Posts tagged ‘head games’

May 26, 2011

This I believe…

For one of my classes in this, my last quarter of business school, my professor asked us to write a This I Believe essay. I wrote two because my first one was about poop (but I turned both in and got a good grade on both, proving my hypothesis that everyone loves poop and poop is hilarious). Anyway. The second one took some serious introspection and, well, here you go. Apologies for the nerdiness; I attend the business school where fun (and geeks) goes to die. Maybe the essay explains my absence? Maybe not? I don’t know. Also, if you’re getting married and can get Smilebooth, do it. I am the photo booth queen.

Regression to the Mean

Nearly two years ago, I was sitting at my best friend’s dining table, my brain fuzzy with joy. It had been the best week of my life. I was two months away from marrying my soul mate. He and I were living with our two best friends for the summer. I had found twenty dollars on the ground. I was skinny. The day before, I had learned I would be going to the #1 business school in the country. And that morning, another unexpected call, this one from New York: I was being given a book deal. A big one.

I sat at the dining table, wondering what to do with myself. Nobody was home to squeal and jump around with me. I remember looking down at my hands and feeling oddly detached from them and the rest of my body.

Suddenly, I was gripped with overwhelming panic. This was too good. Way too good. Irrationally, I began to fear I’d used up all of my good luck in life. Regression toward the mean – this week’s fortunes would have to be offset by something else, later.

How could I show my gratitude to the Dude in the sky? Maybe he would take pity on me, and give me only sort-of-bad luck to even things out. A stubbed toe, a broken wine glass, that sort of thing.

Later that evening, when I shared the news with my friends and fiancé, we clapped and cheered and jumped around the room like wild monkeys. Another stroke of luck for me: I was surrounded by people who loved me, who were genuinely happy for my serendipity.

The next few months passed in a whirlwind of happiness. I got married, I began business school, I finished the first draft of my book. I somehow managed to stay skinny. We brought home a new puppy, Baxter, and I discovered the unbridled joy and hilarity that come with owning a dog. I got a job.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, though, I kept thinking about regression toward the mean. How could I stay grateful for this unprecedented happiness?

It has been a really bad year. My parents have gone through an ugly divorce. My husband’s family – now my beloved family – experienced frightening health scares. Both of my grandfathers have been in and out of the hospital. I got a bad grade in Investments. Every time I give my dog a bath, he takes a revenge dump on the floor. I got into a wreck in an uninsured car. I gained twenty pounds. Some days I’m so overwhelmed by egocentric self-pity that I can’t force myself to get out of bed.

Now I’m counting on that regression toward the mean. I don’t actually believe some guy is sitting up there in the sky making sure nobody exceeds their allotted amount of bliss. But here’s what I do believe: life regresses to the mean. And that’s wonderful. In times of great joy, the mean anchors me to earth and keeps me humble. In times of great sorrow, the mean is my life vest, keeping me afloat. And when life just feels average, well, that’s because it is. This I believe. 

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May 3, 2010

Don’t…Panic

Alright peeps, let’s hunker down and talk about something less frivolous, shall we? President Obama…HAHA JUST KIDDING, I’m not going to start talking about politics.

Here’s the deal: I’ve been going through some shizz lately and one thing that’s got my Hanky Pankies in a twist is the fact that there’s a bit of a stigma associated with talking about it. The result is that sometimes I feel alone in this ridonkulous experience I’m having. And I’m not going to take it sitting down!

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So, after that way-too-huge buildup, I would like to share with you, my readers who are always nice to me except sometimes, that I have anxiety. Like, the bad kind. Wamp, wamp, who cares right? It’s taken me some time to realize that for people dealing with anxiety, “who cares” isn’t really the best answer.

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Anxiety can manifest in a bajillion different ways, but it makes this little Wiggs feel like she’s swimming in Jell-O (only much less delicious and strawberry-flavored). I get stuck on the couch sometimes, unable to make myself do anything productive like change out of my pajamas or work out or turn off Real Housewives of NYC even though I’ve seen the episode three times already (TEAM BETHENNY!). And then the sleep disruption – gah. I wake up like six times a night believing down to my core that Dave and Baxter are dead, so I get up all creepy-stalker-like and feel their chests to make sure they’re still breathing. And don’t even get me started on my inability to concentrate.

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My therapist (yep, I have a real-live therapist who lets me sit on her couch and talk about myself for an hour at a time!) says that my inability to take action is called “avoidance” and that it’s pretty common. Apparently all of those times I told myself, “WIGGS! Get off the couch and stop being lazy!” I was making things worse, because anxiety isn’t just laziness or procrastination; it’s a real issue that some people need extra help to overcome.

Which is annoying, because I’ve never heard of anyone who feels like this. But over the past couple of months, reading blogs like this one and this one, I’ve noticed that there are people – brave people who are open about it – going through their own crap.

And THEN! Yesterday at church (I’m not about to get all preachy on your ass, just hold on a sec) the pastor was talking about feeling “stuck” in life. I felt so much better just hearing someone acknowledge it that I resolved to buck up and tell you people about it. Because maybe you’re going through something similar. And even though I can’t really help you, I want you to know that you’re not alone, and you’re not a lame-ass just because you can’t force yourself out of it. I started a formspring for anyone who wants to know more about my own experiences. You can click that link and ask me any anonymous question (anxiety-related or not) and I’ll answer. Even mean ones.

This dude says:

…it is crucial that both scientific and lay communities work toward dispelling the myth that anxiety disorders are somehow less important — or worse, insignificant — in the vast landscape of psychiatric illnesses. We’re not talking about a normal response to stress here. Anxiety, when it develops into pathology, may be diagnosed as social phobia, separation anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anorexia, and bulimia, among a host of other maladies.

Here are some helpful links, though if you think you’ve got anxiety disorder (or panic disorder, or depression, or anything really) you should consider talking to a professional who can give you specific strategies for getting your life back on track.

Ten Tips for Dealing with Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety and Panic: Gaining Control Over How You’re Feeling

How to Cope with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

And then this awesome book (that is in dire need of a new title) given to me by my therapist

…annnnywayyy…I know this is definitely not why most of you read this blog, but on the off-chance that at least one of you would benefit I had to say something. And for those who this doesn’t apply to, at least you know why my posts have been so sporadic, right? And why I haven’t been working out or putting on makeup much, right? Right? Bueller?

(P.S. all of the photos in this post are recipes I will be posting soon. Also, are there any makeup-related requests out there? I can’t decide what to write about next.)

April 22, 2010

Go out and run little fatty

Yesterday I got a new comment on my Ab-solutely post that said “Sali a correr gordita,” which, according to Dictionary.com’s translator means “Sali ran plump.” So I sent the comment to my Spanish-speaking friends and they told me the real meaning: Go out and run little fatty.

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I have some thoughts on this. First, GRAMMAR?! Seriously, if you’re going to try to be mean to someone, at least use punctuation. It adds a little extra oomph to the message. Like this: Sali a correr, gordita. See? The Italics and comma give it that je-ne-sais-quoi that would really have gotten under my skin.

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Second, the dude who left the comment is named Ramiro who (according to his IP address) lives in Montevideo. Calling me a “gordita” implies a grade-school level of maturity. Because, seriously, grownups could come up with WAY meaner stuff to say – “Your gut looks like a package of hamburger buns,” or “Do you put Bag Balm udder cream on your neck to keep your multiple chins from chafing?” or “You look like Geoffrey Rush,” or even something simple like, “You’re going to die unloved and alone.” So, given Ramiro’s childish mentality, I can only assume that this insult is actually a declaration of his love for me. The last time a boy said something like that to me (I believe it was Kevin White, who called me “Pizza Face” in middle school and then threw a corn dog at me), it turned out that he wanted to take me to the Valentine’s Day dance. So, Ramiro, I’m sorry to tell you that I am unavailable to come to your Valentine’s Day dance in Montevideo – but I’ll bet you can find companionship with a tub of Vaseline and an episode of the Maury Povich Show. Or maybe with this woman.

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Third, okay, Ramiro has a point. I haven’t been running. I really haven’t been working out at all. I had to cancel the half marathon I was going to run with a lovely friend next weekend. I’ve been stressed out like WOAH recently and the resulting anxiety has me feeling like I’m pinned to the couch. I’m working on getting out in the beautiful sunshine to go running – the photos on this post show you some of the blooming that’s been happening here in Chicago. But it’s hard. It’s hard to make time to work out. It’s hard to avoid being paralyzed by stress. It’s hard to feel good about myself when I’m not treating my body with love. And it’s hard to keep from flying down to Mondevideo, eating a bucket of beans and corn, pooping in a paper bag, lighting the bag on fire, and leaving it on Ramiro’s doorstep with a Post-It that says “Gordita THIS, mofo!”

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October 8, 2009

Adventures in Newlywed…ness, Part II

So…now that our home is, you know, nice (thank you, wedding registry) Dave and I are on a hunt for a few key pieces of furniture that we’ve gone without for the past four years. But here’s the thing. I am of the opinion that one’s home should be a haven. A sanctuary, if you will, that feels comfortable and relaxing as soon as you step through the door. For me, part of creating said sanctuary involves having a beautiful home (see below, OBVI) with pieces of furniture that you love.

"In the Water, They Touch"

And Dave likes cheap shit.

Okay, that’s not fair. But I’m sure you can already see the issue we’re having. He wants to find a functional, inexpensive, sturdy, easy-to-clean coffee table on Craigslist that costs about 50 bucks, and that we can re-sell eventually without taking a huge financial hit. I, on the other hand, want a beautiful coffee table and am willing to pay more if I love it and believe that it’s something we’ll keep in our home for a long time.

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In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman (who claims to be able to predict 95% of divorces by observing the way couples deal with conflict) says that “successful conflict resolution isn’t what makes marriages succeed.”

April 29, 2009

Half-marathon training: Day 58

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So, you know how I’ve been pretty upbeat lately? And I’ve been doing all of this extra-credit running, and I’ve been so jazzed?

Yeah. Today was the exact opposite of that. I’m one of those people who tends to get a little paralyzed by stress – as soon as I start feeling overwhelmed by, say, all of the shizz I have to do in the next 48 hours, I get all lame and unmotivated. Which is perhaps the exact opposite of the way you’d want to react when your to-do list is longer than Ron Jeremy’s…uh…hair?

All of this is to say that when I finally got off of my buns, I was feeling lethargic and dry-mouthed with stress. For some reason I decided I should work out on the treadmill upstairs, so, you know, bad idea #47 of the day. Then, for #48, I decided to listen to a This American Life about death instead of watching an entertaining t.v. show such as 24 or Everyday Italian (both of which were available to me – I really should have chosen Giada’s tatas over Ira Glass reading a poem about dying).

The next 45 minutes were hell. I never managed to make it more than a 5-minute stretch before needing a walking break. But worse than that, I was having WWIII in my head the whole friggin’ time. I kept bargaining with myself – I’d think, “Okay Wiggs, just go for three more minutes and then you can walk.” I’d close my eyes for what felt like 3ish minutes, and open them to discover it had only been like 45 seconds.

It went like that the whole time until I got disgusted with myself and stopped. In the end, I completed 4.25 miles, which is .25 miles less than I was supposed to do. It was a blow to the ol’ self-esteem, because I’ve been pretty proud of myself for all of the good running I’ve been doing lately. But I didn’t want to push myself and end up feeling bad for my long run tomorrow.

So, there you have it. Running isn’t fun, after all. I didn’t even feel good afterward – Dave came home and found me in a ball in the shower, rocking back and forth and whimpering to myself. I was being verrrry mature and cool-headed. I continued the grownup parade by breaking down in tears that didn’t stop until Dave told me I’m pretty and smart and have good breath. 

Here’s hoping tomorrow goes better than today, because ho-lee shizz, that sucked.

How do you react to stress? Does exercise usually help you, or does it tend to make things worse?

April 25, 2009

If I only had the noive

cowardly-lion

Dorothy: My goodness, what a fuss you’re making! Well naturally, when you go around picking on things weaker than you are. Why, you’re nothing but a great big coward!
Cowardly Lion: [crying] You’re right, I am a coward! I haven’t any courage at all. I even scare myself.
[sobs]
Cowardly Lion: Look at the circles under my eyes. I haven’t slept in weeks.
Tin Woodsman: Why don’t you try counting sheep?
Cowardly Lion: That doesn’t do any good. I’m afraid of them.
[sobs loud]
Scarecrow: Ah, that’s too bad.

You guys, I’m getting ready to go on my 7-mile run – a new distance record for me – and I’m so freaked out by it that I couldn’t sleep. I woke up at 6:30 (on a SATURDAY, I mean come ON) and haven’t been able to get rid of the butterflies in my stomach since.

So I’m sitting here, staring in horror at the ginormous spider that has decided to build its web frighteningly close to my open living room window. Charlotte’s Web is a LIE. Spiders are NOT CUTE.

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I ate a banana per many of your suggestions the other day, and I’m chugging water. It’s…all I can do until my handsome running partner wakes up. Sniff. I’M SO SCARED OF RUNNING!!!

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Do you guys get nervous before long runs like this (and I know 7 miles isn’t long for most of you, but you know what I mean)? Or is it just me?

April 13, 2009

Post-run blues

Quick question for you runners out there: after a long run, do you ever feel depressed? Last night after dinner I sat down on the couch and suddenly this feeling of melancholy came over me. By the time Dave found me I was listening to Elliott Smith and crying for no reason. The only thing I can attribute this to is my run yesterday. I wonder if I didn’t fuel myself properly…? I’m totally baffled. I felt great right after my workout, and then I came home and took a nap, but about 12 hours later I turned into a blubbering mess.

PLEASE tell me you get this picture's reference.

PLEASE tell me you get this picture's reference.

It’s kind of a big deal because I’m not a cryer, especially without a reason. Am I a complete whacko? I’m putting myself in your hands, dear readers.

April 1, 2009

5 rules we should all keep in mind

I read this blog called Five Rules For Life. Every day, the moderator posts a list of five rules sent in by one of his readers. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re insightful, and sometimes I feel like they’re speaking directly to me. Take today’s post, for example:

Submitted by Terry Shannon

terry shannon is a personal trainer and fitness nut. he offers the following advice:

“I make my living helping people get fit, but in reality you don’t need me. You can do it all yourself if you just follow a few basic rules.”

Here are Terry’s “Five Rules For Life”:

1.) Eat what you want – in moderation.
You want a cheeseburger? Go ahead and eat it. You want a chocolate bar? No problem. You don’t have to go on a restrictive “only eat A, B, and C” type diet as long as you eat in moderation. There is a big difference between having a cheeseburger and fries once a week, and going to McDonalds every day. There is a big difference between eating a candy bar every now and then, and eating one twice a day…or worse yet, as a meal replacement. Eat what you love, just do it in moderation. And mix in salads, smoothies, and other healthy meals.

2.) You have everything you need to exercise right now.
Many people put off exercising because they don’t have the right equipment. They say:

– “I’ll join a gym next month.”
– “I’ll get a new bike in May.”
– “I need to get a new pair a shoes or some work-out clothes first.”

It is nothing more than procrastination. You can drop down right now and do ten push-ups. You can do ten squats. You can go outside and walk or jog, or find a bar and do ten pull-ups. You don’t need fancy equipment, a big gym, or new clothes. Squats, push-ups, and pull-ups are body weight exercises that will impact your body as much as – if not more than – all the expensive equipment in any gym. Stop waiting on external things to happen before you make internal changes.

3.) Visualize who you want to be.
People underestimate the power of visualization. If you hold a picture of who you want to be in your mind and focus on it – what you look like, what you feel like, how you act, what you say, what you do…the person you want to be down to the smallest detail – you will naturally move towards and evolve into that person.

4.) Fixing your mind is as important as fixing your body.
What is “fixing your mind”? It means ridding yourself of the negative thinking, the bad attitude, and the destructive self-image. Visualizing – as mentioned above – is key. Surrounding yourself with positive people and focusing on positive information (turn off the nightly news!) is critical. And even if your body is not how you want it to be, revel in the fact that you are improving day by day doing #1 – #3 above.

5.) Take the first step, and don’t stop once you do.
I could have said “just do it”, or “take action”. What is important is to start. Can you do twenty push-ups right now? Maybe not, but you can probably do a few sets of five. And if you do that every day, in about a week you will be able to do twenty. And then thirty. And then fifty. Have a salad or a smoothie every day; at first you may not notice a change, but after a week or two you will have more energy and your clothes will fit a little better. There is an old proverb that says “every journey starts with a single step”…take the first step, and don’t stop once you do.

March 18, 2009

A wee reminder, plus a cry for haaaaalp!!!

Hey people. So, here’s my deal: I had to get up butt-early this morning to run some errands, and now I find myself in the Seattle Public Library for the next couple of hours, killing time before I meet a lovely friend for dinner.

This is what I'm looking at right this second.

This is what I'm looking at right this second.

But get this – I’m totally freaking out because I don’t know when I’m going to work out today! This is almost certainly one of the first times in my life that I’ve ever been worried about missing a workout. Most of the time I’m worried about finding a valid excuse for watching the Bad Girls marathon and eating salt-n-vinegar-flavored potato chips.

So, dear readers, I am turning to you: what do you do when you have a crazy, hectic day and simply don’t know how to make time for a workout? I only have to do 20 minutes of cross-training today, but I won’t be able to until late tonight. What do I dooooo! What would YOU do?

Also, a wee reminder that you have until midnight (West Coast time) tonight to enter The Beholder’s first-ever giveaway! It’s going to be amazing. AMAZING, I tell you!

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March 11, 2009

When my heart pounds, I’m burning calories

…at least, that’s what I’m trying to tell myself. I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve alluded to this a bit in the past couple of days, but I didn’t come right out and say it: I have a very severe phobia of flying. I don’t know why; when I was little I loved to fly. But as soon as I became aware of my own mortality, the concept of being hurled through the sky and god-knows-how-fast makes my insides curdle with fear.

Ulgh, I can't look at this without feeling like I'm going upchuck

Ulgh, I can't look at this without feeling like I'm going upchuck

Every time I fly it gets worse – not better, as many fearful flyers have reported – so I know that eventually I’m going to have to do something drastic. I’m heading out (alone – holy crap) to Seattle tomorrow and for the past three days I’ve been an insomniac because every time I close my eyes I start to panic. Last night, Dave was up into the wee hours of the morning working on a paper and he came into our bedroom to find me in crying in a snotty ball on the bed! Isn’t that sad? It’s embarrassing how lame I am.

So, in addition to training for my half-marathon, I’ve decided that by the time I run the race, I also want to have found a way to beat this phobia. It’s not enough to just get my body in shape – I need to get myself mentally well, too, especialy when I have an anxiety disorder that is affecting my quality of life. Now I just have to figure out where to start…do any of you know how fearful flyers have gotten better?

Are there any ways you would like to get YOUR mind or mental state in better “shape”?

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