How Are The Things? December 2013

Dear Friends,

It’s December, a month of snow and lattes, of peppermint mochas and twinkling fairy lights, of warm hugs and cold nodes. This paragraph isn’t going anywhere except to my closet to try and locate my holiday décor and to Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s awesome rendition of Baby It’s Cold Outside courtesy of youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2dT41i-bjc

I’m going to let you in on a number of things that are going on in my life, both as an exercise for myself (where have I come from? where am I going?) and as a record for you, and for anyone grappling with the relatively newly identified Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

As I’ve said before, I’m trying to track my own path such that others can more clearly see the ‘pit stops’ along the way, the speed bumps and curves in the road, and know that they will get somewhere nice.

Now, I was going to say ‘a better place’. But that sounds like I’ll be blogging till I kick the bucket (unlikely) or, sounds like I’ll always be struggling.

I don’t want to believe this is the case. In fact, I do not believe this is the case! I will not settle for anything less than arriving someplace nice, someplace where I am content with my place and role in the world, with my choices and with how they impact the people around me. I refuse to keep seeing my inner conflict as somehow less legitimate than externally imposed struggles, because even those can be bearable with a core of inner strength and peace. Which, takes time to build.

This brings me to my current events and decisions, biggish and smallish.

1. I got a kitty. She will be requiring her own post to celebrate her wonderfulness – hold me to this!

2. I don’t think I’ll be continuing school to actually do grad school next year – I don’t believe I have it in me. I want to rest and be at my best next time I tackle academic pursuits, and I certainly haven’t been this year, nor the last. Things will only be nice once the things I take on match up with what I can actually manage.

3. Although I am myself a peer mentor, I will be applying to get one of my own, hopefully a grad student or even an older upper year, as well as a tutor, to help me chunk my schoolwork and stay on track with anxiety-relieving strategies. This is not easy to admit to myself or to you, and neither was the trip to Disabilities Services that will be arranging this for me. Fact: your school or workplace’s Disabilities Office deals with queries about mental health disorders as much as any physical problem. Go to them.

4. I am volunteering at an used bookstore, which is magical stuff for a bookworm like me.

5. I am joining my boyfriend in his hometown to visit his family for a couple of weeks. I am alternately very excited and quite scared because although his family is lovely, I am prone to panic attacks around them – pressure and all! I think I might have to tell them what’s wrong with me. I mean, what’s disordered about me. I mean, the challenges I am facing. See there’s no way to word it that doesn’t sound like a mess they might not want to be involved with! *sigh*. I guess it’s a test like any other, where as heartbroken as I’d be if they reacted very poorly, it’s something they deserve to know to be able to truly approve of the relationship. And yes, family approval and support is very important for me when it comes to a significant other. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, in my opinion it takes a supportive safety net to keep a couple together, healthy, and happy, and it is composed of people that love them – family and friends. What I want for my life is to build that safety net of the right people.

6. I am behind at least one assignment in all my courses. This sucks. I may need from now to the end of Christmas holiday to be strong enough to complete them – but I hope not. My aim is to complete 2 of the courses by the end of this exam period.

7. I’m on one of those boob-achy periods which are still superior to nose-pimple periods. Aunt Flo comes, bearing gifts, again.

8. I am avoiding my email and definitely certain emails I should send. I should reeeeally check it, ASAP. I feel like I need to make a stuffed animal named Avoidance, fill it with catnip, and give it to my kitty to take care of. Rarrrr.

9. Muscle tension. It’s one of the symptoms used to diagnose GAD! Did you know? Oh man, do I ever know. Check out some others here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalized_anxiety_disorder

10. IBS: it is also listed as tagging along with GAD, a lot of the time, for as-yet unclear reasons. Did you know? Ditto to the above.

That’s what I’ve got for now. How are things with you?

– Catalina

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