Posts Tagged ‘panic attack’

Soothing Sounds

October 3, 2016

For this Sunday.

I have felt off kilter all weekend.

Could be that it was my first weekend “off” in some time and the need to get out there and do something was in fierce competition with the need to get the fuck caught up on my reading for class.

I did actually get out of the house today but it was not a success.

And.

It was a total success.

I met friends in Cole Valley and we went to Free Gold Watch and played Street Fighter and Addams Family pinball.

It was fantastic.

Then we walked to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

Which I shall now proceed to call Hardly Strictly douchebag.

I just can’t handle the crowds.

I want to.

But.

I can’t deal with the jostling, the open containers, the copious pot smoking.

I didn’t even make it into one of the proper stages having started to get freaked out by the closeness of the people and the fact that we didn’t really go at the festival with a strategic entry point and I had left my scooter parked at 7th and Irving.

By the time we had crossed Crossover Drive and were still a way to go I thought I was going to start hyperventilating.

It didn’t help that I had not navigated my timing with meeting up with my friends and lunch and there was a tiny bit of miscommunication and the next thing I know I’m miles away from my scooter, in a big crowd of people, hungry and anxious.

Yuck.

I got my friends to the festival and turned around and started walking back to my scooter.

I tried.

I really did.

I also tried to now beat myself up too much as I got on the phone and called my person and sobbed a little about being overwhelmed.

I have just been tender and I know a lot of it has to do with further changes with my job and negotiating that and feeling unbalanced.

I like structure and my job has become, well, weird.

I’m now helping out the other family twice a week and interviewing this week with a referral from the mom of my original family and it feels a little enmeshed and strange and I am frankly over it.

I just want a clear-cut job.

I also know that my boundaries around job stuff are pretty rigid, I think it gives me some sense of self-control and control over the situation and lends to a false feeling of security.

The change that is happening.

Is.

Well.

Happening.

I can’t actually change that, I can roll with it or get rolled over by it.

I can also get out of it.

And I’m aware that I need to broaden my perspective and see that what is happening, this change-up, is not necessarily a bad thing.

It’s in fact.

A good thing.

But it is change and I’m not always, like never, comfortable with that.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this line of thought, just got lost in the cello music I’ve got on –Yo Yo Ma playing Bach sonatas.

Soothing Sunday sounds.

Other soothing things today.

I made chicken soup.

I made a fresh bed with clean sheets.

Two loads of laundry washed, dried, folded, put away.

And despite my consternation in regards to going to the park for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, I did get a nice walk in the park, the sky was blue-the brief rain fell early in the afternoon and passed quickly–the sun was out, I saw two red tail hawks and loads of flowers.

When I got home I took my Family Therapy reading and sat on the back porch in the late afternoon sunlight and read for an hour until my friend called to let me know they were at Java Beach.

I went down and sat outside in the last waning minutes of golden sunset and talked about Paris with them and going to Decompression next Sunday.

Decompression is a lot of people too, but not 100s of thousands, more like 10-15,000 and the venue is comfortable to me and I know people there and I know where I can go to chill out and the space is also smaller.

Anyway.

I shouldn’t get overwhelmed with the crowds and I will see folks that I haven’t seen since the event.

It will be a nice way to wrap up the summer for me.

This week will be lots of work, work interview for more work, and a meeting with my school advisor that I was supposed to have this past Friday but had to reschedule after I dropped my phone in the toilet and had to get a new one Friday before work.

I will, fingers crossed, do a lot of reading.

I have a paper to write on Saturday.

Then Decompression with my friends.

I think that’s how it’s going to be, show up, work my ass off, meet up with friends at least once a week and do something, even if it’s small.

I don’t have to go see a huge festival to feel a part of, if anything I usually feel more isolated in a crowd than I do out of one.

I have felt unaccountably sad in spots this weekend and I’m not sure what to attribute that too, but I’m grateful as well for those feelings, ah feelings.

The good news is I get to have them.

The bad news is I get to have them.

At least I’m alive to feel.

And there is so much goodness in the small, sweet, simple acts of self-care that I have done that I’m ok with the sads, they happen, then the happy will happen and all the others in between too.

The sound of the cello soothes me and I soften towards this place, this being, this quietness of self that is fine just exactly how it is.

I don’t need to fix me.

Just accept me.

That’s all.

That’s it.

Pretty fucking simple when I look at it like that.

And.

Easy.

If I let it be.

Easy like Sunday morning.

 

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To Dance

September 15, 2016

Or.

To not dance.

I got a very sweet e-mail message from a friend today regarding all things Burning Man and when the hell were we going to go out dancing?  And we need to wrangle our third mutual friend and do that damn deal.

Don’t I know it.

September is a tough month for me in regards to that.

It’s the only month in the semester that I have two full weekends of classes.

Next weekend.

Which means this weekend is going to be writing papers, doing as much reading as I can cram into my head and burrowing into a hole.

Unless I get asked on a date.

Heh.

Fuck me.

I’m pretty transparent as it goes.

I’m all about the books, unless there’s make out on the table, then I’m like, um, I can get up early next week and do that paper.

Ha.

Oh.

I do so love how my brain works.

I did, however, give myself an hour of reading today before work and I cranked out a lot of one of my classes.

I am however, loathe, seriously so, to even crack the syllabus for my Psychopathology class.

I got my DSM 5 in the mail yesterday.

Nothing says sexy like a $158 text-book.

This thing is a serious piece of work, I don’t know how much it weighs, but I’m going to say the 5 in the title refers to pounds.

Even though I know it means fifth edition.

This sucker is heavy.

I have the desk reference for taking to class and the gigantic one for working out of.

I have two whopper papers that are going to be a part of the class and the professor said we’ll basically be reading the entire DSM 5 by the end of the semester.

Yeah.

Right.

The full title in case you were wondering: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

Say that ten times fast.

The book is 947 pages long.

Now.

I have read books longer than this.

For pleasure, with eagerness and joy.

Not with dread and trepidation.

Also, said longer books were fiction, I wasn’t writing any papers on them and I won’t be going back to them for referencing the rest of my career.

Though to be up front I am hoping that I won’t be using the book all that much.

There is a substantial amount of controversy over the use of the book and how the medical model for psycho therapy has gotten its’ panties in a twist with insurance billings.

You have to have a diagnosis to get your health insurance to reimburse you.

Nobody wants a permanent diagnosis on their record.

I mean.

I joke about mine.

Acute clinical depression.

Acute clinical anxiety.

Severe PTSD.

Classic Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

So.

Let’s see, I’m a drug addict (in recovery, thank you very much), an alcoholic, and yes, I also have an eating disorder.

Anything else here to stare at?

Ha.

The thing is that I don’t really give a fuck what diagnosis I have, either on record or off.

The only thing that I don’t have is a criminal record, although not for lack of trying.

Ahem.

I sought professional help for the anxiety and depression and for three years I was on antidepressants.

I didn’t like being medicated and I was on the lowest dose possible.

I will also add that it saved my life.

I hadn’t had suicidal ideation until I got into recovery.

Which freaked me out.

I discovered later that I was self-medicating, first through food than alcohol and drugs.

And cigarettes.

God, did I love me some smokes.

I’m absurdly grateful for the help I got, help I didn’t even know existed and I didn’t know how to address all the things that were going on.

I couldn’t make sense of the trauma and abuse.

I didn’t know that the neglect and the upbringing I had were not not normal.

It was what it was and I was always surprised when I was told that what I experienced was not healthy, in fact, the very counter-indication of health and normalcy.

Yeah.

What’s normal though?

I suppose a body can get used to anything and my mind and body did what they did to get me through and I had no clue that those things which had helped me deal would eventually stop working.

And when they did.

Well.

It wasn’t very pretty.

But.

Thank God for the help I received.

I am beyond grateful.

I am graced.

Loved.

Taken care of.

“You are going to be of such service to so many people,” he said to me as we were driving back into the city from Sausalito.  “I mean, I just know it, you are going to help so many people.”

I hope so.

Actually.

I pretty much know so.

That sounds like ego, I know that, but I am in a special and unique position.

First that I have gone through the wringer, that I have gone through that puppy more than once, I have a great deal of experience with getting through.

And.

Not only getting through.

But.

Getting better.

Stronger.

More flexible.

More kind.

More loving.

To myself and to others.

But mostly to myself so that I could be more loving to others.

Second, I am extraordinarily resilient, which is just an offshoot of the first.

How I have not drown in all the muck and morass and the sadness and grief, I do not know.

I have hope.

Nay.

I have faith.

Faith like the sunrise rising no matter what, the disco ball spinning in the club, the music beating in my heart, the waves rocking the boat in the night, a cradle of love, God’s hand holding me a loft and strong.

I am taken care of.

So that I can take care of others.

I don’t take antidepressants any longer.

I manage my stress.

I haven’t had a panic attack in years.

Yes.

I get anxious, but I know what to do.

I have a meditation practice, a prayer practice, I am of service, I help out in my community.

Fuck.

People.

I go to yoga.

Spiritual giant, yo.

Mostly though.

I just do the work.

Take the suggestions.

Put one foot in front of the other.

And love.

Lots of love.

Lots of joy.

Lots of happy.

And free.

Yes.

To question the abundance and prosperity I have in my left would be to spit on the hand of God that has helped me through this all, made me stronger, more gracious, more bent with love.

A burden, no.

A gift, yes.

A perspective I am graced to have.

A life beyond anything I could have imagined.

One day at a fucking time.

It’s pretty awesome.

Seriously.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Be Gentle

October 25, 2015

To yourself.

He said to me on phone as I sobbed into the receiver.

The receiver.

Please.

As though my little phone has a mouth piece and an ear piece.

As though I am in a corner of the house in Windsor, the kitchen nook, on the old yellow rotary, oh yeah, that’s right, I had a rotary phone, out dated even for then, but completely functional, with a long curled cord that would get tangled up in itself.

“Have you eaten yet?” He asked, discerning the most important thing, “girl, you’re totally in HALT.”

Hungry.

Angry.

Lonely.

Tired.

I might add sad to that.

Halts.

But it doesn’t sound as good and crisp as HALT.

“Of course I have,” I said into the phone, “I know better than to call you without having first put some sustenance in myself.”

I had eaten the bowl of soup, Tom Kha from Thai House (Vietnamese coconut milk soup with thinly sliced onions, lemon grass, carrots, and chicken) with some brown rice, standing up in my kitchen trying to catch my breath and focus on what was in front of me.

Damn it man.

This is the second time I have done this to myself.

I am acutely aware of my part.

My feelings, though, they were hurt.

Hurt.

And so it goes.

I had my feelings hurt.

Things happen.

How do I recover?

How do I take care of myself?

Shakily spooning soup into my mouth like an idiot who had waited too long to eat, tears snaking down my face co-mingled with eye liner and snot.

Sexy.

I tell ya, I got sexy all locked up, don’t try to get anything by me.

I fell down this hole and I should have known better, in fact, I had an intuition to eat my dinner, call, text, and say you can’t wait until after school to eat.  But I got caught up in a conversation with a professor.

And.

Then I thought, no, just soldier through.

Gird your loins and get it.

It’s not so bad.

And.

The thing is.

It’s not too bad, my feelings, my tender heart, tender, but was I going to die?

No.

Did it feel like it?

Yes.

That is the nature of a panic attack.

Welcome to graduate school, land of panic attacks.

Someone in my cohort admitted to having had one yesterday, maybe they are in the air, catching, like a cough, a soul sickness, a salty sadness, bereft in the elevator shaft of my soul, the cars rumbling up and down, but only stopping mid-floor, caught up in the sinews and entanglements of my heart.

Second panic attack since I have been in graduate school.

Good times.

At least I know what to do, but it was hard to facilitate that where I was.

I closed my eyes and prayed.

I asked to have it lifted.

I slowed my breathing.

I got into my body.

It was hard.

My body was a bit depleted.

I am going to take a moment here, now, and breathe.

“Don’t tell someone who is in a panic to breath,” my professor said today during lecture, “why?”

“The client will feel judged,” I said.

I felt judged.

Scared.

Vulnerable.

Then abandoned.

On the doorstep.

The front gate.

The wrought iron rails dipped in safety orange paint.

I held a crumpled brown paper bag of take out soup in my hand.

My ride pulled away after declining to come in.

I was a mess.

I felt like I showed my most vulnerable self and was dropped like a sack of kittens outside of the car and as I sobbed inside, I shut the door to the car and walked away.

My feelings were hurt.

Yup.

Give it time, give it time, give it time.

“You have every right to feel like that,” he said to me sweet as pie in my ear, “girl, maybe what you have to do is just submerge yourself in your school weekends, nothing but that, stop trying to fit other things in when you are in school, a dinner date after class all day is too much.”

He paused, “and pack some more snacks.”

He was soft, but firm.

Then he told me about falling in a hole.

And climbing out.

And walking down the same street and saying, “oh, there’s that hole again, better skirt it,” but walking right into it again.

Pulling myself out again.

Then.

Going down the same street and saying, “oops, there’s that hole again, maybe I should give it more room, but still skirting too close to the edge, which crumbles and I fall in.”

I laughed, yes, I have done this.

Then.

“Then, one day you walk down the street and cross over to the other side,” he continued.

And.

“Finally, you just don’t turn down that street anymore.”

“Be gentle to yourself,” he admonished me again, “maybe go for a walk, get some fresh air, or do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself.”

“Now, I got to go and eat some food myself,” he said.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

We hung up.

I drank some tea.

I put Coleman Hawkins on the stereo.

I decided to pause on writing my blog and sent off some poems to a friend in my cohort who asked for a copy of the sonnets I recently wrote.

Then.

I realized I wanted a really, really, really hot shower.

So.

I did that too.

Washed the hair, shaved the legs, dried the hair, lotion, put on some yoga pants and a cozy sleep shirt.

I looked at my phone.

I couldn’t help it.

Then.

I knew it was all ok.

Because it always is.

When I focus on all the abundance I have.

When I know that emotions they come and go and I can write it out and let it go and pray and ask for direction, love, guidance.

So leave your things by the sea.

And when the thieves come in.

Just let them take what they need.

And wash it out.

Wash it out.

Wash it out.

Just wash it out.

I put on The Mynabirds and sang and breathed soft in my heart.

I am taken care of.

I am alright.

I am taken care of.

I am loved.

I love myself.

I forgive myself.

Regret doesn’t undo a single thing.

I hope you’re happy today.

If we could go back to the beginning.

We might not have had any wall between us.

I hope you’re happy at the end of the day.

I hope you’re happy today.

So very happy.

I hope you’re happy today.

Panic At The Disco!

September 27, 2015

I mean the SafeWay.

I mean the MUNI.

I mean in the garage.

I mean.

Ugh.

I woke up much later than I had planned, I obviously needed the rest, I remind myself instead of flagellating myself, which is sometimes so much easier to do–beat myself up.

I woke up from a weird dream.

I woke up to the phone ringing and the feeling that I had too much to do and nowhere near enough time.

One foot in front of the other.

Just do one thing at a time.

Breathing, always helpful, do that.

Breathe in again.

I forget sometimes that I have actual clinical anxiety and clinical depression and it sneaks in there sometimes, I have had times when I was on medication for it, but it’s been years since I have and I forget that I can get to that place of anxiety if I am over stressed.

I mean.

I don’t have reason to be stressed.

Please.

Graduate school group projects.

Panic.

Work.

Just asked for a raise.

Just took out 20,500 in student loans.

No biggie.

Living in one of the most expensive cities in the United States, if not the world.

Stress?

What stress?

Bwhahahahaha.

So.

I did what I do.

The next thing in front of me.

Make your bed.

I mean, yeah, I break it down that damn simple.

Make the bed, kneel and pray, read some stuff, say some stuff, go brush your teeth and wash your face, put some clothes on, put the hair in pigtails, stick a flower in that shit, make coffee, make oatmeal with fruit in it–yay! Persimmons are back in season! Sit down, check e-mails, eat breakfast, drink coffee, try to not freak out about already being an hour behind on the day, look about my lovely home, purposely ignore stacks and stacks of readers, books, notebooks, all the effluvia of the student life, and focus on the beauty of your home, eat your oatmeal.

Write.

Write it all out, put the neurosis down, put down the plans for the day, laugh out loud at the idiocy of my schedule, get panicked, but not acknowledge it quite yet, write some more, make second cup of coffee, decided to go do the deal, because really, that’s what has to be addressed, and go out the door and into the world.

Wait for MUNI.

Wonder why I didn’t take my bike.

But then immediately have gratitude that I didn’t, because I did stash my Human Development reader in my bag and I was too overwrought with the feels to actually have paid good attention to the traffic.

Besides the car traffic in the Inner Sunset on Saturday afternoon is idiotic.

I don’t need to die today.

I got on the N-Judah and called my best girl in Castro Valley and had a good commiserate talk about work, school, orientations, doing the deal, dating, more work, more school, not enough time ever, ever, ever.

By the time I got off the train at 7th and Irving I was feeling much better.

Still a bit overwhelmed.

But still trying to just put one foot in front of the other.

I sat for an hour.

I got my head screwed on better.

I cried a little.

I shared.

It was good.

I went to the nail salon and got a super fast manicure, then over to Crepevine for a late lunch and more Human Development reading.

I contemplated going clothes shopping, but I did not have it in me to really shop and I only lasted 20 minutes at Cross Roads.

The good news.

I found four tops–two sweaters, one a Helmut Lang!! And two button downs, which I desperately need.

Then back on the MUNI.

I had the panic creep back in.

I started making phone calls.

I left a lot of messages.

I took out my reader and read the ride home.

I hopped off the train, hopped to the house, hopped on my bicycle and rode off to SafeWay to grocery shop.

While I was in line one of my friends called me back and asked me where I was.

I told him and he said, I’m on my way, go buy some more groceries and I’ll throw your bike in the back of my truck.

Thank you jeebus.

I paid for my groceries and made a second trip through and thoroughly stocked up.

That had been part of my stress, figuring out how I was going to get all the grocery shopping in for myself.

Not only to have groceries in the house, but also an adequate amount of things to cook and prep, because next weekend I’ll be in school full-time and I won’t be able to do any cooking or grocery shopping.

I left the store with an over full messenger bag, a super big thing of toilet paper, and two more bags of groceries.

My friend was parked right next to where my bike was locked up.

We tossed it in the back and I just about burst into tears.

I started hyperventilating a little in his car.

I started the full on panic attack and practiced breathing and staying in the moment and my, look at the ocean, look at how pretty it is (look at the ocean and everyone at the beach, they’re not worried about having their Human Development reading done, asshats, they’re having fun in the sun), look at the sky, look down in my lap and let the tears fall.

My friend talked me off the ledge, dropped me at the house and gave me hugs.

I wiped the eyeliner off my face, hey, hey, Tammy Faye, and went ahead and did the next things in front of me.

Put away the groceries.

Balance the check book.

Heck.

I even made food–black bean and chicken chili with corn, yellow bell peppers, onion, garlic, spices, and a pot of brown rice.

Then.

I sat my ass down with a cup of tea and an apple and I read.

And read.

And.

Yes.

Read some more.

I finished all the chapters in the fucking Arnett book of hell, thank you Human Development.

Plus a bunch of articles.

Then I faced my Waterloo and opened the Power Point presentation my Human Development partner had worked on and I dove in.

I actually got a lot done.

A ton.

I was elated.

How the hell did that happen?

Next thing I know, text from a friend, how you doing, almost done?

And I was.

I ran out, grabbed some sushi, thanked my friend for talking me off the ledge, and in turn gave him a quick hand moving some stuff into his new place.

Then.

Home again home again.

Jiggedy jig.

I gave my friend a Mason jar with homemade chili in it and got back in the saddle.

I communicated with my partner about our project and lined up the readings for tomorrow.

And.

Guess what?

No more panic.

Because.

As noted before, and as I will, I am sure, note again and again.

It is the showing up that is the deal.

I showed up to do the reading and it got done.

When I am in my head though, where there is no time and the world is collapsing around me and I am just not ever fucking enough, then I am screwed.

I don’t see how far I have come.

Oh.

And baby.

I have come so far.

So very far.

I am so lucky.

Perspective is what I have.

Much preferable to panic.

Let me tell ya.

And love.

I have lots of love.

Thank God for friends.

Love you all so very much.

I could not be doing graduate school without you.

Seriously.

La Vie En Rose

August 23, 2015

It’s back.

My hair is pink.

Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink.

And it’s a bout to get hotter in here.

I am currently sitting here with another dose of the hair dye on my head under a turned inside out plastic storage bag.

I know.

Sexy.

How can you stand not being here with me and my pink bag of hair?

Ha.

Everything is coming up roses.

The literal translation of La Vie En Rose is “Life in Pink.”

But it means more than that, “life in rosy hues” is a nice translation; so too, “life through rose-colored glasses.”

I don’t always think of Edith Piaf, the French singer who sang the famous song, although I have some of her music, I think of Grace Jones on the cover of Island Life, an album that my Aunt Marybeth had and one that I envied to the point of buying it when I had the capacity to do so.

I also envied my aunt’s voice, and her softball throwing arm, playing catch with her in the back yard in Windsor I was amazed at the strength in that arm.

I loved listening to her sing the Grace Jones album and had no idea that it was a cover.

I did not know it for many years.

It stayed with me though, the life of the exotic, the hint of something more beyond the back yard of the house in Windsor, a small square of color and light out of the world of Wisconsin that I lived in.

I like to think that I live that life now, the life through rose-colored glasses and yes, I do think I have an idea for my next tattoo.

La vie en rose in script across my collar bones with pink roses.

It’s a thought anyway.

For today it will suffice that I was able to get done a great deal of things that will allow me to transition from work to the playa with greater ease than I believe I have ever had.

Of course I have had the help of many friends to do this.

My playa family, dad and junior, came and picked up my playa bike, freshly pumped tires and a readjusted bicycle basket with zip ties securing it to the handle bars and zip ties reinforcing the new purple pennant I will be flying across the violet indigo twilight.

I am so very excited to go.

Sad too.

I am going to miss my friend that I have gotten to hang out with a bit today and last night–he’s been giving me rides and helping me secure things and I cannot express how grateful I am for his help.

It takes a village to get me to Burning Man.

But the going is happening and in very short order too.

I will be leaving early Thursday morning.

How early depends on when I get picked up.

My friend offered to drive me over to Berkeley when we were originally discussing it, but he’s got to be in Stockton at 7:30 a.m. and that is not going to happen.  I will need the family to scoop me.  Either on the way out-of-town or grab and go to Berkeley.

I can’t possibly take all my stuff on BART.

I don’t have that much stuff, but I have too much stuff for that.

I, of course, have the most important stuff already packed and much to my chagrin, I was not able to have it ready for the dad when he came to grab my playa bike.

The back yard has been getting some major work done and there were three working guys coming in and out and I could not find my bins in the re-arranging of things in the garage.

I also had a vague memory of one of my bins finally combusting upon re-entry last year from the burn and thought, well, perhaps I had thrown out all my bins with that one.

It turns out, that they were underneath a lot of stuff and I just missed them in the looking, but I got it packed after my bike had left to get situated in Berkeley, and it contains some of the fun stuff: a leopard print shrug coat with a hot pink satin lining (which, why, yes, does match my hair), a soft fuzzy sky blue blanket, a long vintage hot pink sweater jacket that is circa 1962 and a fucking fabulous find at Establish on Noriega and 46th for $12, my goggles, my utility belt, a shoulder harness for days/nights when I don’t want to wear a holster, a small Caboodle box (yes, I have a Caboodle, shut up) of nail polishes, and my playa boots.

What more does a girl need?

Well.

Hair flowers, ribbons, fedoras (4 total) a fascinator–that I wore to the Steampunk Masquerade Ball at Nimby a few months back that will be making a return to another masquerade ball on playa, baby wipes, sun block, and a box full of makeup.

Yes.

I will be bringing food too.

But, that won’t get packed until the last-minute and I will also be doing a hit and run on the Whole Foods in Reno for fresh stuff–apples, carrots, any other fruit that can last a few days out there–nothing perishable like peaches or berries though, it will die upon hitting the playa.

I do have frozen fruit though and yes, a bag full of frozen coffee ice cubes that I let myself have a treat with earlier today in between getting back from running errands down town and running up to Target in the early evening for storage bins.

I do not like Target.

But I had no other options.

I get panicky in big box stores.

I could feel that I was getting a bit weirded out and when my friend asked me if I needed anything else I could tell all I wanted was to get the hell out and even if I had anything else, it didn’t matter, getting out was what mattered.

I did however, get everything on my list and for all intents and purposes, I’m done with procuring the supplies.

Now all I have to do is pack the rest of the stuff up, which just means transferring my closet to the bins and then, away I go.

It’s been a lot, but as I have walked through my day with my head full of pink curls I have felt buoyant and light, happy and joyful and excited.

There have been pockets of sad and some feels have come up.

But.

Heh.

Guess who got their period a week early?

Yup.

Thank God.

I was dreading the idea of dealing with it on playa and yes, I know I just wrote about that and I had enough sense to masturbate before it hit, oh did I write that too?

Ha.

Not like I am going to do it at work, hello.

And it’s been a stressful month, I realized that I needed to well, um, de-stress, and so I did and then I got the news from my body and well, it’s all good.

I’ll be on playa by the time it ends and my hair will look fabulous, and I’ll be ready to actually enjoy that thing in the desert.

In fact.

I am really looking forward to it.

I think I may be able to unwind out there better than I have here.

Irony, no?

Out Of The Frying Pan

August 17, 2015

Into the fire.

Or intermediately into the fire?

I mean, I suppose the fire will be when I go to Burning Man, but wow.

It’s hot out there folks.

Today, my last day at the Noetic Institute up in Petaluma it hit 99 degrees.

Tomorrow, here in Glenn Ellen it will be 97 degrees.

That is warm.

At least for this San Franciscan lady.

I suppose it’s just preparation for the high temperatures I’m going to hit up in Black Rock City, so hey, might as well get used to it.

It, the heat, actually did not feel too bad for me.

And it wasn’t outside that I felt the most heat.

It was in the class room.

In the T-Group model that I spent a lot of time in today, all of today, and all of yesterday ( Friday and part of Thursday was well), and, dude, intense does not do it justice.

The good news is that I lived through it to tell the tale and I did not run, I did not hide.

Although, if I am honest, which I was not able to really sit down and do last night since I was still so thick in the heat of it, I did flee.

I, however, waited for the class to be done before I fled and I did not make a scene.

What I did not realize until I was almost in full-blown panic attack, was that I was having a panic attack.

I got myself to my dorm room and I swear I might have hyperventilated if I had stayed in my room.

I dashed out the dorm and tumbled down the steps.

I found a friend.

A dear.

Sweet.

Wonderful.

Amazing new friend.

And she walked with me to the dark of the hillside and let me spill it all out and have myself a good cry, and should you be wondering did I tell her about T-Group, no, I did not.

What happens in T-Group stays the fuck in T-Group.

I did however tell her about the flight or fight that came up for me, the deep shaming I experienced and the rush of anger that had preceded it.

I have not been that angry in so long I was not able to name the emotion for a moment.

I think it’s been a couple of years since I have experienced the level of anger that consumed me.

My skin got so hot I literally had and sustained a red flush on my chest and face for about 45 minutes, perhaps an hour.

I had so much adrenalin and so much blood coursing through my hands and chest and face, it was the most intense feeling and yes, that’s right, I got to have it again today.

But.

Not as bad.

And no panic attack this time.

The T-Group model, I believe, is meant to elicit an emotional response but what I saw was historical for me and I was triggered, and I hate, hate, hate that word, but that is what happened and I haven’t been triggered so hard before.

Ever.

I feel, in hindsight that it was happening, this build up, for a while, and I wasn’t able to name it.

I can name so many emotions, I have a veritable language bouquet of emotive feeling words that I can use and use them I do.

But anger?

I had no idea that it would take that much to get me to feel it, no, that’s not correct, I was getting signals from my body, but I chose to ignore them because I didn’t think they were such a big deal.

The small irritations that happened.

Annoyance that built and built and built and at some point boiled over.

What I learned was that I have to speak my mind much faster than what I think I do.

I have to express and lay a boundary–that’s a big part of the nature of the groups–way before I feel like I do.

I kept brushing it aside, the annoyance, the gnat of a feeling, go away, you’re not worth it.

And every time I ignored that feeling, out of fear of confrontation, which is another point of the T-Group-not to avoid conflict but to learn how to navigate through it– because of that fear I wasn’t sure I’d be able to control or navigate, it got bigger.

Doing the opposite of what the model was trying to teach me to do.

Until the explosion last night.

Which wasn’t seen by anyone other than my dear friend.

I suspect that people in my group were aware that I was really uncomfortable with the emotion and that I was straining to contain it, but no one knew the extent and what do we not do outside of the T-Group?

Process.

It all has to be done in the container the model provides.

So.

It erupted and there I was exhausted, wrung, blown open and I hadn’t even gone in for the night, and I still had to pack my bags–we had to have all of our things out of the dormitories by 9 a.m. when classes started.

I had originally thought, oh, if check out is at 9 a.m. then the classes end on Saturday.

Boy.

Was I wrong.

Classes were held today.

Granted they were truncated, for which I am so grateful, but we still had them all day long and our breaks for meals were cut into to accommodate the new schedule.

After breakfast.

Right to T-Group.

And there it was the trepidation, the fear, the anxiety.

I kept walking through it, I kept showing up for my group and I am so grateful I did.

But yes, in the afternoon the issue did come to a head and I was able to address it.

With a gallon of tears and the second hottest body temp of my experience–yesterday’s anger reaction prior to the panic attack being the hottest.

I got it out.

The conflict was resolved.

But.

I soaked through my shirt with sweat.

In an air-conditioned room.

I still can’t believe that happened.

And.

Yes.

I learned.

OH DID I LEARN.

Grateful for the learning lesson, grateful to be pushed so hard, grateful to also be held so securely and safely with my facilitator who help me to do the work without doing it for me.

I learned.

Teachability, what a gift.

I also got some fantastic feedback and a deep love and gratitude for the process.

Did I like it?

Hell fucking no.

Did I have the courage to walk through the fear and do the learning anyway?

Yes.

And just for that I know that I am going to be an amazing psycho-analyst.

I really am.

I still have so much to learn and do.

Oh Jesus, sweet baby Jesus, in the manager.

Do I have work to do.

Oh man, I have some papers to write and reading to do.

But.

I am well established.

I am on my way.

I am in it.

I through the fire.

It was hot.

I have been made the stronger for the forging.

And.

The steel was worthy of the flame.

Tuesday, It’s a Good Day

July 3, 2013

For a panic attack.

I shit you not, I had my first panic attack in about oh, six years.

Man that was not fun.

In tears, on the floor, trying to desperately regulate my breathing.

All because I am powerless over BART and my life is fucking unmanageable.

Fortunately it was a baby panic attack, probably more of an anxiety attack than anything, but the lead up to it was hella sexy.

Not.

I was trying to juggle too many people and too many schedules.

Attempting to figure out how I was going to make it back to East Oakland tonight so that I could bicycle commute to North Oakland in the morning for a nanny gig.

Throw in I had a 6pm meet up at Dolores Park Cafe, followed by a 7:30pm commitment at the Women’s Building.

Add to the crazy I was leaving the house sitting gig, so like a good hermit crab I was going to have to pack up all my belongings and trundle them along with me to the East Bay.

Oh, yeah, and I was attempting to figure out how to pick up the keys to the house sitting gig I am doing starting Thursday, here in SF.

Then, the final cherry on the top, I am nannying on Thursday and Friday here in SF.

Holy mother of God.

No wonder I was freaking out.

All I could do was make a cup of tea and sit down and be grateful that the baby was sleeping.

I posted something to facecrack, then got a few responses but nothing that quite seemed to make the proper connection, in fact, it all seemed to get bigger and more blown out and more complicated the more I looked at it.

Then the mom in North Oakland shoots me a text saying, we’re still on for tomorrow, right?  And I’m in the city until 8pm if you need a ride back to the East Bay.

I do, but I have a bicycle that won’t fit into your car along with the timing on picking up the keys and I suppose I could leave the bike here, but then how do I get from Graceland to North Oakland–it’s seven miles and um, yeah, the BART is not going that away either.

I mean I suppose I could take the bus?

Cue the unset of panic, the baby is waking up, the texts are whistling in, and I just about blew a gasket.

I stopped, turned off the phone, well, I turned it to silent.

Then I realized I could probably ask for some help and guidance and I didn’t need to figure it out on my own, even though I was still trying to figure it out on my own.

I knew in my heart I was going to have to cancel one thing.

Either the pet sit.

Or the nanny in Oakland.

I was going to have to be on one side of the bay or the other.

The back and forth was just not an option.

I wanted to crawl into a five gallon bucket of mint chocolate chip ice cream and cry.

Instead I ate half a bag of baby carrots and some organic humus and I started making the phone calls.

The first three I was in such a panic explaining what was happening that I think I actually did not leave a cohesive message.

I called John Ater first and said the breathing is not working, I can’t catch my breath, but I could hear him in my head, “just breathe, just breathe, take another deep breath.”

I left my inchoate message on his voice mail, tears rolling down my face, talking to myself out loud to breathe and called the next person on the list.

I called four people, left four messages, and on the fifth hit the jackpot.

I got a live person.

Honey.

Oof.

She just listened and made some suggestions and asked me what I could do and next thing you know I am telling her all I really care about is meeting this person at 6pm at Dolores Park Cafe and then going to the Women’s Building, that I know everything else will fall into place, the keys, the transportation, where I am going to stay, how it will work.

I don’t know how, but just focusing on that, just getting from 5 o’clock to the baby is getting picked up and then get on bike and go to the cafe.

Just that.

Oh, yes, and take care of the baby.

Which I managed to do and was most likely the reason why I did not go into full-blown attack, I had a responsibility, a little life, a person completely reliant on me.

I knew that he was my only true concern at the moment and that it all was going to suss its way out.

I listened to my friend’s suggestions, made eyes with the baby, flirting with a boy always helps, then took the next action in front of me.

I called the people I nanny for and was house sitting for in Cole Valley and asked if I could stay two more evenings (I work as a nanny here Thursday and Friday).  Dad is back and there is no need for me to be here.

Mom said yes, just clear it with dad.

I text dad.

Dad said it’s a go.

I have a place to stay.

Check.

I called the person who had offered to give me a lift if I needed it and said thank you, but I am going to pass, I’m staying put.

Which meant calling the family in the East Bay and saying those words I so dread, “I have to cancel, I am sorry, but I am staying in the city.”

Of course the mom was entirely sympathetic and we worked it out that she is actually going to bring her daughter here.

So I won’t lose a gig, I won’t lose my mind, I won’t be hurting myself trying to shuttle all my stuff to the East Bay and then back to the city and I won’t be having any more panic attacks today.

Thank fucking God.

Just like that, just ask for help, just stop figuring it out.

Figure it out ain’t a god damn slogan.

The show’s officially in town all week, pull up a chair.


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