I wish my mind would just shut up

Have you ever noticed that everything seems worse at night? Louder. More severe. Amplified. Whatever you want to call it, it’s severe. I don’t tend to sleep at night. I’ve had sleeping problems as long as I can remember. I joke that I’m half vampire. But, at 53, it’s not funny anymore. I want to sleep all night. If I do fall asleep when it’s dark, it won’t be until about 6 in the morning. Then I sleep hard. So hard that, when I do wake up, I’m incredibly foggy and discombobulated . I would love to know what it feels like to wake up rested after a good night’s sleep. My mom can fall asleep within 3 minutes of laying down, no matter where she is. That makes me green with envy and pisses me off at the same time.

I’ve often wondered, is my insomnia caused by my anxiety or is my anxiety caused by my insomnia? All I know is that I get nervous every night because I know that I’m not going to sleep. And, if I do fall asleep, I usually always have night terrors and startle my poor husband awake by screaming. It’s terrifying on my end too. It’s been worse since my spinal decompression surgery in December 2017. I’ve wondered if anesthesia could do that. Or, maybe a combination of medication. I take 6 blood pills per day of blood pressure medicine. Maybe it’s that. I don’t know. I just know that it freaks me out and poor Adrian usually sits up and spews a few words that could rival what my Marine father probably said as a drill instructor at boot camp. Adrian isn’t mad at me when he does this, I’ve just shocked him out of a good sleep.

I have read that a steady routine is the key to sleeping. I call bullshit. I’ve done just about everything I’ve read, watched or have been told to try. Hot baths an hour before bed. Lavender Epsom salts in the bath. Meditation. Deep breathing. Linen sprays to promote sleep. Warm milk. Chamomile tea. Reading, classical music on my iPod. Prescription sleep medication. That didn’t make me sleep more, but I did eat an entire box of fudge bars in one night. I have a weighted blanket, a silk eye mask, body pillow, oil diffuser and white noise machine. So, I’m at least more comfortable while I’m not sleeping.

Adrian says at this point, I need to stop fighting it. I no longer work outside of the house, so he thinks I should just listen to my body and sleep when it wants to. I don’t feel like that’s the answer because then I’m in bed too long. I don’t get up at night because we have 5 dogs and if I’m up, they want to be up too and they’ll wake A up. So, I usually just read at night. Plus, if I stay in bed while he’s at work during the day, I just feel weird when I get up. I do seem to get the most done between about 3:00pm and midnight. My body loves those hours. Do you think we have set “body clocks “? Are there truly night owls and early birds? I could honestly not care if I don’t see the sun rise. I loathe mornings. Can a night person change into a morning person? And if so, how do you get your body to change too?

Routines for anxiety

I’ve been dealing with anxiety for quite a few years now. Depression too, but not as bad as the anxiety. It gets really bad when I know I have to leave the house. For a couple of years, I only left the house for doctor appointments or something really, really important. I am better about it now. I TRY my hardest to get out at least once a week. I don’t manage it every week, but I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. Instead, I have found a few things that seem to calm me. I’m also incredibly fortunate, in that, I have very supportive family and friends. They love me and understand that I’m truly trying. I did lose one close friend, but that’s another story.

I’ve been writing my whole life. Poetry, to do lists, planners, journals, etc. Putting pen to paper is just so cathartic to me. I quit writing when my anxiety was at its worst. Now I’ve learned that writing is essential to my mental health. So are other, seemingly trivial, activities.

The first thing I do when I get up is make my bed. I never used to do that. My thinking was, why bother? I’m just going to mess it up again. But, for some reason, I started making my bed in 2018. I discovered it was oddly satisfying. So it quickly became a habit. To the point that, if I don’t make it, it’s become indicative of a bad day for me. It’s like a thermometer of my mental, as well as physical pain, levels.

Keeping a daily to do list is also an anxiety fighting activity for me. I sit at my vanity after getting dressed for the day. I put my face lotions on and then make my list of things that I want to get done every day. Making the bed is at the top of the list. It feels good to cross that off immediately.

Walking is next. I try to walk 2-3 miles per day, every day. This helps with my chronic pain from spinal stenosis and L5S1 nerve damage. I watch YouTube videos while I walk on my treadmill. It calms my mind and gets me sweating. Plus, it’s another check off of my to do list.

Crafting is another relaxing thing for me. I try to make something at least 3 times a week. This blog is a big part one for me. I’m trying really hard to be more consistent with it. Makeup is a biggie too. I love playing with it and I tend to feel better when I think I look my best. Is that vain? Maybe, but it works.

Cooking is another big one. Chopping, dicing, mixing, etc. really helps me get out of my own mind. Plus, I swear it helps because I control sodium levels, fat and sugar content as well as no preservatives. Not only is it good for me, but it’s yummy. My husband eats leftovers for lunch, so we save money on fast food or restaurants. It’s a win/win situation.

Those are just a few of the things that I try to do regularly to help my anxiety and depression. They also work great for pain redirection. I can tell a big difference when I do these every day. Please note, these are the THINGS that I do, not the people who I also rely on for calming me. I’ll tell you about them later.

Grands on a Sunday

Today is MLK Day, so the grandkids are out of school. I had 5 (out of 11!) stay all night with us last night. We had Kaydence (15), Chandler (12), Jacob (11), Kallie (10) and Chloe(10). It was so much fun. But, I must say that I had 5 kids here all night, yet no one to play with.😂🤣😂.

When they were tiny, I got to hold them and cuddle. Then they got a little older and we added lots of laughter to those snuggles. Time marched on and we got hugs, laughter and lots of love. We still get many hugs and lots of love. Lots of laughter too. But, as they’ve gotten older, they’ve also gotten busy. School, sports, church activities, etc. So, we don’t have as many sleepovers as we used to. Haven’t had all 11 (ages 2 to 20) here in what seems like forever. As a matter of fact, this is the first sleepover in months that I have these kids together. The oldest from two sets of families. They adore their cousins. It’s a great treat for them to have a “cousin sleepover”. I love, love, love that they get to make these memories here. Cousins are very, very special. Family, playmates and, most importantly, friends.

So, why didn’t I have anyone to play with? Well, as they’ve grown, they’ve kind of split into groups. Chandler and Jacob love to spend time together. They were the only boys here last night. Playing cards, playing video games, playing ball, eating and giggling. Lots of giggling. (Yes, boys giggle as much, if not more, than girls). Kallie and Chloe love each other just as much. They had a fashion show, made up a dance, played with American Girl dolls and, they too, giggled most of the night. Kaydence, the sole teenager here last night, colored in my adult coloring books and was watching YouTube. So, I, Grammy, spent the evening handing out dinner, passing out snacks, keeping dogs out of the way and listening to all the giggles. And I loved it. My heart is content.

I may not hold them or rock them. They pair off with their cousins when they’re here. But, that’s ok. They’re excited to be here. Making memories at Grammy and Papa’s. We still got hugs. Conversation at the dinner table warms my heart. The spills aren’t as frequent as they used to be, no booster seats are needed, but talking with these kids is just amazing. Looking around the table, thinking of how they’ve grown, is both sad and heartwarming. I’m so proud of all of them. I am grateful. I am blessed. I am Grammy, the title that warms my heart the most.

Memories….or, rather, lack thereof

A couple of things happened today that have left me wondering. The first was a gift card to our favorite restaurant. Our daughter and son in law gave said gift card to Adrian and I for Christmas. We had planned on going into town today to return some shoes and we wanted to have a late lunch at Red Lobster. “Cool”, I thought, “we can use that gift card.”. Then, my next thought, “where in the hell did I put that gift card?” I looked everywhere. Then, I blamed Adrian. “I told you to put it in your wallet. Is it there?” Then he started looking. By then, we decided we really didn’t want to go into town today anyway. And we never did find that damn gift card. I’m sure that I put it up somewhere safe. Somewhere where I wouldn’t lose it. If history repeats itself, I’ll find it in a few months. Or years. And when I do, I’ll remember putting it wherever I find it. Yes, I do this a lot.

The second event has me wondering if I should ask my doctor about memory loss. I was messaging with a friend that I worked with back in the early nineties. We were talking about the time that we went to the mall together on our lunch hour. When we were walking back to her car, this thug drove by and grabbed her purse. She had an arm brace on and the purse got stuck on it. She was being dragged by the car as I was holding onto her and screaming. Now, I definitely remember this awful event. But, that’s it. She was talking about how they found the guy by using her pager. And she tells me that it was MY IDEA to do this. I have no memory of that. She thinks I might have even helped identify him at the police station. Once again, I have no memory of this. She asked me if I remembered why we went to the mall. I’m clueless. She said it was because I found little girl Doc Marten boots that had flowers on them for sale at Dillard’s. She said our daughters wanted them. Nope. No memory of this.

When I was young, I remember my mom and her friends joking about having CRS. It stood for Can’t Remember Sh*t. I thought then that my memory was great, so I would never have to worry about that. I remember addresses and phone numbers. I’m the one who texts my family to remind them that someone is having a birthday. So, why can’t I remember events? And, sometimes when I’m talking to my mom, I’ll be telling her something that happened in my past. She’ll say, “Susie, that wasn’t you.” Or, “Susie, you weren’t there”. So, not only does my memory suck, but apparently I appropriate other people’s memories.🤦‍♀️

Do I need to worry? Have you ever forgot something that seems much too big to forget? Do you put things in a safe place and promptly forget where you put them? Have you ever remembered something and then found out that YOU WEREN’T THERE?? Should I ask my doctor about it? Am I weird? I asked Adrian that last question and he just laughed. Rude.

New Year, Same Me

Hello 2020. I’m happy to see you. 2019 was pretty good to me. But, I’m really looking forward to 2020. Why? Because I’m finally LIVING again. I’ve been working on both my physical and my mental health. I’m laughing again. I’ve missed ME. There is so much to tell you. I’m not one to make resolutions….scratch that…. I’m not one to KEEP resolutions. But I have not only made a resolution, I actually plan on keeping it. What is it? One word. More.

I want to be more aware. I want to be more mindful. I want to smile more. To move more. Laugh more. Play more. Write more. Love more. Be more.

How do I plan to do all of that? Beats the hell out of me. But I do. And I will. So, hello 2020. Nice to meet you. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for me. Bring it on. I’m ready.

Finally.

A Trip Inside My Head… my secret

Hi…..

I’ve been trying to write this post for over 2 years. But I’m scared. Scared that once I put it out there, I can never take it back. Scared if I don’t put it out there, I will never be able to move forward. I’ve started writing it at least 100 times. Deleted it just as many. You know how I told you that these last few years have been hard? Well, they’ve been really hard. Harder than most people know. My husband, my mom and my sister are really the only ones who I’ve let in. As most of you probably know, I’ve been battling some health problems for quite a few years. Nerve damage, multiple surgeries for that. Back problems. Emergency spine surgery for that. Chronic pain. A pain that dictates how I live my life. But, I have a secret. There is something much worse than the pain that has taken over. Something darker and scarier than I could ever have imagined. Something that, on some days, I just don’t have the strength or the courage to fight. That something is, well, ME.

Yes. I’ve become my own worst enemy and I don’t know how to fight it anymore. Anxiety, depression and panic attacks have taken over. They fill my head with awful thoughts. Tell me that if I leave my porch, something horrible will happen. When I decide that I am going to go out, I get physically sick. My blood pressure (which is already ridiculously high….seriously, I take SIX pills per day for it), goes through the roof. My heart beats fast and hard. My face tingles. My tongue feels 10 times bigger than normal. I can’t swallow. I usually turn around and go back inside, crawl into bed and tell myself that I’ll try it again later. Seriously. It’s so bad. This month, I have left my house five times. And four of them were for health related reasons. The other was a good day and Adrian took me to eat fish down by the square, then we went to Walmart and I bought a hat. It was the third time I’ve been to Walmart or a grocery store this year.

It’s not just leaving the house. It’s also got to the point where very often I don’t answer the phone. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to people. I’m starving for socialization. But, talking on the phone causes me just as much anxiety. I’m a great texter though! I am funny, sarcastic and know all the right words. I love social media. I can feel like I’m socializing without ever having to actually socialize. But, social media is hard too. I see so many people out there doing such awesome stuff. Stuff that I want to do. But my own worst enemy simply will not let me.

So…..that’s my secret. I think I’m going to hit the publish button this time. Maybe. Then it won’t be a secret anymore and maybe I can start fighting back. And, before you say anything, yes, my doctor knows. Several doctors know. It’s not that I’m not working on it…….

Weekend Wastebasket Reviews

I have been saving my empties for well over a year, much to my husband’s confusion. I kept telling him that I was going to review them. He didn’t believe me. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Anyway, I threw them all in a bin and would write down my thoughts each time I did. Then, that one bin turned into THREE and I forgot to record quite a few of them. So…new strategy. I went through all three bins. Kept the empties I had reviewed and trashed the rest. Then, I grouped the remaining empties by type, took pictures and will write an empties blog post at least once a week, hopefully more. Make sense? This is the Toner edition. One of my favorite discoveries from subscription boxes is definitely toners. I used to use some kind of Toner back in high school. It was harsh and smelled like alcohol. Yuck. These are not that kind. A few are acid toners, but they work great on my skin. Some are very moisturizing. I use these after cleansing, but before serum, eye cream and moisturizer. If I’m really sweaty and my skin feels hot and icky, I will also use toner throughout the day. All of the toners pictured I would definitely buy again. I enjoyed all of them.

**Pixi Glow Tonic–This is my favorite glycolic acid toner. I like chemical exfoliation for my face much better than the physical kind. I already have a huge bottle with a pump on my vanity.

***Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Tonic–This little bottle of toner is great! Soothing, refreshing and made my skin soft. I used it after the Pixi in the evening and several times thought the day.

***Acure Facial Toner-This is made with rose and red tea. Nice and hydrating. Glass bottle felt luxurious.

***Medicell Calming Facial Mist–I used this little bottle up in five days! It was right after I got home from my spine surgery. I had been in the hospital for a total of 5 nights (2 different stays) and my skin was tight, dry and miserable. I sprayed this very often on my face and chest. Felt great.

***Nip+Fab Glycolic Pads–These are good. I like the Pixi Tonic better, but these are great for traveling. I would definitely use them again if I receive them.

***First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads–These are alright. I like the Pixi and Nip+Fab better, but these do work. They leave my face a little tighter feeling, so they might be better for someone with oily skin.

I hope that you liked this post. I have about a dozen more to get through my backlog😳😳. But, Adrian is happy that, for now, my trash is no longer growing in a pile next to my vanity!! Yay me!!

Wow! It’s Been A Long Time!!

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything! This past year has been one of the most challenging times in my life. I’ll go into more detail in future posts, but I will say that I’m still not able to drive or work, I’ve lost a friendship that I thought would endure forever, had a major, emergency spine surgery and, the biggest and hardest thing is, I lost my daddy in February. I’ve spent so much time in bed. First with nerve pain and back pain. Then, I basically lost my ability to walk unassisted. After surgery, it was lots of bed time trying to heal. After Daddy, it was lots of bed time dealing with the worst grief I’ve ever experienced and still trying to physically heal.

I’m not there yet. Not emotionally, mentally nor physically. But…… I’m lifting my head, finally curious about the world again. I’ll get there. I have an amazing group of supportive people who have laid down with me when I’ve cried and are now waiting with open arms to help my get reacquainted with life. I’ve spent the past year thinking how weak I am. But, that’s where I was wrong. I’m strong. Strong enough to ignore the voices I was hearing that were telling me I am useless and a burden to those I love. Strong enough to hold on to the love in my life. I don’t know how far I can actually get, but! Believe me when I tell you that I WILL get as far as I need to. I’m not weak. I’m not worthless. And, I’m not hiding anymore. I still don’t know what this blog is actually about. Product reviews? Makeup? Funny stories? Confessions? I think it will be about all of that and more. It will be about pain, anxiety, depression, healing, love, laughter and my journey back to me. If you’ve called me, left messages or texts, and I haven’t answered…. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Don’t give up on me. Please. Love, Susie❤️