mental health

He Gives Me Quiet

My relationship with Chris Cornell started post-college. I had heard him a bit as an undergrad, probably from A., but our relationship started later. It was with Audioslave and his beautiful voice that I found a way to cut through stress and release mental peace when I really need/ed it.

I discovered I had an anxiety disorder while sorting some medical articles at my summer job at a hospital library during the summer of my junior year of college. I knew I had some sort of depression, but I didn’t realize that anxiety disorders were a thing, anxiety was normal to me. My panic attacks had started in elementary school and when I compared notes with a classmate, she also experienced them, so I assumed everyone did. I came across an article on social anxiety and I was stunned. My number one reason for missing class in college were panic attacks brought on by being a couple of minutes late and not being able to face the idea of walking past my classmates to find a seat. In high school, I had struggled for years with walking through the locker room in the morning or during a break when it was filled with students hanging out. Anxiety was a frequent part of my life that I had no idea why or when it would strike or how to manage it. It managed me.

I started getting better after that discovery and now I can’t remember the last time I had a panic attack. One of the tools I used to help myself deescalate was recognizing when my head felt off. It came about from having a partner that didn’t suffer from anxiety or depression and needing to find ways to explain it without making it worse. Describing it emotionally was liable to make it worse and also didn’t really do it justice. It wasn’t that I was sad about something, it was that my brain had decided to behave in an abnormal way. I started thinking about anxiety and depression in a more physical way than emotional. When I was depressed my brain felt dense, foggy, and lethargic. When I was experiencing anxiety it felt like there were fireworks going off, everything was sped up and it felt frantic.

I discovered that sometimes anxiety could be managed through having an outlet. For me that was loud and intense music. I started listening to Audioslave when I felt anxious and hyper-stressed and a release takes place in my head. Listening to Chris Cornell wail against the heavy beats of “Like a Stone” soothes me. A wave of calm that feels physical goes off in my brain, and I feel much better. It feels like someone else is getting out what I feel inside and that’s enough for me to relax, I don’t have to keep it pent up, Audioslave is getting it out for me.

Chris Cornell has made my life better. He gives me calm when  I need it the most. Knowing his own struggles makes this bittersweet, but I am grateful for his artistry and the peace it brings me still. He will be missed and remembered often.


You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise: When the one you love is hurting

This is from the blog of a wife of a marine that i’ve been reading for about a year. She’s pretty incredible for a lot of reasons. It’s a personal post, but I’m reblogging since it’s also a call for help and an attempt to bring to people’s attention the struggles that our armed forced have with getting proper mental health support and recognition. Really hoping he doesn’t end up deploying.


part 2

(You can read this is if you want the full back story.)

About three weeks ago, my husband and I got news that he was deploying. I found out right before one of our counseling appointments. I walked in the building, took one look at Ryan and asked “What’s wrong?”

He looked up and…

You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise: When the one you love is hurting

Back in the Saddle

We are our own worst enemies when it comes to improving ourselves. We’re the ones that won’t make time for things, won’t extend the effort, and tell ourselves we’re not capable. 

I think of horses in those situations where I find myself struggling to overcome a mental block that’s preventing me from doing something. I picture a horse going over a jump (it’s a beautiful sight if you ever have the chance to see it). This huge animal leaves the ground completely, full of grace, and soars over the obstacle in front of it, landing and continuing to run.

I went over two months without doing yoga (or any other type of work outs) and it was a huge struggle to go again. I thought about yoga pretty much every day, often more than once a day. I would beat myself up mentally about not going, even A. started pushing me, but I still wouldn’t go. I’d always commit to a later date, right now wasn’t the right time, later would be. 

I missed it every day. I missed feeling proud of what I’d accomplished in class, the relief that came from letting go mentally, and not having a sore back, . Yoga makes me feel happier, lighter, and healthier. So why couldn’t I make myself go?

Today I’m proud to say I finally went to class and faced my demons head on. I’ve had a few bad classes where I didn’t feel good and/or they didn’t go well and I felt disappointed in myself and relieved they were over. Having gone so long without going made me afraid I’d have another bad class. I was afraid to face the flexibility and strength I’d lost from not keeping in practice and I was afraid of spending class feeling disappointed in myself. Yoga is like running in the sense that you spend the activity very much aware of your mental state and physical state. You can’t escape or hide from it.

I went to class, I told my instructor (who was excited to see me back) about my hiatus and trepidation about returning and she was supportive. This helped a lot, I didn’t enter the practice feeling guilty which really made a difference. I didn’t set any goals other than to feel good and I’m happy to say I did. I kept up, only missing two poses because my hamstrings are super tight again, and I felt good. I didn’t get upset at myself, I didn’t feel disappointed, and I got to leave feeling proud of myself.

I also wanted to share something that helped me make it through class and push myself to not give up. I started reading this blog when I worked on Nike Women and was looking for a female fitness blogger to use for an event. We ended up choosing Ashley and ever since then I’ve read her blog and felt inspired. She’s very much a regular girl (although her achievements are ridiculously amazing) and she’s not intimidating.  She recently posted a blog about her experience being told “you only have once chance” while on a run. I told myself that a few times during the practice today and it helped me hold poses longer than I thought I could and not give up. You can always come back tomorrow, but it’ll be a different class and a different day. Today you only have once chance.