A Field Trip and a Momma Melt Down

I’ve spent her whole life protecting her! I’ve nursed every cold, sat by her side and curled up with her in hospital rooms. I’ve encouraged her when she felt nervous or shy and watched her exceed the limits people have put on her.  I’ve raised her to be kind, respectful, loving and She’s a great kid, with a good heart.   Now she’s getting older and I’m having such a hard time with letting go.  She’s ready for the independence and I know I have to give it to her, but nobody told me it would be so damn hard!

Today she went on her first big field trip, at her new school, without Erich or myself.  I knew she was a little bit nervous, but excited and I didn’t want her to see my anxiety.  We got dressed and she ate a little breakfast.  I brushed her hair and helped her put it up into a ponytail. We talked about the rules and before I knew it she was out the door and on her way to school.

The door closed and I could feel my nerves churning.  My anxiety began to rise and fall like a rollercoaster and I couldn’t breath.  My tear ducts and gag reflexes unleashed on me like a tidal wave.  I was in a full-blown panic attack.  Funnily enough, my head and thoughts were clear… I know she can do this, I need to let her do this, she’s fine, you’re fine, etc… but my body was unleashing all the physical challenges that makes an anxiety attack the unpleasant experience it is.

I knew I couldn’t go into work like this… The tears were rolling down my face, I was an emotional wreck to say the least.  So I called work to let them know I’d be late and headed over to see the one person I knew would get it, the one person who has seen me through all my ups and downs,  someone who has been through it all with me and my three siblings, my mum.

I walked into her house and she could tell right away something wasn’t right.  She looked concerned as she rose to greet me and asked what was wrong?  I unloaded on her and a big smile spread across her face as she opened her arms and said “now you know how I felt those years you were in Italy!”  When I was little my father had taken me for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation, but  ended up being a two-year custody battle for my mum, a story for another time.  She gave me the biggest of hugs and made me giggle cry.  She made me a cup of tea, we talked about everything, she told me about experiences she’d had raising us and we laughed and cried together.  After a few more hugs  I was ready to head to work.

One of the many great thing about Meg’s new school is they kept me updated all day through text messages and even sent me a few pictures.  They told me I could call anytime to check on her, which gives a mom like me such comfort.  I’m please to say I didn’t call, but I did respond to a few texts they sent me.


I couldn’t wait to pick Meg up and hear all about her day and how much fun she had. She was excited to show me the prank snake she purchased with her tickets she won playing video games.  She especially liked a simulation snowboarding game and my heart swelled with joy when she told me she liked being independent, but would like to go back again with her daddy and I to try the bumper boats.  She’s gaining her independence, but she’s still my little girl and I think I will hold onto that for a little while longer. Till next time…

PS If you’re a mom who sometimes finds it hard to let go, don’t appologize for it.  It’s normal and sometimes it’s harder when your child has a disorder they deal with.  I can tell you Epilepsy has been a long hard road for us, with lots of ups and downs.  As long as you recognize and give them the independence they crave and you prepare them for the real world you’re doing a great job! x

Anxiety: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!

I’ve had a few conversations of late where people have mentioned they envy other people or other families.  Not so much what they have, but how together they seem to have it.  I always have the same answer… Some people are just better at hiding their issues than others!

I consider myself a pretty simple person and for the most part, I don’t try to hide or create a false sense of happy when I’m not.  I think all of our emotions are important, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, I can be funny and I consider myself to be somewhat intelligent.  I’m passionate and I’m loyal, but I also have many imperfections.  I battle things like anxiety and depression and very rarely feel stress free, but I try not to let those things consume me and it can be a balancing act.

I’m learning I have triggers! Sometimes an uncomfortable situation or a person who knows how to press my buttons can make balancing everything feel much harder.  I would say, and it’s probably like this for most people, stress is my biggest trigger.  I also find a lot of my anxiety lies within my own lack of confidence in my abilities.  The thing is… I know I’m fully capable of anything I put my mind to, but sometimes I seek out negative feedback so I can say see I’m not good enough! Wow… I can’t believe I just wrote that!  Curse you self-doubt!

Since developing anxiety, the hardest thing for me has been trying to undo all of the false truths I’ve put into my mind.  When I first developed anxiety I didn’t understand it and I would avoid any place or anything (food, drink, action…) that seemed to trigger my anxiety and bring on a panic attack.  This can make a person agoraphobic very quickly and in part that’s what happened to me.

My friends didn’t understand the anxiety so they slowly disappeared and while it’s hard to admit I’m not sure I would’ve been much different had the shoe been on the other foot.  I became so afraid of people not understanding and/or judging me so I stopped working full-time and only held small, intermittent, part-time jobs. I created a little safety bubble and I didn’t drift far from it.  However, I became so depressed about not being able to do easy tasks or enjoy simple outings with my family, that I decided something had to change.

I decided to slowly start exposing myself to situations that would make me feel uncomfortable and trigger the anxiety that would often lead to the panic attacks.  Sometimes it was and still is really difficult, but now instead of fleeing I try to push myself to stay and work through it.  Not every attempt is successful and sometimes I do have to leave, but  I’ve found the more I expose myself to things the easier it gets. My mantra has become I can sit home, be miserable and panic or I can get out, have a good time and maybe not panic at all!  In my mind, anything was better than where I was, even if the steps I took were only baby ones.

Today I’m much better than I was, but not quite where I’d like to see myself.  I’m a work in progress!  Every day is a challenge and some days are better than others, but being willing to try is half the battle!

Tooth Troubles & Dentist Anxiety

Why is it the moment I plop my bottom into a dentist’s chair I’m instantly reduced to infant status?

I guess my fear could be the related to the dentist I went to when I was about 15 who argued about whether or not I could feel him drilling into my tooth during a root canal. Or it might have to do with paying through the nose for sedation dentistry, when my teeth went to pot after the birth of my daughter, only to find out later the work was done incorrectly. Whatever the reason, couple it with my anxiety and all I know is I’m a hot mess when it comes to going to the dentist!

 dentist

~Photo courtesy of my husband who seemed to find my whole dentist ordeal humorous~

So what brought me to this dentist chair?

Well…

I feel the need to give you a little back story into my experiences with the dentist prior to this one so here goes…

After I had my darling daughter my teeth were not in great shape and a friend, knowing my fear of the dentist, recommended sedation dentistry!

Sedation dentistry… Do they do that?

Apparently they do!

Being asleep, while having everything done all at once, sounded…

AWESOME!

However, as my mother would say “it wasn’t cheap” and shortcuts aren’t always the best option.

My fears outweighed my rational and I put out a small fortune for this comfort.

A few years later I started noticing problems with my teeth, the spacing between my molars, the distance between the crown enamel and my gums, and finally a crown came loose and I inadvertently swallowed it.

Our financial situation had changed and we weren’t able to lay out the money we had previously, which led to a very shitty experience that didn’t pan out to well (there are a few puns here but you won’t get them unless you click the previous link). In short they couldn’t replace the crown and I couldn’t afford what they wanted to do because we simply did not have the money.

I was left feeling very insecure about my smile and to make things worse another tooth had started to go bad on the other side of my mouth. I went to see the orthodontist who pulled my wisdom teeth to see about getting the missing crown tooth pulled and a fake tooth put in to replace it. He said he could do it, but recommended I see another dentist first and I reluctantly made the appointment.

I was feeling pretty good on the day of my appointment, my anxiety was low and I felt confident, but that changed the moment I arrived and signed in. I could feel myself starting to get anxious and that fight or flight feeling associated with anxiety slowly started to creep up on me. By the time I was brought back to the chair I was having a  complete blubbering mess in the throws of a full blown panic attack! The dentist and his staff were really sweet and understanding, but I was already more than embarrassed.  These were people I’d never met, who’d just witnessed me have a panic attack and cry like a baby, what were they going to think of me? I wanted out of there as fast I my feet could carry me! I made a call to my husband who quickly came to my rescue.

There office called several times asking if I’d like to come back in and get the work started?  I was so embarrassed by it all I felt like I didn’t want to go to any dentist ever again.

Well that theory was all well and good until a crown came loose last week!

Arrrrggghhh!

For fear of swallowing another crown I decided to give the previous dentist another go.  After all, it wasn’t their fault I freaked out, they were more than nice and had been really understanding during my panic attack.

This time I took my husband with me, who enjoyed making me laugh and taking oh so flattering pictures like this one of me getting an impression.

IMG_20130212_101555 (1)

You know they gave me a novacaine shot that made me smile like a stroke victim and kiddie sized glasses that make my head look like an oversized potato, but I was doing it and you know what…

It wasn’t too bad!

I think having my hubby there to make me giggle and distract me, in those moments when they’re not in the room, really helped keep me out of my own head (if that makes sense)! I ended up having the crown redone and I’ve set up another appointment to get the rest of my work done.

If I could offer up what I’ve learned through this process it would be to get second opinions, see a few different dentists before you make a decision!  Sedation dentistry was great, I won’t lie, but it was also short lived bliss because the work wasn’t done well!  Find out what the office does in the event you should have problems and how long they will cover your dental work!

Me… I’m really looking forward to being able to smile again and say goodbye to that insecurity and my irrational fear of dentists!

The Daily Show in Tampa, Anxiety, Isaac and an ID Fail

A few months back I just happened to be browsing Tampa Bay Online and came across an article that said Jon Stewart was coming to The Straz Center in Tampa to cover the RNC. At first I begrudgingly clicked on the link thinking the tickets would probably be too expensive and I wouldn’t be able to afford to go!

Holy crap they’re FREE!

What did I know? I’d never been to a live taping before! I quickly reserved the maximum amount of tickets I could get my hands on and then waited for my confirmation email! Just as I received the coveted confirmation email I got an idea… Ooo I should go in with another email and see if I can reserve more tickets! It seemed my timing had been lucky the first time, because when I tried to be devious and score another set of tickets the show had already sold out!

My initial thoughts about getting the tickets went a little something like this…

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, I’m going to see a live taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart!”

  On the flip side there was a little nervousness about going, not because of the RNC or anything like that, it had more to do with the last time I’d been to The Straz Center.  I had taken my family to see the Nutcracker for Christmas! Just as the show began I had a pretty big panic attack and I sat in the foyer watching the performance on a television set trying to shake my nerves!

Screw my nerves this time! I wasn’t gonna let this opportunity pass me by!  I called my sisters and gave them the good news…

We’re going to see Jon Stewart girls!

Flash forward to the Friday before the show… Hurricane Isaac was bearing down on Tampa and the RNC looked to be cancelled! YAY! Oh crap! Wait… does that mean Jon Stewart would be cancelled too? Nooooooooooo! How can this happen? One of the not so great perks of living in the Sunshine State! Darn you Hurricane Isaac! I impatiently watched my email box fearing I’d receive an email telling me the show had been cancelled due to severe weather! Luckily that email never came and by Sunday Isaac was headed west and away from Tampa! YAY! We were back on!

I arrived at my sister-in-law Denise’s house around noon and after grabbing a little something to eat we were on our way to The Daily Show! On the way we talked about the recent argument with Chris Matthews and Reince Priebus in which Chris pointed out what he felt were some cheap shots during this election process.  We also talked about a billboard that D had seen in Tampa that says “Obama supports Gay Marriage & Abortion. Do You? Vote Republican! Paid for by the Republican Union Pac…” which, in my opinion, is a blatant, obvious attack on women and civil rights and if you’d really like to know my answer it’s yes! Yes I do! But I digress…

We arrived at The Straz Center around 1pm and had no trouble finding parking! We walked passed a few police officers who, while extremely pleasant, were dressed like ghostbusters and I had to restrain myself from humming the theme song every time I passed them.  Finally we were ushered into the line by a very nice lady who worked for The Straz, she told us not to worry as we were probably around the 150-200 mark in line!

With an hour and half till they distributed tickets we pulled out our smart phones and took to twitter and Facebook! The heat wasn’t to brutal because every now and then we’d get a decent breeze  from the water. I texted my sister Karen to let her know we were there and how to find us in line and it didn’t take long for her to join us.

My nerves were starting to get a little nutty at this point so I decided to rumage through my purse to make sure I had the email and my ID ready for the check-in. What the…? where’s my ID?  No, no, no… OH CRAP I’ve left my… I don’t have my ID!  My sister-in-law Denise, who had done the whole live taping thing before when she saw Jimmy Fallon (so jealous) was laid back and said “ach don’t worry we’ll get in” and went back to tweeting, but panic had already set in for me!  I called my husband who was an absolute saint because he drove an hour to bring me my ID and still managed to get back home to pick up our daughter from school!

With email and ID now in hand I felt much better and as the line got closer I think we got a little more excited and a little goofier!

Finally our moment of zen came and we were next in line to get our golden ticket!

I wouldn’t dare tell my husband that I didn’t need my ID after all! Huh that line lady was a pretty good guess 206!

We had about forty minutes to spare after we got our tickets so we headed off to the museum cafe, which unfortunately was closed due to an RNC function, but was happy to sell us water and a pint-sized bottle of wine for $30 plus? wtf? We put the wine back and left for under $5.

A quick bathroom break, a little air con, and we were back in the heat waiting in line to see Jon Stewart. People were cramming the front of the line and I was starting to get a little claustrophobic, but the staff was great and they were able to get people to comply and line up numerically. Before we knew it we were walking through the metal detectors and heading into the lobby area of Ferguson Hall!

My nerves decided to spike once more when we got into the hall and I had to sit down next to the window, but I was determined to push through it! I was having little arguments with myself about keeping my anxiety under control…

“I am not going to wait in line for that long just to get into the hall and have a panic attack! I’m going in that hall and I’m going to see Jon Stewart!”

At that point a lady demanded our attention gave us the rules:

Power down your cell phones, if you’re caught using your cell phone it will be confiscated till after the show!

No chewing gum!

No shouting out stupid shit to hear yourself on TV!

Use the bathroom now as you will not be able to once you’re in the hall!

WE WILL THROW YOU OUT!

All my nerves left me when our numbers were called and we walked into the hall. 

We were seated in the 12th row and truth be told even if we’d been at the back there wasn’t a bad seat in the house!

We sat for about an hour while music played and the crews did stage checks!

After a little warm up Jon Stewart walked on stage the entire hall erupted with applause, whistles, and woots!

I was star struck and grinning from ear to ear!

He stood at the front of the stage and gestured for us to sit and then spent 5-10 minutes fielding questions from the audience, one of which was whether or not he’d reached out to Governor Rick Scott to attend the show? To which he replied…

“Yes, I wrote him a personal letter. Well, I cut letters out of a magazine and sent it to him. He is not coming that I’m aware of.”

Then he took his place behind his news desk and immediately began his satirical banter with “The Best F#@king News Team Ever”!

They poked fun at the RNC, humidity, Isaac being a result of gay marriage, Strip clubs and ended the segment with Samantha Bee being carried off by a “Juvenile” Palmetto bug!

The guest of the evening was Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who I’d say was brave coming to a place where the majority of the audience did not favor him!

Jon Stewart opened their dialog with…

“The people have been so kind to us, many of them saying when you leave here take us with you! You know… that sort of thing! It’s been magnificent”

It seemed to break the ice and they carried on to discuss a little bit of everything from Marco Rubio dodging a bullet by not being nominated VP to the difference between the party platforms, tax reform, stimulus money and shipping jobs overseas!

One of my favorite parts of the night… when Jon Stewart played a clip of how Republicans think that certain news networks and comedy central are “in the tank for Barrack Obama” so to speak!

To which he replied:

“What?”

“Work-a-holics and the new series Brickleberry premiering Sept. 25th are in the tank for Obama?”

  “I can’t b… Ohhh… (squints eyes) Colbert!”

(cuts to a picture of Stephen Colbert)

“Can’t believe this guy’s in the tank!”

 I was really amazed how quick-witted Jon Stewart was throughout the show and how he easily he brought the audience back to laughter if they booed something they didn’t like!

 I was glad to share the experience with my sisters and we snapped a quick picture on our way out!

We were told that our taping would air that night and while Jon Stewart doesn’t often pan the audience, I had to squee a little when I saw this watching it at home!

All in all a fantastic show, well worth the wait!

Learning To Walk Again

Some days I feel as though I have it all together and others not so much!  This week has felt particularly tough, laced with anxiety and stress!  I’m always worrying about the next seizure, school issues, anxiety and just the everyday things life throws at me! I feel like I need to occassionally take pause… and let it all go!  I have so many things on my mind, things I need and want to do, yet it feels as though many of them are out of reach at the moment!  I have to remind myself to relax and keep putting one foot in front of the other!

I’m very grateful for all I have and the people in my life, there are just some days I want to pull the covers over my head and shut the world out! Maybe I’m just getting older and less tolerable? Or… maybe its just some days I feel overwhelmed and need to take a breath, to start over?

Today I picked Foo Fighters Walk because it sums up how I’ve been feeling!  In the words of Daniel Tosh (Nice plug? I know right! And it was free, you’re welcome!)…

For that Foo Fighters… I thank you!

Anxiety Sucks!

It’s true!

It plain old, no doubt about it, royally sucks!

  It’s embarrassing, confidence breaking, frustrating not to mention it sometimes makes easy feel damn near impossible!  With that being said I am quite proud of myself today! I pushed through my anxiety and had a fabulous weekend!

  On friday we went with friends Rock and Bowling, which is when they turn on the black lights, turn up the loud music from the 50’s to the 80’s and bowl from 6 to midnight!  I suck at bowling, but had fun doing it non-the-less!

Then on Saturday we ventured into downtown Tampa for the Gasparilla Kids Parade! Last year I didn’t go and I really regretted it, so this year I was determined to go! I had one small, slightly embarrassing panic attack when I got a little claustrophobic in a port-o-potty, in the moment it felt big, but I pushed through and we had a brilliant time! 

Finally on Sunday we were invited over to a friends for their father’s birthday party!  It was such a beautiful day and the kids spent their time playing and catching fish! I brought my camera along and was able to play around with it and snap some cute pictures for them.

We had a really good weekend and I feel like I made myself and my family proud! 

If I knew yesterday what I knew today, where would I be tomorrow?  I won’t let my soul slide away, I’ll do whatever it takes because this time is only borrowed…

I got one life, one life, one life and I’m gonna live it!  I got one life, one life, one life and I’m gonna live it right!

Tuesday Toot

On Sunday afternoon I braved 85 degree weather and played soccer and then a few hours later, with a pulled muscle was able to suck up my anxiety and go to an Earth, Wind, and Fire Concert. Ok the first toot, I drove out of my comfort zone, a huge deal for me. Second toot, we had excellent seats, I sat smack dab in the middle of a row, huge crowds not a stong point for me and my anxiety. Final toot, I was able to do it all without taking anything to relieve the anxiety so toot, toot, toot for me.