Category Archives: anxiety



So, I got to go back to work today. Apparently the district wasn’t concerned about the 45% fire containment over in the neighborhood where I used to work (since they were letting residents back into their homes) and whatnot, so they got to go back to school in their fire zone. And we got our school back now that it and the high school weren’t being used as shelters anymore.

This might sound like I’m unhappy about this situation, but actually, I am oh-so-glad school is back in session. It makes things more normal, less scary from these fires. And I am happy that the vast majority of those residents were able to go back to their homes. (By the way, I am being sincere about this!)

Back to the point. We were back in school today, and the air was just a little heavier than usual because of how so many people know somebody affected by this crazy wildfire season. It just adds an extra layer of “What if?”s and worries to the air, even if you were aren’t directly hurt by it.


Then one of the counselors brought a surprise to share with everyone.

Normally, I am not crazy about food smiling back at me, but this cupcake just made me happy.

Look at it! Doesn’t it make you smile , just a little?

Something as little as a cupcake can make your whole day a little brighter. Especially if it has cute little candy eyes and a silly, simple smile!

Happy to have a home

Happy to have a home

When so many in Central Texas are now going without theirs. Reminds me to be grateful for so many small things.

Today’s highlights:

1) I got a four day weekend instead of a three day. I would rather it NOT have been because my school’s community had fires and turned the neighboring high school into a evacuation shelter, but trying to be positive, right?

2) Despite having a fire in nearly every direction of my house for the past two days, our home and immediate community has remained safe. It all got a little close to home about 7:30 tonight.

The view from our cul-de-sac at 7:30

Apparently an apartment complex just a mile away from caught fire. Last check was 3 of the buildings were on fire…. I can still hear the sirens 2 hours later and smell that horrible, burned smell in the air….

The happiest thought of all would be to have rain here ASAP!

YWC Day 1

YWC Day 1

Because I wasn’t busy enough this summer, right?

I actually wasn’t going to do the Young Writer’s Camp this summer, but I was asked to do it. Part of me was flattered at the time, but now I am thinking it’s just because they couldn’t find enough people who were qualified for it to volunteer. (By the way, I DO get paid for it!) So for the next week, I will be going to a local high school from 7:30-12:30 to work with 6th, 7th and 8th graders on how to become better writers. Woohoo!

I did not want to get up this morning. I didn’t sleep well. Fortunately, I didn’t have any of the typical teacher nightmares that usually happen when I know I’m about to get a new group of kids to teach. Like, not knowing where I’m supposed to go, walking in late, not having anything planned for a lesson, having repeat students from years before, or not knowing anybody’s name and looking like an idiot. Oh, and then there’s the part where I APPARENTLY AM NOT WEARING ENOUGH CLOTHING. Ugh.

So nothing like that. Just my typical run of the mill weird insomnia and stupid dogs deciding that 2:00 AM is an acceptable time to whine at the door until we let them outside.

I also had a sort of emotional weekend. Nothing life threatening, but for an anxiety-ridden person like me,  it was enough to make me stressed out. I might have to do a blog post on all those things separately, later on. I started to try and put it in here, but it was going to take awhile. So to sum it up: Harry Potter movie 7.5, late night noisy neighbors, and a fire ant invasion in our family room. Throw in a bout of PMS, and it was a recipe for disaster.

The camp itself was actually pretty good. The normal awkwardness of the first day got over pretty quickly, and the most of the kids were really good.

The group of kids I have are split about half and half. By saying half-and-half, I mean half are there because they like writing and want to be there.  Then there’s the half there because their parents think they need extra writing help. If anything, it’ll make for some interesting activities.

So, all in all, it was a pretty good first day. Especially because I’ve never done anything quite like this before.

South Beach…

South Beach…

I’m completely and unabashedly an emotional eater. I feel stressed; I want to eat. I feel sad; I want to eat. I feel frustrated; I want to eat. Considering that I felt all of these emotions the vast majority of the past year, I discovered that the weight I am at was not what I wanted to experience.

But it’s hard to retrain your body when you have gradually built up a response system the whole previous year. It’s like how I have to go to bed by a certain time every night, or else the next day is absolutely miserable for me. I’m a junkie for my sugar and carbs. I know it’s not healthy for me, (especially because my myriad of health problems make physical workouts hard to do,) and it definitely hasn’t done anything nice for my vanity, either.

Enter: South Beach Diet.

Principle 1) Eating food that are lower on the glycemic index (essentially, low on sugars- natural or added). First two weeks, no sugar or carbs–mainly veggies and low fat dairy and proteins.  No fruit (too much sugar), no bread or grains (cutting out both sugar and carbs), and not even some veggies (carrots and beets are high on the glycemic index).

Essentially, I’m going cold turkey.

I am hoping that by sticking to this, it will help me break the “addiction” my body has to the bad stuff. I’ll eventually add whole grains and fruit back into my diet. When I did the diet several years ago in college, it was amazing how much it helped me feel better about myself and my weight. I’m hoping it will happen again now.

It’s been one whole week, and I am happy to report that I have already lost 5 lbs.

That almost makes it worth not having my daily dose of bread and sugar… right?

The little milestones

The little milestones

I can’t believe HOW much better this year is than last. For about 1,000,000 reasons.

I am enjoying a lot of little things a lot more than I used to. Teaching, my students, my home, my dog, my husband, my family.

I was talking to Stephen, the sweet-but-still-very-missionized brother (meaning, he’s still trying to get back into the flow of life), and he mentioned how weird he thought it was that I have been struggling with depression. He said that he would have never guessed that that was something that was eating away at me. Naturally, this led to a conversation about typical symptoms and things that can come up with depression.

I think I mentioned before how this is something I have struggled on and off with for years. But I never really realized how bad it WAS until I have been on medication and going to the occasional counseling to help me realize how crazy-down I was at times.

In a way, I think the headaches I experience on and off were a “blessing in disguise.” All through college I felt like maybe I was a bit depressed, but I just needed to “put my big girl pants on.” Suck it up, and everything will be fine. Really, why should I be feeling down when I have so many opportunities in my life, and LITTLE KIDS ARE STARVING IN AFRICA!?! I would have never gone to the doctor to say “I think I might have some sort of depression.”

Then the headaches came. February/March of ’08 marked the arrival of dizziness, pain, and hopelessness. I think perhaps the fact that I was having to finish up my crazy student teaching experience on my own with the love of my life, my rock, being 1500 miles away starting his new career up put me over the edge. We both needed each other, and while the phone made it possible to communicate with him almost every day, it still wasn’t the same as having each other physically there.

I wish I had known then what I do now about myself.  It took a year of tests, multiple doctors, and stress to find a doctor that was willing to listen to me, that this was more than just overly sensitive whining. I wish I had stood up for myself and what I suspected I had all along.

I found a good article today on that address depression. I really liked specific parts of it.


“Depression invaded my life in my mid-40s,” says Tom Johnson, who was formerly publisher of the Los Angeles Times and CEO of CNN. “It sapped me of my strength, robbed me of my energy, and brought me, inexplicably, to the brink of suicide. Just the act of getting out of bed and into the shower each morning was tough. I was baffled by the sadness, by the loss of self-confidence, by the feeling of being trapped at the bottom of a deep, dark well.”

Like many others, Johnson did not seek help. He explains, “I felt that going to a psychiatrist would be a sign that I was somehow defective.” Stigma is another trap associated with depression. Dr. Carolyn Robinowitz, former president of the American Psychiatric Association, has seen its effects many times. Those experiencing depression often feel pressure to “pull themselves together,” “take charge,” “suck it up.”

While I am not better, and I still have bad days, I am so glad that I have my friends and family, and especially Jared, that have stuck around while I have struggled with becoming a better self. I know it hasn’t been easy, but it means the world to me.