided to get dressed up a little for my last night in Paris and wear my earrings and put my hair up and if only for that I am super glad I went to Clingancourt, my earrings were such fun to wear.

It was lovely to take one last walk along the Seine, to see all the folks lined up at the Musee D’Orsay, to window shop a little, and oh God, yes, get one last little souvenir for stuffing into my suitcase.

Or, as the case may be, for wearing around my shoulders.

I picked up a gorgeous black cashmere (my first cashmere) wrap from this beautiful little shop.

I met the owner and chatted and she called me out as being an artist and then showed me the book her little sister had just gotten published and then told me about Nice and Picasso and Miro and art and al the artists that used to come through their home–the photograph of the book her sister wrote is the woman as a young girl with Pablo Picasso making faces at her.

It was super sweet and she asked me for my information so she could follow my blog.

Which frankly was an interesting moment, when she asked if I was an artist and I am, I’m a writer, a poet, a dreamer, an arranger of colors and sounds and atmospheres in myself, but when someone asks me if I am an artist I always seem to have a moment where I pause and think, no, no, not me.

I’m not really an artist.

But.

I am.

I write poetry and once in a while it is good.

And once in a while I will write a blog that makes me think, yes, I got it, that was art, that was beauty.

But do I paint or draw, no, not so much, do I make music, nope, although I do aspire to be lyrical in my writings.

Nevertheless I gave her my blog address and for a moment I was again a woman artist in Paris, talking art with another artist in a beautiful shop full of soft, delicious things to touch and wrap around me.

It was a comfort on the plane to have the cashmere wrap and I don’t doubt that I will wear it often.

Sensual and soft, warm and engulfing.

All the lovely things.

And now.

My darlings, my dears.

It is time for rest.

I must be up early and I have been going for 24 hours.

Good night my dears.

From a very.

Very.

Grateful.

And.

Lucky girl.

What The Fuck

April 13, 2017

Are you doing to yourself, kid?

I literally had a Cher from Moonstruck, “SNAP OUT OF IT” moment this morning.

I got up with my alarm, grateful to see that the rain was clearing and that I would be able to ride my scooter to work.

Ah work, back to work, it’s been a minute, is it time to go back already?

Yes, dear, glad you enjoyed your days off, time to hit it again.

I made a nice breakfast and had some coffee and I was just about to settle into some writing when I had this great idea to check the school website and find out about summer classes.

Like which ones I should register for, what I need to have to get to the next step, you know, keep progressing.

Note to self, as it was brought up by a dear friend in the cohort, “you’re planning on taking summer school and practicum?!”

Um.

I was.

Sort of.

I mean.

I had no idea what compelled me, fear, oh, yeah, fear, I forgot, hahahaha, to go online today and blow almost all my morning writing time on trying to figure it out.

Figure it out never works for me, and yet, there I was neck-deep into the figuring it out.

Getting more and more over my head, and without even realizing it, panicked.

Why did I take the last two days off, I should have been dealing with this, I don’t know what to do, I’m fucked, the system is fucked, why hasn’t my advisor responded to my e-mail, why is the registrar so stupid, what is wrong with the….

Whoa girl.

Back the fuck up.

I sent a friend a text asking about the summer courses, she’s always so on top of it, and I got a lot of information back, none of which I was able to assimilate or understand and when I read one of the texts I just about lost it, there was too much, it was too much, I can’t do this.

Do what?

Self-inflicted idiocy, getting myself all worked up over nothing.

I could feel the fear rising in my body and getting stuck at the top of my chest and trying to ride up into my throat.

Very grateful I caught it when I did.

Stop.

Slow down.

Breathe.

Look around.

You are sober, you’re dressed in nice clothes, they are clean, you just ate breakfast, you have coffee, lunch is packed, coffee for work is packed, your hair is done, you have makeup on, the scooter is ready to go.

You are fine.

Breathe.

I started to ignore texts that were still incoming from a number of places.

I don’t have to engage if I don’t have the space.

Then I looked at the time.

Shit.

I had wasted 45 minutes of my precious morning routine on this fuckery.

I hopped up, did the dishes, took out the trash, organized my things, turned my phone to silent and sat and wrote.

Rent is paid.

My phone bill is paid.

I am ok.

I paid for my scooter insurance for another six months.

I have paid for my Healthy SF for the next three months.

I am fine.

I am enough.

It is enough.

I have my practicum placement.

I have a therapist.

I have supervisors.

I don’t need to know what electives I could take for summer.

I can take them in the fucking fall.

If I wasn’t doing the internship I would have the god damn summer off from school.

So relax.

You are ok.

All I had to do, all I have to do, I told myself, was show up to work alive and on time, stay sober and show up tonight at my commitment.

Oh.

And maybe put some gas in the scooter.

I could do that.

When I got to work I was relaxed, had calmed down, and was able to respond to a message from a friend who is going to Paris in May with his wife and two boys about some friends I have in Paris and where he could meet them.

It was nice to stop, get out of my head, and be of service to someone else.

And Paris.

Oh yeah.

That.

You’re going to Paris, doll, in a few weeks, you have a place to stay, you will see friends, there are museums to go to, streets to walk, Metro’s to ride, postcards to write.

I was pretty back to myself and in my body by the time I got to work, which was good, it was full tilt boogie, the kids had missed me, and truth be told, I them, and I got tackled upon my entrance.

“CARMEN! I missed you! I love you! I’m so glad you’re here!”

“Tag! You’re it!”

And it was on.

It was on all day.

The cleaners came.

I made dinner.

I made dessert.

I washed laundry, folded laundry, put laundry away.

I played soccer, Mother May I, tag, hide and seek, good dog/bad dog (the four-year olds made up game), cops and robbers.

And last but not least.

I played lots of snuggles and thank God.

I got to play stay at the house and watch the four-year old nap while the older boy went to the dentist.

I played Debussy’s Clair de Lune and folded towels and baby blankets.

I returned the texts and messages I had to return and I chatted with a few friends.

I also acknowledged that I did accomplish some stuff today in regards to school, even if it wasn’t what I had set out to do, I did discover that the school had posted all the weekend dates for the next Fall and Spring semesters.

That was surreal.

To go through the next year and plug-in those dates into my calendar, ending with the last weekend in May 2018, which will be my last weekend before graduating.

Not that I even know when the ceremony will be.

But I will be there.

Summer school or not, the work will get done.

I also finally managed to set up the forwarding on my school e-mail, they just switched over to a new system, so that all school e-mails are sent to my Gmail account.

That was a big deal.

Just taking all the little, teeny tiny steps to get there.

And breathing.

Pausing.

Responding.

Not reacting.

When the fear sets in.

I see you fear, you just want me to be to be aware of all the pitfalls that might befall me.

Thing is though.

Fear is the pitfall.

Fear is the trap.

Faith is my answer.

And it was my spiritual principle.

God has not brought me this far to drop my on my ass.

I am taken care of.

I am.

Seriously.

Surprisingly Together

April 8, 2017

And well grounded.

I don’t even feel all that tired.

Which is sort of shocking, considering that I just got back from doing an 11 hour school day.

I was prepared though and able to carry through with all the things that needed to be attended to and I did some good self-care, got up early, took a nice hot shower before breakfast, made a nice unsweetened vanilla coconut/almond milk latte, I rode the MUNI into class, rain, and connected with all my sweet friends.

I also feel that there was a distinct shift for me in being able to focus on the classes and material as I have all my practicum stuff nailed down, I don’t have any anxiety about trying to make it all happen.

It all happened.

I’m registered and all my paperwork is signed.

It’s like walking the plank with my eyes wide open.

I have started the journey and I have no clue exactly what I am about to leap into, but I am on the way to leaping.

I have a few weeks of “freedom” haahahaha, that’s funny, (final projects, papers, and one more weekend of class) before I have to start supervision, and about a month and a half before I start at my internship.

I will have Paris before that.

Although, it does now look like I won’t be in the Marais, my friend’s house had some unexpected water damage and there will be construction happening.

I will be staying with a friend of hers in the 10th.

This is going to be a new one, but not that new, I’ve done Air BnB before when traveling, I’ll be staying with someone new, but he’s in a great location and he’s a dear friend of my friend and frankly anyone who is her close friend is going to be a good friend of mine.

I have nothing to complain about, I get to stay somewhere free in Paris.

That is a huge gift.

She is a huge gift in my life.

I am so grateful for her and for my other friends that I reconnected with today.

There were lots and lots and lots of hugs.

Some tears too.

Life happens and it’s hard and we all showed up for each other in some pretty spectacular ways today, I felt honored and privileged to be a part of the cohort and happy to be seen by my friends.

I also got some extraordinary remarks, comments and feedback on a paper I wrote from my professor who I hold in most highest esteem, her opinion of me and my abilities means a lot to me.

I know I’ve got her up on a pedestal, but she really is an amazing teacher and I needed an amazing teacher to be able to do the work that is required for doing trauma work.

“I suppose you learn a lot about yourself,” my driver said to me tonight as we chit chatted about my program.

Folks often have this idea that I’m headed out to some party or some fun Friday night thing but no, I’m just going home after doing 11 hours of school, which leads to a conversation about what I am studying.

My driver asked me so many questions and it was really fun to share some of the things that I am learning and practicing and I could also tell he was trying to get, “Just asking for a friend,” information about whether I thought Couples Therapy had any efficacy.

I basically gave him a session on the ride home.

It was like Taxi Cab Confessionals except from the passengers purview.

It also let me realize, in the telling, that I know a lot more than I even realize and that I can disseminate the material well enough to a lay person to make concepts clear and ideas and it was sort of cool to just let myself talk and hear the theories fall out of my mouth.

I really had a moment of being, “who is this person talking?”

And it was me.

I am sure I will have my doubts and troubles, my anxieties and fears, but I feel that I have come a really big way and I feel like I can see myself being able to take on clients.

I can do this.

I really can.

And.

I am going to be good at it.

God damn it’s nice to find my niche, to know where I am most needed to fit myself to be of maximum service, to know I can be of help and do well by myself as well.

There is life long learning as well.

I appreciate that.

I will keep growing.

I will keep getting to find out and experience different things.

There will always be books to read, articles to write, experiences to be had, I have such a full rich life, this work only adds a deeper complexion and color to a glass that is full to overflowing with love and experience.

Grateful.

That is where I stand.

In a place of deep gratitude.

And I always could see more softening in me, more resilience, and more acceptance of myself, where I am in the program and where I can ease up a little, in the classroom and in my interactions with other students in the cohort.

We are a pretty incredible bunch and I’m super lucky to get to learn from them as well as my teachers.

All the learning.

It’s amazing.

I am so grateful that I am allowing it to keep happening, to keep engaging, to keep growing, to keep pushing at the edges of boundaries and seeing what else and where else I can grow.

Yes.

Growth is painful.

But as they say, “pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth.”

I have had some growth spurts this year, and it’s only April.

Leaning into.

Learning to love myself more.

Doing the deal.

And showing up.

That’s pretty much it for today’s check-in.

Off to get some more sleep than I did last night.

So.

I can get up.

And.

Do it all over again.

An Unexpected

March 29, 2017

And welcome.

Change to tomorrow’s schedule.

The mom has asked me to come in at 1 p.m. and stay a little late, dad is out-of-town for the next week with work, and I was happy to help out.

I want to be flexible with them and helpful and I know that the stress of being new mom with three-month old baby and a seven-year old and four-year old and without the dad around to help for the first time since baby was born is a big stress.

Big.

Plus going in late on a Wednesday is not a big deal for me since I have a late day on Wednesdays.

I do have a commitment in the evening, but it’s not until 8:30 p.m.

Which means that tomorrow.

Yes.

I can go to yoga on a week day.

First time this has happened since I started the new job on January 2nd.

I have been a weekend warrior with the yoga and have, dare I say it, missed the extra days I was able to go in before work at my prior job.

I don’t miss the late nights, I’m not particularly psyched to work that late, but to be flexible and help out and be able to go to a yoga class before work is a nice perk if I’m going to be working a later hour.

I’m not working extra hours, I’ll just be shifting them up so that I can be there with the older kiddos while mama takes care of getting the baby fed and asleep.

I’ll also help out the same way on Thursday.

I will go in at 1p.m. and work until 8p.m.

I will not, however, be doing yoga before work on Thursday.

Before work on Thursday will look like meeting with my advisor and turning in my paperwork to the registrars office.

I’m ready for that hoop to be jumped through.

I took another little leap today.

Actually.

Let’s be frank.

I took a huge leap today.

I had my first day back in therapy with my new therapist.

Hello therapy, it’s good to see you again.

“Oh good, lots of kleenex boxes,” I joked as I went into her office.

I was kidding and serious all at the same time.

The session was really good, we got to know each other and I committed to going back.

She asked if I was interviewing any other therapists and I said no, I had found what I wanted with her, I was honest that her location and availability was a big draw for me with my schedule at work, but also that I had felt a really nice connection with her when we had our phone interview last week.

And after a few minutes into our session I knew it was a good fit.

It really helps that she went through the same program that I am going through and I can see that she will be a huge asset and support as I navigate all the school stuff.

Plus.

I liked her.

And that means a lot.

And.

“You’re going to make a great therapist,” she told me at the end of the session.

And acknowledgement I was not at all expecting and it left me with a nice glow.

I know I am going to be a great therapist, but man, it’s nice to hear it out of a professional’s mouth.

Yes.

I did use the tissue box.

I also recognized and spoke to my anxiety.

Fear of carrying the additional burden of $120 more a week.

Nearly $500 a month in additional costs going out.

But I also know.

I know.

I can carry it.

I may have to shift some things around, probably won’t be putting any more into savings for a little while and I won’t be buying new clothes, but I can handle those things.

I can still pay rent, phone, groceries, utilities on what I make and be able to absorb the cost of the therapy.

My clothing allowance is about $250 a month and my savings is also about $250 a month.

I have some in savings for my travel plans and I have some in savings as a back up teeny tiny prudent reserve.

So if I just cancel out clothes and savings for a little while, trim down on eating out, which I don’t do that often anyhow, I’ll be fine, I can afford the therapy.

And.

Honestly.

I need to afford it.

I must have it documented that I am going and besides, I need it to keep going on this career path, I have to work out my own stuff, I have to reconcile it.

There is stuff there.

A lot of my work has been done and I have an extraordinary foundation from doing recovery work for the last twelve years and my therapist acknowledged that as well.

Which I found really affirming.

We talked about me thinking what my goals will be for the therapy beyond helping navigate the school process, interning, and getting my own hours met for my LMFT.

One thing we discussed was that she could help me with some anxiety strategies.

My anxiety has been pretty high since I started the program and some times I feel absolutely swamped by it.

I told her that I had been doing yoga and that was helping.

I am holding on tight to my two days a week and I am super happy that I will sneak in another class tomorrow morning.

Heck.

I’ll even be able to sleep in a little tomorrow.

It’s going to be a long couple of weeks, but I can get through it.

I read a ton today at work on my lunch break and I should be able to do that as well one more day this week, probably not tomorrow or Thursday since I’ll be coming in late, but Friday I will.

And I get to meet with a friend and do the deal and catch up over dinner afterward.

I haven’t seen him since my birthday, he’s just getting back from Puerto Rico and I am super excited to catch up with him.

I still might try to get to Puerto Rico in July.

There are so many plates spinning in the air I’m not going to try to predict it, but if I can, I will.

Oh life.

So much stuff.

So grateful for it all.

And a sleep in tomorrow followed by some anxiety reducing yoga.

Life is good.

All the things people.

All.

The.

Things.

That Was Fun

March 19, 2017

And it didn’t kill me.

It was just tacos.

And I don’t like tacos.

But.

I went anyway.

I know, did you read that, I don’t like tacos.

Who doesn’t like tacos for fucks sake?

I love tacos, people, love them, rub those greasy soft tortilla wrap things all over my naked body, smear me with guacamole and sour cream, drape me in cheese.

And then watch me binge out on all the other things that I would be eating if I decided to eat something that I refrain from for my abstinence.

I was laughing with a friend.

Like anything with sugar.

“You can’t just have one piece?”

(or one beer or one shot or one line)

No.

Chocolate cake would eventually go something like this–one piece of chocolate cake, becomes two pieces, becomes, let’s eat the whole damn thing, and have a big glass of milk and since nothing is better after a “meal” let’s have a cigarette and fuck since I’m smoking I might as well have a cocktail and if I’m going to have a cocktail let’s call my dealer and get a bag of blow.

And.

Well.

There it is.

Chocolate cake equals cocaine.

You think I jest.

But that is my truth.

So no tacos for me.

I had the taco salad without the taco.

Fuck.

I had Mexican food twice today, that was not planned.

Much of today was not planned, on purpose, I wanted to leave some space to be free to actually have a day off and be flexible.

I did get up and do yoga, my arms are a little sore, but not too bad.

I had a nice leisurely breakfast and took a hot shower and went to meet up with my person and do the deal and cry a bit about being overwhelmed with the internship stuff and school and practicum and stuff and life.

She slowed me down, and really helped me get into the present, into today, into the joy of living and admonished me to have fun, which she actually does a lot now that I am thinking about it, she often tells me to have fun, and I decided to take her suggestion and see if I could have fun.

It wasn’t always easy today, I can get stuck trying to make things happen, but I just tried to let myself go with the flow and show up where I was supposed to be and after that see what happens.

What happened was a nice lunch, a manicure and a pedicure and then a scooter ride over to Waller and Stanyan to Free Gold Watch to play pinball.

I actually got sore wrists from playing.

Hehe.

Does any one get carpal tunnel syndrome from pinball?

I might have today.

I played my favorite, The Addams Family, and also I played The Twilight Zone a lot.

Then I zipped over to Turk and Divisadero, got right with God, made a confession at group level about being wildly adverse to fellowship and needing to do it and supposedly having to have fun and I don’t want to eat tacos.

And I got merry hell from my friends and ended up going out to some taqueria on Divisadero with a crew of people and hanging out until there was no one left to hang out with.

Got to love it when I take suggestions.

I don’t regret them ever.

Oh, sure it’s uncomfortable, social stuff is, being vulnerable, letting people see you, but I have community and as I do ramp up with all the school stuff I really am trying to keep my toe in the pool, maybe even sit on the steps and get a little submerged.

I remind myself, hey you, you like to swim, don’t be afraid.

And I will be afraid and that’s ok, but I don’t have to let the fear run the show.

It did a lot early in the week when I was freaking out about my schedule and meeting with my site director and setting up what my internship was going to look like.

I was anxious and in so much fear.

It was unnecessary, it was unpleasant and I just got spun out.

Anxiety is useless.

It’s worrying about the future and trying to worry so hard that I have all the fretting out-of-the-way before the actual event happens as a way to control the uncertainty of the event.

I want to be in control because if I don’t know what’s going to happen, something really bad might happen.

So I find myself pre-emptive and I fret.

God, how I fret.

And you wonder how it was that I was diagnosed with clinical anxiety ten years ago.

Yeah.

I had no clue that was what was going on with me.

It’s always been there, I just hadn’t the vocabulary to describe what was happening, or the knowledge that it wasn’t normal, or that there were things I could do to alleviate it.

Or that, I don’t know the horrific shit show of things that happened to me as a child were traumatic and might have long-lasting effects, like, um, I don’t know, being scared to be out of control of my environment because something bad this was coming.

Anxiety?

Nope.

Not me.

Bwahahahahaaha.

Fuck.

Grad school has definitely stirred that pot, from working with the stuff that comes up for me, working through a lot of it, processing, training myself, learning how to deal with my emotions, finding things that stir me up, realizing how things land in my body and how my body is affected.

All sorts of things.

I am super grateful for all the things and the getting to work through them and not have “death by tacos” and hanging out and getting connected with a group of pretty awesome, talented, kind, cool, smart folks.

In other words.

I had fun.

Mission accomplished.

 

That Moment When

March 15, 2017

You realize that had you known how much fucking work it would be you wouldn’t have embarked on the god damn journey.

Fucking grateful as fuck that I did not know it was going to be this hard.

I wouldn’t have decided to do it.

Granted.

I do know that with time will come familiarity and it will be ok.

But right now.

Just in this moment.

Wow.

Wow.

Wow.

So much work.

I met with my new supervisor for my internship.

We filled out the paperwork.

We talked about what I need to do next.

Turn in the paper work to my advisor, get his signature, then turn it into the practicum office.

Then.

I need to get another supervisor to take me through process of being an intern.

I will find the person on my own by using the supervisors list that is in the practicum office.

Then I need to get that person to sign some paperwork and I need to get registered for the summer course.

I need to do this fairly damn quick.

And I need to make sure that the supervisor can be someone who I can fit into my schedule, I’ll have to meet with the off site supervisor two hours a week.

In between that.

I will be working and I will be interning.

My supervisor and I set a date.

I start on May 22nd.

That’s the official paperwork date, but I’ll probably go in on the 23rd as I will be getting back from Paris on the 21st.

I’ll be going into work either way at my job on the 22nd.

My supervisor was sweet though, and said, “I’ll let you get over your jet lag, let’s just have you start the 23rd.”

And I will be starting with a bang.

And I will be doing a lot of hours.

Which I knew.

I knew.

Just the reality of it hit when he was asking me what my optimum schedule was like.

“Think about it for a minute,” he looked up from the paper work he was filling out for me, “but I will need to put it in the paperwork so you can go to the next step.”

I gave it a moment.

I took into account my current work schedule, my recovery schedule, wanting one day off a week without any kind of obligation and what would that mean for getting the hours in I needed to make the time investment.

My supervisor wants 13-15 hours a week, part of which will be a few hours of mandatory training, but mostly taking clients.

Plus.

My off site supervisor will need 2 hours.

And.

I will need to get a therapist as well for a year while I go through the process.

That’s an additional hour.

So.

Um.

Fuck me.

That’s basically 15-18 hours of work a week.

I took a great big deep breath and figured I would need to be there at the internship four days a week.

I decided to do it like this: Mondays and Tuesdays 6:30p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Wednesdays and Thursdays same hours, 6:30p.m.-9p.m.

And Saturdays from 2p.m.-8p.m.

That’s the time estimate breakdown.

It won’t start out quite that big and I will have a bit of wiggle room for the first few weeks and I’m super grateful that I’m getting into it before the fall semester of school starts.

Because, yeah, I need three semesters of practicum.

Which means that on top of work and the internship, one year of my interning I’ll also be in school full-time.

Granted the course load for the third year is eased up to accommodate practicum.

But still.

So much.

I’ll basically be doing a 60 hour work week and school.

Bwahahahahahaaha.

Fuck my life.

The upside is that I will have accumulated over 800 hours by the time I graduate.

We can take up to 1300 hours, but I cannot fathom what kind of fresh hell it would be to incorporate another 500 hours into the routine.

No.

I mean.

I am already thinking about what is going to need to be cut out.

Will I have to stop blogging?

Maybe.

Or doing my morning writing?

Maybe.

I can’t say quite yet, but I do know this lady won’t be socializing for a year.

Sigh.

Super grateful.

So grateful that I am going to Paris after the semester ends.

So grateful I get to go to Burning Man.

I am assuming I’m getting a ticket, I got the time cleared with my supervisor as well, who told me that it will be a great tool to use when I get to tell a client that has gotten attached that I am going to take a vacation.

He also told me that once I’m up and running he foresees me taking about 10 clients a week.

TEN!

He also relayed that as I am available to take clients at night I will have a full dance card pretty quick.

That most clients want evening hours or weekend hours.

That the site already has a wait list for clients!

He also said that he would work with me to help me get my hours and that I he would make sure of it.

He even told me that he wished I was coming on board sooner, they had a client he felt that I would be particularly helpful with.

That was nice to hear.

I am grateful for the opportunities.

I am scared.

But.

No where neared as overwhelmed as I was this morning when I was contemplating how it was all going to happen and how was I going to navigate the next moves when I wasn’t even sure what the next fucking moves were.

I was strangled with fear this morning.

Anxiety my old friend.

But.

I did a lot of reaching out.

I called all my people and I called a friend in my cohort who talked me off the ledge.

God damn am I lucky to have the resources I have.

I am also really fortunate that after the paperwork was all sussed out and the schedule, that I was able to do a twenty-five minute interview of my supervisor for my Community Mental Health final project.

I got all the information I needed.

I also recorded the whole thing as well as taking notes, procuring brochures, and asking all the pertinent questions and then some.

I’m not going to write the paper this next weekend.

I’m going to let myself have the weekend “off,” but I will probably start it the following.

The other thing that is going to make this all work, the thing that I am so very grateful for right now, is my job.

I have down time.

Not always.

But enough.

Enough to pause, catch my breath, pray, talk to my people, leave messages, connect, and to do homework.

I got a chapter and a half read in one of my Trauma books today.

I read a chapter and a half yesterday in another book.

Three chapters done while I’m at work.

I am good at time management, I will be able to do this and it won’t be forever.

I remind myself.

I get to do this.

And I get to be of service.

Faith.

I got faith.

Heaps and bunches.

Baby.

‘Cause I gotta have faith
I gotta faith
Because I gotta to have faith, faith
I gotta to have faith, faith, faith

Yup.

Like that.

Sleep won’t hurt either.

Ooh.

Sleep.

Drool.

Day One

January 3, 2017

And the weather Gods shone down on me and my scooter.

Yes.

It stopped raining in time for me to ride to work.

It did indeed rain a little too, but not until I was already at the job and inside and then it passed and I was able to make the entire day without getting wet.

Although I feel pretty chilled.

I was going to go and do yoga after I got back from doing the deal and I just didn’t have it in me, if I did, I’d be doing yoga right now instead of doing my blog, but I just needed to take it easy and slowly get into my groove.

I went to bed early enough to actually get a full eight hours and though I had some anxiety last night as I was figuring stuff out, figuring stuff out, what fucking ever, I fell off pretty quick.

I was tired from not getting a full night’s sleep after the New Year’s Eve dance.

I fell out when I got into bed.

Grateful I gave myself the extra time this morning.

Because even with navigation and looking at the map three or four or five hundred times I still got lost.

Not horribly so.

But just enough that I had to pull over on my scooter three times to check the navigation.

I was literally within three blocks of the house and I missed the turn and did a loop around and it’s a bit squirrelly in that particular neighborhood, some odd one ways and small side streets, so I was super grateful I had given myself the extra time to figure out where the fuck I was going.

I got there.

And super happy to report that there’s not time restriction on the street parking, I can park my scooter anywhere, although I was also offered the option of parking in the driveway blocking the garage.

So that’s nice.

Tomorrow, if it rains, I take a car.

It’s up and down a lot of hills.

Plus.

Today was technically a holiday, which neither the family or I realized.

I realized when I was on the way over, no traffic.

I mean.

None.

Then it hit me, when a holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday is considered an off holiday, all the schools go back tomorrow.

So I got the whole family today.

Mom, dad, friend visiting from Finland, and the three children.

6 years.

4 years.

And.

2 days old.

Yes.

Two days old.

Such a little peanut!

Tomorrow it will be me and the mom and the dad and the baby as the two oldest go to school.  I’ll get all the paper work and taxes and stuff worked out.

Today I just got used to being in the house and I also got to go with the middle girl to the Upper Noe Valley Rec Center.

Dad and the oldest boy were working on a project and mama and the baby had a nap.

The friend visiting will be gone soon and dad will go back to work and then it looks like me, the mom, the baby, and then I will do pick up from school.

I might do drop off once in a while too, not quite sure how that’s going to work yet.

Tomorrow the dad will do drop off.

So instead of coming in at 9 a.m. I’ll go in at 10 a.m. and work until 6p.m.

I am hoping that once we get it all figured out I will have a set schedule.

I’m not the greatest at hopping all around.

I’d like to know so that I can schedule myself and doing the deal into a routine that allows me to get some commitments and be accountable to my recovery.

Hella important to me.

Until that happens, might be a week or two, I’m going to be flexible, because I can, and the baby is such a wee little mite he’ll be with mom and I think the dad has off for a few weeks from work to help too.

It’s a full house.

But.

It’s a nice house and I’m grateful for the job and the experience and getting to know a new family.

“Wait!  You’re leaving?” The little girl said to me as I was wrapping up what tomorrow schedule was going to be with the mom.

“Don’t go!  I’m going to miss you!”

Glad to know that I’m already missed.

That made me happy, and I the oldest asked me if I was going to be coming back tomorrow and I said I sure would and if it was ok with him, I’d be picking him up at school tomorrow.

It was ok with him.

I went to put on my jacket and get my stuff and the little girl came over and said, “I’ve decided that you should stay and we should have a slumber party.”

Oh my god.

I love it.

“I think that’s a great idea!” I exclaimed, “but I didn’t bring my pajamas, do you think we could have a slumber party another day?”

She decided it would be so.

Granted, of course, we had or moments.

“I don’t love you,” she said to me at one point today when we were out at the park and I could tell it was time to go home to lunch, hungry, angry (new baby taking all of mama’s time, new strange nanny), lonely (her brother stayed with dad), tired, it was nap time and though she, according to mom and dad doesn’t really nap much, she fell asleep in the stroller on the way back to the house.

I scooped her up, carried her in, got her out of her rain gear and polka dot boots and mom got her settled.

I told her later, “_________ you don’t have to love me, we can start with like and see what happens, ok?”

And then we had a unicorn and dog picnic, played with stamps and Play Doh and told each other stories.

“I have never heard you play like that before,” her dad said to her when she went to show him something.

I felt really good hearing that, the little tone of awe in his voice, the comfort that was there, noted, his child felt comfortable with me and playful and crawled in my lap and snuggled and we talked and held hands and she asked me to find her tickle spots and did I have any and what did the stars on my neck mean and could she wear my glasses?

It was a very sweet first day and I feel that I will make it through my two-week trial without too much struggle.

Really, I think I passed the test today in flying colors when I got asked to stay over night and have a slumber party.

Probably even before that.

Now.

It’s just a matter of getting used to the commute and the timing and when I can get to yoga, I do want to make sure I’m getting to a least one class during the week.

It will all suss out.

Until then.

I think I’ll probably have another early night.

And more hot tea.

Yay!

Made it through my first day.

Happy.

Happy.

Joy.

Joy.


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