Monthly Archives:: December 2015

Life As We Know It: That’s What Christmas Means To Me

December 24, 2015 Katie A life as we know it, personal: life as we know it 2 Comments

indexYou guys! I am so excited to bring you the first post for the new feature Molli and I have created! It’s going to chronicle our lives together – everything from our FaceTime date nights to THE BIG MOVE. We wanted to create something to look back on and this feature fits perfectly.

It’s Christmas time! Time flew by, and honestly, it doesn’t feel like it should be Christmas again. I know, that’s weird isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday. I love spending the time with my loved ones, relaxing and taking part in our holiday traditions.

This year more than ever, I am looking forward to new traditions to start next Christmas with Molli.

We’ve talked about exchanging Christmas PJs (something I have always wanted to do), the family candlelit Christmas Eve service at my church and just taking it easy, celebrating together on Christmas Day.

My family has probably a few dozen Christmas traditions. . . probably more than I can even remember, but here are a few I always look forward to each holiday season. 168038_520027042487_4986670_n

Christmas Eve we always gather at my grandmothers house and take the short walk to our church where we attend the quiet, family oriented candlelit service. All the kids head up and listen to the Christmas story and at the end of the night, the lights are dimmed and everyone has a lit candle as we sing Silent Night.

It’s just so special feeling. To see the warmth of all the families, the flickering candles and knowing you are spending time with your closest friends and family. 17267_512032054507_4603450_n

After church, we always have dinner as a family. Sometimes it’s a big dinner we cook up and sometimes, we pick up Chinese food.

Growing up, we always used to open gifts from grandma Mary on Christmas Eve, but over the years it has shifted some. Still, it’s always a special night for our family and we all look forward to a quiet night together as a family.

Christmas Day we open gifts, stockings and visit with my mom and step dad. We have a Christmas dinner somewhere (this year it is at my dad’s house) and sometimes (like this year) brunch with my aunt and her three kids.

It’s always a hectic day, but it is filled with so much love and laughter. At the end of the day, I usually curl up in bed and reflect on the day and the past year – enjoying the quiet and spend time with my sweetheart.

Next year will be incredibly special. IMG_1071Mol will be living here, and we will be in our own apartment, starting our own Christmas traditions.

I’ve already started one – giving her a Christmas ornament each year. I try to always find one that reminds me of the two of us, something we did together or a favorite thing of ours.

Next year, we will exchange Christmas PJs, do stockings for each other and spend Christmas morning in our home. I would love to start the tradition of a Christmas breakfast for us – and curl up on the couch for snuggles.

No matter what happens throughout the year, the family comes together for our various traditions and they fall into place no matter how chaotic things may be. A couple years ago, I was in a cast and couldn’t use my right hand – it made present opening pretty hilarious, but it’s another memory to share with loved ones.

 

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Anxiety, Intrusive Thoughts and Insomnia

December 13, 2015 Katie A personal: anxiety 2 Comments

78f0179c0df2db4e539aaaa01f84d8ecI cannot begin to explain how exhausting, draining and rough these last few weeks have been. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of good has happened, too. . . but the rocky days are winning this around.

I tell myself to keep fighting, to stay strong. I tell myself to take it one day at a time, one step at a time and one minute at a time.

It’s been hard. I’m not going to lie about it and I’m not going to sugarcoat it, either.

It’s that time of the year when everything creeps up on me. Finals. The holidays. Every single thing I have to do. Stress about grades, stress about the upcoming semester.

It’s that gut wrenching, guilty feeling of being pulled in too many directions for the holidays. Where do I go, how do we make this all work – who will I end up hurting if I don’t go here but decide to go there? It’s like being a child again, fresh out of my parents divorce.

Overwhelmed. Hurt. Anxious. I hate it.

Then there’s the panic, and the attacks that have been coming along with it.

It’s the early morning panic about not getting enough sleep. It’s the panic about knowing I need to get up and to campus, but being unable to do so. It’s the panic about what everyone is thinking when I’m not there in class.

It’s the panic over what work will hold for me that day. It’s the panic at the end of my shift when I still have this much to do, and feeling like I won’t get it done. It’s the panic as I try and sit down and work on homework, knowing that despite having taken this class three times now – I’ll never learn the material, I’ll never pass.

It’s the relief that I can finally crawl into bed at the end of the day, exhausted, drained and ready to sleep. Until the panic starts in. My brain is like a hurricane, constantly going and impossible to turn off. It’s the thoughts about today, what tomorrow holds, how much I have left to do just this week.

It’s the panic over the holidays, over money, over my health.

It’s like that first panic attack I had. I was in high school, goofing off on a nearby playground with friends when I slipped just a tiny bit. That gut wrenching, terrifying feeling that everything around me was collapsing. I couldn’t catch my breath, I was sweating. My heart was pounding and aching.

It happened two more times within one week.

I had convinced myself my heart was giving out, that there was nothing anyone could do. I went to the doctors and they told me, no, it’s just a panic attack. What’s going on? What triggers them?

Hell if I knew. I’d never had one before, even though I’d felt that panic before. Again and again and again. It was a familiar friend at that point, but it was quickly becoming my enemy and something I was terrified of. That alone would cause more attacks.

It’s the terrifying intrusive thoughts that come on when I am feeling at my worst. It’s the thoughts of what would happen if I did this? What would happen if I walked out and didn’t come back? It’s the thoughts of self harm, something I haven’t done in years, taunting, calling me back. It’s that terrifying urge to go back to those habits and fighting hard not to.

Those thoughts haven’t won the war, but they’re there. They are in the back of my head on the worst days – popping up when I’m at my worst. I fight them as hard as I can. I turn to those I trust the most, confiding in them about these thoughts. Somehow, we’ve managed.

The thoughts are there on the worst of days, but I’m constantly fighting through them. I have to fight them.

These days, it’s the constant anxiety. It’s the late night panic attacks where I can’t catch my breath and I search for a reason why this attack came on. It’s the nightmares some nights, memories or flashbacks on another. . . sometimes I’m not even sure what triggered them. 5f1ff5ca1c081e5f465e27075323a268

It’s not easy.

I feel drained. Exhausted. Even on my good days, the days where I am laughing, calm. . . the anxiety is there. It’s the old friend who wants to stay in your life despite how much has changed. It’s that dreaded feeling when you know you are doing better, but something is still dragging you down.

It’s a daily battle. Anxiety is a bitch. You think you have it under control and something, even the smallest thing will trigger it and it will all come flooding back, drowning you under it’s weight.

I try to stay above the water, to stay grounded, but the anxiety gets the better of me more often than not. It’s hard to push the thoughts away, but I push and I push and I push.

I can’t drown under the weight of anxiety. I refuse to, but these are the days where it seems like it’s pulling me in all directions, settling in and making itself at home. It’s a demon and a ghost, a friend you don’t want.

It’s a part of me.

 

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