Tag Archives: anxiety

The Letter Game: A Coping Mechanism

22 Sep

Start with a word, sentence, or phrase.

“Membership Promotional Offers”

  • Step One: Count all the repeat letters, starting at the beginning of the sentence.
    • One point for each.
      • Three Ms – 3 pts
      • Three Es – 3 pts
      • Three Rs – 3 pts
      • Two Ss – 2 pts
      • Two Is – 2 pts
      • Two Ps – 2 pts
      • Three Os – 3 pts
    • Subtotal: 18 pts

 

  • Step Two: Count all the vowels in alphabetical order.
    • One point for each.
      • A, E, I, O – 4 pts
  • Running total: 22 pts

 

  • Step Three: Vowel Bonuses
    • If all vowels but one are represented (including Y), one additional point.
    • If all vowels are represented, two additional points.
    • N/A – Subtotal 22 pts
  • Running total: 22 pts

 

  • Step Four: Count all runs of two or more consecutive letters, alphabetically.
    • One point for each letter.
      • AB – 2 pts
      • EF – 2 pts
      • HI – 2 pts
      • LMNOP – 5 pts
      • RST – 3 pts
    • Subtotal: 14 pts
  • Running total: 36 pts

 

  • Step Five: Completion.
    • If all letters in the phrase have been used in at least one of preceding ways, add two points. +2 pts
    • If all but one have been used, add one point.
  • Running total: 38 pts

Step Six: Count the number of letters in the original phrase. Subtract this number from the running total of points.

  • (If the total points is not higher than the number of letters, trash the whole thing)
  • The following may be done in any applicable order to maximize points:
    • If the difference is more than 6, add two points.
    • If the difference is more than double, add two points.
    • Add the difference to the running total.
      • 38-27 = 11
      • more than 6: + 2 = 40
      • 27*x2= 48
      • 40 + 11 = 51
      • 51 > 48; 51+2 = 53

GRAND TOTAL: 53 POINTS

Step Seven: Since I dislike odd numbers, typically I would futz with the phrase to make the total even.

Advertisements

When the Medication Wears Off (Patreon Post)

10 Sep

I compare it to a headache. Pain is not a desirable state. As a society we pay lip service to the idea that it shouldn’t be the default setting, unless you’re poor, chronically ill, female-bodied, elderly…ya know, this metaphor doesn’t work, let me start again.

I compare it to a cold. Being sick isn’t a good thing, even a relatively minor illness. We don’t expect people to forgo care for physical illness–nope, that doesn’t work either.

 

[To read the rest, and more, Become a Patron!]

“My Broken House Behind Me and Good Things Ahead”: I’m Still Here

8 Sep

In the last nine months I’ve gone to therapy regularly; got diagnosed with ADHD; gone on medication for ADHD, depression, and anxiety; sold my first short story; dug deep and sorted out a lot of trauma and realized I’m bisexual; finished drafts of two different novels; organized fundraisers; recorded two more albums (coming soon!). My marriage and friendships are stronger than they’ve ever been. I feel more hopeful, more like myself than I have in almost a decade.

I also lost my 15 year old Facebook account, got some terrible news about my dad’s health, watched my husband get laid off (again), and took our cat, Lamby-toes in for surgery to remove the cancer that has come back already. I’ve started planning her last day.

Also I started a Patreon, so, ya know, if you like what I do about here, feel free to subscribe.

This year has been A Lot Of Year, and it is only September (also it is already September, what the hell?). This has been a year of trying to be brave, trying to be vulnerable, trying to heal, trying to create, trying to help, trying to leave things better than I found them. Trying to move forward.

Last year I listened to “This Year” by The Mountain Goats a lot, and let me tell you: I made it. I’m still here. Considering where I was a year ago, that’s a pretty big thing.

I hope you’re still here too.

The “Is It Anxiety Making Me Want To Crawl Out of My Skin, Or Something Else?” Checklist

20 Aug
  • Am I overheated?
  • Am I thirsty?
  • Do I have to pee?
  • When was the last time I ate something?
  • Did I take my asthma medication this morning?
  • Am I just overtired?
  • Are you sure it’s not just the heat?
  • Is my period starting soon?
  • Did I remember my magnesium supplement?
  • How’s my heart rate?
  • Is my Adderall wearing off right about now?
  • Seriously, do I have to pee?

Letters to Nobody

15 Nov

Dear Tay,

I hope it’s ok to call you Tay! I read in your authorized biography, MMMBop to the Top, that “Tay” is your nickname. Probably it is mostly for family and close friends, but you and I have a lot in common! You’re 13–I’m 12. Your favorite color is red–my third favorite color is red, after purple and sometimes blue, so sometimes it’s my second favorite color. You like Aerosmith–I love Aerosmith! My younger sister looks just like Zac, even. I feel like if you would just come visit my hometown so we could meet–

Ugh. No.

Ok.

Dear Taylor,

I hope this missive finds you well. My name is biscuit, and I am a very very big fan of yours. We are a lot alike, you and I. I’m almost 13, just like you. Also, just like you I travel the world singing, or would if my parents could have afforded that choir trip to Italy–

Oh hell no, don’t talk about being poor.

[deep breath]

To: Taylor Hanson
From: stone biscuit (a girl)

This is a strange way to start a letter. I guess that’s how email goes, but I don’t have the internet so I don’t really know about that except what I can see at my best friend’s house You and I have never met, so I don’t know any other ways to begin this letter. I don’t even know why I’m writing to you, except that there are so many feelings inside me I feel like I’m going to explode. Do you know what it is like to be 12? Do you know how it feels when everything is the most important thing, and yet nothing is important, and the hours seem like days? Of course you do; I stole that last line from a song you wrote. Maybe that’s why I love you.

Maybe that’s why I can’t decide if I want to be with you, or to be you.

From where I’m sitting you have everything I want–people love you, people pay attention to you, people give you money, and as far as I can tell you get to do whatever you want. You represent love and sex and self-expression and self-determination and creativity and freedom, things I can’t put a word to, things I am only beginning to realize I crave more than I have the capacity to handle, much less express. I don’t even think it’s you I want (though you are cute, and you grow up to be gorgeous, and there will never exist a moment in my life when I wouldn’t happily do age-appropriate sex things with you). What I want, what I long for, what I feel like I will die without (what I maybe want to die without?), is the sense that something, anything that I am doing now has meaning, has importance, that there is something to life other than the boring bullshit of school and bedtimes and nightmares and bullies and mental and physical illnesses and dark quiet streets that make me want to scream until my throat is bleeding just to break the stagnant suburban silence.

I know we’ll never meet. You’ll grow up to have five kids and a million nieces and nephews because you and your brothers have apparently never heard of birth control. You’ll all three break from your label and release a bunch of indie albums that garner critical acclaim and maintain a core audience of fans, and even release a beer at some point that I will never drink because I hate IPAs. I will grow up to make my own choices, to put a name to demons in my head and to start fighting them. I’ll learn lessons of harmony and storytelling from participating in your fanbase, and I will find my own voice. I will carry the internet in my pocket. Eventually I will realize that I can’t spend all my energy running from, and learn to start running towards instead, and while that seems so, so impossibly difficult some days, I will surround myself with the people and things I love, and I will arm myself with courage and grit and sheer goddamned spite, and I will pour myself into making art, and sometimes I will be able to outpace the terror of endless summer afternoons spent wondering if my existence has any meaning at all.

In the meantime, though, I will be an awkward 12-year-old girl in the suburbs of a shitty city, loving you, coveting the things I imagine you have, and clinging to the dream presented by your music to remind myself that there is more to life than…*waves hand vaguely* all this bullshit.

Sincerely,

– stone biscuit –

PS. While the close harmonies and simple elegance of White Christmas made up for it, I feel your cadenza on O Holy Night was embarrassingly overdone.

Memo to Self: RE Stage Fright, Stress Dreams, Panic Response

23 Sep

Nerves are a sign of investment in the quality of the upcoming performance. Tune your guitar and practice your chord changes until you feel better (if you never do feel better, well, maybe try tuning again? I don’t know, I’m not a doctor).

As a wise friend of mine once said, “Just keep your soft palate nice and high through the long ‘o’ in ‘gloria’ and we’ll all get through it.”

I Cry Sometimes (TW: self harm)

9 Aug

“It’s been a long time since you cried after.”

It really has.

I cry a lot. Movies and books make me cry. Songs. Commercials. My cats. Pictures of really cute animals. Bad things too: feelings of guilt about events five, ten, twenty years in the past. Physical pain. Fear. Loneliness. Impotent rage. Feeling trapped. Being yelled at. Exhaustion. I have cried in the parking lot of more than one job, trying to make myself get out of the car.

I also don’t cry a lot. Like I want to cry, but I can’t, because something in my brain has stopped me, so instead I get that tension in my temples that means I’m going to cry, wrinkle up my face as though I were crying, sometimes in an attempt to force something out, sob once (dry, like when you’ve thrown up everything in your stomach but your gag reflex doesn’t know that), and maybe one tear trickles out of each eye. Very disappointing. The tension never goes away. It’s like having to sneeze but never doing it, or being like two centimeters from an orgasm that you never get to have.  The relief and release and validation of actual tears never happens and I just wind up feeling silly and having a headache.

That’s happened a lot more over the last few years. Sometimes I was just too damn tired to cry, I think. A friend of mine used to joke that I only have two speeds: 80 MPH, and couch coma. I don’t know how to moderate very well, I have a tendency to overcorrect one way or another, and then next thing I know I’ve been going at 80 MPH for a thousand miles, I’m almost out of gas, and the nearest gas station is over the state line, and I have to shut off the AC and the radio and pray the fumes will get me where I’m going.

That metaphor got a little stretched, I admit, but assume that I have a tendency to get into situations where “the nearest gas station” is the next time I can stop moving without feeling like I’m going to lose literally everything, and “the AC and the radio” are anything other than the very, very, very basic staples of life*. Like a lot of people, I try to self-medicate away my depression (and, ya know, poverty) with Busy, with projects and jobs and gigs, with the feeling I have worth because I have something important going on. Meanwhile my anxiety is losing its SHIT, my body is suffering, and the only sane guy in the Central Command Zone of my brain throws up his hands and starts to shut down the non-crucial systems like “be nice to mr. biscuit,” “wash your face,” “do anything but sleep when you get home,” “make decisions,” or “cry when sad,” because there’s no energy for anything except “show up for work” and “don’t crash car” and “continue to breathe.”

I spent a lot of my life pushing myself to the point of exhaustion because I firmly believed myself to be a Lazy Bitch, and for a long I was ok with being exhausted. I was wasting all my potential anyway, so I should at least suffer for it. Then at some point (my sophomore year of college) I began to fantasize about hurting myself so I could rest. “I would rather stab myself in the leg than write this paper,” I said, which was a joke except that it wasn’t**. And then, a scarily long time later (this year), it occurred to me that thinking about driving my car into a concrete wall so I didn’t have to go to work was Not Healthy, and also probably some of that self-harm that I was always telling my friends was not healthy, and I should quit my job at the VERY least.

I’ve been having trouble crying over the last couple of years. After the situation with my grandma. Her memorial happened. I was a champion. I helped clean, I looked nice, I smiled and made a joke, it was all good. After, my family was in the guest room talking about something, and something was said (what? I don’t know anymore), and I broke. My dad noticed first and tried to catch me, so he could hug me and keep the pieces together, but I am fast and agile when I am breaking, and I power-walked out of that house, weeping like the world was ending, and just kept walking until my feet hurt too much to keep walking, because I don’t think I was wearing shoes, and then I sat down in the grass on the side of a quiet rural road and I cried and cried and cried. Eventually mr. biscuit came to find me*** and helped me back into the house, and I Started To Feel Better, because goddamn, y’all, I do not like being sad. I know how to deal with anger, with fear, with jealousy. Grief? I don’t know what to do with grief. You can’t punch grief. All you can really do is feel it or ignore it. Feeling grief is fucked up and hard, so I chose to ignore it.

I stopped crying as much and started don’tcrying a lot more, because when I started to feel sad I shut it down fast like a freak. It bled over into the rest of my life, so that I started shutting  down other things–pleasure centers, self-care, rational thought (my depression was loving this. It was like Depression Christmas. My anxiety was less enthused because I would get too tired to care, but then it got happy again because I would try to bury my guilt in activity).

“You have to feel this,” said a voice in my head, and I replied (out loud) “I don’t want to, and you can’t make me.”

At first not crying felt like a victory, but that was never going to be sustainable. Over the last…months? I’ve been trying to deal with my inability to cry, to process my feelings in a way that feels healthy. Much of that is just trying to make myself feel safe. A lot of really terrible shit happened to mr. biscuit and I over a short time, and while he came out of it stronger, I came out of it a giant wreck. My current life plan (working from home in a very low-stress job, staying mostly in my jammies, sitting on the porch a lot, not doing many things that require me to leave the house) is a very direct response to that. He’s taking care of me a lot–he brings in most of the money, does the gross chores, never mentions the state of the house, assures me it’s ok if I don’t want to get another job yet, doesn’t yell at video games as much because it makes me nervous–and that’s ok. I’m trying to gently re-introduce some of the things I used to love that also caused me stress, just to see if I can do them if I’m careful. If I can, great! If I can’t, it’s ok.

I used to cry after sex–not a lot, but more than what I assume is typical. I love sex^ and I love mr. biscuit, and I love having sex with him and I love feeling big feelings, and a lot of times all of that emotion would bubble up in my heart and I’d crest that first big orgasmic wave and whatever noise I was making would just become a gut-wrenching sob, and mr. biscuit would have to stop whatever he was doing and hold me until I stopped crying and calmed down. Like, this was fairly regular. I would cry (or laugh, or once I even started singing) a lot. As my brain stopped doings things that weren’t Survive, and my sex drive plummeted, so did the times I was so overcome with joy and pleasure and safety that I would weep. The other night it happened for the first time in years. I cried for what felt like hours^^ and I felt so much better afterwards.

“It’s been a while since you cried after,” he said, with a very particular smile of his that is impossible to describe except that it contains a universe of love and tenderness.

“It really has,” I agreed.
Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: