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Life of V

The journey from being broken to being queen

The Other Shoe

Ya know how just a few days ago, I wrote about how things were starting to come up Vicky? Well, I spoke a little soon. Not really, but that’s how it feels today.

Two days ago, I had a massive panic attack when I went to Kent Home Supplies to buy ant traps. Absolutely nothing happened. I walked in, grabbed a box of traps, paid, and walked out. Pleasant transaction with the cashier, found it easily in the store, nothing loud or franticly busy, nothing out of the ordinary. Then in the parking lot, I started sobbing as if someone punched me in the face. I sat in my car and cried and screamed until my throat was sore and I ran out of tears. My heart was pounding so hard against my ribcage, my eyeballs were rattling around in their sockets and I had trouble focusing.

Then I went to work… yep. As soon as I walked in, one of my coworkers took a look at me and immediately knew there was something wrong. With barely a word, he understood what was going on, and sprung into action, getting things at work in order while I backed off and got my head together. He sensed it was pretty jarring, because he called in people to cover my shifts for the rest of the weekend. My team is holding down the fort while I figure my shit out and get back on my path. People in Charlottetown, PEI are working with the team here to balance the operations at work so I can take a moment. How did my life get so blessed that when I kinda mentally fall overboard, I have a crew of people spanning two provinces who are actively helping me get back on the ship?

So here I am, overboard… kinda flailing… literally actually, I’m very twitchy and nervous today. The slightest sound makes my muscles spasm and I’m jumpy. I’ve got a massive headache, all my muscles are tense and sore, I can hardly focus on anything (this post is taking foreverrrrrr to get the words all out). But it’s helping.

I don’t know what triggers my panic attacks. It’s frustrating as all hell. I went to the doctor to talk to him about how I was feeling. Chad went with me. I spilled everything that was on my mind and what was worrying me about my body and my mind. Dr. G is a kind and patient man, bless him, and he listened to all my worries, even the ones I had a hard time putting into words. He’s started me on a new medication to see if it helps my anxiety attacks, and he’s also getting me to have some bloodwork done, and we’re testing for literally everything under the sun. So many boxes are ticked on that paper.

He’s also referring my to a psychiatrist. Until then, he’s given me some breathing exercises to try (including some youtube links! yay!).

I am thankful that I have a little time to rest after my panic episode. It frustrates me when I am not productive and energetic and on the ball. I know that’s how a lot of people feel, but I also never seem to give myself a break. I always feel the need to be working or else I’m not of any value to anyone. If I’m not at work, I’m usually working on something for work, and it’s because like any decent human being, I want to see the business do well, and I seem to forget that it doesn’t fall solely on my shoulders. That also frustrates me. I get so tunnel visioned into my own rhythm that I forget there are people around me who are going “hey… you know I’m here too, right? I can do some of this! LET ME DO SOME OF THIS. I like doing some of this.” (Come to think of it… one of the girls at work may have said these exact words to me at some point) *lightbulb moment* Okay, okay, not a lightbulb moment, I’ve actually been working on that for a while now, and I feel like I’m getting better at it. I’ve got to stop putting so much pressure on my brain. It’s gonna be the end of me. It frustrates me when I get in these ruts. A lot of things frustrate me. Notice that?

Oh what I wouldn’t give to feel normal and relaxed and… balanced. It never really goes away. I wish I had the answers… I’m not as good an actress as I used to be.

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7 months…

… 7 months was the last time I felt the urge to write.

That stinks. I love writing. I’m pretty good at it. But then things pile up, the snowball effect, and life kinda gets away from you for a moment… or a few months.

But I did a thing. In the last 7 months, I’ve left one job… a job I was at for nearly 3 years… and took a stab in the dark at something I never thought I’d have the courage to do.

I applied for a restaurant manager job.

EEK!

I’ve been working in kitchens for a loooooooong time, nearly 15 years. I know how kitchens run. So, when job searching, an ad caught my eye and made me a bit excited. Restaurant manager. “ooh, wouldn’t that be nice?” I thought. And almost immediately, the anxiety and poor self esteem and negative thoughts that have plagued me my whole life came in and said “you’ve got no experience managing, they’ll never even consider you” and “you can’t run a kitchen. You’ve never done it before”. I almost didn’t give it a second look.

But I mentioned it to Chad. 🙂

And off it went from there. I’ve never had a cheerleader in my life who pushes me to do the things I never thought I could do. He makes me want to be better, yet still loves me the way I am. Broken and twitchy and moody as fuck. He still loves me.

He and I are coming up on 6 years together. He’s seen me at my worst, the lowest moment of my life, and he stood by me and held me together and helped me be strong. He doesn’t seem to mind that I’m a bit mentally unstable; he’s been able to maneuver through my anxiety and pull me from the weeds to keep going. I’ve never trusted another human being more in my entire life. I love him so much.

He also believes in me like no one else has (save for maybe my mum). He encouraged the crap out of me and lo and behold, I sent my resumé for the manager job. Being the way I am, I was upfront in telling them I had no actual managerial experience, but I knew my way around a restaurant. I also wore a really cute skirt to my interview 😉 (that perfect red one Brittany!!!) The owner of the business was at the interview and well, let me tell you, that was pretty intimidating. But something in my mind said “fuck it. I’ve got as good a chance as anyone!” and away I went.

And you know what? She HIRED me!

Can I get a hell yes!

So, I’ve been managing a burger restaurant in Bedford for the last 5 months. I’ve also been managing my mental health pretty well these last few months. I mean, I’ve had some setbacks, a couple of panic attacks that crashed into me outta nowhere, and I’ve been battling this ever-looming sense of anxiety and an internalized pressure cooker of needing to be strong and perfect and have everything together and have everyone love me and constantly impressing people. Yeah. There’s always that. But I’m learning how to talk to my inner demons and tell them to shut the fuck up. I’m fine. I really am. It’s a constant battle, and I’m exhausted all the time. But I’m actually doing it! And I’m even learning to enjoy myself in my downtime. I KNOW, RIGHT?!

I have learned a lot in the last few months. Not only have I learned the ins and outs of managing a restaurant, I’ve learned to place more trust in my co-workers instead of listening to the voice within saying it’s always a competition and a ruthless one at that. See? My mind is fucked up. The people I work with are wonderful and supportive and they actually seem to like me 🙂 *nervous laughter* (That’s my brain telling me that people just “tolerate” me for the sake of getting through the day and never giving me a second thought… I tell ya…. fucked. up.)

I’m learning how to tell those thoughts apart from my own thoughts. My depression is always hanging out in the background, trying to make me believe the worst in everything, including myself. It’s a constant struggle that’s really hard to describe. Waterboarding with negativity, doom and gloom, basically. But I’m beginning to loosen the restraints. I’m finding my job rather enjoyable, it’s a mix of customer service, cooking, math, food science, psychic prediction, being a know-it-all (which I loooooove haha), and I get to go shopping every week for certain things (and I loooove hanging out at the wholesale clubs. I find so much cool stuff to come back and buy on my days off haha). I also get to hang out all day with a pretty awesome, yet somewhat rambunctious group of people. The staff at the restaurant is full of personality, a good melting pot of delightful weirdos who are good at their jobs 🙂 I love each and every one of them like they were my own kids, even though they’re not kids. Not kids. Young adults with waaaaaaaaaay more energy than I’ve got, but it’s awesome. We made over 3000 specialty burgers for Burger Week and everyone survived as a team. I am beyond impressed. We’re gonna do 4000 next year. I haven’t told them that yet though 😉

So there it is… my last few months, in a nutshell. Came to a fork in the road, I decided to go in a different direction. I thought I got lost, but it turns out, I was just making a new road for myself. I’ll keep you updated as to where I end up 😉

Tell It Like It Is

So, I got a new day planner a couple of weeks ago. It was an idea for how to start writing down things that happen in my life and in my brain, as well as writing down the things that are causing me stress and anxiety, so I can maybe start to see a pattern and squash it like a bug. I’ll let you know how that goes. But it’s a gorgeous planner and I’m a little bit smitten with it and I bring it with me everywhere. Maybe that’s a good sign.

Each month has a tab. Ah, swoon. On that monthly tab page, it looks like this:

 

IMG_20161030_175648389.jpg

Some are cutesy. Some are motivational. I’ve decided to use these as a theme for the month ahead, interpreting everything I do into some form of symbolism because that’s how I am. November is “Tell is like it is” month. I’ve a bad habit of bottling things up and letting them eat away at me until I crash and burn. This month, I am going to work at conquering my fear of saying what I really feel when it comes to something I feel is important. I have spent years being told (and believing) that my thoughts and feelings don’t matter. All you’re worth is that you can do for other people to make their lives easier. I know that it’s that ugly cloud of depression and insecurity that makes me think this way, but some habits are fucking hard to break. But this month is a month of quitting. Quitting keeping things held back and bottled up. I have to shatter this mindset that talking about my feelings makes the people who love and care about me uncomfortable or inconvenienced. If something  bothers me, I need to find a way to talk about it, or else it will destroy me. And I don’t want to be destroyed by something that. I want to be destroyed by an asteroid or something like that.

I don’t take care of myself very well. I am realising that more and more lately, and I am struggling to think of a reason why I shouldn’t treat myself with the same respect, dignity and love that I treat everyone I care about. I’m discovering that depression and anxiety have plagued me my whole life, it was just undiagnosed and unrecognised because I hid it so well. I hated myself when I was younger. I wanted to be thinner, funnier, prettier, smarter, more perfect, but I could never get there. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I know now that I was full of shit. I was plenty back then and I’m plenty now.

I still struggle with knowing I’m enough, let alone plenty. Since I lost my mother, I have felt lost, without my biggest fan, my other half. I have struggled to feel whole. I have the most wonderful partner in the whole world, loving friends and a sweet and close family that drives me insane, but even all those blessings, and I feel… incomplete. I’ve felt that way for a long time, and I am struggling to find those missing pieces.

So bear with me friends… I’m about to get very open and very honest.

A Better Place

A few days ago, Chad and I celebrated our five year anniversary. Sometimes I can’t believe that I’ve found someone who’s been able to handle the fact that I’m kinda messed up in my head, and still been able to see the human underneath and love her. In the past, it’s sent people running, and I just kind of got used to it. When the chips were down, most folded. Chad raised. I’ve never had such a connection with someone, a deep understanding and acceptance of the whole package. So we celebrated all this with steak. 🙂 We’re real partiers too. We clinked glasses filled with non-alcoholic drinks, made out in our little corner of the dining room of The Keg, and giggled and stared stupidly at each other like it was our first date. It was nice.

We stayed up late talking, like we did the day we met, and talked about everything from which was the best Star Trek (TNG, obviously), our future plans and dreams, the differences between vegetarian and vegan (neither of which we would ever be, unless they invented a bacon tree), the changes going on at work (I’ll get to that), and even remembering that our anniversary was also a sad one, for it was the day Canada lost Jack Layton. We both admired him, and it comes up in conversation every year, because I was the one who broke the news to Chad the day we met.

I’m very lucky to have Chad in my life, and I don’t even think I understand how lucky. He’s been by my side during the toughest moments of my life, and carried me through when I couldn’t bear it. He’s been there when the darkest parts of me clouded the real me and helped me break through and come back (hopefully) stronger. I wouldn’t be here today without his love, and I don’t even think he knows how many times he’s saved my life.

So, here’s to five years. I love you more than all planets orbiting all the stars in the universe. Thanks to you, I’m gonna be alright.

Alive

I’ve been told a lot that I have no filter. My first chef used to walk behind me while i was prepping for service and in a singsong voice say “filter” to remind me to shut the hell up. I talk a lot is what I’m getting at.

I used to apologise when I’d catch myself babbling on and on about something. I was trying to be interesting, useful, someone worthy of being liked. It took me too goddamn long to realise that I already was. It’s so hard to really figure out what was going on in my mind during all these years of self doubt. It almost seems ridiculous now, but hindsight’s a bitch, or something like that. I don’t apologise for talking anymore. I’ve got things to say.

So, while I still have no filter, I am much more aware of the cloud that always looms in the background. I used to feel like I was drowning. But it seemed normal. I thought this was how life was supposed to feel. Fuck that. I need to take back my life.

I was born in a thunderstorm, I grew up overnight
I played alone, I played on my own
I survived

I wanted everything I never had, like the love that comes with light
I wore envy and I hated that
But I survived

I had a one way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change and nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope just lies, and you’re taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

I found solace in the strangest place, way in the back of my mind
I saw my life in a strangers face, and it was mine

I had a one way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change and nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope just lies, and you’re taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

You took it all, but I’m still breathing

I have made every single mistake that you could ever possibly make
I took and I took and I took what you gave, but you never noticed that I was in pain
I knew what I wanted, I went out and got it
I did all the things that you said that I wouldn’t
I told you that I would never be forgotten, and all in spite of you

I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

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