You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘anxiety’ tag.

Even though it’s still lovely here, I have been missing Cozumel*. My anxiety from work has made me doubt my abilities as a writer, as an artist, and as a competent human being, and that’s been really rough. It’s very reminiscent of my days in abusive relationships, and as was the case then, I don’t know how to improve it. MKL has been a rock and a treasure. I understand that I have choices, but I hate being driven to them because I cannot resolve my own situation. Yes, I know I’m being vague, but that’s how it’s got to be. I remember being so clear and at peace in Cozumel. That was a magical place for me. I want that feeling back.

Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” — Eckhart Tolle

Daily gratitudes:
Daily messages for my girls
Carpool mornings
Cooler nights
Work (even so)

Today was my first semi-normal day since the flood. I was back in the office, and had a lot to do and wasn’t as freaked out as I was on Monday. So that’s all yay. I did take a Xanax last night before going to bed, so I slept better and my anxiety level was pretty low. Since I’ve never taken anything like that, it felt like going on a first date – you just don’t know how it’s going to go. Will it work out? Or will you be miserably uncomfortable? I’m glad it was a good experience, but I don’t wish to date Xanax regularly. I just want normal back – even if it’s a new normal.

The FEMA inspector/adjuster comes tomorrow morning, so we’ll see what happens next. The flood insurance adjuster has yet to send the paperwork we need to complete, though he did send a sample of what the completed form should look like (uh, dude?) Family comes in tomorrow to help ex-Pat with house stuff, which is good. I’m sure it will be nice for him to have his brother with him.

The ick part of today was the rainclouds. Where I am in my office, I am not next to a window, but if I stand up in my little cube, I can see the wall of windows to the outside world. However, I don’t have to stand up to see when it’s getting gray out. I can just tell by the slight variation in the light in the room. And as soon I saw the clouds today, I got cold sweats. In case I haven’t mentioned it, that’s one of the attractive ways that my el weirdo anxiety is manifesting. Any element over which I have no control that triggers thoughts of the flood also triggers clammy, cold sweats. Uber attractive.

And a sky that looks like this:


And this:


And this:


really does a number on me right now. 

There have been a lot of poignant stories coming out of Boulder, of rescues and passings, of good and the kindness of strangers. I have always been impressed with the true character of Coloradoans, but never moreso than now.  Even though I, like so many others here, am a transplant, I’ve been here long enough to take root, and I’m so proud of my State.  As we unbury our treasures, and dry our tears and our carpets, as those lost souls who were unaccounted for continue to be found, keep us in your prayers.

Quote of the day: “It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.” — Edward Abbey

Daily gratitudes:
Seeing MKL today
Mr. Man
My cozy, dry house
The chirping of crickets
That Kelsea had a successful, super-long drive yesterday



It is a lovely day here. No rain, not even a drop. There is still debris in a lot of places – trees, boards, roots, and parts of people’s lives. But those lives are moving on, forward, ahead, and towards the next thing.

In the case of my half-house, the next thing is how quickly ex-Pat can get a new water heater, because apparently, when he has to scape the mud off the top of the water heater, the insurance adjuster considers it a total loss. And that’s one of those important things for doing dishes and showering. They cleaned out the last room yesterday, and I have lost a lot of photos and slides, which makes me very sad, but I’m hoping there is some way of salvaging them.

My anxiety levels are still super-high, but a little bit better this morning. The eye doctor, much as I love her, didn’t help by telling me that I have some pre-cataract thing in my left eye (seriously, body, how old do you think you are??????), so that added to the anxiety-cold-sweat-o-meter today. MKL says he will still love me if I go blind, and he has fabulous descriptive powers, and cataracts are surgically fixable. So. Yea.

I think I will try one of my newly prescribed Xanax before bed.  As I say, a beautiful life goes on.


Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Loss carves out a deep, hollow pocket. There’s no magical way to fill it, no medicine or Band-Aid or surgery to cure it. I suppose that over time you get used to it, but the feeling never totally goes away. And the more time you spend on earth, the more pockets you’ll collect. But it’s part of living. It’s life.” — Suzanne Selfors

Daily gratitudes:
The little girl with the “Where the Wild Things Are Umbrella” as big as she was
My fluffy Mr. Man
MKL’s support
The sound of the ocean waves



I’m sorry if I’m writing a lot about the Flood. It’s been really traumatic – combine the empath-me with the flood-damaged-homeowner-me, and you have the unbearable-anxiety-riddled-me – who is trying to work and be a mom and stay in some kind of balance. It’s not working very well. I’m not used to feeling like this. Depression, I understand – anxiety, not so much.

The water is receding, though we still have hundreds of people unaccounted for. Hopefully, that number will go down as people who have no power get access to communications again. Kudos to Xcel Energy for working so very hard to keep the lights on. Even though my half-house has a lot of damage, it never lost power.  The flood insurance adjuster came today, took about 100 pictures, and will hopefully file a good claim on our behalf, or however that works. Turns out we’re insured by Lloyd’s of London, which makes me feel a little hoity-toity. We’ll see how they measure up in terms of fairness. I don’t have a lot of faith in insurance companies, but I’m trying to stay positive, beneath my strung-so-tight nerves and flesh and bone under this fragile layer of skin that covers them.

I hope that soon, I don’t get that frisson of fear when I see a rain cloud over the mountains. That soon, I will stop trying to take roads that are closed. Soon, I will be able to walk the mountains without fear of the earth collapsing beneath my feet. Soon.

And now, here’s a chicken.


Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” — Max Ehrmann

Daily gratitudes:
Not hitting a bird with my truck this morning
My new green chile-ground beef dish
Sunbeams at sunset tonight
MKL’s supportivenss (and hugs)
Wearing my softest T-shirt tonight

And a special shout-out to the lady in the grocery store who told me that “That color looks great on you!” You have no idea how much I needed to hear that at just that moment.


This is not a view I had today. It is a view I had in June on one of our lovely road trips. But I liked it for today because it is dry in this image, and it is anything but dry here. We had another day of rain and are still under flood warnings. Boulder Canyon may be closed for a month, with residents up in the mountains having no way to get to town other than a 2+ hour drive around through Black Hawk. Ex-Pat has been in touch with the flood insurers, which is good, and we are preparing to contact FEMA as well. My anxiety levels are huge, and I feel like my muscles are trying to bust out of my skin. This is the first time in my life I ever wished for Xanax.  It’s not reasonable, but it is what I’m feeling nonetheless, even though things are calming down. Sigh. One day at a time. Colorado strong.


From Terror Creek Winery, Paonia, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.  The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.  On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops.  Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by waters.” — Norman MacLean

Daily gratitudes:
The lucky penny the House Spirits left in the kitchen this morning
Alfred Hitchcock movies
That the Broncos are off to a good start this season
Spending most of last night and today with Kelsea
Prayers from friends



That’s what the bus felt like this morning.

My commute is a little over an hour, door to door. if I take the bus. It’s a 15-20 minute drive to get my feet in line to board, just under 30 minutes on the bus, and maybe an 8-minute walk to the office from the station. (It’s about 40 minutes doorstep-to-desk to drive to work, but add in $7 for parking and the cost of 40 miles worth of gas, and the stress of traffic going home, and the time becomes less of a factor.)

I’ve never had a commute of more than 20 minutes. At least not to a “real” job. When I was piecing part-time jobs together to make a living, I did, but that was different somehow. I always swore I wouldn’t work in Denver unless there was a train, because I knew I’d hate the commute, so it has taken me a while to make peace with this. And I have made peace with the actual transportation element, just not with the extra time it takes from my day.

I can’t read on the bus, because I get carsick. Once in a great while, I can almost nap, if I am very tired. Oddly enough, I can do some shamanic journeying (adding a whole new meaning to the term “magic bus”). But most of the time, I just zone and think and look out the window and write in my head. I use it as decompression time between the world of work and the world of, well, the world.

Today was a little different. Last night, we had gale force winds, which usually accompany warm temperatures at this time of year. At two in the morning, I was awakened out of a sound sleep by a THUMP out front. It was a big THUMP as you might guess from the capital letters. I lay in bed, wondering what it was, imagining what it might be, listening to the wind howl as it beat up the wind chimes, and realizing that no, I was not in an episode of “Little House on the Prairie” and yes, I was a single homeowner who had to get up and see what the haps was. I dutifully opened the front door, and was almost blown away by freezing, blasting, flying snow. It wasn’t a lot of snow, but it was most certainly a blizzard of snow. Realizing that it was just a little camp table that had blown over on the front porch, I went back to bed to listen to the rage until I fell asleep.

With the snow shovelling citation still looming over my head, I went out and dutifully shovelled half an inch of snow off my walk, and it was off to the bus stop. Ridership increases in proportion to the vileness of the weather, so the bus was already packed when it arrived. My co-worker whom I sometimes encounter during the commute insisted that I take his seat, which was most gentlemanly of him (and I have a whole post about ladies and gentlemen of the bus brewing in my busy little brain, so stay tuned). That I didn’t have to stand was unusual enough, but the bus itself was unusual today. Because of the sheer mass of humanity packed inside, there was no view whatsoever through the windows. They were completely fogged up by the hot exhalations of all these people (which is actually a little disgusting when you think about it too much, so don’t). The lack of view made me feel almost claustrophobic – something I never feel – and kind of anxious – something I wish I never felt. It was like travelling in the belly of a worm, or in something that has been thoroughly licked by a giant tongue of milky slime.

I kept my eyes closed and that seemed to help.

But really, it was just another bus ride, just another morning commute, with a good driver (this time) who didn’t constantly step on his brakes for no reason, and had confidence in his own skills (unlike one of the lady bus drivers whom we occasionally get in the morning).

Image courtesy of

Thank you, RTD, for spitting me back out at Market Street Station, unscathed and unslobbered.

They run through my mind in the wee smalls, racing on their wheels or chewing on the wires of my brain.  In an effort to calm them and minimize damage, I am naming them like Santa’s reindeer or the 7 dwarves, each with its’ own personality and purpose.  Cut from the herd tonight are:









Hungry appears at the fringe of the herd – a nervous critter that tries to find comfort in eating and in serving as a physiological distraction from the damage the others are attempting to cause – causing collateral damage himself.


Let’s put faces to names, shall we?


Scared – big, round eyes, semi-paralytic – what have I done? What if I’ve screwed up?  What if there’s no one to take care of me when I’m sick? Sits in a corner of my mind and races, little heart beating a million thumps a minute. This is big. Really big. I can’t take it back – not because he wouldn’t let me, but because I wouldn’t let me. But what if it doesn’t work with Russ? What does – could – my future look like? Blankness.


Guilty – troubled, downcast eyes, furtive behavior – how could I do this to Pat? How dishonorable to my 25 years of relationship with him, to leave and leap heartlong into a new relationship? I do not want to hurt him by being with Russ – but I do want to be with Russ. Talk of honor – there would have been more honorable ways to get out of this without involving someone else. But I’ve been in relationships with someone else for many of my married years. Gee, that makes me feel so much better about myself – chicken – dishonorable, weak chicken.


Selfish – narrow-eyed, crafty, cunning.  I am putting my needs before my family’s, before Pat’s (can’t be helped anymore, he’s never put my needs first), Kelsea’s – I want to be with Russ, but am not yet (geez, give yourself a break, you just decided this eight hours ago) ready to sleep with him when Kelsea is here – Pat doesn’t want me to.  Kelsea wants to get to know him.  And he is going through a hell of his own.  I want to make love with him, as he does with me, and I can’t feel comfortable doing that with her right down the hall. So does that mean my selfish needs are more important than my daughter, than having her around?  But I don’t want to continue to sublimate myself, not to her, not to Russ, not to anyone.  I’ve lived too long beneath that veil.


Nervous – darting eyes, sitting in a corner, twitching and wringing his little paws. Very similar to Scared.  “What’ll I do, what’ll I do?” is this one’s battle cry – or battle whimper. What if? What if Russ can’t deal with Kelsea? What if he doesn’t like her, doesn’t like compromising his desires for a child? What if I lose my job? What if what if what if. What if I am smothered?


Lonely – tear-filled eyes, slowly walking the wheel. Am I truly destined to be alone? Not to be old Nobody’s Girl, as she is gone – Russ has been instrumental in banishing her, as he was in banishing my red demon and the Mayan god. But I could still be only my girl, no one to love me to the core. I come with so much baggage and love is hard to find, hard to achieve. And after Russ, impossible to imagine having another.  But who will care for me when I am sick, as I get (unthinkably) old?


Overwhelmed – breathing heavy, frenetic on the wheel, unable to calm, to self-soothe. So tied to all its cage-mates, this one plays out every conceivable and inconceivable scenario in its’ little hamster brain. How do I fill out those divorce papers? What about the two therapist appointments tomorrow, neither of which I want to keep? How can I find a life balance? How will I get the Directory done – the jpgs, the index? (I want to spend time with me, with Russ, with Kelsea, not be working.) What if Pat wants me to continue to pay for his mortgage (as he said he did – that’s why we need a mediator.) I worry about Pat. I am sick of working. I don’t even have time to take my recycle to the recycling center. And what about moving to the Caribbean?  Going into debt for the house, the bar?


And on and on…


I am forgetting the Secret.


And there are some positive rodents in the mix, they are just completely overshadowed by the chorus of madness from the aforementioned. It’s as if all the blurts are front-and-center, with no affirmations as counterbalance.


But perhaps that’s for a different night’s musings.


Russ says to call him if I can’t sleep amid the night. But I can never bring myself to possibly wake him from his possibly hard-won slumber.


My Mother’s best advice was “Never think about anything important after 2:00 am.”  My footnote to that advice: that’s when the bars close – coincidence? – but she did not drink. And it is now almost that witching hour.


The hungry hamster is chewing on the ropey-slimy cords of my intestinal tract in his demands for food, but I will not give in. I will triumph.


I will miss my garden and my lilacs in the Spring. I never had time for my garden anymore. That’s why it didn’t grow well.  What a metaphor.

April 2021


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