Hanging By a Rope

Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

I’ve had a minor health issue for a while, which didn’t bother me terribly until recently. It got worse and was causing a lot of pain and discomfort.

I went to my doctor, who then referred me to a surgeon/specialist and then another specialist. Everyone had something different to say– and all of my “options” come with pluses and serious minuses. I also can just do nothing– or try something minor to see if I notice any difference, which I may or may not notice at all. Oh– and of course, comes with side effects of its own.

I left each appointment feeling more overwhelmed. Worse, when I met with the surgeon, I didn’t think to bring someone with me to ask questions while I sat dazed, overwhelmed and tired trying to follow everything he said. I ended up forgetting to ask a bunch of questions in the meantime, wishing I had afterwards.

Since no one could give me a clear direction on what to do and left it in my hands, I’ve been feeling like I am hanging .. by a thread or dangling by a rope, waiting for some kind of lifeline or answer to come. So far, I’ve just felt mostly paralyzed with indecision.

And then, when I came to a conclusion or a treatment plan or sorts, I then came up against the biggest roadblock: lack of support and help. Trying to coordinate what would happen for my kid and me if I had a procedure in the hospital has been as stressful as seeing the doctors. And feeling that lack of support, I just decided it was better to do nothing.

Until I decided to do further testing … with the hopes that further testing will give me a clearer picture of what I need to do, lifting this sort of indecisive grip that’s come over me. I am just as worried that doing nothing will end up with me feeling worse or regretting that I did nothing.

It’s amazing though what a lack of support can do to a person. It has really caused me to retreat and feel defeated before I’ve even begun. It truly takes someone who actually gives a sh*t to support someone through medical stuff, and I guess I haven’t met someone who actually does give a sh*t yet, sadly. I do know that it could be worse. And for the most part, I am living a healthy life and am active. I try to remind myself of that every day. But the indecision and lack of support, sucks.

Hanging On,

Laura

A Bad, Horrible, No- Good Weekend Day

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I was looking forward to the weekend, until it just seemed to go not as I had hoped. And normally, two bad disappointing days could be just that. Two bad disappointing days. No biggie. But in today’s day and age where Covid has kept us from our normal lives, it’s harder to get past disappointment and sadness. It’s harder because we’re more isolated. And when I do speak to my friends, there isn’t much to say. I’m home most of the time raising my kid. Sometimes it’s easier to not talk rather than rattle on about the mundaneness of it all.

My daughter and I saw my parents outside for five minutes masked the other day, and could tell my mom didn’t seem herself, although she was happy to see us. Maybe this is just how it is when you are losing your memory. Whatever the case, it was just such a fleeting visit and how it has to be during these times. But it’s hard knowing I don’t know when I’ll be able to spend time with my parents again and how my mom will be cognitively at that point. My dad has taken over many things — things my mom once did. Noticing these things it’s like tiny moments of grief for me. Grieving I can’t call her and talk like we once did. Grieving I didn’t realize this would happen.

And as I write this, a family member is in the hospital recovering from a painful and emotionally difficult surgery. One that will take a long time to recover. Nobody can visit and honestly, right now is not the time to step foot in the hospital unless mandatory. The feeling of powerlessness that I can’t help this person is huge. The hope that finally, my family member will feel better after years of sickness, is what I’ve got carrying me through this, hoping she gets better. She’s a good person and desperately needs a break.
Some days I feel like the good people never get a break. We’re not appreciated. We’re not truly ever lifted up as we should be. But that’s how I feel today. Maybe tomorrow will be better. It’s a new chance. A new day. Maybe.

Today was just one of those days where I felt down, hopeless, upset and defeated. Where you’re down and just don’t know what to think anymore.
Then, I somehow hurt my back over the weekend and the pain radiated to my hip, making me feel a bit queasy. However, I pushed through and did everything I had to do today not asking for help once and I ended up paying the price feeling worse at the end of the day.
In the end, a heating pad, meditation, some ice cream and one of my favorite Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes, were my go- to’s to try and help me feel a little less down and a little less discouraged in mankind.

Did it work? Maybe. Not really. Not sure. That’s ok. Maybe I don’t know how I’m really feeling.
One minute, I’m grieving my daughter’s lack of normalcy and the next I am thankful for being healthy. A sore back is something I can take care of.
Another minute, I’m thankful for the good people in my life, and the next I am doubting my worth.

But they say it’s darkest before the dawn so I’m just going to hope things get better. The reality is nothing is permanent. Everything changes. At some point, there will be light! Meditation teaches us impermanence. Nothing stays the same. This moment is different than the next.

Breathe Deep,

Laura

How a Single Mom Gets a Medical Procedure

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

Here’s the answer. She doesn’t get the procedure done.

I need a test– procedure– under anesthesia in early 2021, however, I have no one to take me. I certainly wouldn’t ask my elderly parent during COVID-19– especially since one of my parents is caring for the other parent, who has dementia.

This is why it unnerves me when people comment how I am strong and independent. I know this. I don’t need a team of people to remind me. I am very comfortable on my own– minus repairs and manual labor. And admittedly, I would love if Lenny Kravitz could do any and all of the home repairs as that man is perfect, but I digress.

It is upsetting to never have a guaranteed person to be there for you. I am strong because I know I cannot rely on anyone and that is a shame.

So the answer is, I will probably not get the procedure/test I need. It is one that tests for cancer that I need every 5 years due to an issue I had almost 15 years ago and I cannot UBER or drive myself.

Then to make my anxiety particularly active, I need to go for general bloodwork to check for anemia. If that comes back badly again, alas, I will need a different larger procedure perhaps.

Overall though, I am grateful that I am overall, healthy, fit and can do renegade push-ups like no other 100 lb woman can.

I feel good generally, and I care for myself. I try to self-care. I try to contribute to the good of society during this pandemic by being careful and following scientific guidelines.

But this strong capable person could use another person sometimes, and I don’t feel bad for admitting it.

Lovingly,

Laura

We All Need to Be Cared For

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No matter how old we are or how independent and capable we may be, we all need someone to be there for us. Sure, there are people who protest and say they don’t need anyone and that they’re “OK” on their own, but the reality is none of us is an island.

We all crave human touch, companionship, love, passion and connection. Without it, let’s admit it: we would be pretty boring people. It’s why people take so much time and effort to pursue love, romance, sex and friendship. If it wasn’t so intoxicating, amazing and transformative, nobody would be running after it, writing songs about it, or discussing it in detail with their friends.

When we don’t feel cared for, we are often at our worst. We feel anxious, unsure and misunderstood. We feel alone, powerless and intimidated. These feelings stem into depression or general anxiety. It bleeds into our everyday lives. Not having that connection can feel like you’re on an island or swimming in a turbulent ocean with the undertow taking you further and further away from the rest of the world. This isn’t to say that we need someone else’s care and love in order to be successful and happy, but that with love and available people in our lives, we become the best versions of ourselves. Because when we have people who do not care for us or treat us well, it does dim our light. This is why it is so crucial that we care for others and that we allow ourselves to be cared for and in return, that we give love back.
Having that love is like having a homebase: without a homebase, you will feel adrift, anxious and uncertain. This is the place where we feel our least “best.” It affects our mental health and wellness. But when we have that homebase— that love and care in our lives, we grow long, strong roots and reach out towards the sky with all the potential that is in us. This is what helps us grow and shapes our self-view and stability for the days to come.

Love Others and Yourself,

Laura

6 Tips to Help You—and Your Family—Sleep Better During the Pandemic

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If your family’s sleep habits have been out of whack since the COVID-19 pandemic began, you’re not alone. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the stress brought on by an infectious disease outbreak can lead to changes in sleep patterns, difficulty sleeping, and worsening of mental health conditions.

As a single mom, I can tell you first-hand that getting a good night’s sleep has been a real challenge for me these last seven months. There were many times I’d wake up in the middle of the night with worry and then struggle to get back to sleep. (Thankfully, my daughter’s sleep has remained mostly stable, with a few nights here and there of tossing and turning due to anxiety.)

Read More: 6 Tips to Help You—and Your Family—Sleep Better During the Pandemic

Peaceful Slumber,

Laura

8 Ways Type A and Type B Personalities Express Anxiety Differently

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Type A, overachieving organizer or a Type B, laid back slacker — many people have to learn how to deal with anxiety. Even people you see as outgoing and “King or Queen of the World,” or those who are so laid back they couldn’t possibly stress a thing, can struggle when it comes to dealing with anxiety.

Sometimes, it’s easier to tell who’s anxious from who’s not, but an individual’s personality type can play into how anxiety presents itself to the outside world. Here are 8 unique ways in which a Type A personality and a Type B personality express anxiety differently.

Read More: 8 Ways Type A and Type B Personalities Express Anxiety Differently

Breathe Deep,

Laura

Your Anxiety Is Lying to You — Here Are Helpful Ways to Overcome It

Anxiety is a nasty devil. Anxiety will have you believing things that in no way are true and will unravel you to your last wit’s ends. Anxiety will ruin your belief in yourself and in others. Hands down, anxiety is an evil joker that will fool you and your sane brain and heart into believing myths that are just not true. Knowing that anxiety can trick you into believing falsehoods is powerful. Why? Because it then allows you to tell yourself that you cannot believe the “junk” that anxiety feeds you. And when you recognize that your anxiety is just “talking smack again,” you’ll begin to take back your life and loosen anxiety’s grip on your mind, heart, and life. Here are five things your anxiety is fooling you into believing.

1. People Don’t Like You

Your anxiety will have you believing people are talking about you, thinking poorly about you, or in general don’t like you. This is not the same as paranoia. Anxiety is different. Your anxiety will misinterpret things people say or do and have you thinking that, perhaps, a person doesn’t like you or is disappointed in you. Sure, sometimes someone might not like you . . . or your anxiety could have you misinterpreting social cues or panicking for no reason.

When this happens, breathe deeply and ask yourself these questions:

Read More: Your Anxiety Is Lying to You — Here Are Helpful Ways to Overcome It

Don’t Believe The BS,

Laura

How Anxiety Is Actually Like a Real Prison

You may be the boss of you as an adult, but when you have anxiety, it can feel as if you are never in charge. There may seem to always be something hovering over you and stealing the wheel from your hands when you least expect it. In so many ways, anxiety can operate like a prison. It’s a sentence that you didn’t ask to serve or do anything to bring it on — most likely anxiety was handed to you by genetics or a traumatic situation — but it’s one that many people deal with, whether as a short-term sentence or a life-behind-bars type of scenario. It took separating from a former partner for me to understand how it had affected me.

And it wasn’t just my anxiety that reared now and again (an occasional sentence? community service?) that hurt my progress emotionally, but it was being romantically involved with someone who held it against me, hovering over my head, trying to make me feel bad about myself. Using it as a weapon for control.

It made the anxiety worse, not better, and in that case, there were two prison guards and one operated more covertly than the other (the former partner, not the anxiety). As I walked away from the situation, I started to see the writing on the wall.

I realized I was worth something and that while I can be anxious, anxiety does not rule and will NOT rule me.

Read More: How Anxiety Is Actually Like a Real Prison

Set Yourself Free,

Laura

7 Things I Don’t Want You to Say When I’m Feeling Anxious

People mean well and want to help, but when someone is experiencing anxiety or feeling nervous, the last thing we need is more useless cliches that don’t help us one bit. It’s hard to understand anxiety unless you have experienced it. Most people have felt anxious in their lifetimes, but if you’ve ever experienced the glory of a panic attack or been so anxious you felt sick, you know why I see red when people say, “Just relax.”

Newsflash, Einstein: if we could just relax, we would.

This of course doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to manage your anxiety. When I am feeling anxious, exercise, deep breathing, stretching, and time with friends help me feel better. Sometimes it also means shutting down my cell phone and not bothering with anyone, minus my daughter.

But when someone tries to give you unhelpful advice about anxiety for the 50th time, it’s enough to make you want to check out of dodge for the weekend.

1. “Just Relax”

Look, do you have a magic wand to erase this feeling of dread? If you did, you would use it and if Idid, so would I. Telling me to “just relax” is not helpful.

Read More: 7 Things I Don’t Want You to Say When I’m Feeling Anxious

SSH,

Laura

7 Signs You’re WAY Too Freakin’ Hard On Yourself

Be nice to yourself. You’re doing better than you think you are.

We are our own worst critics, but some of us have a literal scoreboard in our head that’s constantly giving us the “thumbs down.” It’s like living with a movie review team in your head. Except, unlike the famed Siskel and Ebert, the critic in your mind doesn’t have a day off or a moment of rest.

On one hand, being hard on yourself has pluses: people who don’t really care about what they say and do aren’t typically out making the world a better place. Someone who’s hard on themselves is someone who cares about their time on this planet, and that’s a good thing! Where it becomes problematic is the intense self-criticism that sucks the joy out of life and the intense “second-guessing.”

Are you too hard on yourself? Here are a few signs you need to ease up the pressure.

  1. Your accomplishments are never enough.

You got published somewhere huge. You landed the big raise. Your master’s thesis was accepted. It’s all just bliss and kittens to everyone … except you. You should have done X. You should have gotten 5K more in that raise. Did they really approve your thesis idea? Sure, but I bet they didn’t love it.

Read More: 7 Signs You’re WAY Too Freakin’ Hard On Yourself

Be Good to Yourself,

Laura