Category Archives: mental health


Song Lyric of the Day:

This is the time to give you a reason / This is the time to bare our soul / This is the time to tell you the real truth

Unloved / “This Is the Time

If you read what I posted yesterday, then you can safely and correctly assume I’ve been very stressed of late. Things are a bit calmer now as I am down to only talk therapy, having wrapped up physical therapy a few weeks ago. But for a while there it was, ironically, a lot of driving to deal with the physical and emotional/anxiety issues I developed after our car accident. I’d have to leave work at least a half hour ahead of my physical therapy appointments to get there on time. I’d have to leave work at least 15-20 minutes ahead of my talk therapy appointments to get there on time. Then I’d have to drive back to work or home to get back to work; having a “portable” job I could remote in to was a sanity-saver more times than I could count. I’d also work at night sometimes after the kids were in bed to make up for time I missed during the day. All these appointments and extra drive time resulted in a lot of short lunches at my desk. Which, if you know me at all, was hitting me where it hurt as lunchtime is a sacred time for me. I either go to lunch with a few of my close work friends or I take a book with me for a solo lunch. Not being able to do that and have that time to socialize and/or decompress just ended up further contributing to my overall anxiety.

So how did I manage to not go batpoop* insane? Mostly by cleaning and organizing. Cleaning and organizing are my go-tos when I’m stressed out; I imagine my therapist would say it’s because that way I’m restoring order and controlling what I can. (See? Therapy works!) I went on a lot of benders around the house, whipping this or that into shape and tackling various projects. I printed and framed more photos for our hall gallery wall. I organized cabinets. I whipped my home office desk into shape. I tackled the kids’ closet; it’s still not done, but it’s better. I would do such deep cleans in the kitchen it’s a wonder the counters aren’t translucent now. The areas where I was happiest with my results were either the kitchen or the living room, my family’s main hangouts, because Sebastian is a tiny, fast wrecking ball who leaves his toys EVERYWHERE.

Living Room Toy Area

The tidied living room lasts approximately 3 minutes once Sebastian hits it.

Days I ate lunch at my desk, I made sure to read even just a few pages of my book. I would try to take short walks with my work wife. At home at night, I would stretch out on the couch after tucking the kids in bed, let Buster settle in my lap, and binge-watch shows. I highly recommend Dark and The Chalet on Netflix; they’re both pretty dark, violent shows, but if you’re looking for happy, Hallmark-y show recommendations, well, you’re barking up the wrong tree. (I also just started The Frozen Dead, another dark French show.)

I’ve also tried to get back into writing and blogging. There’s something really cathartic about just letting it all out, whether here on the interwebs or just something I wrote for myself on my laptop. (I miss having nice handwriting. Working on a computer has ruined it.) I’m also trying to post more photos on Instagram since it lets me indulge my love of photography on the go. I’m hoping to dust off my DSLR soon and take Coraline on a mommy-daughter photo walk; she’s developing a love of photography and I want to encourage and grow that.

Now that things are finally slowing down a little, I’m just trying to take things one day at a time. Even a few minutes of decompressing is good for my soul and even better for my overall mental health. Getting back to the things I love most, like writing and photography, can only help with that.

*I’m trying to curse less because I have a 20-month-old parrot and an impressionable almost-8-year-old who reads well.

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Getting Therapized



Song Lyric of the Day:

Oh, hard to hold this fire inside me / All I know, sometimes it’s frightening / Hard to hold this fire inside me / Oh, oh oh, it’s not really like me to lash out / I gotta let it out / I wanna lash out

Alice Merton / “Lash Out

I mentioned recently that life had gotten a little overwhelming of late. A lot of that has had to do with countless therapy appointments, a result of the car accident we were in at the end of March. Both Rich and I have been in physical therapy because of neck and back pain. I recently wrapped up six weeks’ worth of twice-weekly physical therapy sessions, and Rich just wrapped up his therapy. I now miss my wonderful therapist because I totally imprinted on her. I’m hopeful that continuing to do the home exercises she gave me will help keep my neck and back feeling good. There were days where it was hard to simply hold up my head because my neck was so sore, so I’m grateful therapy helped with that.

As I was behind the wheel during the accident, I now have severe driving anxiety. I went back to my regular therapist, a psychologist, to try to help with that. She’s had me do EMDR therapy to really focus on the accident. That means I’ve had to relive the accident several times, multiple times each therapy session. I didn’t realize until my doctor pointed it out, but the only time I would cry when recounting the accident to her is when I would describe hearing Coraline and Sebastian screaming and not knowing if they were OK. EMDR has been as fun and emotionally draining as you imagine it would be.

This anxiety has pretty much ruined driving for me. Driving, once such a simple pleasure in my life, is now something that scares me, especially if the weather is bad as we were rear-ended on a rainy day. If the weather is bad or just looking like it might turn, I’ll do my best to avoid going anywhere. I have to fight to not look in the rearview mirror once I’ve come to a stop, because I tense up watching the car behind me approach. It might look like it’s going too fast to stop in time, or — lord help me — if it’s rainy out, I’m terrified they’ll lose traction and slam into me like the driver in our wreck did. As anyone knows, tensing up is the worst thing you can do if you might get hit, so I have to continually remind myself to NOT LOOK IN THE MIRROR.

I do breathing exercises when I start my van first thing in the morning, and I usually end up doing them at stoplights and stop signs to calm myself down if something scared me into thinking I was going to get hit again. Coraline knows I’m seeing a therapist for this, and, luckily, she doesn’t hear my internal monologue when I’m freaking out as outwardly I manage to keep it together. I’m grateful that not only were both my kids physically unharmed in the wreck, but they both avoided developing any anxiety like I now have about being in the van.

We recently drove to Columbus, Ohio, to visit close friends, and at one point during the 6-hour drive there, I started to feel as close to a panic attack as I’ve ever been. I was in the front passenger seat and had to fight to not ask Rich to pull over, because I just didn’t want to be driving anywhere anymore. The best comparison I have is that it felt like when you get on a scary thrill ride and immediately want to get off, but you can’t. You have no choice but to see it through. All the other cars on the highway felt like threats to me — they were driving too fast or too close or had distracted drivers or were right on our tail. They felt like threats to me, anyway. I managed to talk myself down by reminding myself that Rich is a careful driver and would never intentionally put me or (especially) the kids in any danger. Clearly, I still have a ways to go with therapy for my driving anxiety.

As if the anxiety alone isn’t enough to deal with, my van is still not completely fixed. The body shop (DO NOT use Abra) we unfortunately chose did a crappy job of “fixing” things. As in, it turns out they left out the entire radio harness that should be in the liftgate that communicates with the 20+ computers my van has. We ended up having the Chrysler dealership fix that as I don’t want Abra touching my van ever again, lifetime work warranty be damned. So what’s the problem with my van now? The blind spot detector works maybe 5 minutes a day whenever I’m driving. Which means the entire rest of the time I’m driving it’s constantly dinging — it dings to let me know BLIND SPOT DETECTION UNAVAILABLE and to SERVICE BLIND SPOT SYSTEM. All those dings are fantastic for my anxiety, especially when they happen at the same moment I make a turn or change lanes and it scares the hell out of me. The dealership ran a computer diagnostic on the blind spot system which came back all clear, so after some Googling, I think the problem is in the bumper/wire connections somewhere. Given that the body shop screwed up the liftgate repair, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they messed up repairing bumper connections, too.  I have an appointment on the books to take my van back to the dealership so they can try to figure this issue out, and I’ll have to get another rental van which — you guessed it — increases my anxiety as I am then in an unfamiliar-to-me vehicle.

Almost every day after March 24 has been like this for me. It’s been a vicious cycle, one which I hope, no, NEED therapy to help me out of.

Two words.


*You have no idea how much Googling it took to find these clips. It’s one of my favorite quotes from So I Married an Axe Murderer, and I couldn’t find a full video clip anywhere. Alas, a website called Yarn saved the day.


Filed under health, mental health, personal