SEPTEMBER FAVORITES

Woah, did September fly by or what?! At least it did for me. I guess I’ve been busy with work and life in general things were flowing smoothly. I’ll get right to it!

MUSIC

I went on a family trip to Alaska this past month and while I listened to a mixture of music, I really enjoyed Avi Kaplan’s songs. They fit the beautiful Alaskan atmosphere perfectly. One of my favorite songs of his is Aberdeen. Check it out here! *Side note: you may recognize him as the original base from Pentatonix.*

FACEBOOK PAGE

Please check out Anxiety and Depression Awareness’s Facebook page. They share great articles that are educating and helpful. They also share truthful/inspirational posts on mental health. Click here!

CATS

I thought I’d share a cute/funny video of my cats hating their sled dog shirts I got them from Alaska :3 *I had to make it into a gif for it to upload, so I apologize for the quality*

SOMETHING I LEARNED

This is similar to a previous month, but cherish the time you have with your family. Being cramped in a car with six people for hours on end may seem like a nightmare to some (trust me, it wasn’t always fun), but my time in Alaska with my family is something I’ll hold in my heart forever. I don’t get to my older brothers very often and I loved seeing how happy my parents were seeing all their children together.

PUMPKIN SPICE

I have no shame in stating that I love pumpkin flavored everything. I am beyond happy that pumpkin spice lattes are back in season.
I recently tried the frozen cinnamon pumpkin coffee from Dunkin Donuts. It honestly is a Godsend when I’m feeling drained at work.
Check out their drinks and treats here!

*Always thoroughly research products to make sure they’re the best fit for you*

It feels like I’m being torn apart

“Just because you don’t experience it doesn’t mean that it’s not a reality for someone else.”- Why Mental Illness Makes People Feel So Tired All The Time

Recently while in a couples session, our counselor asked each of us what depression felt like. My partner hadn’t tasted the bitterness of mental illness before, not until this past year at least when we were apart. He expressed that he had to keep himself busy from wake to sleep, otherwise his emotions would make him “sad.” When the counselor turned his attention to me, the first words that escaped my mouth were, “It feels like I’m being torn apart.” His head tilted, his eyes squinted, and he asked what I meant. Not in judgement, but for better understanding.

I explained that for me, my depression and anxiety were almost these presences that hid in the corners of my mind. It may seem counteractive giving them this power, but they honestly do feel like little dark versions of myself. And they are always hungry. I try not to feed them, but at times their hunger becomes too much and I end up satisfying their need to overwhelm, drag down, and hurt.
I explained that even when I am busy, at work or exercise, my mind doesn’t shut off like my partners or fully focus on the task at hand. The depression and anxiety don’t just close themselves in their tiny brain apartments and hibernate for the season. They only slide a little further into the shadows, waiting. And sometimes they like to peek their heads out for a surprise attack.
I explained that even when I seem like I am doing well for a few weeks or even months, that I am still struggling with my thoughts on a daily basis.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

And it is exhausting.

Not only am I anemic, which makes me tired anyways, but I have to deal with my dysfunctional brain while trying to be functional.
Some days I come home completely out of it I barely make it out of the shower before I’m drooling on my pillow. Some days I’m so tired of interacting with people I fight going to the gym (which I do enjoy), because that means more socialization and expending energy that I honestly feel I don’t have.

I’m not tired because I’m lazy and don’t want to do anything. I do want to do things.
But, I have this opposing force that I am continuously pushing against to keep going. I only have two arms and two feet, and one body.

So yeah, you may have to be a little patient with me while I fight.

And I’ll try to be patient while you fight too.

What life has been like

I told you I would update on what’s been going on with me! Just took me a little longer than I expected… :p
If you didn’t catch it, I moved back to Iowa to work things through with my partner of four years (I guess 5 now?) mid summer. It took me a while to settle into our new apartment, my old job, and new routine. Our place is finally looking semi put together… Although our mattress is still on the floor!

Work has been great too. I really missed my coworkers, environment, the animals, and the overall experience. I’ve really thrown myself into the daily madness of working at a veterinary clinic. Work has been a great distraction to help keep my thoughts from overwhelming me. Still happens sometimes though.

I found a psychiatrist, personal counselor, and couples counselor at the same office. They’ve all been great so far. I switched to Cymbalta to help settle my depression and anxiety, and just recently started Ambien to help me sleep through the night. I still wake up at times, mostly from discomfort or squirrel bladder syndrome, but I think my sleep is getting better. I hope it is.

I’ve lost almost 10 pounds. It’s taken me three months to drop the weight, but I’m really proud of myself. The first two months of being back I started going to the gym. I tried to go at least 3-4 times a week. I mostly take dance workout classes (some yoga too!), but recently my partner and I have been going to fancy dance classes. We take ballroom lessons Monday nights and swing dance lessons Tuesday. We still go to the gym the other days.

At least every two weeks I struggle to do anything when I get home from work. After interacting with people and holding animals for 10 hours, sometimes I’m so exhausted I face plant into my dinner. It’s those days that I’m actually physically tired. But some days, I’m emotionally tired too. And some days I’m both.

I’ve been really good about scheduling myself doctor appointments and keeping on top of my health.

I feel like I’m doing good. I’m still scared every now and then…Of a lot of things actually. But, I’ve been trying to focus on the current day instead of letting my mind drift to the past or future. Of course I can’t help it sometimes. My brain is wired to worry!
Sometimes I’m scared that I’m ignoring my feelings or shoving things away. Maybe I am doing that. I don’t know. But, for the most part it feels right? I tell myself to focus on one thing at a time and if a little extra something shuffles in, it’s okay. I can let a tiny bit in here or there. Just not all at once.

I’m planning on doing more artsy fartsy stuff again. I miss painting, writing, and doing craft projects. I’ve found it difficult to find time to work, exercise, eat, sleep, and take time to relax. All I know is that I really want to paint! And soon! My creative juices are flowing! Ew, gross.

Anyhoos, that’s all I can scrounge up from my brain right now. It’s been a long day and all I really want to do is cuddle my fur babies.

Talk to you soon!

July Favorites

Image: Google

I’d like to start off this months favs with an update. If it seems like I’ve been MIA, it’s because I mostly have been. I haven’t necessarily been in a depressive episode, but I have struggled not only to find time to write but also having the energy to do so (hence not having a June Favorites). I’ll be sharing a more informative update post about what’s been going on in life in a little bit.

So…let’s just jump to the good stuff!

MUSIC

I’m sure most of you know, as the world knows, that Taylor Swifts newest album recently released. And it’s just…fantastic! Now, I don’t know if any of you realized, but I’m kind of a hopeless romantic. You may guess my favorite of her new songs is Lover, but…duh duh duh…it’s Paper Rings. It’s super cutesy and cheesy, and totally up my ally. Check it out here if you haven’t already!

FACEBOOK PAGE

Check out Other Perspectives Facebook page here! They post everything from funny to inspirational posts. And some of them are truly fascinating.

CATS

I told you I would make up for not having any cute cat photos last time. And because I missed June, I will just have to double up the cuteness. Gandalf and Luna are just the sweetest fur babies…and I love them tons!

Aren’t they photogenic?

SOMETHING I LEARNED

I can’t take everything upon my shoulders. I’ve been really afraid to open up and show vulnerability to my partner. Slowly, I’m getting there. But I still have a long way to go. And while him and I work on trusting each other and getting to that point, I need to make sure I can find other ways to release those emotions. Recently it’s been going to dance classes at the local university’s recreation center and going to counseling biweekly.

UNIFORMS

Since starting my old job back up, I’ve come to love my work clothes all over again. I wear scrubs on a daily basis, as I work as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic. Not only do I get pupper snuggles (and slobber), but I help hold animals too. Meaning, I get super furry! But, that’s not the point of this post. I’m a super cheery person (at least I try to be!) and I am never found without a crazy (mostly animal themed) scrub top.
Check out Uniform Advantage here for cute, colorful, patterned, & good valued scrubs.

*Always thoroughly research products to make sure they’re the best fit for you*

Going The Distance: Travel Tips For the Cuckoo Cat Lady

Now that I have a few minutes to relax, I can finally write. June was a crazy month and honestly flew right by for me.
I recently decided to move back to Iowa to work things through with my partner. So while my mother was in-and-out of doctors appointments, I was slowly packing up my things.
I’m no amateur when it comes to moving. I grew up traveling the world with my family. I know what it’s like to pack up a whole house in boxes and reopen them sometime later in a new home, new country. I’ve even traveled across country a few times now (with my cats!).

Below are just some tips I’ve found handy traversing the lands.

  1. Self Medicate
    I chose this as my #1 tip because maintaining your medication regimen is extremely important and sometimes life saving!
    Being a person who takes a handful of pills a day, making sure I have enough for my trip is top priority.
    As soon as you find out you’re traveling somewhere check that you have enough of your meds. If you’re planning on vacationing for an extended period of time, ask your doctor to setup refills. And, check where the closest pharmacy is to wherever you’ll be staying, in case of an emergency.
    *This goes for your pets medications too. Do NOT wait to the last minute to refill their meds.*

1.5 Collect them like seashells
If you take a rainbow of pills, get yourself a decent pillbox. Since I take my medications in the evening, I like the two week count boxes. I packed up most of my medications the week before leaving for this trip. My box held enough to get me through that week and the past few days of traveling.
Not only does a box make the little OCD part of my brain squeal, but it honestly helps me keep track of my medications.

Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash

2. Pack the Essentials
Okay, so that may seem like a no-brainer, but people over pack all the time. And it’s easy
to see why. You get excited or stressed and think you need the extra options. But you
don’t actually need them. It’s alright to have a those spare undies and maybe an
additional outfit in case of an emergency. Packing just what you really need saves space
(and weight!) in your luggage. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to bring home more
souvenirs without purchasing that last minute Duty Free bag. And personally, it gives
me peace of mind knowing what I need is easily accessible, rather than trying to
remember which bag my bras are in.

3. Pet Friendly Hotels
Websites can be deceiving. They
may say they are pet friendly, but
really only accept dogs.
One thing I learned, is even if the
chains website states they accept
both cats & dogs, each hotel has
different rules.
Double check by calling the hotels
in person before booking.

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

3.5 Cat Hotels
These are the hotels that I have personally been able to book with my cats.
Motel 6, Super 8, AmericInn, & Quality Inn. Motel 6’s are nice because they have
laminated flooring, which is much easier to clean and keep clean from pests that
may harm your pet.

4. Pack Smart
So, if you’re ever on a road trip across the United States like I was, you’ll want your car
organized. Now, I had more items packed than the average Jo, but that’s because I was
taking a whole room full of things with me. If you’re just traveling with a few bags and
your pet, you’ll probably have more space. Either way, being a Tetris master will be
helpful. Since your pet will most likely be in the backseat of your car, I suggest packing
what you need with you in the hotel back there too. Everything comes out of one place
and you don’t have to rummage through your trunk for that extra cat or dog bowl.

5. Gas Guzzler
There’s nothing like the fear of
running out of gas in the middle
of nowhere. I swear.
Pay attention to your GPS or map
for long stretches of road. There
are few rest stops and even fewer
gas stations. Before hitting the
scenic route, fill up your gas.
And this may seem extensive, but
keeping above half a tank most
of the trip saved me from roadside
meltdowns.

Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

6. SNACKS
Can this one be anymore obvious? Pack those darn snacks. You will want them.
I promise! Bring a small cooler with you to pack your favorite sugary or energy drink
(whatever keeps you awake!) and favorite munchies. And if you want to save money,
pack yourself a lunch or buy pre-made lunches to help your through the day.

7. Money Tree
This tip is another big no-brainer,
but stuff happens. Anyhoos, always
carry cash & coins with you.
Depending on the route, you may
hit cash only tolls. Or, if you’re
traveling oversees, public
restrooms require coin entry.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

ER Observations

We arrived at 5pm.
The “waiting room” was quiet, as eyes slowly rose to see the next poor soul(s) walk through the doors. I say “waiting room” with hesitance, because it was more like a waiting hallway. Mismatched chairs and leather benches lined the glass wall of the ER entrance. Near the vending machines is a couch and a few plump chairs.
Right next to the check-in desk is the triage area. A half-wall of glass separates the two. And a wooden half-wall separates the triage from the hall of pained visitors. Two doors lie behind the triage, mostly open during the night.
Every word is loud and clear, for all to hear.

My mother checks in, her side pained, and the receptionist only takes a name and reason.
We sit, one in a chair and one on a bench, facing the triage area.

A man is wheeled in around the same time we arrive, an IV already jabbed in his arm. He’s pale and hunched over.
At hour 2 he asks if there’s a place he can lie down. He’s told to rest on the couch. At hour 3 his IV bag empties. At hour 3.5 he has the IV removed, frustrated at the wait. At hour 4.5 he’s finally called back to be fully examined.

An elderly man and woman walk in. He’s tall and she’s bent over, both their feet shuffling on the marbled floors. He explains how he had surgery recently and can’t void. They give him a cup to pee in.
At hour 1 he finally goes to the restroom, his gait jerky and unsteady.
Half an hour passes.
He’s been too long.
A visitor comes out of the restroom, stating someone has fallen.
A nurse and security officer walk calmly to the men’s room, wheeling the elderly man into one of the usually open rooms. The triage nurse asks “What happened?” The aid responds “He fell over and smacked his head.” Her eyes roll, as if the mans tumble was inconvenient.
No one notifies the wife until fifteen minutes later.

Hour 3, for us, a woman comes in with her boyfriend. She whimpers during the initial check. Two hours later, after finally finding a comfortable spot for herself, a nurse brings her a choice of an ice-pack or heat-pack. She cries out when she leans over for the nurse to place the comforting packs, and the nurse looks on sympathetically.

Photo by Jan Genge on Unsplash

Hour 4 a woman comes in alone, tears in her eyes. She explains she’s had some severe cramping. She’s told to sit until triage. The same nurse from above checks in on her. The woman quietly says, “I think I’ve lost my baby.” She holds up a small bag. The nurses eyes go wide and the woman is quickly taken to the back.

Hour 4.5 a man walks in with his right lower calf bandaged. He sits at triage, trying his best to answer the nurses questions. It’s clear he doesn’t speak English well. “Are you allergic to any medications?” The nurse asks 3 times during the course of her five minute analysis. Her fingers tap against the keyboard as she adds her notes to his impromtu file.
The bandage is never taken off to see the severity of the wound.
As we’re finally called back, I note he’s curled up on a leather bench. The skin around the bandage looks almost black.

Around hour 5, the hallway starts to fill. It’s after work hours on a Monday. People finally have the time to take care of themselves. More and more people file through the ER doors, more and more people have to wait.

Hour 5 is when my mother is called back to the reception desk. She’s sat down with a man, who apologizes for the wait. He says, “I called your name a few times.” She responds, “There’s been 3 different people with the same name.” He says, “Well, you’re the lady with this and that, right?”
No. She wasn’t the lady with this and that. That lady was brought back 3 hours ago.
“Oh.” The man says.
He finally takes my mothers insurance information, officially checking her in.
5 hours after we arrived.

Babies cried. People shuffled back and forth down the hallway, trying to distract themselves of the pain they felt. Someone kept coughing and coughing. Everyone sighed at some point.

5 1/2 hours.