Let me paint you a picture

What does anxiety look like? Well, it looks a lot like this

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Yep, that’s me yesterday hiking in Horsetooth park. Now that the weather has started to perk up for the summer time, I decided it’s time to get back outside to remind myself why I came out to Colorado in the first place. So, I did the same loop I did about 4 months ago on Christmas Eve, which takes me through the falls, and then up to the top of Horsetooth Rock. Well, actually I didn’t. This photo was taken about halfway through the planned route before I started having a panic attack and made it to about 15 minutes away from the top and decided that I couldn’t do it.

Moral of that story? Don’t believe that everyone who posts these nice selfies on Instagram and Facebook are “happy.”

So here’s what anxiety really looks like. It started with yesterday, going for a nice hike and overall okay despite the fact that it was my first day without a single dose of my anxiety medications. I was about 15 minutes away from getting to the top of the rock when I decided that I wanted to go climb up another rock to sit and eat my snack and drink my “summit beer” (usually these things happen at the actual top, or the “summit,” and it’s always definitely a good idea to bring something that’s low ABV, which in this case was 4.5%). That’s when the anxiety set in. Suddenly, everything felt different. A sense of dread and everything seemed foreign, despite the fact that I’ve done this hike probably half a dozen times in the past year. I felt shaky and out of my body. Despite all this, I wanted to make it to the top of the mountain since it was easy. I climbed down from my rock and proceeded to hike, and then decided, nope, I wanted to go home. I wanted to crawl into bed in my sweatpants and watch Netflix by myself. And that’s what I did. A really exciting end to that part of the story.

I sat in bed trying to drown out my sense of dread and anxiety with Netflix and another beer, really not looking forward to waking up early for work the next day, which I really didn’t want to go to. I just started this job and was super excited about it because it meant that I was able to leave the job I hated and be involved in something I liked: locally sourced food. As a vegan and an advocate for natural, locally sourced food, I took a job in a new market opening up in town that sounded like it could be my new home, where I could thrive a bit being around something that I’m legitimately passionate about. But it’s ended up being a sense of dread because I hate being bored and being around new people and in particular, new bosses whom I’m convinced dislike me. There’s no real reason for that, just a feeling. The anxiety talking to me. Either way, I tried to drown out my anxiety with a Netflix binge, some yoga, seeing D, and trying to get some sleep.

But I couldn’t sleep.

I kept trying to think of a million reasons to not go to work. Tired. Sick. Klonopin withdrawal. I could find another job. I could pick up more shifts at my other job to get by.  Eventually, the tiny dose I take of klonopin at night kicked in and fell asleep to wake up to the day I dreaded. I tried not to think about it as I got ready for the day, but I still found myself sitting in silence for minutes at a time (good thing I get up early) just thinking and thinking and thinking and wondering how I could possibly get out of going to work, how I could get on with my life, what I should even do with my life in general. Why am I here? Why am I doing this to myself? Why am I out here doing jobs I don’t like to go on adventures that I don’t want to go on anymore and in the end, being semi-broke, hating myself and my life.

Biking to work helps. Except for when I get super anxious when I’m in the middle of traffic and I’m scared that everyone on the road hates “that stupid biker that I almost hit.” I try to drown it out and know that everyone who drives in Fort Collins knows that there are cyclists everywhere. Most of the main roads are bike friendly, but I road through the backroads and neighborhoods to avoid traffic. I got to work and had to take a moment to collect myself while locking up my bike, telling myself that I was gonna make it to 2pm. Only 6 hours, that’s not a long work day. I’ve done worse.

But I got to work and immediately zoned out and couldn’t focus on anything. One of my bosses finally came up and asked me to go to the walk-in fridge/freezer to seal up popsicle wrappers. This basically involved me standing in the walk-in fridge for about 30 minutes using a heat press to seal the ends of popsicle wrappers (my bosses also run a pop shop a couple streets over). About 10 minutes into this, I got really cold. Like REALLY cold. And then I realized I was stuck in there for I don’t even know how long because I’m a wimp and hate cold, and I started to panic. I could feel myself getting sick but didn’t want to say anything to my boss because I didn’t want him to think that I actually was a wimp and couldn’t stand being in a 40ish degree fridge for short periods of time. But I stuck with it, despite telling one of my co-workers that I felt sick and I have a hypersensitivity to cold. She responded with “Do you have bad circulation or something?” To which, because it totally made the best sense and would give me a reason to not be in the fridge, I responded “yeah, I have low blood pressure,” which is actually true.

After finishing up in the fridge, I sat out behind the counter with some hot coffee for a while, feeling light headed, weak, and a bit panicky. I kept wondering how the hell I was going to make it to 2 o’clock when it was barely 10am and I already needed to leave. After a while, I finally mentioned to another coworker that I felt a bit sick from being in the fridge and told her I was probably going to ask to go home. She told me to just go home. So I did. I felt bad. I felt everything and nothing. I hated my job, but I hated myself more. Still feeling legitimately a bit sick, I started to bike home, which really sucks when you feel lightheaded. I was panicky the whole way home. Shaky and barely able to stay in the bike lane. When I got home I crawled into bed and hid. Hid from everything. Myself, my job, my roommates, my entire world. I could feel my heart beating in my chest. I stared at Craigslist Jobs and Indeed for about an hour before I stressed myself out even more by wondering what the fuck I was doing with my entire life.

And so ends my 24 hour long panic attack. I’m still trying to figure out how I can get out of work tomorrow, and if I do go, can I make it? I can’t leave work early 2 days in a row. I don’t want people to think I’m weak, because in the hindsight of it all, I’m not. I just feel things more strongly than others. I feel life and its stresses clearer, not always in the best way, but sometimes logical when need be. I know the things I can do, the things I can’t, and the things that I’m still not sure of.

But I know I can take a selfie and look like I’m doing more than alright.

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all that and a pint of ice cream and bottle of wine

The blog hiatus is still pretty real. To be honest, I thought this was the end of my Wallflower Waterfall blog journey. After scrolling through all my social media accounts after the inauguration, I realized (as much as I really do care about it) that I don’t want to see all this stuff clogging up my newsfeed. And besides that, since it seemed that that was all that people wanted to read and write about, who would want to read my blog in which I completely avoid talking about politics?

The answer, I found, was still a handful of people. So I’ll keep writing for you guys, but you’re gonna have to look hard for it amongst all the political rants and articles that are probably clogging up your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram pages as well. And for that, you all will get a lot of virtual hugs and maybe cookies if you live near me (I guess we’re back to the cookie bribery). Also, I realized that as of next week, I will have had this blog for a year.  Definitely baking cookies for myself. And because next week is Valentine’s Day and I’m sure you all know how much I LOVE Valentine’s Day … queue sarcasm. See last year’s post numero uno and the Valentine’s Day follow-up of post #2. For the record, my mind is still like the DC metro (see the second post). I also totally take back what I said about teddy bears and all the cheesy Valentine’s Day crap. I fucking love flowers and those stupid little heart shaped boxes of chocolate. But only good chocolate. None of that Russell Stover excuse for “chocolate.”

I guess this year probably won’t be much different besides the fact that I’m not dating a sociopath, but vegan Ben & Jerry’s, wine and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind will probably still be in the mix. I really don’t know why Valentine’s Day always gets me down. Every year, I watch Eternal Sunshine to remind myself that people come and go, and life can continue on regardless. Yesterday, the tattoo itch kicked in so badly that I sat through six hours of getting my entire left side of my torso tattooed with the quote from the movie. It’s been six months since my last tattoo. And since it’s close to Valentine’s Day, I only felt it was appropriate:

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How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! The world forgetting by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d                      -Alexander Pope

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll get it. If not, well I just planned your Valentine’s Day for you.

A spotless mind, one that is untainted, and innocent. Eternal light lives in the minds of the innocent. But are they happy not knowing?

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I guess we’ve all felt like this at some point. I thought this would be me this year. But second chances are always a thing. Sometimes even third and fourth chances if somehow it’ll seem worth it. But who am I to talk about relationship advice. I mean come on, I dated a sociopath for over half a year.

But disclaimer? I’ve actually been binge watching the Twilight series. 50 Shades of Grey will be on the queue for later. And then back to the beautiful tragedy that is the eternal sunshine.

 

frozen bread and trash cookies

So lately, I’ve realized how food and drink obsessed our society is. Like, whenever you want to go do anything, food or a drink is almost always involved. Getting dinner is a date. Hanging out with a friend to go grab a drink or two. It’s literally impossible to avoid food culture unless you’re a hermit like me who eats trash cookies (more on that in a bit).

This whole “getting sober” thing is one of the most impossible things. Alcohol is considered a “normal” part of everyday life. I can’t watch a single show on Netflix where alcohol isn’t involved and in the show, it’s totally normal. Even if a character drinks a lot, they’re not an alcoholic. They’re just quirky and a party person or depressed. I guess I fall in the latter. Ever realize how on almost every show, getting a drink after work is a daily thing and no one even questions it? It’s not alcoholism. It’s just socializing. Well, I wish it was that easy. I wish I could just “go out for a drink” after work to decompress, socialize, whatever.

The media sets these unrealistic expectations of both men and women when it comes to eating and drinking. Characters on tv don’t think twice about knocking back a 6pack every night, or having a Ben and Jerry’s binge, yet if I do that, I’m looking at getting plastered and depressed or consuming a disgusting amount of calories. What people do on everyday television, I feel like I have to go on the elliptical for an hour afterwards because I’m not trying to pack on unnecessary weight. For people like me who have a weird range of some type of body dysmorphic disorder/exercise bulimia/anorexia etc., being around people or socializing or seeing anything that has food or drink involved is a total trigger. I see the beautiful, skinny, healthy women in shows sipping dirty martinis and all I can think about is how badly I miss that crisp, saltiness of an extra dirty vodka martini, but knowing that I can’t drink, and the calories aren’t worth the amount of exercise I did that day.

But yeah, I do have the weirdest eating habits. I became aware of the fact that I’m definitely what has come to be known as “freegan,” in which I only eat food that’s free. Ok sometimes I pay for food. I hate paying for food because I’m still not working yet and I’m kind of broke. So when your roommates throw perfectly good cookies in the trash, you fish them out. They were wrapped in two bags and I don’t feel bad about eating these “trash cookies” that were going to be wasted anyway. Also have you ever eaten frozen bread? I’ve gotten to a point where whenever I buy a new type of bread, I have to see if it’s good frozen or not. Some breads just aren’t as good as others. Like, some breads just taste stale when they’re frozen or some are still weirdly fluffy and just taste cold. I can defend my habit of eating frozen bread: the butter doesn’t melt and it’s like eating toasted pita.. but cold. It’s fine when you dip it in soup because it just becomes soggy either way.

Have you ever eaten a cookie while falling asleep? Drank your coffee on the toilet? Eaten soup or beans straight from the can? Left the fig newtons open so they’ll become stale and crispy? No? Okay, it seems I really am the only one here. I swear I can defend all of these statements. But then again, I just like food, and I’m a binge eating exercise bulimic so maybe I should have thought about that when I made my new year’s resolutions.

But I have gone back on my sobriety stint and it’s been almost 4 days. A rough 4 days. I’m at the point of wanting to ditch Netflix, pour out all of the alcohol I have in my apartment and just going back to eating trash cookies and becoming a tea addict* (I’m pretty sure drinking a whole bottle of wine has more calories than eating a bunch of cookies, let’s be honest). And okay, I actually did do some of that. I poured out the rest of the Jose Cuervo that sat on top of my fridge and actually made a point of opening and pouring out an entire beer. Can I REALLY ditch Netflix though? How else do you think I do 50 minutes on the elliptical every day?

Society, you’re killing me. I’m climbing back down the rabbit hole and drinking tea with my real friends. They don’t have croissants there either. Just a lot of blanket forts and tea parties.

img_3087In case you ever wanted to know what $15 tea looks like. Dead soggy flowers.

*some teas are basically drugs. And it tastes good. If I’m a junkie for herbal teas then so be it. And yes I bought a $15 bag of tea yesterday because I’m just going to assume it’s like wine or beer and the more expensive it is, the better it is. Let’s just leave that there. Tea Addicts Unite. Tea Addicts Anonymous (TAA)?