anxiety is THE worst

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I’ve thought about writing this post for so long, but always imagine the process to be way too daunting.  However, when I had my most recent panic attack this past week it left me startled enough that I can’t seem to let it go and think this process might be therapeutic.

Over the past year anxiety has become a word thrown around in our home way more often than I ever thought it would.  I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly when anxiety started to be an issue for me…part of it stems from when my mom was fighting her battle with cancer and the other part stems from when R and I experienced the shooting in DC one of the first times I visited him last year.  However, the panic attacks didn’t start until last August.  And although they aren’t frequent, they are not fun--obviously. 

I feel so stupid talking about my anxiety with people because the causes are so obvious and my fears/worries/everything under the sun that causes me to lose sleep seem so silly or easily solvable to people who do not experience anxiety themselves. And the fact that I have my masters in counseling doesn’t help either because I know all of the tools to use to help it.  And while that does make it easier, it doesn’t make it that much easier.  Because when I am in the middle of a panic attack I am not thinking about that. 

A lot of people ask me (aka my mom, my husband, and my psych –laughing crying emoji here—so many people) what I am feeling or thinking during the actual moment?  And this past week I really tried to think it through. 

This week Ryan was still sick from the week before and on Wednesday he was unable to really talk.  I didn’t think anything of it personally (other than about his health and comfort) because in the past my panic attacks have only been affected by whether or not my mom has been able to talk to me.  Apparently (so fun), now it’s more than just my mom.

--You might be thinking right now, “what? That’s weird.  I knew Megan was obsessed with her mom, but come on.”  But, what I’ve figured out through therapy and self-reflection is that this element of my anxiety stems from when my mom was in the hospital in New Jersey and was too exhausted to speak to anyone on the phone.  She was in the middle of fighting cancer and had developed an infection on top of it (if I am remembering correctly—we don’t talk about it too often and I choose to forget a lot of the details).  And I was in Milwaukee panicking about her health and dreaming every night that I was going to her house and trying to get her to talk to me and she refused…luckily my mom made it out of there and kicked cancer’s butt like the bad ass that she is, but anytime something happens that is particularly stressful and if my mom isn’t able to talk it through with me it spikes my anxiety.  And so if then something else happens to raise that anxiety any moreà boom!  Panic attack.—

ANYWAYS (isn’t this fun? If you’re still reading this, kudos to you.  I feel like I owe you a drink or 5).  This past week Ryan couldn’t talk to me and I had a training session with Kevin that I was rushing around to get ready for.  And within the first 5 minutes of being in the gym, he asked me to try a workout he didn’t know if I would be able to do yet (and I couldn’t…at all) and it felt like 20 (when really 4) people showed up to the small apartment gym all at once and just started immediately kicking ass.  And here I was in the corner with my trainer that I have invested a lot of time and money in and I was failing at a workout he expected me to be able to do and everyone was looking at me and Ryan wasn’t talking to me and I was fat and I’ll never lose the weight and----SEE!!!! Read that through at hyper speed (twice) and THAT is what is happening in my brain.  Then I can’t breathe and my breath keeps catching and luckily I was able to recognize what was happening so I was able to briefly excuse myself and go upstairs for…a Xanax and a hug from a freaked out looking husband (another crying laughing emoji here please).

And that is what my panic attacks feel like.  Only typically I am not in an environment that is easy to escape so it gets significantly worse before it gets better.  This was also my first panic attack since I have gotten a Xanax prescription for situational use.

My anxiety is actually getting better and I am becoming much more self-aware.  Ryan also deserves all the gold stars and pats on the back because he did not sign up for this and is such a rockstar.  A couple of weeks ago I had a panic attack in the frozen food section of the grocery store right after work and Ryan came home immediately and took care of everything.  And then sent me flowers the next day. 

So in conclusion, my anxiety sucks (but is slowly getting better), my husband is amazing, and you are now probably mentally exhausted from reading this and should go treat yourself to a glass or bottle of wine.  I will venmo you to cover the cost.

I promise next week I’ll keep it light and fluffy with a pup update!  Have a great weekend and go hug your mom!

a marathon, not a sprint

Monday, June 19, 2017

Don't let the title fool you.  I have never ran over 3.1 miles.  However, here I am to talk about this wonderful horrible fitness journey I started (restarted, actually) for the millionth time almost 3 months ago.  So, any of you who have to listen to me talk on a regular basis know that I hired a personal trainer a few years ago just for about 3 months but was able to lose that post college weight that I had gained and...hey, it only took two years to gain it back (insert crying face smiley emoji here).

Anyways, over the past six months I have just grown exhausted with not loving my body and decided to do something about it.  So, I looked online and found a personal trainer.  He is the best.  His name is Kevin and he's my age with a cute wife and kid.  He is also on a fitness journey too (when I talk about candy...he talks about eating too much fruit---insert crying face smiley emoji--again) and comes straight to the apartment to train me in the apartment gym. 

I love Kevin because he lets me whine and he is also hilarious.  He also thinks I'm hilarious which significantly helps the situation.  I was feeling vaguely frustrated because the scale has fluctuated in such an obnoxious way but I am almost down two dress sizes (depending on the store).  SO I am finally feeling over the scale (Kevin never wanted me to weigh myself more than once a month anyways).  And the before and during pictures are keeping me going.  So, here I am sharing my before and during story with you guys, too. 

One other fun accomplishment (other than my mini biceps) is that my plank PR has gone from 38 seconds to (drumroll please)...

Look at that!  I essentially cried when this happened.  Anyways, it's happening.  For real.  And it has transformed from 2 sessions a week with Kevin and supplemented cardio to that plus me agreeing when friends ask if I want to wake up an hour early on a week day to go on a run (I've done it yes, pigs are flying) and me actually not wanting to eat chips all the time? Who am I?

So, that's the big current update!  And here's hoping it just keeps getting better.  Feel free to ask me to join you on an early morning run...or something of the sort.  I just might say yes these days!

More Murray

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I came on here for a Murray update only to realize that was my last post as well! I guess you can tell what is taking up the most of R and I's time these days. 
Murray is: a pain, the best snuggler, incredibly popular in our building, also popular at the vet, teething HARD, loving on us hard, still peeing on the floor, and still waking up in the middle of the night. 

That sums it up pretty well! Murray is officially 5 months old and has tripled in size. He just had his first visit to the dog park and loves to jump up and bite holes into new clothes!

We love our little (big) guy! 

Meet Murray

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It seems fitting that right when I sat down to type this, Murray went to the bathroom all over the kitchen floor.  That should tell you how puppy life is going for everyone over here!

Last Thursday, we finally got to go pick up Murray, the bernedoodle, from the breeder!  We had some communication issues with the breeder and didn't know when we would get him until we got a text Thursday morning.  We were ecstatic and hustled to grab some food and carpet cleaner (the only two things we still needed).  On Friday, Ryan was able to work from home (I'm not sure how much he was able to actually get done).  It has been exhausting...and amazing.

Puppies are a lot of fun and a lot of snuggles...but a lot of work.  And I realize everyone that has had a puppy says that, but I think until you are outside freezing at 3AM waiting for your dog to go to the bathroom...after he peed on your pajamas as you walked don't truly understand what that "work" looks like.  Ryan and I love Murray to death but are still figuring out daily life with a very needy puppy that doesn't understand the concept of going to the bathroom outside!

Luckily, Murray is a cuddler extraordinaire who makes us laugh and feels like the missing piece that we didn't know we were missing!  So, it all evens out in the end :)

Skeeball Success

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ryan and I joined a skeeball league in January (who knew that was a thing??) and it has been the best decision yet.  Every Monday we meet our favorite friends at a bar in Chinatown and two unexpected things have happened...we had no idea how much fun it was going to be and we had no idea how good all the other teams were going to be!  So, last week when we won a game for the very first time we were straight up ecstatic! This upcoming week is the championship and let's sure hope we win again...but we aren't very optimistic!


Let's Go Pens!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Two weekends ago, Ryan took me to Pittsburgh for the first time!  It's crazy that we have been together over five years and I was just now making it there.  The city is incredibly important to Ryan, his family, and our pseudo family, the G's.  We were long over due for my first trip to Pittsburgh.  We drove up on Saturday was a successful road trip except for the 30 minutes when we realized we left our tickets to the game at home and didn't know if we could get them electronically.  After that stressful moment (when we were both mentally figuring out that it was both of our faults/nobody's fault/uh oh), we got back on the road and made it just in time to...wait in a really long line.
But really...we checked in to our hotel and hustled over to the fan fest.  I was more than happy to tag along with Ryan on what was about to be, according to him, the second best moment of his life...kissing the cup (if you ask him when I'm not around, he might have a different answer).  We took a ferry across the river to the stadium and stood in line for a little over an hour and a half so that we could touch/kiss/get pictures with the cup.  Ryan was so happy!  And it was a pretty amazing thing to see in person.  Even though I am sure the Pens will when the Stanley Cup MANY times in our lifetime, it was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. 
After we kissed the cup, we stood in another line to get in.  At the moment, I told Ryan that if Mindy Kaling ever comes to town he is waiting in a very long line with me to meet her! 
Our seats were pretty amazing and were actually inside at the game.  It wasn't as cold as our last time at the winter classic, but I was still grateful that we weren't sitting outside!  The highlight of the evening was definitely the fact that the Pens won (and that they had actual penguins on the ice)!  And that with the spirit of the game, I agreed to change our puppy name to one of the players, Murray!  (Also, how cute are our matching hats?  I had top priorities when planning our packing list for the trip).
On Sunday, we got up early and headed up the incline (I can't be the only person that is obsessed with the incline and the ferrys we took across the river).  Pittsburgh is such a unique city and I only saw such a small bit of it!
At the top of the incline we had an amazing view of the entire skyline, the bridges, and the spot where the three rivers meet.  It was pretty awesome and the best part was having Ryan point out to me all of his favorite places and family memories from that one spot (have I mentioned lately that I love that guy?).
We sadly didn't have time for any classic Pittsburgh meals, but we did manage to stop by an official Pens store because we obviously needed more Pens apparel...

It was such a great weekend with my main man and I am so excited to go back soon so that I can experience the rest of the city with him and hopefully another Pittsburgh win!


Wedding Planning Breakdown

Sunday, March 5, 2017

On social media lately, I have noticed a lot of stressed out bride-to-be's and it makes me both grateful and reminiscent.  Planning a wedding is a lot of work.  And depending on your personality and your organization skills, I feel like it can go either way.  I am super grateful that while planning a wedding I wasn't teaching or counseling.  I was able to get so many wedding tasks done while the babies napped and throughout the work days.  I am an over drives many people close to me a little bit crazy.  I like to fill up my calendar months in advance and have daily, weekly, monthly, and long term to do lists all always going at the same time.  It keeps me sane (even though Ryan is convinced it does the opposite).  Rather than becoming more relaxed as a planner over time, I definitely became even more rigid and type A as the wedding planning process went on.  One thing that really saved me was my master to do list. 

Right when we got engaged, I created a to do list in a google doc that my mom and Ryan were attached on.  I broke the wedding planning down month by month and as it got closer, week by week.  I included EVERYTHING on the list.  And it was my ultimate life line throughout the entire process.  I removed or adjusted some of the details that pertained just to Ryan and I's big day but, below is the breakdown!  Please use it or take from it like I did when piecing my list together!  Ultimately, I took every detail from every pinterest list I could find to make sure I wasn't missing anything.  Then I removed things that didn't relate and added as things came up.

The months on the list below coordinate with our October date.  We also planned our wedding that was in Milwaukee from I had to be extra detailed!  I made three trips to Milwaukee during the planning and had as many appointments as possible, but had to do a lot of the decision making over the phone.

As much as I love planning and loved planning my wedding, I was not one of those brides that is sad the big day is over while flying off to the honeymoon!
 January (12-10 months):
  • Plan for families to meet
  • Go for engagement photo sitting
  • Create website
  • Discuss budget
  • Pinterest page
  • Select a date
  • Choose and ask attendants
  • Put together guest list
  • Book site for ceremony
  • Book site for reception
  • Book officiant
  • Book caterer
  • Hire musicians
  • Hire DJ
  • Order dress and veil
February, March, April (8-6 months):
  • Book photographer
  • Book florist
  • Start online shopping for vendors/dresses
  • Meet with caterer to plan menu and schedule tasting
  • Send ALL save the dates
  • Book room for wedding night
  • Register for gifts
  • Select bridesmaid dresses/accessories
  • Order invitations and wedding stationers
  • Make arrangements with hotel
  • Hire hair people for hair trial
  • Make list of flowers needed
  • Investigate honeymoon destinations
  • Update passports
April, May, June (6-4 months):
  • Look for make up person/book
  • Schedule time for rehearsal
  • Book videographer
  • Buy and tie on ribbon for chair signs
  • Order and frame guest book
  • Print water bottle labels
  • Make honeymoon reservations
  • Plan rehearsal dinner
  • Reserve rentals for groom and groomsmen
  • Meet with florist to discuss arrangements
  • Order wedding cake
  • Purchase bridal shoes and other accessories
  • Have invitations addressed
June, July, August (4-2 months):
  • Vows
  • Add hotel/transportation information to wedding website
  • Research requirements for marriage license
  • Book/arrange for transportation for bride/groom/attendants and immediate family on wedding day
  • Order bubbles
  • Order cocktail napkins
  • Basket for bubbles
  • Buy banner for back of trolley
  • Select readings and songs for ceremony
  • Ask readers
  • Purchase box for wedding cards
  • Select songs for major highlights of reception
  • Purchase appropriate undergarments for under the gown
  • Purchase Ryan’s wedding ring
  • Have wedding rings sized
  • Select thank you gifts for parents
  • Purchase honeymoon clothes
  • Mail invitations
  • Print wedding hashtag signs
  • Buy and frame 2 hashtag signs
  • Hair and make up trial
  • Bridesmaids gifts
  • Groomsman gifts
  • Flower girl gift
  • Ring bearer gifts
  • Usher gifts
  • Personal attendants gifts
  • Table numbers
  • Write shower thank you notes
September (1 month):
  • Submit all required documents to church
  • Create/order ceremony programs (send to church one month before)
  • Basket for bubbles
  • Write welcome letter
  • List of songs to DJ
  • Find babysitter (we provided a babysitter in the hotel for guests with small children)
  • Have final dress fitting
  • Write petitions
  • Start arranging seating plan
  • Purchase hostess gifts for friends
  • Plan honeymoon
  • Pick up wedding rings
  • Contact all vendors (and have them contact event coordinator)
Two weeks:
  • Make nail appointments for friday morning
  • Let wedding party know about any last minute "day of" updates
  • Type up and print petitions
  • Obtain marriage license
  • Figure out something special for birthday guests (our wedding day was also the birthday of multiple wedding guests)
  • Write bridal shower thank you notes
  • Finalize seating plan (write place cards or give material)
  • Make cute bags for groomsmen gifts
  • Frame and wrap mom and dad’s gift
  • Wrap ring bearer and flower girl gifts
  • Make detailed schedule of wedding reception events to give to all applicable service providers
  • Timeline for bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Break in shoes and scuff bottoms :)
  • Get hair highlighted
  • Print copies of welcome letter
  • Groom haircut
  • Print programs
  • Tissue paper for groomsmen gifts (see how detailed I mean?)
One week before:
  • Confirm honeymoon reservations
  • Cash for honeymoon
  • Get crisp bills from bank for gratuities
  • Put tips in labeled and sealed envelopes
  • Organize final payments that need to be delivered on wedding day
  • Pack for honeymoon
  • Make list of everything we need to bring to the wedding
  • Confirm final details with all service providers
  • Rent movies on ipad for flight
  • Copy of petitions and readings
  • Compile honeymoon folder (flight itineraries and excursions)
  • Write letters to each other
  • Practice kissing and dancing
Day before/thursday:
  • Write in priest's card
  • Drop off welcome bags
  • Pick up marriage license
  • Get manicure and pedicure
  • Hand out wedding gifts
  • Pick up tuxes
  • Buy champagne for salon/trolley
  • Best man fill cooler for trolley(champagne, beer, water)

Let me know what saved you during your planning! 
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