Thursday, April 28, 2016

I've got a hammer and a heart of glass, and I've got to know right now which walls to smash

john mayer


There are some days when the right words just won't come to me. I can't explain myself. I can't explain how I'm feeling. The only explanation I have for what I'm going through are the words of others who have gone through the same thing from articles I've found or posts on Facebook. When I can't speak, they speak for me. These tend to be the days where my anxiety is swallowing me whole. Yesterday was one of those days.

I felt fabulous Monday and Tuesday. I was so excited to not have a migraine, not be anxious, and not feel the general malaise that has been plaguing me for over a month now from my crazy ass hormones being out of control.

Yesterday was an entirely different day.

Being a counselor for my occupation for a few years has made me acutely aware of things just not feeling right in my mental state. Yesterday started off fine, other than the fact that I didn't sleep well last night and I was tired this morning. As the day went on, the emotions flooded in: first anxiety, then guilt, and finally just sheer overwhelming panic. I managed to breathe through what I thought was going to be a panic attack and with the help of a few good friends, the feelings subsided....and then they came back....and then finally, I could breathe again.

In the process of going through this cycle, I kind of had a meltdown on my husband. One thing that I have to recognize is that this is a struggle for him too.  He's never had to deal with someone who has anxiety or depression. He's trying to understand, but my lack of being able to explain things doesn't help. I'm not sure about anyone else dealing with this, but for me it's not easily explainable to anyone and I can't always put into words exactly what I'm feeling or why. It's not something I have really ever brought up, even with my closest friends because I don't know what to say. I don't know how to start the conversation or how to answer their questions. It's time to start the conversation, though, and this is how I'm doing it.

I feel like this is my official coming out. My name is Maisy and I struggle with anxiety and depression. There are days when I don't want to get out of bed. There are days when I want to scream because of the struggle going on inside of me. There are also days when I feel really amazing. There are days when I am able to give life everything I've got and feel so amazing about contributing to society.

I have run out of fucks to give about being judged or if people think I'm crazy. This shit is real and it affects me every single day. I have found solace in joining online support groups and talking to other people about what I'm going through...because there's no way you can truly understand it unless you're going through it. If you're not going through it and you love someone who is, just love them and be as empathetic as you possibly can. There's a different kind of exhaustion that comes from fighting battles internally. We know it affects you too. We know you struggle watching the person you love curled up in a ball in the corner of your bedroom sobbing. We know it hurts you. That adds to the guilt, which adds to the feeling of helplessness.

I don't feel helpless or guilty today. I feel almost kind of numb...probably from the anxiety meds I took last night to calm myself down. I do feel calm, though. My mind feels clear...clear and completely exhausted. No matter how exhausted I am, though, I am in a much, much better place than I was yesterday....and that's the key for me, reminding myself that better days will come. I know they will. I've had them.

This blog helps me express how I'm feeling. It helps me get out the words that tend to not come in the times that I need them most. More than anything, though, I hope it helps someone reading it to feel not so alone. There are SO many other people out there going through what you're going through, some of them open about it and some of them still suffering in silence because they're afraid of being labeled crazy or weak, or afraid that people will judge them for their illness. I'm here to tell you that you're not alone. I'm here to listen. I'm here to be a friend and support you through your ups and your downs and to write about mine so that you know that you're not crazy when you feel awesome one day and the next you feel like you're drowning. Shit happens. That's life. If nothing else, this struggle has made me a much kinder and more empathetic person. I have a much deeper understanding of mental health than I ever did before I  So here are some things that help me and some things that I try to avoid (in no particular order):


  • The love and support of my husband and friends
    • There have been times in my life where I wasn't comfortable opening up to anyone about my struggles...if you're not ready to talk to the people that you physically see every day about it, only support groups are great resources and provide you with a little bit more of an anonymous, comfortable space. 
  • Panda Cam
  • Flowers
    • I love flowers. It's a little way of saying, "I love you, I'm here for you, and I hope it gets better." My favorite: The Bouqs
  • Cuddles with my dogs.

  • Happy/ Funny tv and movies
    • I watch a lot of Disney movies/tv, Kimmy Schmidt, Parks and Rec and Broad City. Ain't nobody got time for sad movies/tv, real life has enough of that already.
  • Online mental health articles and support groups
  • Counseling
    • I can not stress this enough: TALK IT OUT with someone. It helps to have an unbiased, professional to talk to that can help you work through what you're going through. 
  • Meds
    • Find a psychiatrist and see if meds might be a solution for you. There is no shame in medicating your illness if it helps you. 
  • Music: See playlist below

  • Random acts of kindness for other people
    • I like to send my friends flowers, write love letters for www.moreloveletters.com, and try to find little ways to make people around me smile. It makes me feel like I've done something good when I'm struggling to find the good things about myself. 

  • donna and tom
    • Do something good for yourself. For me: I go get a frozen yogurt, take some time to do something I enjoy, watch Harry Potter, get some Indian Food, go to the Farmer's Market, go to a yoga class, or just enjoy some time by myself. 



  • Alcohol
    • Drinking only makes things worse for me. I don't think it's a solution and if it makes you feel better, it's only temporary. 
  • Ambien
    • I don't sleep well. I've never slept well. Ambien makes me feel and do some crazy shit. If you're trying it for the first time: be careful. Maybe, look into melatonin. It seems to work for me and it's all natural. 
  • Judgemental people
    • There is no room in your life right now for people who are going to make you feel worse about what you're going through. Surround yourself with love and support. It can make a world of difference. 
  • Overly stimulating situations
    • I just can't with the overly stimulating situations when I'm already feeling overwhelmed. Saying "no" is ok. 

At the end of the day, you know what you can and can't handle and these are only suggestions, but sometimes when you don't know what to do suggestions can be helpful. 

I'm wishing you all of the love and light in the world. It will get better, my lovelies, it will. Live your life honestly and be proud of the fight in your soul. Celebrate your little accomplishments, someday you might look back and those little accomplishments are the things that led you to move mountains. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#weddingwednesday: registering for all of the things

Completing your wedding registry can be an overwhelming task, especially if you have no idea where to begin. What's not fun about getting to run around your favorite store with scanners and pick out stuff you want, though? Just remember, you will receive all of the things that your darling fiance puts on your registry as a joke (we got a squatty potty). 

This was the intro we had on our wedding website to our registry:




First off, let me just say that our Nespresso is one of my favorite gifts that we received. I love that thing and use it far more often than my Keurig. Ok, moving on...

We registered at four different places. They all had their benefits and drawbacks. Zola was probably my favorite, but I would suggest having at least two registries if you do that because you will always have that one great aunt that wants to buy you something from a physical store and doesn't trust putting her credit card information on that new fangled computer contraption.


Zola was great because you can add items from several different websites. It also lets you convert gifts that people bought you into Zola credits if you get multiples of gifts or decide you want one big thing more than a whole bunch of smaller things.Zola also keeps track of your gifts and allows you to export a list for when you're writing thank you notes. This ended up being a key feature for me because some of the other registries (Anthropologie and Target) don't have that feature. Zola also allows you to create your own funds or ask for contributions towards your honeymoon fund, which is great if you already live together or have all of the stuff you need for your house. 


The Williams-Sonoma registry offered us the ability to go physically look at all of the fancy cookware that we wanted (Le Creuset). Zola offers a lot of the same items that Williams-Sonoma does, but without the opportunity to go see the items at a brick-and-mortar store. This registry was great for people who wanted to actually see the items that they were purchasing us but be able to order them from the store and have them shipped to us. Williams-Sonoma also offers the exportable gift tracker list for thank you notes. Trust me when I say that you will be SO glad you have this. I kept a spreadsheet on Google sheets but when you start receiving a lot of stuff closer to your wedding day it gets a little overwhelming and you don't want to miss anything.
Let me just start off with saying that I LOVE Anthropologie. Anthropologie offers a more unique registry option. You're going to find a lot of stuff here that you don't find on your more traditional registry sites. I used my Anthropologie registry for my bridal shower also and the only complaint that I had is that A LOT of stuff is back ordered....and when I say A LOT, I mean A LOT. We just received some plates that one of our guests purchased for us in February.  

So, I may shop at Target too much. My husband would tell you that there's no question about that fact and that I could take the word 'may' right out of that sentence. When looking at Target for your registry, the major benefits are that they offer items at a price point for everyone and there are Target stores ALL over the place. That being said, Target DOES NOT offer the easily exportable gift tracking list like Williams-Sonoma and Zola. You can print the gifts purchased list at any Target store, but it lacks the convenience factor that the other two have. Anthropologie will email you a list if call and ask for it. All that being said, it's Target and they have everything so it's a great option. 

  1.  Durable flatware
  2.  Complete set of dishes that you will be able to use every day
  3. Any kitchen tools that you may not have and feel you need
  4.  Nice vacuum
  5.  KitchenAid mixer (if you bake a lot)
  6. A really nice set of sheets/bedding
  7. Extra towels
Most of the websites that I've listed have a really nice registry checklist feature. Keep in mind that not everything on that checklist is going to be essential for you, but it gives you a great guide to get started.
Best of luck to you and hit me up with any specific questions!

xoxo



Friday, April 15, 2016

life is short, eat cake for breakfast




I'm having a much better day today. I'm not sure what changed...other than the fact that I started my day out with skinny funfetti cupcakes on my desk. How can a day be bad if it starts like that?




I listened to Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert on my way to work today. This quote really struck me. I do a lot of overanalyzing and questioning my abilities. Fear is not a place to let your mind live. It's not a place where your soul is going to flourish. Fear is a liar and it's not a place to hang your hat.

There are some days when the fear, the anxiety, and the 'pression monster get the best of me. We all have those days. We are allowed to have those days. Those days are not places we should live, though. Sometimes it  takes me a few days to get out of my funk, sometimes it's a day. It really all depends.

Today, I'm grateful for good people. I'm grateful for the people who are thoughtful, caring, and kind. I'm also grateful for skinny funfetti cupcakes. For the recipe, visit:
http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/08/skinny-funfetti-cupcakes-recipe.html

happy #foodfriday. 
xoxo
maisy ann

Thursday, April 14, 2016

i must become a lion-hearted girl, ready for a fight




This is one of those days where I just want to crawl into my Little Mermaid onesie, turn the A/C down really low, watch Star Wars and cuddle with the doods. As I've gotten older, I've either gotten more introverted or just realized more how introverted I've been all along. There are some days when I just can't deal with people. There are some days when I feel like I should not be forced to interact with the general public. I just want to embrace my weirdness and indulge myself in the little things that make me happy. However, I'm a grown-up and I have to go to work. The last couple days, I have been inundated with dumb questions and whiny people. It's like a full moon or something.

On top of my normal anxiety, I've been having some physical and emotional issues lately related to my PCOS. It may affect my ability to get pregnant, which I thought maybe I was earlier this month. I took a pregnancy test right before my birthday when I was over a week late....negative. I was experiencing all of the symptoms of early pregnancy...and I mean all of them, but after taking a blood test at my OBGYN--negative again. I didn't realize until that point how badly I want a baby and how scared I am that I won't be able to have one.

The emotional implications of going through this have been weighing on me big time. My anxiety has been worse than normal and I feel like I might be going through a little bout of depression. Even as open as I am about mental health, it still hurts a little piece of me to even admit this. I feel like anxiety has become a lot more openly accepted but depression is still one of those things that you just don't talk about. It makes you feel broken to think about the fact of people looking at you as someone who battles depression...which makes you more depressed. I don't want to feel broken. I've survived too much to feel broken from this. At some point, maybe I'll delve into that...now is not the time. I've learned to not dig down into past trauma when I'm already feeling vulnerable to what I'm going to start calling the 'pression monster (it makes it sound less awful to me if I make it into a funny name like Tom does on Parks & Rec).

What makes all of this even worse is that I have a really hard time verbalizing all of this--to anyone. I can type it or write it, but actually having to talk about it...I just freeze up. I can't seem to explain myself correctly which makes me really frustrated and even more upset. I have been going to therapy and being treated for anxiety for a little bit over a year now. I'm proud of the progress that I've made and the fact that I've addressed them.

I didn't feel like writing about my wedding this week or last week for #weddingwednesday. I sat down to do it. I stared at the computer screen and my brain just went blank. All I could think about was how I just wanted to be curled up in bed and not speaking to anyone. All I could think about were questions that I knew were plaguing me because of my raised anxiety and the 'pression monster. This kind of writing helps, though. It helps clear my mind a little bit and knowing that someone who has struggled through something similar might read this and not feel so alone helps me more than anything.

I promise that this blog isn't going to be all about anxiety and depression. I really feel like it's important that it's talked about, though, and that I'm honest and real with what's going on in my life. Even if you're not going through it, you may know someone who is and your understanding and empathy means more to them than you'll ever know. Hug your friends and family extra hard today. You don't know what's weighing on their minds and that hug might be exactly what they need.

Hugs help. Music helps. Doodle cuddles help...and even sometimes humans help. If you're going through it (whatever it may be), I'm here and I'm with you.

xoxo
Maisy

Playlist of the day:

Friday, April 8, 2016

"this is between you, me, & the sprinkles"


I used to work at a TCBY in high school with my friend Claire. We used to joke that all of our secrets were between her, me & the sprinkles. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a love affair with rainbow sprinkles. I'm like Buddy the Elf, I would put them on just about anything. Because name a food that wouldn't be enhanced by rainbow sprinkles? That's right, you can't. 
At the request of a friend, we'll be doing #foodfridays on the blog from now on. I'll be sharing recipes and if all goes well, I'm actually going to make these recipes that I'm sharing with you and let you know how they actually taste. 
If you remember me discussing adulting--and the fact that I need to get my life together, you'll remember me talking about the fact that I need to start eating healthier and exercising.  Yeah, that starts after this recipe....

image credit: lifeloveandsugar.com
Funfetti flavored anything is a winner with me. My husband asked me what flavor cake I wanted for my birthday this year and when I told him funfetti, his response was "where can you buy that?" Well, the short answer is, not a lot of places. He ended up baking me a delicious funfetti cake for my birthday, but being that I'm currently super hormonal, my funfetti craving rages on. 

I found this recipe for no bake funfetti chesecake on Pinterest by Lindsay from lifeloveandsugar.com and I think I'm gonna give it a whirl this weekend before I really buckle down on the eating healthy lifestyle change next week. It's been kind of a rough week and I think I deserve some funfetti in my life. 
If you wanna try it too, here's the recipe: 
Ingredients

Crust
2 1/2 cups Golden Birthday Cake Oreo crumbs
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp sprinkles

Filling
24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp butter extract
1 1/4 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp sprinkles, plus more for topping
12 oz Cool Whip, divided (or homemade whipped cream)

Instructions

1. Combine Oreo crumbs with melted butter and sprinkles.
2. Press crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Set in refrigerator to firm.
3. Mix cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, butter and almond extracts together in a large bowl until smooth and well combined.
4. Gently stir in 8 oz of Cool Whip and sprinkles.
6. Pour filling evenly into the crust and smooth the top.
7. Refrigerate for about 4-6 hours or until firm.
8. Remove cheesecake from springform pan and top with remaining whipped cream and additional sprinkles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Enjoy!
Read more at http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2015/04/29/no-bake-funfetti-cheesecake/#fyMOsBvh8gzF3QkP.99

image credit: lifeloveandsugar.com