Me vs. Silence

I’ve been busy these past couple of weeks hence why I haven’t posted in quite a long time. I moved in to a house with 3 of my best friends, got a job, and for once, I feel like my depression is starting to lift for the first time in almost a year. My panic attacks have been coming infrequently (about every 2-3 weeks instead of every week or biweekly) and because I’ve been doing mindfulness meditation every night, I haven’t had nightmares nearly as often. So you could say things are finally starting to look up. Thanks universe!

I’ve still been trying to stop the things in my life that give me anxiety as much as possible and even if it does, sitting with it like I would with my exposure therapy in treatment. One thing I noticed while I was driving back to Portland from visiting Seattle for a few days is how much anxiety silence gives me.

Some people say they can’t live without music to show off to others how much music fills their life and “wow look at me I like music I must be special worship me pleb but yet I’ve never picked up an instrument but I can “sing” because I can sing sort of kind of good in my mind to Adele on the radio” and yada yada yada.

I say I can’t live without music quite literally because silence drives me a little mental. I cook, study, read, fall asleep to, and am constantly surrounded by music because silence frightens me. I always knew that something about complete silence threw me off. I don’t necessarily have to have music (something specifically with a melody) per say. There needs to be some sort of prominent rhythmic sound around me at all times. Maybe it has something to do with my synesthesia  and maybe its because my family played music at all times of the day for my entire life. When I was taking tests, I could hardly concentrate because of the silence. Lying in bed with complete silence scares the living shit out of me. Sitting in a waiting room or on a public transit without music fills me with untold anxiety. For a long time I had no idea why.

I realized why while listening to Twenty One Pilot’s song Car Radio. Normally the song helps me get out of suicidal or depressing thoughts (mainly both of their first two albums) but it also helped me realize that silence is violent to me. Like how Tyler quickly lists off strings of consciousness through the song, that’s what my mind does when I don’t have some sort of sound filling my ears. Thoughts that normally are quiet suddenly flood my head like a dam failing. I try to do the tips my therapist in treatment taught me about how to handle so many thoughts and let them pass, but when they’re drowning your mind, its hard not to suffocate. I notice that when I fall asleep without music, I get more nightmares because my mind tends to think endlessly before it falls away to exhaustion. A normally anxious situation will suddenly become hundreds of times worse because its completely silent.

If you were ever wondering why I ask you to put on Chopin while I’m having a panic attack and maybe have you talk about something wonderful that happened in your life, its because these sounds and music calm me down to an “eh” level of intolerable panic (may not sound great, but its a huge improvement from the “oh shit” level of intolerable panic).

I did exposures with silence while I was in treatment, and I have realized that I really need to keep exposing myself to it more and more as I continue to make huge strides in conquering my anxiety. My improvement is already monumental, but I want it win this war once and for all, even if it includes winning little battles like this.

Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Some Happiness Just for You

This whole week I’ve been opening up Facebook and Twitter and become increasingly more upset every time I do. I cried on Monday morning when I saw the news about the Orlando victims.I frantically called, texted, and messaged my friends, LGBTQA or straight, in the Orlando area to make sure they were safe.

I feel terror in my heart as a bisexual woman and terror for the rest of the beautiful community I am part of. I see people fight on social media about gun control and Islam while I am seeing the faces of those who died. My heart sinks every time.

I didn’t make a blog post to talk about this horrible tragedy. I, frankly, don’t want to right now because I’m still mourning and I’m not in the right place to. Instead, I want to shed a little bit of happiness on social media amidst all of this sadness. How you may ask? The best way possible of course: baby animals!


First of all, one of the best websites on the internet is Paw My Gosh. It is a website FULL of animal videos. It has categories that range from funny, to heartwarming, to just cute overall. It has links to adoptions and is possibly the best heart lifting website on the internet. I go to it anytime I wake up from a nightmare or just want to feel a little bit better than before.

Next is a video my best friend sent me when I was really upset in London. It cracks me up every time I watch it AND it features puppies and dogs of all sizes.

This next video is my favorite pet video on the entire internet. Yes. I am going that far. It makes me smile, laugh, or cackle, or all three literally every time I watch it.

 

You want kittens? I got kittens. This is courteous of the website from before, Paw My Gosh. (THEY HAVE AN ENTIRE YOUTUBE AND ITS WONDERFUL)

 

And for this final video, its not an animal video, but it is my favorite video OF THE ENTIRE INTERNET. YOU THINK I’M KIDDING? GUESS AGAIN! Some of you may think less of me but I really don’t care because this video brings a smile to my face and all I want to do is bring a smile to yours

Have a day FILLED WITH ALL OF THESE KITTENS!!! Okay?

Zoey K.

Shit Happens – A Conversation

I was in treatment one day reading this book called Attitudes of Gratitude by M.J. Ryan. The chapter I was reading was about how we as people view the universe. It starts out with a quote by Joan Barysenko quoting Albert Einstein.

“Einstein was asked what he thought the most important question was that a human being needed to answer. His reply was, ‘Is the universe friendly, or not?'” 

The chapter then goes into what happens when we view the universe as friendly vs how we view it as unfriendly. Viewing it as friendly means that “we believe that life is on our side, that good things will come our way, and that even when bad things happen, they are bumps in the road designed to teach us to become more wise, more whole, more loving.” Viewing it as unfriendly means that, “we see our life as an endless struggle against difficult odds, we believe bad things are either random or sent purposefully to torture us, that there is nothing we can count on and therefore we must brace ourselves for the next crisis, hoarding what we have in. In this view, gratitude is very situation specific. We’re grateful – maybe – when things go well, but we are always read to fall for it all to disappear.”

Now I have had enough bad shit happen to me where I subscribed very heartily to viewing the universe as unfriendly according to Ryan’s definition. I wanted to appreciate life, but I was terrified of the next bad thing to smack me in the face just as things were going well. So I asked my treatment therapist what she thought it all meant. She said (completely quoted by her. No bullshit),

“Shit happens.” ~ Treatment therapist 

(To soothe your minds before you call the treatment center, she was blunt with me a lot because I prefer it when therapists are like that. She one time told me, after I explained what happened to me in middle school, “That sucks hardcore.” and I never felt more supported by a therapist in my life.)

I was a little flabbergasted though.

“What do you mean?” I asked. (Following conversation is paraphrased)

“Look, I get you like this book, but its not empowering to think one way or the other like its black and white. Go with the flow. Instead of saying, ‘oh well the universe is just a little unfriendly today oh gee whiz’, ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this situation?  How do you adapt?’ You don’t have to be this little positive person all the time to live a good, healthy, meaningful life. Sometimes life sucks, and it may seem like life sucks a lot right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to focus on them.” 

She was right. She’s not telling me to push feelings down just to make it seem like everything is fine. Instead feel it, but learn. There is no shame in having a bad day, but don’t brood on it so that it becomes a bad week and then a bad month. The way my attitude is makes a huge impact, but that doesn’t mean I have to adopt only one frame of mind. Life can’t be viewed in one frame; its simply not built that way.

I then asked her about hope. Lately I had been hopeful about a lot of things that probably weren’t going to happen and I was wondering if there was any point in doing that as well.

“If you didn’t have hope, I would be really concerned about you. You can always hope, but it matters how you handle the disappointment.”  

It all ties together. It matters about not what you feel, but how you handle it, what you learn from it, and how I adapt to it. Darwin is right when he says that adaption is the key to survival and I’m ready not to just survive, but live.

Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.