Things my anxiety keeps me from doing

Anxiety and therapy

I’ve been in therapy for about a month now and I am finding it really beneficial. I might write a bit more about therapy later however I wanted to do a post on something that my psychologist asked me to do the other day. I was mentioning to her that I have found over the last few years, and especially recently that my anxiety feels like a roadblock or mountain sometimes when it comes to doing certain things that either I used to love doing or that I want to try. We talked about it for a while and she asked me to make a list to bring in for my next session of things that my anxiety has either prevented me from doing or stopped me from trying and I thought it was a great idea and would also make a good blog post as well.

She knows I blog, its something I told her right up front on our first session and she was really happy to hear that I blog and she mentioned in the last session as well that she thought it would be a good idea if I wanted to post it on my blog so I can keep a record of the things as I mentioned I am at a point right now where I really want to push through some of these fears and anxieties and give these things a try again or for the first time. We both figured it would be something very therapeutic for me to not only blog the list but also blog each step of tackling the list and the results so that in years to come I can reflect back on it if needed.

I had mentioned to her about going back through some of my old posts from some of my darker times and reading them and some of the posts since then to see how far I’ve come along over the years as well as remind myself that if I have been able to overcome all this before and live a life almost without depression or anxiety for a number of years that it is possible that I might be able to get to that point again with or without medications and give me a goal to look forward to and achieve.

1. Returning to school

One of the first things I would like to tackle and actually already am in the process of doing before even deciding to make this list, but that I am going to include is going back to school. It’s something I have wanted to do for a long long time. Before Eddie and I even got together. I have been wanting to do it so bad but I have been so anxious about the application process, funding and mostly the work itself and how I would be able to handle it, that I have literally been sitting on this for over 10 years letting it fester and annoy and confuse me. Everything that happened over this past 2 months has actually been a mixed blessing in disguise and has pushed me outside my comfort zone so much that making the decision and starting the process to act on it has been almost easy

I am applying as soon as my tax return money comes in, which I filed tonight. I’ve had a bit of an issue saving up the money but then earlier today I filed our taxes and realized I will have enough to apply from it. I netfiled our taxes so we should have the money direct deposited within two weeks. My EI for the last few months has been approved as well and backdated so that should help out. I am still having a lot of anxiety over the process of applying for the student loan/line of credit and also with doing some of the other things I need to do before I apply and have been putting them off. I need to update my name on my Alberta student ID account and Revenue Canada. So these things have been getting in the way some but I am determined to get them done before the end of the week. Goals.

2. Going skiing again

I have loved skiing ever since I was about 5. We used to go all the time in Europe and in Calgary when we lived there. I have also gone here as we have a ski hill about an hour away. I so badly wanted to go this year and though finances have been a big reason for not going and time to go as well has been an obstacle I think if I am absolutely honest with myself the biggest hurdle for me has been anxiety. Mostly about the shape my body is in, and by that, I don’t mean my size. I am not worried about that what I am referring to is the pain I am always in and the fact I get hurt fairly easily.

I missed my chance this year but I want to use the summer to get into a bit better shape, again not meaning losing weight so much as just building up my strength and endurance. Losing weight would just be an added bonus at this point as I have already lost some. One of the things that terrifies me the most about skiing is falling. I remember some of the falls and just getting up and shaking it off and I am scared that I won’t be able to do that now. What if I break something or end up back on crutches again? The hip injury I had the summer before last weighs heavily on my mind and makes me anxious. I think I am scared more over the fact that I will go and not be able to do it then not trying at all. I just don’t want that type of anxiety and fear to stop me from doing the things I love or trying new things.

3. Go river tubing

One thing I have always wanted to do but have always been really anxious about doing is going tubing on the Gaspereau River. We planned it last summer but because of my anxiety we never ended up going. I love the water. I love swimming and am not scared of the water and actually I kind of technically have gone tubing this past September on the Annapolis River but not really in the way that I mean. Tubing on the Gaspereau river you actually tube down the river on the tube quite a ways. What makes me anxious the most is the same thing I really had to overcome this past fall and really didn’t resulting in a kind of hilarious fail which I am now anxious about repeating

I am absolutely terrified of spiders and this fall I participated in a community race at Ciderfest in Bridgetown where we got into tubes off of a dock in the river and then using oars had to use them to get across the river to the other side, around a buoy and back to the dock. My anxiety at doing this is so high because the docks are full of dock spiders which are huge typically and the spiders tend to crawl all over the tubes. I managed to do it and get on and go all the way around the buoy and back (in last place) but not before trying to avoid the edge of the dock and jump on the tube, which resulted in me bouncing off it and landing in the frigid water in my clothes (it was the middle of September, a rather cold one at that).

Tubing the Gaspereau would be different and I am not really sure where we would get on the tubes and if there would be lots of spiders, but it still makes me so anxious just thinking about it, however, I can’t get it out of my mind and want to do it so bad. I am a bit scared and anxious about the water as well, I am told it is gentle but very murky and muddy which the Annapolis River was as well and I didn’t like that part much. I am absolutely determined I am going to do it.

4. Horseback riding

I used to horseback ride when I was younger and we lived in Germany and I enjoyed being around horses when we lived in Calgary though I didn’t ride as much, mostly just going to horse shows at Spruce Meadows. I really have been wanting to go horseback riding again. I would love to go on a trail ride. As much as it is something I really want to do anxiety (and weight) has kept me from doing it. Again it comes back to being anxious about failing, about not being able to get onto the horse or even worse falling off it Even though I am so much bigger (as in from a child to adult) then I was when I was a kid for some reason now horses seem so much bigger to me now then they did then. I am also anxious about getting kicked or hurt or stepped on. I am not sure my exact weight right now but I will have to look into finding places around to ride and see what their weight limit is and set it as a goal over the summer and maybe try and go riding in the fall.

5. Mud sliding

One thing Nova Scotia is known for is our tides and our sense of adventure and fun. Ever since I can remember, ever since I was a kid visiting here from other places, I have always wanted to go mud sliding. One of the best places to go is the Shubenacadie River. The tidal bores are pretty unique and when the tide goes out the muddy river banks make perfect places to go mud sliding. This is something I really want to do but at the same time, it really fills me with anxiety for a few reasons. The first one’s kind of dumb but basically I am anxious about ruining my clothes, the mud stains. Just wear old clothes right? Easy enough, except it still fills me with anxiety, I have no idea why. Secondly and a bit more of an actual problem is unless you do a full zodiak tidal bore tour and mud slide with them then really you have no access to a shower and well you need a car to get there and I have a brand new car (2019) and my anxiety goes through the roof when I think of all the mud in my car.

Obviously even someone without anxiety would feel the same but there is more to it than just the car and clothes. I am anxious about the tides even though I know you have to time it right and it’s not actually an issue but in my mind it is. I also am anxious about sliding down the bank and into a river that I might not know how deep it is or how fast-flowing, etc. Again, it’s not really an issue because you would not just go anywhere. You would go in certain places where everyone goes and you likely would not be alone as on a hot day the place would have tons of people, which for me causes some anxiety in itself. The whole bathing suit in public thing. Last year couldn’t care less but lately, I am getting more and more self-conscious at the idea which is weird because I never used to be.

No matter what I am determined that I am going to accomplish these things over the next year or two. I really feel like the only way to overcome the anxiety and fears is to confront it head-on and jump in feet first, carefully and safely obviously but still, just do it. Now, I’m at risk of sounding like a Nike commercial

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Why the “Spoon Theory” just doesn’t work for me

I used to think the Spoon Theory was a great way to explain to healthy friends, family, and co-workers what it was like living with a chronic illness, chronic pain and/or chronic fatigue. However lately I feel less and less like this theory makes sense to me. I can understand the theory and get why some people would associate with it as a way to explain what day to day life is like for them and how chronic illness, chronic pain and/or chronic fatigue affects them. For me though, I find it is just making less and less sense as time goes by and as I really think about it, it just doesn’t seem to work for me.

Why? Well, first off though I get that by setting the 12 spoons a day is just a way to measure on average how many spoons you will get each day. Setting an average just doesn’t make sense to me, my life has taken a turn that seems anything but average to me. Every step and every day is an unknown for me most of the time. Not always bad, but just unpredictable to say the least. Setting a definitive number of “spoons” per day just doesn’t work on so many levels. For one, I never start the day with a specific number of spoons. Some days I could wake up with 20, other days I could wake up with 2.

I know this is kind of explained in the theory as that overdoing it one day uses too many spoons and therefore you wake up the next morning with fewer spoons. As well as sleeping poorly can take aways spoons, missing medication, or skipping a meal, etc. One would look at that and say it does make sense, but here’s why it doesn’t. I have had sleepless nights where I wake up the next day and function at a higher level then nights I get a decent sleep or vice versa. I will give them the missing medication one, that’s pretty predictable for me, missing medication usually equates to a “spoon” or two missing. I guess in theory the same could be said about getting a cold.

However, as far as every day, day-to-day activities go. I never know how many spoons they will take from me or even give to me. Taking a shower for example. One day taking a shower is a big task that will eat up pretty much all my “spoons” no matter how many I am given. Other days in contrast taking a shower will pep me up and give me more energy, much like a “healthy” person. So tasks that should be low on the list of spoons take away more than tasks that should be higher, or again vice versa.

Having a day where I use up more then my “allotted spoons” doesn’t necessarily mean that I will have fewer spoons the next day either. For that reason, I find the Spoon Theory so hard to connect with and rationalize on a personal level. Some times I will have weeks or months on end that I feel great, other times I have weeks or months that are horrible every single day. Sometimes oddly enough having a cold or recovering from an illness will actually give me more energy for a while, not less.

Often I may wake up with a certain amount of spoons and for some reason for no apparent reason at all my body has just sprung a leak and all the spoons just keep disappearing without doing anything in particular and sometimes in the middle of a random day where I feel like I am on my last spoon suddenly it’s like someone with extra spoons to spare has decided to gift me a few. It is so unpredictable that it just seems to me like another label and one that just doesn’t quite fit all that well for me.

Because it is so unpredictable having a chronic illness, chronic pain and/or chronic fatigue, I find that trying to justify or rationalize it in such a way just seems almost more damaging to me, especially when it comes to trying to help others to understand the chronic illness, chronic pain and/or chronic fatigue, it sets an expectation of predictability where there just isn’t any.

While I am at it I want to take the opportunity to introduce you as well to a little side project I decided to start a while back and have been sitting on for a while well trying to figure out what I want to do with it. I decided I would like to start a stay-at-home blog about being basically for lack of a better term “housewife” where I can share things like recipes, work from home opportunities, crafts, some DIY, and more on mental health and chronic illness from a stay at home perspective beyond this blog. Something I could monetize and maybe even turn into a community with other bloggers, guest posts, etc. My hubby helped me come up with the name. Despite it having the word Canadian in it, it’s not just for Canadians, its for anyone who wants to read, join or be a part of it.

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The job hunt & school

The photo has nothing to do with this blog post by the way. I just wanted to use one of my own photos for once. So far the job hunt is going okay. I hate the outbound call center stuff that I am doing from home plus they keep taking hours away as they are not busy at all and I have barely worked. I had applied to a bunch of other jobs at the same time as well as since getting it.

The day before yesterday I had an interview with one of the places I had applied to and it seems I may have gotten the job! It’s also working from home and was listed as “Transcriptionist” and basically it’ll be working for a company and taking inventory for moving companies from videos that were taken to determine what was needed for the moving job. So basically watch the video, listen to everything said but at the same time also take stock of what is shown as well unless told specifically not to and determine what the company will need to show up with on moving day.

A lot of big moving companies do it this way. I remember as a kid when we were moving each time Dad was posted somewhere either Dad taking our home video camera (this was before the days of digital) and filming the house or apartment we were in room by room or sometimes someone from the moving company would come a week or two ahead of time and do it. I remember loving to follow them around and seeing what they were up to. I remember trying to guess ourselves. Mom and Dad always made a game out of it. Something to distract me from moving to another province or country I guess but it usually worked.

Anyways, since I have been doing closed captioning on videos for some time now freelancing and also some freelance transcription work I am pretty sure I am going to enjoy this job. There will also be an opportunity for me to be cross-trained and take customer service and/or appointment booking calls as well. I don’t mind this so much as it’s no so call center-ish, more like a virtual assistant type job. I will be starting most likely on March 23rd as long as she gets the approval from the owner of the company and it’s a small company based in Ontario that is starting to grow fast it seems:) so that’s also good.

In the meantime, I am just doing freelance transcription and captioning through mostly just two different sites. I am not bringing in a lot but every penny counts and I am really loving it, to be honest. It just further cements me wanting to work from home while in school. I am saving up the money to apply. I have about half of it so far. My goals is by the end of next week to apply. There are still a few things I need to do. I need to update my last name for my Alberta Student Number as I was in school in Alberta back in the 90’s and have gotten married since then so I need to send them a copy of my marriage certificate next week.

Apparently I also have to update my info with Revenue Canada as well as somewhere years ago someone accidentally typed my name wrong into the system as Kirston and now it seems to be on some of my stuff coming from them and Kirsten on the rest of it. So I have to go through the process of faxing them my ID for them to update it. Again I will do that next week as well. So far though things are moving in the right direction and I am extremely happy about it. It’s a step in the right direction.

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