Procrastination and Anxiety

Why does my anxiety build up in my head and creates obstacles for me? This is a question I am pondering this morning, as I consider whether or not I wish to read poetry tomorrow night.

On Sunday, I awoke nervous. Mostly, it was because of the stress I was building up in my head. I had to work in the morning, which is usually pretty easy on Sundays, but it was stressful because I knew as soon as I left I had to go home and do my taxes. Yes, I am damn near 40 years old, but I have only ever done my taxes by myself twice. My father always handled them in the past, as he has a degree in accounting and is a computer whiz. But then, he retired from his job, and thus retired from doing mine and my sister’s taxes.

We discovered the Cashapp filer, so I used that this past year and again this year. It really was quite simple, especially since I could upload our W-2s, and then just double check the information. Also it auto-filled all of my personal information from last year- I just had to change my address. The state taxes I have always found confusing, and I am 99% sure I got it all right, but I think we all have that one wriggling thought in our brains that makes us worry that we put a decimal in the wrong place or left out a tax credit. I don’t know. Everything seemed to go fine last year, so hopefully this year will be the same.

I submitted the forms and received emails back this morning that they had been accepted, so that is over and done with. My point, however, is that this simple task which took me maybe 45 minutes lived rent-free in my brain for 4 months. Because anxiety!

When I was a kid, my mom told me I had a problem with procrastination. The truth is I don’t think it’s really procrastination, or at worst, that is a symptom of an underlying problem – anxiety! It’s not that I wish to put off my tasks, it’s that my anxiety gives me 5,000 reasons why doing the task is a bad idea. I then have to rationalize through those 5,000 reasons to get to the task. That is why I filed my taxes on April 16th, instead of the end of January like a normal person. That is why I am sitting here right now looking at my three poems I would like to read tomorrow and thinking that they are stupid and crappy- because I have not yet rationalized that they are good and worthy.

Time will tell if I manage to do so and end up reading them tomorrow night at the cafe. I hate having to wait for my brain to catch up with my mood- especially when my mood is good and high and I am feeling alright, but then my crazy brain sends crazy thoughts that ruin the day. If the poetry reading were right now, I would go based upon my mood alone, which has been quite good these past few days. Alas, anxiety threatens that mood, but I shall fight back! I shall not relinquish to my old foe. Even if I have to rationalize for the next 24 hours, I will find a way to overcome. At least, one can hope.


Schedules and Such

I almost forgot to go to work today. I don’t know where my mind was, I work every Friday morning, and yet today it did not register with me. Perhaps because I have to work tomorrow instead of Sunday due to Easter, or perhaps it was because there was no school this week. Either way, as I finished my first cup of coffee and went for a second this morning at 6:00 a.m, Mark asked me what time I had to leave. I had a moment of shock followed by a moment of panic, as I realized I now had to completely rewire my brain for a different day than I had planned.

This may be a simple task for some people, but it is a difficult one for me. I like to have a plan. I like to have a schedule. I like to be on time- no, I like to be early. I had myself in a mindset for a lazy Friday morning followed perhaps by an afternoon in nature, topped off by an evening with the kiddos. I had to completely reset my mind frame to be able to focus on work, and it didn’t really take hold until I turned the key in the lock. Even on the drive to work, I felt panicked and discombobulated. It’s not like I was going to be late, and everything was fine- it was even an easy day and I got out early so I could come home and spend time with kids. Alas, I had to get myself in the right frame of mind and that is a difficult task.

So, my day thus far has been work, coming home and relaxing because I think I pulled a back muscle, and soon I have to run to the store. Then the kiddos are coming (E is already here,) and I can hang out with them still, but my day feels off. It has felt that way since 6:00 a.m. I envy people who can make changes, big or small, in a short period of time. It takes me a while to process things, especially changes to my schedule. I often wonder if that is a sign of neurodivergence- probably. I saw somewhere on the internet that there is a test you can take now that tells you where you fall on the spectrum, and I don’t know how medically sound it is but I have considered giving it a shot. I would be very curious to know if my brain works as strangely as I have always assumed that it does.

Anyway, this is a bit of a short blog because I would really like to get out and do some things that I wanted to do today, particularly those that do not involve work or errands. And so, I bid you adieu. Happy Friday!

The Letdown

Let’s talk about some mental health shall we?

One of the things that really bothers me is what I like to call “the letdown.” I’ve been feeling this emotion quite a bit lately, so I’d like to talk about it with you. Now, we all know, or at least the common reader does, that I live with obsessive compulsive disorder, severe anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder. That’s a lot of disorders – and I have written about all of them. But something I have only ever touched on is the letdown. The letdown comes after any attack from those three foes of mine. Yesterday, all three were at play, ergo all three caused a letdown situation.

First, there is the general depression that I am feeling which has been heightened by recent traumas regarding the death of my mother. I started the day already feeling depressed about my circumstance, which immediately led to a mild letdown, and caused me to sit on the sofa for several hours feeling frozen and angry at myself. I used my coping mechanisms to push myself to do something that would make me happy-so I decided to make pancakes. When I got to the kitchen, I discovered I have three boxes of pancake mix and they were all past their expiration date. When I got to the refrigerator, I found that the milk had spoiled. I then spilled rotten milk and pancake mix all over the floor. That is when the OCD part of me jumped out and stormed out of the room. I had to sit down and take deep breaths in an effort not to launch into a panic attack. When I did finally call myself down, I had a mess to clean up and a lot of regret for yelling at my husband.  The letdown, again.

Then I went to work, which was a good day, and I would have thought I’d have been fine- until I got to the car after and started to cry. I don’t know why, probably my mother, but whatever it was caused a large amount of anxiety to well up inside me. I really wanted to go to that workshop, but I couldn’t. Instead, I drove to my sister’s house and sat on her futon and tried not to cry more. Then, came the letdown. This one was worse than the others, because this one affected my life in a way that I do not have control over. Yes, I could have forced myself at work to go do that workshop, but I might not have absorbed anything since I was not in my right frame of mind. Instead, I chose the self-care option, which is what I know I am supposed to do. Still, I have regrets. I am disappointed. I have a feeling like I am not good enough, like I am broken in some way and unable to do the things I want to do. This, this is the letdown. So how does one get out of it? Earlier, I tried to make pancakes. When that didn’t work, I tried meditation and deep breathing. And then, like building blocks, I found myself feeling even more let down at the end of the day, unsure how to rattle myself out of these feelings. Now it is the next morning, and I am still feeling disappointed in myself, even though my logical brain knows I made the right choice for me at the time. But sometimes the right choice is not the choice we wish to make. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. Sometimes it means it definitely should. So I tell myself that I made the right decision, and I hope that my feeling of failure fades. Maybe by tomorrow.

Anyhoo. The big workshop starts next week. I will start psyching myself up for that one now. Happy Thursday.

Smart Went Crazy

There is this song that has been playing in my head for over a week now. It is a rap song buy a group I am not super familiar with, and I am not sure how I came upon the song. It just showed up in a playlist one day, got my head bopping and my toes tapping, and I have had it on repeat ever since. It is called Smart Went Crazy by Atmosphere. Now, a lot of the lyrics speak to me and some of them don’t make a lot of sense, but the beat is infectious, and the title, well, you can see that it meant something if I am here writing a blog using it.

Here are some things you will find on my Tik-Tok algorithm: witchy stuff, funny cows, liberalisms, corny jokes, and a ridiculous amount of neurodiversity videos. The latter is what I will be writing about today.

When I was a small child, I was very gifted at reading and writing. I went into kindergarten already doing both, while my peers were still learning the alphabet. Nowadays, most kids go to kindergarten already knowing these things, but back in the ’80s, it was not normal for a 4 year old to already be able to write their name, and certainly not with the penmanship of someone who had practice for q year already. I don’t remember not knowing the alphabet, but I do remember the first time I sat down with a pen in my hand and a piece of paper and my grandmother Lois asked me to write her a story. I was three, so of course I wasn’t going to actually write anything. Instead I made loop-de-loops on the paper to mimic Gran’s cursive handwriting. Then came the library, which I have written about, and which opened the doors of reading for me. It was a secret code that only adults knew, and I was no child in my mind. I figured that code out as soon as I could and I used it to break down the doors at school.

By the time I was in second grade they wanted to put me in the Gifted and Talented program. I was light years ahead in reading, and able to do the simple math in my head- mostly because my memorization skills were really good, and this was long before New Math. My parents did not put me in the program however; my mom told me once that it had something to do with them not wanting me to feel different than the other kids. I remember her saying that and me thinking “but Ma…I AM different than the other kids!”

Anyway, with the exception of the more difficult math as time went on, as well as a Spanish class that was forced upon me, I did bizarrely well in grade school. Then I got to high school, where I was told I was now a little fish in a big pond. Instead of me trying to fight for food to become a bigger fish, I just adapted to little fish life and made a lot of little fish friends. I spent more time with my fish friends than I did on the food fight, and nobody thought I was gifted and talented anymore. What they didn’t realize is that I was glad to have found people that I could relate to, finally. I knew that relationships were more important than grades from the get-go, so I chose to work on something I have for the rest of my life instead of something that went away when I graduated. The best part of my high school experience is the people I shared it with, and yes, I went to a really good school and I got a really good education that I did struggle for at points- particularly that math. It was hard for me to reconcile that at one point I had been years ahead of my peers, and now I was falling behind, but I didn’t feel bad about it because of the relationships I was forming

So, the point of me telling you all of this is so that you are aware that my brain advanced early. As I age, some things that would qualify as intellect dulled, but other aspects have ramped up significantly. For instance, there was the day that we went to the football game and I had explained that my shoes were too hot. That was the moment that it occurred to me that my brain was a little spicy, and not just in that Mental Health way. I know a little bit about Autism, but when I was working with kids it was still a very new diagnosis. I worked with a few kids who had Asperger’s Syndrome, and they really reminded me of myself at their age…except for the fact that they were all boys. Then, neurodivergency in general became a topic, and I started to see signs that maybe my brain did a few loop-de-loops just like the cursive I was trying to mimic at age 3. I spoke on this with my sister and cousin, who both firmly believe that most of our family is neurodivergent, and the more I think about it the more I believe it, too. The more TikToks that fall on my page, the more I say “I do that! Or Bernie does that! Or dad does that!” Here’s an example: last night my father said that he couldn’t eat yogurt because he had a problem with eating live bacteria. Which is a weird thing…but then, he is talking to a girl who once said she couldn’t eat a sausage patty because it tasted too “green.” Do you see what I’m saying? That’s not normal brain behavior. Like, typical people don’t think like that.

Anyway, I started out telling you about this song because the title of it is Smart Went Crazy, and that is how I feel about myself. I don’t want you to think that I mean that in a bad way though, because I fully embrace the title of crazy and wear it is a badge of honor. I’m just saying that my smart little kid brain went a little crazy in her teen years, and it took until she was nearly 40 to realize that she was still both of those things- smart and crazy, I’m proud of it.

Smart went crazy, the rubber band went snap,
This goes to those that hold it down ’til I get back-
Hold on to me, grow along with me,
I don’t know where I’m goin’ but I’ll end up in your arms.

Even on the Bad Days

I had some topics ready to go today, but I don’t feel like it.  Today it has been cloudy and gray, and my mood has reflected the weather. 

I had therapy yesterday for the first time in a long time.  I unloaded everything onto her, and she agreed with my self-diagnosis of Acute Stress Disorder, and then she remarked that most people in my situation of unyielding stress would have given up by now. She called me strong and resilient, echoing the sentiments I often receive from my mother, who calls me the strongest woman she knows.  But…was there another option?  My friend Carey gets this comment a lot, too, and always answers the same: what else am I supposed to do?  Seriously.  We would like to know.

Both of us do not agree with the concept of suicide, ergo neither of us consider that an option right off the bat.  And then there is the other options…I could have a breakdown and spend a little time “on vacation.”  Or I could simply choose not to get out of bed in the morning.  And yes, sometimes, both seem like viable options.  But they aren’t.

Because if you stay in bed, it can’t get better…there’s no opportunity for improvement.  And if you check out, same thing…it’s just running away.  If you truly want it to get better you have to stand up and fight, and put in the work to make it better.  You have to be strong.  You have to be resilient. There is no other option.

Because of the stigma of mental illness, many people think my diagnoses make me weak.  On the contrary, nothing has made me stronger than having to battle my own stupid brain chemistry every single day. 

So, I like to think, on days like today, that while I am tired (oh-so-very tired,) I am still strong.  While I might not write the big blog post I intended, I can still write something…even if I don’t really want to.  Because I have to push on, no matter what.

There are no other options.

Housekeeping: So I have paid for my domain names, so you can still find me at and!  My plans still need funding, however, so feel free to drop me a tip in the jar to the right.  (Also, if my pages get wonky any time in the next month, let me know.  I’m not sure how many premium features I am using at the moment.)  Also, and this is kind of unrelated, but I have a job interview tomorrow which would be super helpful right about now, so fingers crossed.

Oh, look!  The sun came out!

Stress Monster

Acute stress disorder.  I was diagnosed with this once, after what I suppose could be deemed a traumatic event.  It’s like short-term PTSD.  It resides in a different timeframe, so you can develop it anywhere from days to months after the event.  PTSD takes longer.

There’s lots of symptoms for both, but I will focus on my own, the major one being vomiting.  I throw up when I’m stressed, I already know this; it is a hazard of gastroparesis.  Alas, it should not be landing me in the hospital.

Over the past two weeks, I have had a LOT of stressors.  I think that the “smaller” stress compiled itself, and launched me into acute stress disorder again.  It feels the same as last time.  And of course, I’m sitting here wondering what traumatic event could possibly have brought this on and, oh yeah…my mother.

I am happy to report that her chest is now closed up, infections are gone, and she will finally be leaving the ICU after three months.  I am less happy to report that I haven’t been sleeping, I’ve been puking every day, and am consumed with racing thoughts.  I put a call in to my doc and counselor, so hopefully someone will get back to me today, because this is absolutely ridiculous.

I really wish I had more to write about right now.  Truth is, I do, but my fingers are numb.  I want to write about camp, which starts Sunday, but honestly, I’ve got work to do on that front that kind of takes precedence over a longer blog post.  No, I don’t know when I will be updating next, as I will be working nonstop next week, but I will catch you when I catch you.

Can’t turn that into another stressor: CANNOT.

It’s My Party, And I Will Cry If I Want To.

Today is my birthday, and I am trying to be positive but it isn’t working out.

Mom has been in the hospital for over a month, but what she is supposed to be doing right now is taking me out for pancakes.  So far, every moment of the morning has been permeated by the thought that my mother isn’t present.  It is depressing me, and the fact that I got a free iced coffee this morning for no good reason is, so far, the high point of my day.

Bernie is baking me a cake, and if it doesn’t rain this evening, we are going to some sort of hippie congregation at the park.  But what I’m not doing is having a barbecue with my mother’s cucumber salad.  See?  Every happy thing seems to be getting cancelled out by a sad thing. 

I’m going to see Mom this afternoon, so that is something to look forward to.  Bern claims that she said my name the other day, so I’m going to see if I can get any noises out of her.  Then I’m going to stop by my Gram’s house and see her, which always cheers me up, so hopefully by the time Bern shows up with cake, I will be in a better mood. 

But right now, my iced coffee is gone and my hand keeps falling asleep as I type, so…bye.

Hair Growth

It’s Sunday, but I’ll post this on Monday.  Just keeping myself on schedule.

This time, I didn’t post on Thursday because I was sick pretty much straight through until Sunday morning.  I managed work on Friday, but immediately felt pukey again afterwards and found myself in the ER again early Saturday morning.  But I don’t want to talk about that, because aside from this little snafu, I feel great.  Really.  Today I am fine, of course, and while I am terrified of what tomorrow will bring (more later) I am feeling confident.

What I did do during my illness was watch television.  I love TV, like how some people love movies.  I just think television provides better character development, and that is my bread and butter when it comes to entertainment.  So, I was scouting for a new show to watch, and Hulu suggested something called Life & Beth.

First of all, I’d heard of this, through relentless Spotify advertisements that actually made me NOT want to watch it because I found the ads so annoying. Then I discovered Amy Schumer was in it.

I like Amy Schumer.  I liked her standup, more or less…she made a lot of jokes sometimes that I didn’t necessarily dig, but it was kind of a 50/50 split of what I liked and didn’t like, so I always caught her specials.  Then Mark and I started watching Inside Amy Schumer, which was hilarious, and that made us go see her movie Trainwreck, which was a decent flick that showed a little of her range…not just the raunchy stuff, you know?  Anyway, that’s about what I was expecting from Life & Beth.

I was mistaken.

It started with a Hollywood Reporter article that Buzzfeed posted, discussing Amy Schumer’s new show and how it explored her “big secret.”  I mean…clickbait is clickbait for a reason, so of course I go open it, and what do I find?  A gosh darn heroine. 

Amy Schumer has trichotillomania.

If I were a crying sort of girl. you know, the kind that tears up at coffee commercials and puppy videos, I would have bawled right there.  I’m not going to say they don’t exist, but please show me another celeb who has come out and admitted this, because I have yet to know ANYONE famous who suffered as I did.

So, of course, I devoured Life & Beth.

First of all, forget everything you know about Amy Schumer and understand that you now need a broader definition for her talent.  The show is a sort of creative autobiography, and while the character of Beth obviously leans on Amy’s real-life persona a bit, she is unlike anything I’ve ever seen her in.  It is heartfelt and funny and sweet and sad all at once.  And best of all…episode 9.

In episode 9, we flashback to Beth pulling out her hair.  She has to get a ill-fitting wig.  She has kids at school make fun of her.  She sometimes knows she does it, sometimes not.  And finally, in one scene, she rips the wig from her head and throws it across the room, crying and beating on her pillows and head…angry and ashamed.

Just like me.  Just like most of us, who were 12 years old and going bald.

It was just so good.  Not just a good show that I would have liked without this detail, but it was certainly made better for it.  Once, I saw a documentary called Bad Hair Life, about Trichotillomania.  It was, until this week, the only real representation of TTM in the media that I have ever come across. 

In Life & Beth, Beth goes to the doctor at one point, and asks him for a hug.  It’s a peculiar but sweet moment, and I wish I could reenact that with her myself.  I would love to hug you, Amy Schumer, for being brave.  How we both would have longed for someone like you back when we were young. 

Anyhoo, I must bid adieu because I have to get ready for my first day of in-person work (hence the aforementioned terror.)  I’m sure it will go well; I just feel rusty.  Oh well, wish me luck, and happy Monday!


My first depression-related diagnosis was Dysthymia, which is like a low-grade depression that lasts over an extended period of time.  Then I was upgraded to Major Depressive Disorder, which pretty much means depression is my baseline and anything else is an improvement.  Now, there are all kinds of depression, but today I am talking about one that I have not been officially diagnosed with, because it is a sort of depression offshoot: Seasonal Affect Disorder, or SAD.  (The acronym is hilarious.)

Because I have MDD, I haven’t been diagnosed with SAD, despite the obvious symptoms of it.  I recall once many years ago when I went to a new doctor and they did a full blood panel, and discovered that I had low Vitamin D.  My doctor literally said “but then, so does all of Western New York.”  Which is true, because despite our beautiful summers, we don’t get much sunlight ‘round these parts, especially in winter.  Winter is cold and snowy and dark.  Spring is rainy and gray.  Even our Autumn carries with it clouds and potential for snow.  It’s just generally “blah” around here sometimes.

My husband suffers greater in the winter.  He spends a lot of spare time sleeping, and always packs on a few extra pounds. However, once the sun starts arriving daily, he is up and about and moving and exercising and everything you would expect a healthy, cheerful individual to do.  It is entirely dependent on weather for him sometimes, and I saw that yesterday.

It was beautiful here, over 60 degrees and sunny.  There was a lot of wind, but that didn’t stop him from waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to go.  We planned on going on a hike but that fell through, so inste4ad he did some things around the house for me.  We were both in very chipper moods and had a lovely day, opening the windows wide to let in the sunshine and fresh air. 

Now, it is morning.  It’s 37 degrees, and raining.  The sky is a cloudy gray, and there is no hope for sun or warmth in the forecast for the next few days.  Yesterday was a blip, and today is more of the usual.

It’s hard to fight SAD.  I know some folks take extra Vitamin D, and others use sunlamps and such.  I don’t think I need those things, because while the weather can get me down, as I said, depression is my baseline.  I have my meds and my coping mechanisms and my therapy…I can manage.  Others need that extra boost come wintertime, however, and it for them that I write today, as we stare down the end of a long and chaotic darkness…spring starts in a couple weeks, but not for us, not really.  For me, it’s not until after Easter, when the sun finally makes an appearance and the flowers start to bloom.  For now, I will drag myself through the next month, pray for more 60-degree days, and hope for sunlight to stream through my office window soon.

Lenten Sacrifice

I haven’t sat down at my computer since Thursday.  The kids were here so no work was done, and I’m pretty sure one of the kiddos broke my desk chair.  Awesome.

Yesterday, I had a panic attack.  It was around 1030pm and I could not fall asleep.  Both Mark and I had big days ahead, and I was very hungry all of a sudden.  I went in search of a snack and couldn’t find anything suitable, and suddenly, I was crying.  By the time I walked out to the living room, I was hyperventilating.  By the time Mark woke up and realized I was in panic mode, my heart started beating out of my chest, and my whole body ached.  Mark ran to find my Xanax and I took it and did some breathing exercises. 

Why was I panicking?  Couldn’t tell you, in the moment.  I thought maybe it was just stress over the fact that I couldn’t sleep when I knew I had to be up before 6am, but it really wasn’t that.  It wasn’t even the lack of snacks. It was just that I suddenly had this very childlike anger about not getting what I want.

Due to various circumstance, I have been sacrificing many things I want.  From writing advancement costs to large household purchases to simple everyday pleasures, I have said no.  And then, at 1130pm, when all I want is a couple Cheese Doodles and a good night’s sleep, the universe denies me this modest act?!  I don’t know; I just snapped. 

It’s not that I really mind, you see.  I am sacrificing for a greater goal, and that is just fine with me…most days.  But some days, my inner 6-year-old comes out and throws a hissy fit.  I just want what I want when I want it!

I don’t know if this feeling triggered my attack, but I’m guessing.  It’s how I felt in the moment when I started to cry, and I think it just snowballed from there.

I am remembering school today, because right about now we would be working on our Lent assignments, always the same every year: what are you giving up for Jesus?  I was typically urged to give up sweets, because I was fat in the 90s…before the rest of America caught up.  I knew one girl whose whole household gave up television.  I thought that was some serious commitment on their parents’ part.  Then, on Ash Wednesday we would read our little essays about sacrifice and get ashes on our foreheads and have fish for dinner.

So, if you’re a constant reader than you know I quit Catholicism some time ago, but all this stuff?  The sacrifice and the no meat and such?  Indoctrination, baby.  I can’t not think about it once Mardi Gras rolls around (which I would much rather celebrate.)

Sometimes, even as an ex-Cath, I think of some sacrifice to make during Lent.  Something small…or something nice to do for someone else maybe.  Not this year.  I’m not giving anything up, because I have been sacrificing for a very long time now.  This year I am going to reap some benefits, damnit.

Mark and I both started new jobs, so we are extremely hopeful life is about to change up real fast.  I can feel it coming, I’ve had some very prophetic dreams, and I have been told that I’m a little bit psychic (by a psychic, no less.)  So, I am currently confident in a quick end to the sacrifice.

Though, let’s be real…how quick?  Probably six weeks.  Let’s circle back at Easter.