There are days I struggle. Struggle so hard with depression and anxiety that my life feels like I am on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree spinning round and round but without all the laughing. Days where getting out of bed is a struggle. Where putting my thoughts and words on paper seems impossible. Days where I don’t feel like being funny or cheerful. Where just breathing seems like it is all I can do. Sometimes I just want the ride to make me happy and sometimes I just want to get off.
Lately, the days filled with anxiety seem to be getting more and more frequent which to me is odd or maybe I just didn’t notice them before. Maybe I was content to be quiet and by myself and didn’t seek out situations that forced me to be uncomfortable. My job both as a writer and as a nurse make me step outside that world and learn to be more interactive with people. And let me tell you, it is hard. But you know what? It’s ok. It is ok to feel uneasy and anxious. Meeting people at book signings is so hard. I don’t ever want to let people down because I am awkward and weird and laugh too loud and say inappropriate things like a 12 year old boy. Trust me, you can as my co-workers how many times I have said “That’s what she said” in a meeting. I am the worst.
I was recently told I was intimidating and I laughed. Me? Intimidating? I am the biggest softie around. But then I stopped to think about my RBF and my standoffish attitude sometimes. I could see maybe how that could be misinterpreted as intimidating when in reality, it was me being anxious or unsure of myself. It made me pause and think about how I want to live my life.
There is a sweet spot in my life when I wake up to face my day and the weight of the world has not come crashing down on me. Where it is quiet and I can think about mundane things like what to wear or if I need to pee. It is in that time that I think about how my day will go. Will I let anxiety run me? It is just like the time right before you step on the ride and decide if the ride is going to scare you or be fun.
Let’s decide to make it fun.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I decided to enjoy my spinning out of control life and just live. I am the Fat Girl Running and I LOVE Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. The experiment continues…
It is a normal day. Nothing exciting. I can feel my heart starting to race. My breath quickens. The feeling of dread comes over me. My chest feels tight. I start to bounce my leg to alleviate that feeling of wanting to flee. This is all too familiar and comes on without warning. I know exactly what is happening and I cannot stop it. It will control me even if I don’t want it to. Hello anxiety my old friend. Thank you for showing up unannounced and bringing your friend panic attack with it. Anxiety and panic attacks are no stranger to me, unfortunately, but what happened this time around was different. This time around, I suffered from severe vertigo. Someone stop the ride. I want to get off.
I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks since I was a teenager so when I feel that anxiety starting, I just try to use my breathing techniques or a quick walk outside to calm myself down. But the vertigo? Where did that come from? The first time I got it, it was sudden and violent. I stood up from bed and my whole world spun so quickly that I had to grab the wall to not fall down. It was terrifying and I was immediately sure I was either having a stroke or I had a tumor. There could be no other answers. Also, would the paramedics come in and find me naked on my floor? All I could think was please let this stop so I could at least not be naked. The vertigo left as soon as it came and I was dumbfounded. When it happened again the next day at work, I thought maybe it was an inner ear thing. But when it kept happening? For almost 2 weeks? That is when I went to the doctor. Only to be told to go to the ear doctor because of course, there was nothing wrong that my primary doctor could find. That must mean a tumor. I was partially convinced I was going to be told I had months to live when I went to the ear doctor. After a round of some testing, I was told the one thing I was not expecting. The vertigo was stress and anxiety related. Excuse me? Wait. That could not be it. I left thinking the doctor was full of it. It had to be a tumor. There is no way this is stress or anxiety induced. I was frustrated. The vertigo disappeared and I was left wondering if it was all in my head.
Then this past weekend, I was sitting at home minding my own business when I started getting texts about work. The room started spinning. What the heck? I was totally fine all day till I started feeling anxious. I sat there and realized I did not have a tumor. I had anxiety induced vertigo. Ugh. So that is a fun new level to my anxiety. I thought about what the ear doctor said about lowering my stress and I want to laugh. Not possible right now but thanks. So now to monitor these symptoms and see how to handle them. Anxiety and I are old friends and it can show itself in weird ways. I know I am not alone.
I write about stress and anxiety and panic today because I want you to know if you suffer, you are not alone. Most of us do not talk about it and we should. We should tell people how we feel. We should reach out when we are not ok and get the help we need. It is ok to tell someone you are sad, depressed, stressed or anxious. I went through a period in my life that the anxiety was so bad, it cause me to not want to leave the house and going to any social situation was so painful I just could not. I would throw up before going to work because I had to leave my house. But I would plaster on a smile and nobody knew I was suffering with such debilitating anxiety. I should have said something. I should have reached out. But along with the anxiety came some crippling depression and I felt like I shouldn’t tell anyone. I want all of you out there to understand something. IT IS OK TO FEEL LIKE THIS. This was a hard blog to write, but I am always honest with you and if this can help someone else realize it is ok, then that is the purpose. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I almost had to be found naked by paramedics and thought I was having a stroke or a tumor but I didn’t die. I am Fat Girl with anxiety induced vertigo Running and I am not alone. The experiment continues…
Let me tell you a story. Bear with me here. This is not one of my funnier ones, but I always promise to be honest and share all parts of my life with you. So keep reading. It is worth it. I promise. Take a breath. Just one breath.
The last year has been one of the worst periods in my life. No really. It has. I dealt with losing two members of our family, my Mommy being in the ICU twice and the closong of InknBeans Press. To top it off, I was miserable at work. Miserable. I don’t even know if that word accurately describes how I felt about my job. No, I don’t think it really does. I sank into a deep depression and had a hard time seeing the good in anything. I decided to take one step. Just one.
That one step? I decided to change my job. The push to do so was knowing that where I was at was seriously making me cry every night. I sat one night on the couch and decided to get off of it and apply for different jobs. Living in a small town means there is not a lot for nurses to choose from and it also means a pay cut. To say I was scared was an understatement. I was terrified. Who is going to want me? How can I afford it? Can I even start over after 20 years at the same facility? All these doubts races through my head and honestly made me want to crawl right back in hed and never get out. But, I did it. I put in applications and decided whatever happened was meant to be. I never expected how it would happen.
I was sleeping for a night shift and got a phone call from a care facility for an interview. Yes! An interview. Ok that I can do. Well at least I can try and not sound like a complete moron who maybe knows how to speak English during an interview. I could only hope that my personality would shine theough and I would not have to complete the interview by interpretive dance. How embarrassing would that be? I laid there contemplating what I would say in an interview that would not make me seem like a complete moron when my phone went off again. I got a message from the place that was making me miserable and I knew. I knew I needed another job. Right then and there, fifteen minutes after agreeing to an interview, my whole world had gone upside down and I needed to make a change fast.
I crawled back into bed, stressed and tired. Defeated and exhausted. I needed to figure out what I was going to do. The world felt like one crazy merry-go-round and I really wanted off the ride. But you know what I did? I laid there and took one breath. Just one. That one breath allowed me to stop and listen to my soul. That one breath allowed me to take control of my life once more and see above the water of life I felt like I was drowning in.
I realized my self worth was not wrapped up in a dollar amount. I realized through that one breath that I could take that one step. I finally was able to see myself as capable. I slowly treaded the water of life. I pulled myself up out of that drowning depression and took a step. I went to the interview two days later. I took the job they offered me a week later. Six months later, in a company that appreciates me for who I am, I am taking a promotion. Change sucks but change can also be good and make you better. As long as you don’t change into the Stay Puff Marshmellow Man like in Ghostbusters. That is still terrifying to me.
So take that step towards happiness. Take that breath. You will be glad you did. Just one step. Just one breath.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did step back and make my life better and i didn’t die. I am The Fat Girl who can take just one breath and does not turn into a giant marshmellow figure Running. The experiment continues…
I started a new chapter in my life this month. It was hard and exciting but I did it. I joined the world of self publishing and the result of all my tears, hours on the computer and a million questions to #soulmate comes out on July 12. We all know I have been missing from the publishing world for about 6 months and I actually have not been blogging as much (which is going to change as well). It was hard to figure out what to do after my publisher died and they closed the doors abruptly, leaving all of us authors with no way to continue. But, I did it. I self published a better version of Book 1. I feel a little like the way a book must feel if you crack its spine (you monsters who do that). A little broken and a little relieved. I never knew as a writer/blogger that it could be so painful at times, but it really is. And this whole self publishing thing? Kind of scary and I feel like half the time I have no idea what in the heck I am doing to be honest. But what came out of this process is a new and improved version of me. The Fat Girl Running version 2.0 I guess you could say. Let’s talk about how I came to be this new version.
You see, after my publisher Boss Bean died, I was stuck. Stuck without a way to get books, my files or even the rights to my cover art. So I was at the beginning. I actually had to cancel book signings because I was unable to get any copies of my books and I was so very frustrated. I was determined to not pull out of Book Bonanza though. For those of you unaware, Book Bonanza is one of the BIGGEST signings around and I was actually invited to be an attending author. Me. Little old me. Six months of no contact from the publishing company and I decided enough was enough and looked for my files myself. I am glad I was able to find all my files for books 1-4 on my computer. There was a pint where I couldn’t find Book 1 and I was entertaining the thought of retyping out the entre thing from a hard copy I managed to have. That made me cry for sure. No really. Ask #soulmate. I cried. Then I found the file and I cried with relief. Files being found, I could proceed.
First of all, I needed an editor. All of this stuff my publisher did for me before so I had no idea what it all entailed. Luckily, I had an editor recommended to me that was willing to take me on. That was the hard part. You see, most of my author friends are romance authors and we all know I am far from that. Before I could send the books off to an editor, I needed to go through them all and revise things, self edit, take out chapters and add new content. That alone made me want to pull my hair out. You see, part of me cringed over some of my older writing. It just sounded like a four-year old came in and wrote down some gibberish. I mean, how did you all actually stand to read it? Wait. Are you all just real life stalkers? Because that would be cool. Unless you are SOTL Man. Then that would not be cool. It would be slightly terrifying. But I digress.
Once I got the books sent to an editor, I needed to also line up a formatter and a cover designer. Seriously, I cannot thank my author friends enough for all their help in this direction either. Oh yeah. I also had to figure out what to do for my cover. I wanted to cry and be angry at the same time. Have we ever talked about what an indecisive person I really am? I finally decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone and put myself on the cover. It made me want to throw up in my mouth a little, but I called a local photographer and decided to do a photo shoot.
Can we discuss how awkward that was? I mean I am as awkward as it comes and then put me in front of a camera? Oh my heck. I cannot even imagine some of the photos she must have gotten. There were definitely some gems for sure. There had to be knowing me. My photographer was a genius. She made me do things I thought was stupid. In fact, the one pose I thought was going to look so dumb is actually the cover. Huh. Guess she knew what she was doing. We both were laughing a lot during the shoot and I think that helped me relax and be myself a little more than I would have otherwise. The pictures were all so cute that it was hard for my cover designer to actually pick just one. But we managed and all of a sudden, I was excited. Excited to try this whole self publishing thing because my new covers are the cutest. And a little sassy.
Book edited? Check. Cover concept? Check. Cover designed? Check. Formatted? Check. Next step? Actually get it set up to publish both in paperback form and e-book in time for Book Bonanza on July 19. Ack. Biggest signing of my life and I didn’t have books for it. But with the help of #soulmate, I got it all set up and approved by the all mighty Amazon. Paperbacks of Book 1 AND 2 are actually sitting in my kitchen in boxes right now. Because the lucky people who come see me at Book Bonanza get a sneak peek of Book 2 and a chance to get it early (that one comes out in August). Now for those of you familiar with my books, these are revamped editions of the old ones with new content, formatting, editing and the like. I mean I would get them just for the covers alone. So, if you want, the pre-order is already live and the book goes live on July 12. In case you need it, here is the link: Climbing Off the Couch
I still might cry on Thursday because this is the first time I am doing this all on my own and boy do I miss Boss Bean. But I know she would approve and love the direction I am going this time. And once again, my books will be available for you guys. In fact, they are better versions of the old ones. It really was a little bit what I can only imagine giving birth is like, except without the gross bodily fluids. Because let’s be honest. People coming out of other people is gross. Lots of sweat, tears and love went into this new version of my books and I really hope that maybe a few of you pick them up and stalk me. Let’s just hope SOTL Man doesn’t blow up my cover into a poster to hang in his house. Creeper.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did, however, venture into self publishing and have a book releasing this week, but I didn’t die. I am the Fat Girl Running version 2.0 and I hope you love it as much as I do. The experiment continues…
I realize it has been quite a while since you heard from me and there is a really good explanation. Hopefully you read about the loss of BFF’s Grandpa right before the holidays but in January, we had a devastating loss of her 23-year-old nephew, Mathew as well. BFF and I have been best friends for over 20 years and her family has adopted me as another member, with her brothers calling me their other sister and her nieces and nephews calling me Aunty 2. So, when we got the news Matty had died in a horrible car wreck, I was devastated right along with the rest of the family. You see, I had known Matty since he was little and I loved being his Aunty 2. It was so hard to think about writing and words could not seem to come to me to even begin to express my grief over such a young soul. But this week, as I was musing over Matty and how he lived his life, the words he lived by inspired me. Live Grand.
Matty may have only been 23 years old, but the life he lived was so full and rich. We like to say he lived life going mach 3 with his hair on fire, but really he just lived grand. He LOVED adventure. This kid ran river tours in the Grand Canyon with the Hualapai tribe for many years and they loved him so much he was actually made a member of the tribe. He loved to take chances and was a budding photographer, doing anything to get the perfect shot. So many photos of Matty not only show his beautiful smile but they also show him on the edge of cliffs, playing in the Colorado river, snowboarding down the mountain and many other things that made his life grand. He loved spending time with the family, never missing a function if he could help it and was always the first one to take selfies with everyone. His laugh and smile were contagious and you could forgive him of any transgression by that smile and he knew it. This spirit, this essence of Matty is his legacy. to all of us. This sense of loving life and living outside the box is what inspires me. This is where my challenge to you, my dear readers, is going to present itself. In memory of BFF and my nephew, I challenge you to Live Grand.
Take a moment and reflect on your life and what makes it grand. Find one thing that you can do to make it more rich, fuller and bursting with life. Whether that be traveling to a new destination, creating your own adventure or even just spending more time with your family, find that one thing and do it. Do not wait until tomorrow or put it off to next year, I want you to do it now. Matty wants you to do it now. Plan it, execute it and make your life grand. It’s that simple. This is my challenge to all of you…to keep Matty’s spirit alive and make your life grand. I want you to tag me in posts on Facebook, Instagram and even send me snapchats with the hashtag #LiveGrand and show me how you can change your life to make it your best life ever. I want to see you #LiveGrand no matter what that means to you. Show me! I plan on spending more time with my family and traveling more to make my life grand. Because if there is one thing Matty taught me, it was that family is not always about blood. It is about those people who love and support you the most and BFF and her family are some of those people. Thank you BFF and her family. You all have given me something I cherish….your love.
Mathew. I am proud to have been your Aunty 2. I am glad you never hesitated to tell me you loved me. I am proud to have known you and been blessed by your smile, laugh and your love. I am so proud of the man you had become and I will miss you my sweet nephew. While I will never hear you call me Aunty 2 again and get some random snapchat from you showing me your smile, I will always love you. You lived grand in life and now you can continue to Live Grand forever. “Through every door, a new path awaits.” Enjoy your new path Matty. And #LiveGrand.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did discover that even through great grief, you can discover a new joy in life but I didn’t die. Thank you Matty. I am Fat Girl who is going to #LiveGrand Running. The experiment continues…
My life has been crazy busy the last couple of weeks, hence my not blogging for a while. I apologize for the absence. My work schedule was crazy and in between shifts I was busy organizing a HUGE fundraiser for a very dear friend and co-worker who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing all the treatments for it. When I say HUGE, I really do mean HUGE. It literally overcame all my expectations. For those of you who have been reading awhile, you all know that breast cancer is a cause that I get involved with every year with the 3 Day Walk so I knew we could easily get something together for her. When we found out at work that the chemo had not shrunk her tumor and she had to move up the date for her mastectomy by several months, we were all heartbroken. You see, she is my age, the sole income for her family, has a wonderful 6-year-old and is completely out of paid time off. We quickly all racked our brains for what we could possibly do to help her out financially and came up with the idea that we should have a garage sale with all the proceeds to benefit our beautiful friend. How did this end up consuming my time? Well, I had the bright notion that since my HOA was sponsoring a community wide garage sale, that we should take advantage of the free advertising and do it that weekend and at MY house. Sigh. I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.
Silly Fat Girl. We started out by putting up sign up sheets at work for those who wanted to either help out the day of the sale or donate items. We covered 4 units in our hospital (the 4 that we all float around to) and got lots of excited responses. Awesome! It was starting out to be a great idea and we had a month to get it all together. I created an event on Facebook and invited everyone I knew, explaining our beloved friend’s story. I enlisted the help of Bubby and his Pocket sized GF to help me clean out my garage. Once we conquered that task (and not an easy one), I put out the word that I would start taking donations to sell. We had already made a small but nice pile of crap from my own house and I honestly thought not much would come in. The donations started slowly and added to the pile. Pretty sure they breeded overnight and soon even while I was sleeping, people were leaving donations on my porch, driveway and even in my garage. Soon enough, one whole side of the garage was overtaken by everyone elses crap and I was starting to wonder if it would stop. It didn’t. Within a week, I could no longer park in my garage and the items kept coming. Some creepier than others. I really mean it when I say people dropped off stuff while I was sleeping. One day, I walked out to go to work and the pile was now encroaching on my ability to even walk in there. Upon getting to my car, while wondering if there were live animals making nests in the piles of stuff in my garage, I screamed. There on my car one of my friends had placed the creepiest mask ever and I quickly looked around to see if SOTL man had been there and skinned another fat girl. Seriously. Pretty sure I left a puddle of pee in the garage (thanks Fox). You would have a Code WP too.
BFF and I started to wonder if the donations would ever stop, if we would have any traffic on the day of the sale and if anyone was actually gonna show to help us run it. We attempted to sort the items and group them and it became pretty clear to me that we were in over our heads. Seriously. Is it breeding? Luckily, the day before the sale, some wonderful co workers showed up to help sort, price and organize. Nothing like 3 girls with OCD to organize a garage sale. Let’s just say it was the most organized garage sale I have ever been to. I quickly put out word via Facebook that we were no longer taking donations when we realized that we could not walk in the garage. They still kept coming. Really? What part of no more did everyone not get? Of course, this does prove how generous the nurses are at the hospital and how they will come together to support a co-worker. That part was wonderful. Dealing with other people’s stuff…not so great (really…who wants to buy underwear from a garage sale? Is it just me or is that gross?) We even had people stopping by and shopping while we were organizing and pricing. Garage sale people are weird.
The day of the sale, I got up at the butt crack of dawn, hoping all those who said they would help would really show up. They did. Signs were hung that it was a fundraiser, a table with a bake sale and breakfast burritos was in place (that was PURE genius I tell you. They were gone in 45 minutes. Damn hungry garage salers) and people did come to help set up. We started setting up and 5 minutes into setting up, the buyers started arriving even though the sale was not for another hour. From there, it became the craziest most insane I have never seen that many people in my yard at one time event. We had some good shit to sell I tell you, but you could not even drive down my street because there were so many people. I swear at one point, there was at least 75 people in my yard and they were trying to buy everything not nailed down. It was a never-ending stream of people, haggling, and money being handed over. An hour into the sale, BFF came up to me and whispered that there was already $1600 in the house. WHAT? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? We still had 3 hours to go. Our wonderful, beautiful friend even showed up to help, tears of joy at what we were doing for her in her eyes. There were lots of weird moments at the sale, because like I said, garage sale people are weird, but the icing on the cake was when SOTL man actually DID show up with his little dog. Wanna know how creepy he is? He SAT down in my driveway and started reading the books for sale. The children’s books. Out loud. Yeah…he is THAT creepy. And he kept trying to get everyone to kiss his dog too. Seriously Dude….you freak me out. I was just glad it wasn’t him that left the skin/mask on my car. Just saying. (I WILL get you back Fox for that…I know where you live. I have streaked past your house before. Naked. But that is another story). Someone actually bought that creepy mask too. If they show up to my house wearing it, I might scream and pee some more. And then send them over to Fox’s house.
To make a long story short (I know…too late), the sale was a GINORMOUS hit. We raised over $2500 for our friend. Yes…you did read that right. Who raises that kind of cash at a garage sale? The Fat Girl does. We won’t say how I did it, but I did. Although, I did feel a little like a stripper when I went into the bank to exchange all the ones for bigger bills. The tears from our beloved friend yesterday was all the thanks we needed. Fight on my dearest! FIGHT on!
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I might have thought another fat girl had gotten skinned and left on my car but I didn’t die. I am fat girl who is still overwhelmed by all the community support we got for our brave friend running. The experiment continues…..