On Running Away

I’ve been thinking a lot this summer, writing a lot privately, and talking to friends and family.

I’ve come to a few realizations, and so I thought I would share in case they help you, too. When I look back on my life, I see that I’ve felt the worst, and been in most danger from the hauntings of my deep seated sadness and fear, when I felt trapped. Helpless. Hurting myself has often been my way of trying to “run away”.

So here’s a thought. Why don’t I simply…run away? I have two feet and a good head on my shoulders. No, I’m not going to go missing, don’t worry! I am just going to take some things into my own hands, even if others around me don’t approve. What is more important – pleasing others, or my own sanity? For once, I actually think it might be the latter.

I’m “running away”. I’m doing it for me. The risk of staying where I am has finally grown greater than the risk of moving forward. Wish me luck!


Shiz People Say

In my every day life, I like to tell darkly funny anecdotes about the Shiz People Say, related to my anxiety disorder. It keeps me sane – you know, relatively. So without further ado, I am launching my first ever, blog Category 🙂

It will most likely come with trigger warnings, so everyone can brace themselves.

“Shiz People Say” – the new ‘it’ thing at Anxiety and the Girl.


if anyone knows where this beautiful creature/piece of fine art came from, please let me know, so I can give credit where it is due.



So – it’s official – I’m graduating!

Of course my s*** is not together – then again, whose is?

However, my *poop* is together – de-stressing is good for your IBS, dontcha know? 😉

Terrible plays on words over.

I am still waiting for my words to come together in a way that spells out “success” or “happiness”, but sometimes I suspect that never happens. Does everyone feel that way? Is that the human condition? I guess it has different meanings for different people. 

I understand – bad things happen, to everyone. But is it necessary to keep them in mind all the time, to turn them over and over in your head until you destroy any chance you have of happiness in the moment? I don’t think it is – although I think it doesn’t help how many popular writers have suffered undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed mental illness. Just like you and I are doing through blogging, they took their lemons and they made lemonade. Well –  (I can be cliche here can’t I?) I’m a book-lover, but life is a marathon, not a sprint, and any book we bury ourselves in for answers is inevitably going to be a sprint, a little window, not the whole picture. Life doesn’t end at happily ever after, but it doesn’t have to be bracketed by CRISIS and DISASTER either.

Or at least, that’s what I hear 😉

Until I can can pull that off and be the unshakeable human of my dreams though, I’m going to try to enjoy my moment of peace in between crisis and..well you know. Maybe after enough rest and recuperation, it’ll take a little more to ring that big red alarm bell in my head.

Working on it!

– Catalina

Coping Strategy #2 Revisited – 5 Things I Learned at my Support Group

I’m going to an anxiety and depression support group through my local hospital now! It’s a lot more functional than when I tried to make an anxiety support group 😛

I’ve been going for a couple of weeks now. Here are the highlights.

1. How do we relax? Our most common response was taking long baths. Take note, but remember that stealing baths is completely unacceptable bath behaviour…

2. I know psychiatrists need to learn to understand mental illnesses too, such that they can talk to their patients in addition to throwing pills at us prescribing medicine (sorry, psychiatrists reading! I do take medicine, and I’ve met one or two good ones – but many bad ones! so do take note – I, your average patient, am generally having more trouble with you than with other health care professionals!) Basically, our group counselor had a really awkward psychiatry resident sit in with us, without asking us. He looked incredibly uncomfortable when our counselor asked him to join in conversation with us, as though he wasn’t expecting to be subjected to the ‘inferior’ role of mental patient. He didn’t speak unless forced to by our counselor. We weren’t asked if we wouldn’t mind having him there. We weren’t told that he would be there. I felt this was disrespectful to us and I felt helpless, which I think is a common theme with people being treated for mental illnesses and disorders in hospital settings, as opposed to physical ones. We are not grade school children, we are adults receiving medical care and when someone completely irrelevant to our care sits in with us in order to benefit his education, we certainly deserve to be asked permission, or at the very least informed respectfully, before he enters the room. Rarr.

3. We weren’t allowed to get water for ourselves. Because apparently, they had their water cooler stolen a few times. Again, I felt the mental health stigma. These crazies keep stealing the water cooler bottle, was the message I read between the lines as our counselor chuckled. Do you know how much one of those bottles costs? Under $20. Our collective dignity is worth more than $15 plus tax. Let us grab our own darn water, or if you are ever so fearful of these horrendous thefts, install a water fountain. Yeugh.

4. The people in my group are lovely, and my counselor is well trained, well meaning, and quite effective. They clapped the first time I didn’t fall asleep during meditation time, and I was incredibly flattered. We are just a clapping kind of group as it turns out. A bath-loving, clapping crew, motivated to improve our mindfulness. Yay!

5. Speaking of meditation, I found one that works for me through this group, and maybe it will work for you too, because it speaks specifically to that constant level of pain you carry with you every day, every minute, when you are experiencing a depression or an anxiety disorder. It doesn’t pretend that when you sit down to meditate, you will magically float away to happy unicorn paradise, but instead helps ease some of that pain. It’s called First Aid Meditation, by Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix (available on iTunes for download, only $0.99)


Broken Pens – This Is Your Brain On Anxiety.

One day I bought a large pack of pens, on sale.

Their ink flowed smoothly. The smart, hexagonal prism form fit snugly between my fingers.

They broke in my knapsack. 14 of them, and scarcely any left unscathed. I cannot throw them out. I don’t. Sometimes I want to.

Instead, I write with them, feeling as the shards of broken plastic crackle dangerously between my fingers; the jagged, in-folding sides never again to feel strong, smooth, and sure.

This pen has already been through too much, it can’t break now!

This pen has been through so much, it will have to break soon!

My heart starts to pound.

What does it mean if it snaps? What will I do? What will become of it?

What will become of me?

I hold it ever more gingerly now, avoiding..that unthinkable..


That I just cannot see past.