Tag Archives: #PANIC

First Boyfriends and the Panicked Mom.

So Kyia has her first boyfriend … How the fuck do I deal with this!!! My mind is scattered all over the place with this one. Inside I am freaking-the-fuck-out!! Outside, I am playing the cool mom whom Kyia can tell everything to … It is killing me!!So lets go over some points …

I was a teen girl once, but at 13 I had no boyfriends and little interest in the idiots I went to school with…seriously, one or 2 of them WERE cute, I suppose… BUT Assholes and Morons!! Sure I had crushes on “celebrities” like Jon Bon Jovi, Jason Bateman, Charlie Schlatter and “Bo Duke” (John Schneider) also …. ummm … well …*cough**cough* Jon Knight *cough**cough* and maybe *cough**cough* *cough**cough* Wil *cough**cough* Wheaton *cough**cough*  But, Well, Believe it or not, as the saying goes … “sweet 16 and never been kissed”. I was actually 16 when I had my first “real” boyfriend and my first kiss and lost my virginity (I say “real” because I had a boyfriend named Jimmy when I was 4 or 5 that probably lasted like a day. And I actually had a Boyfriend at 14 … but I literally said yes to this dip-shit just to get him to leave me alone. *Eyeroll* He bugged me and asked me to be his girlfriend over and over and I repeatedly told him “no” over and over until I finally said FINE! We lasted 3 days… when we went swimming and he pushed my, unable to swim, little sister into the deep end of the pool … I dumped him and threatened him that if I ever saw him again, I would beat the shit out of him … I never saw him again…I was a little “rough around the edges” and tough as nails with a temper that would scare Satan when I was younger. LOL). So back on point, I went fast, or so I think I did, now… I had my first boyfriend and first kiss, 6 months later we broke up and I got my second boyfriend and just over a month together, I lost my virginity … Terrifying! But this plays in my mind, this and KNOWING how boys think and what they think about … *shudder*  Despite still being a girl and having girly thoughts and feelings (that I hid) I grew up, kind of “tomboy-ish”. I have always been “one of the boys” I relate better with the guys… frilly, prissy, catty chicks piss me the fuck off!  Being “one of the boys” allowed the guys to speak freely around me… so yes, I KNOW how and what they think. Anyhoo…As a teen girl, if my mother told me no … well I did it out of spite. My mother said I can’t hang out with a certain person? I would do it more. My mother said I can’t go out? I jumped out my bedroom window. I know better than to pull the “Your too young for a boyfriend” crap … that will make her want it more! So ….

I play the cool mom. Kyia informed me of her crush a couple of months ago, and she told me as soon as he asked her out (about 3 weeks ago). She told me when he tried to kiss her (a few times) and how she dodged it and she told me when she did finally let him kiss her (last weekend!!)…I died inside, just sayin…She trusts me enough to tell me these things. Why? Because, despite the fucking devastating bomb that just detonated in my guts I hold it together and smile and talk to her about it…or just smile and say something nice … depending on both of our moods. She trusts that I am not going to tell the whole planet about them. She trusts that I am not going to tease and ridicule her (much). She trusts that I am going to be there for her. She KNOWS that I am her best friend … no matter how much she pretends it is the other kids… lol. She knows. She trusts. I listen. I respect.

My insides are going to cause a nuclear meltdown. I mean seriously … I suffer from Anxiety, occasional Depression (which is currently “on”), a little OCD and over-protectiveness …. and My baby girl has her first boyfriend!!! PANIC ATTACK in effect!! The emotions and thoughts are running rampant! Kissing, Sex, Heartache, STD’s, PREGNANCY!! OMG OMG OMG, Breathe!! Breathe!! A woman I used to work with has a 15 year old daughter who just had a baby … that is fucking retarded!!! When I was a teenager, A girl I knew who was 12, TWELVE, got pregnant! Jesus Christ! 12 and 15 years old, That IS a baby!! AIDS… need I say more! And for fucks sake what am I going to do when her heart is broken …although I do have LOTS of experience here since her dad has been breaking her heart for 13 fucking years ..fucking scum bag piece of shit dead beat…. but seriously … I know I “look” like I am holding it all together, but I am not. I want to tell her “NO dating until you are 16 (or 40)!” I want to scare that boy away! I want to ground her for life and move to a secluded island where there are no boys! I want to cry!!! There is so much responsibility that comes with boyfriends, love and sex. there is so much danger in it if one is not mature enough and or prepared. AND in this day and age, parents should be DRILLING information and facts on Sex, Pregnancy and STDs into their teenagers heads! Scare the shit out of the little bastards so that they will never have sex … hey! A mom can dream!! This is NOT the earlier 1900s when talking sex is Taboo … TALK TO YOUR FUCKING KIDS!!! Yes, it is awkward and uncomfortable, but I talk to Kyia about her menstrual period, boys, sex, STDs, Pregnancy, drugs and so-on. We both hate it, yes, but I want her informed. So we talk … sometimes too much … she gets so annoyed when I go on and on and on …. Hell sometimes I annoy myself! lol… So I “try” to have these talks in small doses, when a topic arises. Have we had all of “the” talks? No not yet, but she is 13 and we are starting them….also I need time to mentally prepare ME for these talks! THIS on top of the teenage “attitude… I think I am going to die!

The Boy … Kyia had him over this weekend. They hung out all day and we brought them out to Dinner. I drilled him with Questions…nothing too crazy… what do you like to do? got brothers or sisters? pets? You know, those type questions … they may get more “difficult” with each visit… muahahahaha! He SEEMS like a pretty good kid. He is Athletic, Plays (and is apparently fairly obsessed with) Basketball. He plays for the school and (I think) for a city team and he watches the NBA and he plays video game basketball. He is quiet and a little shy. He is in Band. He “used to” play World of Warcraft. He played D&D once. He lives with his dad. He seems smart. The boy has a nerdy side (BONUS!). But … His preferred music Genre is Rap… could he pick a worse (IMO) Genre… fak…Well everyone has flaws I guess. He talks more quietly than Kyia. He is too shy (and indecisive) to make a decision. They took a trip to the park for a couple hours and we had our dinner trip, but other than that, they hung out in her room most of the day…with the door WIDE open and Momma “passing by” randomly. I caught him attempting a kiss at one point and went right in the room and sat my ass down… both of them bright red … I sat there for a good 10-15 minutes just “chatting” away. I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to grab him by the scruff of the neck and throw him out the window…or through the wall! But instead, I calmly interrupted his attempt and sat down to continue the interruption. NO Kissing in my presence!! NO Kissing in my house!! I know they have kissed (now keep in mind this is 13 year old kissing… pecks on the lips) and I am not going to ground her over it, but I do NOT condone it. I do NOT approve of it. She is my Baby!!!

rules

What I am doing … reading, researching and communicating…also breathing, a lot of calming deep breaths and crying… a lot of very emotional cries … I recently had someone (a couple someones actually)  tell me, Just tell her not to do it. She is too young, do not allow it. But realistically … She is 13. Boys are a part of her life. Teenage attitude, especially if she is anything like her mom, can be very spiteful. So it is MY opinion that in MY circumstance,  MY parenting for this is to make sure she is informed. To make sure they always have a chaperone (of sorts) even if it is a group of friends. But to do that I need to inform myself so….

I bought this baby from chapters a few days ago: Parenting a Teen Girl: A Crash Course on Conflict, Communication and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter

and this one I bought the same day from Audible – the audio format to listen to in the car: Smart but Scattered Teens: The “Executive Skills” Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential

and I think this one is next … but for the 2 of us to go over together: Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More

I will get through this. I will get through this. I WILL get through this.

 

 

 

 

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I hope this starts an investigation!

workplace_bullying_statistics-100540413-large-idgeWell

For those of you that read my previous post, The Job From Hell, The Boss of your Nightmares and the Cowardly Coworkers, You know that my boss was a psychopathic cunt. I was fired 2 months after I posted that (NO, not for posting it, I change names, remember). I was fired because of the reasons you will read below. Below is an email I sent to the corporate HR, the plant manager and his boss, the VP as I was advised by multiple outside agencies (The email (in this brownish colour)is exactly as I sent it with only names changed … Any side notes I enter will be in [Green in square brackets]. Also, pictures are added for my (and your?) amusement and were not in the email). Without the money for a lawyer, this is all I can do … but rest assured that if these 3 do nothing I will go over their heads. That bitch will either treat people better or lose her goddamned job. I will make sure of it.

So as a reminder, or sum up for those who didn’t read my previous post (go read it! The link is above):
Andera – the controlling psychopathic boss.
Elise – the lying blameshifter crazy-ass minion.
Suzanne – my (best/favourite) co-worker and IS still my friend.
Brenda – a co-worker. little older, set in her ways and just lovely.
Tonya – another co-worker. I liked her too.

Good Day JOBHP Management,

First and foremost, know that I did not go to LocalHR [I am not even going to give this moron a name] with this matter for a reason. Please read on for that/those reasons.

I do not even know where to begin as I have never been put into this position before. I guess I will start with an introduction. My name is Acrimonious Dragon and I worked at JOBHP in customer service. I had been with JOBHP for approx. 5 months. I started noticing on Day 2 of working there that there were some issues, mostly with Andera (who happened to be my direct manager). It had gotten progressively worse since that day, well I am not sure if it had gotten worse, or I was just seeing more and more. I wanted to go to the local HR, LocalHR (who I now believe to be bias), but I believed that I would lose my job, as my 6 month probationary period [6 month probation!! Who the hell does that!!?? 6 months is long enough to see who they cannot break!] was not yet over. I was right.

I apologize for the lengthy email but it is necessary. [It is really long…but most of my posts are. Tee Hee] I am writing with hopes that you will take action and correct the behavior of Andera, Elise and perhaps LocalHR (I am assuming here that you are unaware of the abuse, bullying and harassment that goes on, now you will). First I would like to express my disgust with the release letter that I received. It seemed like a bribe and have not and will not sign it, as I will not be “silenced” to the abuse provided by Andera. I am assuming here that you have access to the copies of the termination and release letter I received, if not I am more than willing to provide scans of them). [These were not attached to email. Attaching to post for your viewing pleasure] [I may also note that despite not signing and stating to LocalHR in an email that I will not sign and do not agree to the terms … they still paid me the extra 2 weeks … suspicious?? … Admission of guilt??]

After settling down for a few weeks, doing some research, seeking advice, finding information and thinking rationally (I was very upset the first couple of days after my termination, knowing it was wrongful, thankfully I am a rational and intelligent woman and know better than to react too quickly while upset, angry or hurt), I realized that JOBHP and management above Andera and LocalHR may not be the problem and perhaps after discovering the abuse, bullying and harassment that is going on they (You) would deal with this in a fair and just manner. Certain people within the company need to be dealt with accordingly (they need to be fired in my opinion, but that decision is in your hands). So I decided to come to you first, hoping that JOBHP is in fact the company I think it is.  I am not trying to “make trouble”, I want justice (for lack of a better term), I want people, your employees, my friends and (ex) co-workers, to be treated with respect and fairness from now on. I want them to NOT be abused, Harassed and bullied. I want their mental health to be intact and to not live in fear of Andera and her “gang” (Elise and LocalHR). Despite the fact that I was on probation, I was wrongly [should that have said “wrongfully”? Damnit!] terminated, but this letter is more to stop the harassment, abuse and bullying. So the story is as follows.

keep-it-up

I kept a journal that I started on May 20th because I needed to keep track of the horrible abuse people were suffering through the hands of Andera (and Elise). I kept this journal because I intended to go to HR and complain about how people are treated by Andera after my probation was over or as the case is now, in case I was fired for no good reason. (I am willing to provide scans of pages from this journal if they are required) [Sorry, I am not uploading those pages for public viewing]. The thing is I know the reason(s) I was fired, despite not being given a reason other than “it didn’t work out”, (Literally, when I asked LocalHR Why, she stated “It just didn’t work out” … is that even legal??) [Seriously.. is it?] and I believe the main reasons are Not because of my work (Because again, not to toot my own horn but, I was Extremely good at my job!) but as follows:slider1-wrongfullyterminate

  1. My belief that the main reason I was fired is that during a harassment claim put in on Andera, I was brought in to speak (Sept 9) with LocalHR as a witness to some incidents. During this investigation, I mentioned my journal and offered it up as evidence to help a co-worker and put an end to Andera’s abuse. I was wrong. When LocalHR dismissed my journal I knew instantly 2 things were about to happen 1.  LocalHR was Bias and this investigation was not going to amount to much and 2. I was about to be fired. Yep I saw that coming (The proof of that is in the “keep your mouth shut and we will pay you” release (bribe?) letter that I refuse to sign).
  2. Elise does not like me, because I stand up to her and do (did) a much better job than her. Why does this matter? Because Elise is Andera’s “little Princess”. Elise can do no wrong in Andera’s eyes and NEVER gets into trouble (by Andera) no matter how much she messes up. Andera may have the manager title, but what Elise says, goes. Also no one is allowed do a better job than Elise because Andera doesn’t want Elise to be “Shown up”. The word in the “rumour mill” is that the last Customer service girl (xxxxxxx [I am not going to bother giving her a name, I will likely never mention her again]) was terminated because Elise didn’t like her either. Now I have no proof of that one as I was not with JOBHP at the time of Jacklyn’s employment with JOBHP … but an awful lot of people seem to have the same opinion on that …
  3. I made friends with Suzanne. Why should that matter? Because it is quite obvious that Andera has a high level of hatred for Suzanne. Plain and simple. (Andera seemingly made several attempts to stop a friendship by demanding we not talk to each other and for me to never ask Suzanne questions).
  4. I hope it was not because I left for a funeral. But just in case I will throw that in here… A close family member passed away Sept 17th and I went back to NB for funeral and arrangements. I called Andera the following Monday (Sept 19) and she agreed that I could stay for 2 weeks using bereavement and vacation days. 3 days after my return I was fired. Pretty inconsiderate and disgusting. I just lost the woman who raised me and I come back to lose my job as well.

I liked it at JOBHP, the company “seems” great (I say seems, as I want to wait and see if this email will be swept under the rug and ignored or not) and the majority of the people I worked with were wonderful. I liked what I did and I did it VERY well. It is the bullying and harassing and these issues seeming to not be addressed that I have a problem with. While most of my concern is the way Suzanne is treated, please understand that, Andera (and Elise) in fact treat almost everyone in a bullying manner and with disrespect. Unless a person is management, in which case they both get, what seems to me as, uncomfortably “flirty” or “overly friendly” if you will.

I will start with Andera.

workbujotopperHere, I will give you a few examples (summed up from a few journal entries…but there are MANY more). My (Biggest) concern is that Andera is a Bully and she harasses and abuses employees (Suzanne more than anyone).

Andera bullies, harasses, abuses, belittles, scolds, yells, micromanages, makes accusations, blames and makes demands. She is Rude and unprofessional. She lies, manipulates and plays favourites. She is sneaky, spies and eaves drops. She embarrasses staff and just plainly treats employees like crap. She plays/fakes nice and scuntweet when anyone of consequence is around (Such as other management or customers) in an attempt to make herself look like a good manager and person, but she is a different person when those people are not around. I assure you she is not a good manager at all and I am not too sure she is even a good person.
She may “get things done” but she does so the WRONG way. A good manager treats their employees with respect. This manager (Andera) is going to lose more good employees, either by them quitting, her firing them because she doesn’t like them, or a mental breakdown caused by her (Which was VERY close to happening to me). I have been told that JOBHP does not have a high turnover rate for employees because it is a good company … How is the turnover rate for this location of JOBHP customer Service department? [JOBHP has locations all over North America] I am betting it is a bit higher than the JOBHP average…

Andera seems to have it out for Suzanne and I worry that Suzanne is the next target on the “firing” list. She (Andera) picks and picks and picks on Suzanne, day in and day out. It is stressful and uncomfortable for all. I sat next to Suzanne all day and I watched her struggle with the way she is treated. I watched her struggle to keep up because Andera “bothers” her so much throughout the day that she falls behind. I watched her struggle as Andera put her under such a tight microscope that Suzanne’s fear causes her to have more errors than she normally would. blame We ALL make mistakes, even Andera and especially Elise, Andera just points Suzanne’s out on a regular basis (in front of everyone and anyone!!!) and tries to hide her own errors as well as Elise’s!! (The ONLY reason Andera and Elise APPEAR to be good is that they cover up each other’s errors and blame everyone else) FYI, Suzanne does her job and is GREAT with the customers. We ALL have days in which we fall behind a bit, it just seems that Suzanne is not allowed to have these days. We ALL make mistakes and errors, but it seems Suzanne is not allowed to make any.  Suzanne recently (Early September?) had a big panic attack at work which I believe, without a doubt, to be caused by Andera. Suzanne had to be brought to the doctor as she was quite ill due to this attack.

stalker

Sometimes I felt as though Andera was stalking me. Nearly every time I’d go for lunch or break or away from my desk at all no matter what the time, she seemed to “follow” me. In fact I tested this theory out and purposely waited for her to finish her lunch and put her dishes in the kitchen before I took my lunch, low and behold [Crap another error LO and behold], she made her appearance in the lunch room, spying on me. It made the other people in the lunchroom uncomfortable as well, as they noticed this too and found it weird and creepy. I worked in fear every day. My anxiety and stress levels were (and still are) through the roof. I felt forced to eat my lunch in my car just to get away from her for a few minutes. If I EVER saw this woman outside of work I think I would file a restraining order. YES, it was/is that bad.

verbal

Andera has yelled at me, personally, on a few occasions. Once due to a hearing difficulty and insecurity I have. She snapped at me to look at her while she was talking during a morning “huddle” as she calls them (Which, By the way, in all honestly is a waste of 30 minutes to an hour of EVERYONE’s day). I was Livid. I do not always look at people while they are talking in a group for a couple reasons. I do not like to “stare” and I do not have the best hearing and therefore I will sometimes “aim” my ear to a speaker to hear them better. Also, I am not a 3 year old and resent her speaking to me as if I am. Another time she yelled at me about looking up “notes” that did not even exist. Yes, Actual Yelling.

belittle1She belittles me (and others) frequently by scolding, “talking down” to us and taking credit for what others do, to name but a few ways.
For example, she once asked if I understood instructions very condescendingly when Instructions were not actually given. I asked a simple yes or no question to a sales rep and he answered. Period. She very condescendingly asked if I understand those instructions. This was very belittling as she did this in front of other coworkers including the sales rep.i-am-better

Andera rudely told me not to provide helpful and available information to a sales rep because he can find the information himself, or as I took it, “don’t do things better than Elise”.

Everyone seems to be afraid of Andera including people that do not even work under her. I am not going to mention any other names, but I bet nearly anyone you ask (within the company and has contact with her, with NO fear of losing their job) will have negative things to say about Andera.fear Most people have told me they are afraid to speak up in fear of their own jobs. And My dismissal is proof that these claims are not unwarranted.
These are just a few of the many incidents that occurred with Andera.

Elise is just as bad. She bullies, abuses, belittles, scolds, yells, makes accusations, blames and makes demands just like Andera does. She is also rude, bossy, controlling and lies. She has regular “temper tantrums” when things don’t go her way and will refuse to teach you anything more if you go against her.
In one incident, after speaking with co-workers about how Andera was making demands again, Elise got inches away from my face and yelled at me. yellingShe has gotten into HUGE yelling matches with both Suzanne and Brenda.
She has outright lied to Andera about me (and others). She has, on multiple occasions, blamed both Tonya and I (and previous employees) for things she did or was responsible for. She has tried to hide evidence of her errors. I overheard her on the phone with someone rudely refusing to give contact information because “they could find it on the Bill of Lading”! She has snapped at pretty much all of the Customer service personnel almost daily. She actually went to HR to make a complaint knowing SHE was the one in the wrong and didn’t want to be the one to get in “trouble” in case we complained so she made us look bad and at that point anything we say is considered defense or retaliation. She is VERY sneaky, conniving and manipulative.whisper [I swear, I have to tell you this actual story … We have been repeatedly told by the psychopathic cunt, Andera, not to talk. Suzanne came to my desk with some papers and was showing me something work related. She was talking very low, whispering, if you will, explaining something WORK RELATED to me. Elise lost her fucking mind and yelled at Suzanne. Then Elise went to HR crying that we were whispering. I kid you not. She is a sneaky manipulative fucking bitch]

Now, I will portray my thoughts and experiences on LocalHR.
From what I understand Suzanne has gone to see LocalHR about Andera’s behavior on multiple occasions. It is also my understanding that some other co-workers have gone to speak to LocalHR about Andera, some on behalf of Suzanne. From my perspective, up to this point (or at least up to the day I left) nothing has been done (and I am told that still, nothing has changed) (I wonder if any of these visits to LocalHR were even documented by LocalHR. I truly believe that she helps cover up Andera’s abuse). look-the-other-wayAndera is still a bully and she still “picks on” and Harasses Suzanne (and anyone who does not do as she says, disagrees with her, or simply does things differently).  In fact Suzanne has recently (about 3 months ago) been put on a Personal improvement Plan (PIP) which I believe to be a direct retaliation by Andera, due to Suzanne going to see LocalHR to complain about Andera. Suzanne showed me this “PIP” contract and almost NOTHING on this plan is things anyone else has to do. Andera is simply gunning for Suzanne.
As I mentioned above, LocalHR’s take on the harassment claim brought against Andera seems bias and unfair. I believe that my offer to help the situation by offering my journal was a big “nail in my coffin”.  I was told by LocalHR, in that meeting, that I would not be fired for anything I said in this meeting. And I specifically asked. I asked mostly because my probation was not up and I feared for the loss of my job, rightly so. She outright lied as far as I can tell and am concerned. And again I state that the proof of this is in the “trying to silence me” release letter I received. What kind of release letter actually tells a person they are not allowed to go to human rights commission? A bribe and admission of guilt letter is what I see. Perhaps it is JOBHPs “General Release” letter, which makes me wonder about JOBHP…Why would you not want harassment and abuse reported?? hidden I have received release letters before and none of them have ever said “you are not allowed to go to human rights commission and you are not allowed to report or speak of the abuse you have encountered and witnessed” and you are not allowed to file a complaint against any of our employees. Typically they say:
Keep our confidential records quiet and things of that nature. Not “keep quiet about the abuse, harassment, lies and bullying you have witnessed and experienced here and we will pay you”.  I will NEVER sign a letter like that. Company confidential and proprietary information is one thing, abuse is another and should NEVER be silenced.

A little on me and my work as an FYI. I am a hard worker. I do/did not sit idly, I found myself things to do when there was minimal work to be done. I did my job better than most (if not all) we-are-awesome-so-fuck-you-in-fort-collins1[I should make a note here that Brenda did a different job and therefor I can not officially say I did better than her, and Suzanne was under a lot of stress and missed little things on paperwork or Andera’s made up processes, I think if not for Andera, Suzanne would do so much better …but when it came to customers, it was no contest, Suzanne took the cake. Her customers fucking love her!] I tried to learn everything and anything I could, whether it pertained to my job directly or to JOBHP in general. I was friendly with pretty much everyone I came in contact with. I befriended many. I enjoyed everything, outside of the abuse, bullying and harassment. However, I have anxiety and suffered attacks almost daily while working under Andera and with Elise. I went home and cried nearly daily and I barely slept. I have had “stress” blemish breakouts and was almost always sick to my stomach. I had daily headaches and was tense all day. anxiety-wordsSometimes I had trouble breathing and had weird heart palpitations. This was ALL due to Andera (and some Elise). Some of these symptoms have disappeared, as although I was upset, it was a relief to not have to go back to put up with Andera and Elise’s bullying and abuse and LocalHR’s bias “looking the other way”. I considered quitting many times to save my health, just walking out, but then decided to try and make a difference first as we live in a time where this behavior should not be tolerated. I decided to tough it out until my probation was over and take my concerns up with HR … well we now know how that turned out.

I am not trying to be a “troubrespect-in-the-workplace-logofinal-single-384h-april-2012le maker”, I am simply trying to eliminate the abuse, bullying and harassment of your present and future employees and have them be able to work in a place of honor and respect where they feel safe, comfortable and without fear and abuse. JOBHP failed me and I hope they (you) won’t fail anyone else. Please take this information and investigate. I trust that after reading my email you will take the appropriate course of action. If you have further questions or need more information, please feel free to email me at any timebye-bitch

Thank you kindly for your time and review.

I am actually highly relieved to not be working under that psychopathic cunt any longer… but shit I need a job!! 

Anxiety is scary.

calm anxiety

A little history on me? I did not always suffer from anxiety. I used to be a very strong carefree person. But things change, situations arise and a mind can only take so much.

I realized I had a problem when I went to school one day (college) about 10 years ago. I went in for a test that morning. Now most people would think, oh that is enough cause for a freak out, but what you need to understand is that I am a highly intelligent person (I admit that now that I suffer with anxiety that I do not always believe this any more, some days I think I am quite stupid and ignorant). Tests NEVER scared me and I ALWAYS aced them. Anyway with that said, I remember that day like a blurry dream, I walked into the classroom like a Zombie. I sat in my seat. I think I zoned out and after some time I stood up and left without looking at or touching my test. I ended up at my doctors office, unsure of how I even got there.

What was going on in my life at this time to make me snap? HA! Here are “some”…
I was a single mom going to school full time. With (5-6) hours of homework EVERY night.
My course offered multiple “hell weeks”. This is a week where all of the instructors plan many assignments and major tests all due. It would not be uncommon to have 7 tests and 12 assignments due within 3 days.
I had a douche bag boyfriend on crack and cheating on me. (Yes I dumped him when I found out … But I dumped him BEFORE he paid back the $200 he borrowed from me to fix his car and get gas)
I was fighting with social assistance to help me with daycare costs and prescriptions for my asthmatic daughter (I fought for months, because, you know, I wasn’t a crackwhore, spreading my legs for every “John” that walked by. I was a single mom trying to better my life and “welfare” only helps abusers).
I was discovering that one of my sisters, who I thought was one of my best friends, was a narcissistic, controlling, cunt using my misfortunes to make herself look better and trying to control my life. She would do nothing for me unless it benefited her.
I had another sister (the crackhead one) accuse me of helping our mother steal her son, because I allowed them to stay with me instead of a homeless shelter.
I had my aggravating mother and troubled nephew staying with me.
I was “helping” a friend get back on his feet. This friend had no job for 6-8 months and I supported him … on my less than a grand a month. When he did get money, which was rare, from a side/under the table job, he’d give me $20 and then go out partying with the rest.
I had 5 people living in a TINY 2 bedroom house.
I had a “best friend” who’s boyfriend tried to sleep with me on multiple occasions and she chose him and ended our friendship.
I had another “friend” steal $500 from me. My rent money for the month.
My daughters father was causing a LOT of trouble at this time. Harassing me, threatening me, lying to and about me, lying to and about MY daughter, and so-on (he actually does this a lot, but during this period in my life, it was more often and worse).
I could go on and on with the shit that was going on through this era of my life … but I think you get the point.

Anxiety is so very hard to explain and describe because it affects different people in countless ways. There are varying levels and types of anxiety, and to be honest, mine is more toward the high end and a mixture of the types. I despise it when people use the term anxiety to describe a situation … and they have NO idea what they are talking about. Just because you are feeling anxious about a presentation you need to give or a job interview, does not mean you “have Anxiety”. This is “normal anxiety”. Suffering with the Illness of Anxiety means the Anxiety controls your life. It takes over your entire world. It overwhelms you in a way you cannot always control.  If you don’t ACTUALLY suffer from Anxiety, please don’t say you do, in any way shape or form. Anxiety is serious. Anxiety is a disease. Anxiety is not something you want to have

Some of my personal symptoms include, but not limited to (in no particular order):

Difficulty concentrating
Feeling tense
Feeling Jumpy, shaky, agitated, nervous.
Anticipating the worst
Irritable and cranky (more so than normal)
Restlessness
Feeling like my mind’s gone blank, detached or unreal
Pounding heart
Stomach upset, Nausea, Stomach pain
Dizziness and headaches
Shortness of breath/, Difficulty breathing, Hyperventilate.
Insomnia
Can’t eat (not hungry) or stress eat (devour copious amounts of food…usually junk food)
Surges of overwhelming panic
Feel like I am losing control or going crazy
Fatigue, Feeling like I am going to pass out
Feelings of dread
Feeling sad and/or angry or depressed
Random fear of death of myself or a loved one
Hiding (mentally, emotionally or even physically)

There are 7 major anxiety categories (you can click the words for the Wikipedia description of each) and if I had to rate myself for each of the categories from 0 to 10 (with 0 being no symptoms ever and 10 being many symptoms all the time), This is how I would rate myself.

Panic Disorder: 7

Social Anxiety disorder: 8

Phobias: 3 (maybe 4)

Generalized: 9

Obsessive compulsive disorder: 4

Agoraphobia: 8

Post traumatic Stress: 0 (could be 1)

You don’t normally see my anxiety but it is ALWAYS there. I keep it inside, I keep it hidden. Every now and again it is conveyed via physical illness, a visible panic/anxiety attack or simply acts of anti-socialism where I will stay home and hide. I could write a novel on the different feelings, stresses and situations that are associated with my anxiety, but I won’t go into too much depth (today).

On a daily basis I want to vomit. I want to cry. I want to stay in bed. I want to give up.

My mind never stops. I think about the past, present and future.I think about what is, what could be and what should be. I think about happy things, sad things, good things and bad things.
I jump to wild conclusions, which are typically foolish and/or worst possible outcome. This outcome sometimes results in me thinking someone is dead, dying or going to die.
I over analyze. I take a situation and analyze it until there is nothing left. I think, I worry, I fear, I assume, I panic and then I hide it all.
For example;
You do not answer/respond to a text? My thought process progresses as  … You must be busy. Why are you ignoring me? You hate me. Your phone must be dead. What if your phone is dead and your in the middle of nowhere and you have been hurt? Where are you? Oh my god, Your injured! What if you have been kidnapped and the kidnapper smashed your phone? Oh my god, You have been kidnapped! What if you are dying and no one is around?  Oh my god, Your dead! OMG!! PANIC ATTACK!! You call. I act as if nothing happened and I could care less that it took you 7 minutes to reply to me. (keep in mind that this is a sum up. in actuality, I would have thought up complete detailed scenarios of how you were injured, kidnapped or dead) and then I think …

I feel like I am going crazy. Am I a complete lunatic? Am I having some kind of psychotic breakdown? Is there something wrong with me? What is wrong with me? Why am I feeling like this? Why can’t I function? Why would anyone want to be with or around a crazy person? Everyone will hate me, My daughter will hate me. I need to hide it. I need to be normal….

These attacks, episodes, breakdowns, fits, spells or whatever you want to call them happen all the time. There is rarely a moment when I am completely calm. They can be set off by anything, from an accident, to a missed call, to a slip in routine, to a missed turn, to a drop of a dime on the floor. They can also be set off by nothing, nothing at all. Walking through a bookstore, which is one of the most calming places for me to be, looking at books and BAM! Outrageous panic attack for seemingly no reason at all. Why? Why? Why? A panic/anxiety attack for no reason causes more problems and anxiety. Sometimes the “no reason” breakdowns are the worst ones of all.

I worry and worry and worry … usually over nothing. I worry about my daughter. I worry about family. I worry about friends. I worry about strangers. I worry about my job. I worry about customers. I worry about that e-mail I just sent. I worry about what I just said. I worry about what I might say. I worry that I might hurt you. I worry I am not good enough. I worry there is something wrong. I worry about crossing the damn street. And on and on and on

I fear everything. I fear change. I fear that someone will see my “panic attack”. I fear I am doing things wrong. I fear crowds. I fear I am a bad parent. I fear the unknown. I fear the worst. I fear rejection. I fear arguments. I fear I am being judged on everything I do. I fear I am not smart enough. I fear change. I fear my emotions. I fear I am not strong enough. The fears keep going.

Change is bad for me. Any amount of change in routine causes anxiety and panic. No matter how much I tell myself that it is fine, It is for the best, My attacks continue. I may eventually get past the change by establishing a new routine, but it takes persistence and I have to fight. The slightest change can make it hard for me to even get out of bed.

Speaking of bed …I do not sleep properly. Sleep eludes me regularly. It takes a long time to get to sleep, and then I will manage to wake up a multitude of times throughout the night, sometimes it is a momentary wake up and other times it will again take a long time to get to sleep. I think and think and think. Sometimes pain keeps me awake and sometimes it is emotional distress.

I feel sick to my stomach. Always. It seems to never go away. That feeling of frequent knots in my stomach. That feeling of permanent nausea. That feeling of spasmodically cramps and pain.  The stomach issues are there eternally .

I cannot communicate, because the anxiety takes over. So I keep everything in. I bottle it all up which of course makes it all worse. I plan to communicate, end up with 20 different scenario conversations in my head and then just say “fuck it” and keep it in. Do not confuse talking with communicating. I can talk up a storm. But I can not have a deep and/or emotional conversation. I go into panic mode and either just clam up, start talking stupid or get angry. I get angry because the feelings of anxiety become overwhelming and will likely result in a waterfall of tears.

I feel anger and hate. I hate my life, I hate people, I hate going out, I hate doing things, I hate planning things, I hate driving, I hate eating, I hate not eating, I hate my family, I hate myself, I hate just about everything (as a side note, the only thing/person I NEVER hate is my daughter, she is often the only thing that can actually calm me down … luckily for me, as I know that some people with high level anxiety react negatively with their children, I am very thankful I am not at that level).

I pretend. I pretend that I don’t care. I pretend I am ok. I pretend everything is fine. I pretend I don’t feel pain. I pretend I am emotionless. I pretend I am happy.

The reality is, every day is a struggle. Everything I do is difficult. Everyday I must force positive thoughts into my head. Everyday I must convince myself that I am overreacting. Everyday I must control myself. Everyday I must talk myself down. Everyday I must breathe. Everyday I must practice being calm. Everyday I must hide.

DO NOT tell me to calm down or relax.

DO NOT tell me  “just don’t worry about it”

DO NOT tell me “Stop thinking about it”

DO NOT tell me that I am over-reacting

DO NOT tell me to “get over it”

Anyone of these things will put my anxiety into overdrive.

How do I cope on a daily basis? Really … Avoidance.

I do this by changing my thoughts. Change the subject. Concentrate on something else. Sometimes it takes multiple tries, Sometimes it works right away and sometimes not at all.

I keep busy. If I am consistently busy, I do not have time to think about “stuff”. I don’t have time to worry. I don’t have time to dwell. If I am busy, I am in control.

I cook. I love to cut, chop, measure and cook. Cooking keeps me concentrating on making dinner and off worrisome topics….but if it burns at all or doesn’t turn out … thankfully, more often than not, it works.

Writing helps too. I like to write. I do not always have time, but I do enjoy it and find it calming. I have also started taking up the colouring craze from time to time. Reading is sometimes difficult, but works most of the time, I find when I am reading (which I love to do) I will drift off to worry world. I usually use some breathing techniques to snap back.

I also use a couple of mindfulness techniques. Sometimes all together. Sometimes just one of them.

Find/look at an object, focus on it and think about it. I will ask myself questions about it and notice everything about it. What is it’s colour, size, shape, weight? Is it hard, soft, fuzzy, smooth? how is it made? Things like that.

Use my senses. Close my eyes and hear: locate 5 different sounds and focus in on each one for approx 10 seconds.  Look and see: Find 5 objects and focus on them for approx 10 seconds. Describe what they look like.  Feel it: touch 5 items and describe how they feel. Focus on this for approx 10 seconds. Do the same with taste and smell if possible.

I breathe deeply and I concentrate on my breathing. Breathe in for a 10 count. Hold for a 10 count. Breathe out for a 10 count. Notice the oxygen going in. Feel the lungs expand. etc

Laugh. I make light of a situation. I use humour or sarcasm to hide my true feelings. (This is a hard one and does not always work. There are some occasions that I can just laugh things off, but more often then not the above techniques work better)

Do these techniques always work? Nope. But they get me through temporarily most of the time. Maybe you need physical distractions such as exercise, or perhaps walking, maybe listening to (or playing) your favourite song or having a movie distract you. There is the possibility that talking about it will help you, a shoulder to cry on or a simple hug. Maybe a new hobby? Gardening, guitar playing, sports? Find what works for you and stick with it.

So on the outside I am (usually) “cool as a cucumber” but inside I am a disastrous emotional wreck.

Anxiety is Fucking Scary.