Category Archives: Anxiety

When Your First Kiss Causes a Full-Blown Panic Attack


By Ryan Moreno

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Ryan Moreno

Do first kisses usually cause panic attacks?

I don’t mean a heart-racing-weak-in-the-knees anticipation kind of feeling, either. I mean a full-blown, honest-to-God panic attack.

Thought I didn’t realize it at the time, mine did. The muscle memory is still with me. My heart is hammering my chest just from the memory. I remember the physical sensations, the thoughts that ran through my head and the emotional upheaval as clearly as if it’d happened only yesterday:

Sweat beaded my lip and brow, and ran its cool fingers down my spine. I was so flushed, my body was burning up. I hyperventilated and my heart beat so hard I thought it would jump out of my chest (due to a heart condition, when I’m having a panic attack, I can look down and literally SEE my heart pounding). It felt like I was on a roller coast (I LOVE roller coasters, but I didn’t love this one – it felt more like drowning), and the contents of my stomach were threatening imminent reappearance. This was my first kiss panic attack. I was 15.

It took him hours to wear me down. Maybe days. That part is kind of hazy. He was also 15, but either much more experienced or simply more confident than I. He was persistent and wore me down. That I was quite attracted to him might’ve helped to tip the scales in his favor. Even while we were kissing – French, of course 😉 – my heart ran a marathon. That fight or flight syndrome. I didn’t know what to do, how to handle the sensations running through me. I let him take the lead and he devoured me.

Kissing came easier after that. Until a few weeks later when I became uncomfortable with him slidding his hand up my skirt and attempting to fondle my breasts. He called me a prude. I’d never been called that before and had to find a dictionary. When I told my mother he’d called me a prude, she said I should be proud of that. At 15, I was just as uncomfortable with the idea of being a prude as I was with his hands on the covered parts of my body.

I don’t know if he really was looking to “score” or just wanted to fool around a little. After establishing my “prudishness,” he quickly lost interest. And I became a subtle stalker. I didn’t have the confidence to confront him, so I prank-called his house multiple times, wrote a lot of bad poetry, broke a few of my figurines, and cried. It wasn’t the first time – nor would it be the last – I cried over a male who didn’t deserve my tears.

I hated to say no to him…when I was younger I had that “want to please everyone” personality. I hated confrontation. It made me sick to my stomach. But at the same time, I was willful and stubborn. Great tug-o-war combo. I still sometimes struggle with wanting to make everyone else happy. But I’m less afraid of confrontation.

Something inside wouldn’t let me say yes to him…So I was a prude. Until I was 19. A guy I’d known for several years (my brother’s best friend, in fact), who was a couple years younger than me, said the right words, at the right time, and wooed me in just the right way…I let him in where another male hadn’t been since my CSA 15 years before (I talk about that HERE.) Eventually, this younger guy became abusive and the end of our relationship was a disaster and emotionally traumatic for me…but that’s another story for another time…

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, Blogging, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Survivors, Writing

Guest Post: From Size 0 to Size Mom. And Proud of it. By C. Streetlights


I won’t ever be size 0 again, and that’s probably okay. Maybe.

I will be turning 40 at the end of this year and I am slowly accepting the changes in my body that age does to a woman. It’s the age when our bodies turn against us and we come a sort of featured special on the Nature Channel entitled: “When Host Systems Attack.”

I was once one of the girls who other girls longed to be – the type who could eat an entire order of chili cheese fries from Volcano Burger and still want a chocolate shake, not even caring because she knew it would all burn off by dinner time. The horrible trade-off (in my teen-aged mind) was that I was all angles and knees with no boobs. Well, no boobs compared to some others. At that age, or even younger, it was the tale of what we didn’t have compared to what someone else did.

I took my weight for granted during those years. For that matter, I took the entire concept of a healthy lifestyle for granted. Exercise? Hell no; that means sweating. And effort. And probably planning. Eating healthily? Why would I eat fruit and vegetables when God created cheese and the burgers to put it on?

Once I was married, though, my body gave me hints of what was to come. It was like The Christmas Carol but completely different because I’m not Scrooge and this isn’t England. I never gained “The Freshman 15” in college but I definitely gained it as a newlywed thanks to cheap, starchy eating based on our budget and a little special something called the birth control pill. In my young 20-something mind, I thought this was close to the end of the world, bringing my weight from 100 pounds to 115. (I know, I know, don’t yell at me.) But while I was still weighing in at a healthy and normal weight, it still meant no longer fitting in my clothes and that always screws with your head.

exercise-machinesSeveral life events struck me all at once which only added more weight on my body: a busy teaching schedule, a full-time master’s degree, a new baby, and most importantly, my laziness. Sure, I could’ve done something about my weight during any one of these life events, but honestly I just wanted to drink my Dr. Peppers and eat chocolate cream pie. Who wouldn’t? It was bad enough that I had to walk all the way up and down a hill to my car just to get to and from my apartment; why add exercise to that mix? It was a small hill, but still.

However, deep down I knew it was time to drop the weight. My baby entered kindergarten so I couldn’t genuinely call it baby weight anymore. We bought a treadmill with the new house so I mostly enjoyed that. Soon I was running and when I didn’t have to get off of it in order to use the bathroom (all mothers understand this), I could run at pretty good clip.

I can’t run outside. I have sensitive ears. Long story.

When I met my goal weight, the only people excited for me were my family and doctor because the reality is everyone else is a member of a club called the We Hate Success Club. You discover who holds a membership card pretty quickly once you succeed in something you’ve worked hard at and these other people are dicks about it. Soon after, the club president cornered me in her office and accused me of going through a midlife crisis. Because you know, a woman in her early-30s who loses weight is obviously going through some sort of transcendental crisis. The vice president just plainly accused me of having an eating disorder while in the faculty room. Because you know, this is always The Best Tactic to use when exhibiting concern for someone who has an eating disorder.

Actually, it isn’t. Don’t do that. Ever.

In truth, I learned pretty quickly that when it comes to weight your goat is roasted if you gain weight and your goat is roasted if you lose it. No matter what, nobody will be happy with how you look so you might as well be happy for yourself. Overall health should always be the key factor, not the hope that others will be super thrilled for you. Because the dicks from The We Hate Success Club will be at your door, and they won’t bring you a plate of cookies. They only bring sour grapes.

Now that I’ve had my second child – almost 5 years ago – you can bet that I am back at the starting line again. Except this time, I’ve got my age and a bad hip against me. Again, my clothes don’t fit and I face the timeless battle women everywhere face in dressing rooms all over the world: Do I suck it up and go up a size, or do I just go get a Cinnabun and call it a day?

The one activity I did enjoy – running – is no longer an option to me and so now I have no choice but to just sit on my ass all day writing blogs like these and eat the chocolate chips I have hidden in my bedside table. Right? Right.

I won’t ever be a Size 0 anymore. I’m mostly okay with that because for hell’s sake, why are we even producing clothes at that size anyway? But I’m also mostly okay that at my age it just takes more work to get this body to look how I want it to look. I have to fight for every damn pound I lose and be more creative in how I fool myself into exercise. But that’s all okay too because while I won’t ever be a Size 0 anymore, I will always be a Size Mom and my kids need me to be healthy for them.

___________________________________________________________________

CeeStreelightsAfter writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took twenty years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her new memoir, Tea and Madness is now available.

You can follow C. Streetlights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Family, Guest Post, Life, Mental Health, Motherhood, Sarcasm, Writing

Guest Post: This is the Reason Writing Your Story Helps You Thrive by Rachel Thompson


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Milada Vigerova

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Milada Vigerova

I tell people right away that I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but I didn’t used to. I held that shame and fear of judgment in tightly for years, a filmy veil of anxiety separating me from everyone else. I didn’t feel I could really get close to friends or even lovers, always holding back this ugly secret. If anyone saw the real me, the tainted, used me, they wouldn’t want to pursue any kind of relationship.

It’s a common mindset after trauma – to be in victim mode and not even realize it. Total nonsense, of course, because I’m awesome. Ha! But this is what shame tells you, one of many horrific stories we learn to believe.

Therapy and meds helped me a lot to overcome those lies, but the damage is incredibly deep, it never truly leaves us. I moved from victim to survivor, but it took a lot of work, and if I’m totally honest with you right now, I still argue with myself sometimes; I minimize, or tell myself that it could’ve been worse, which is just so incredibly fucked up. How much worse would it have to be? I was only 11 when a man stole away my childhood…and then he came back for more.

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Cathryn Lavery

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Cathryn Lavery

Eventually, I found the courage to write and share my story, despite the voices in my head telling me to shut the hell up, that nobody would care to read about yet another victim, that talking about something that happened 30-plus years ago would be seen by total strangers as a pathetic bid for attention (when truly, who cares? It’s my story, dammit, and I matter).

I moved beyond surviving into thriving. Writing, no publishing, my story, became such a huge part of my recovery, I truly had no idea the impact on so many others and myself.

That’s where I changed my paradigm and fooled that wretched little voice: I made friends with Shame. She’s been with me longer than almost anyone, and she has a lot to say, too. So, I let her speak, and Broken Pieces was born. I released it in 2013 and it’s still #1 on Amazon’s Women’s Poetry list, #2 on Women Authors, and Top 20 in all of Memoirs, which blows me away.

It’s won gosh, like 10 awards, but more importantly gave rise to a huge community of survivors, and that means more to me than anything else! #SexAbuseChat (every Tuesday at 6pm pst/9pm est) on Twitter with survivor and licensed therapist Bobbi Parish, the #NoMoreShame Project Anthologies (published by the Gravity Imprint of Booktrope), and a 100+ person strong private survivor support group I moderate on Facebook are all the result of that first book. So is the Gravity Imprint!

Broken Places followed in 2015, with more amazing reviews, awards, and top rankings. I’m writing the final Broken book now, Broken People, for a Winter release from Booktrope. Apparently, Shame still has more to say.

I’m still just as busy as ever with writing, business, publishing, my advocacy work for other survivors, and most importantly, being a mom. Beyond surviving, I’m now thriving, though with occasional triggers, I stumble my way back.

My kids vaguely know something bad happened when I was younger – my son will be 11 in September. He’s very protective of his mama, and I love that about him. I’m raising him to be respectful of all women, including his almost-17-year-old sister with whom he bickers constantly over the Xbox and Squeakers, our girl cat. He has a lot of females in the house to learn from!

The lessons are there, though, and that’s what matters; I tell them both often, “you get what you give, and you give what you get.” Give mad, get mad; give compassion, get compassion. Him: Give money, get money? Me: Welcome to Capitalism (and book marketing).

I survived, and now I thrive, because I give what I get.

**********************************************

Rachel-Thompson1Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope.

She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish. She is also the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope, bringing stories of trauma and recovery (fiction and nonfiction) to life. Read more about the Gravity authors and their books here.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Author Site: rachelintheoc.com
BadRedhead Media Site: badredheadmedia.com
Twitter: @RachelintheOC
Twitter (Business): @BadRedheadMedia
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelThompson
Facebook Broken Pieces Fan Page:https://www.facebook.com/BrokenPiecesByRachelThompson
Facebook (Business): https://www.facebook.com/BadRedheadMedia
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+RachelThompson/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rachelintheoc/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/rachelintheoc/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rachel-thompson/24/784/b95
Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4619475.Rachel_Thompson
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/j9oaH
BadRedhead Media Newsletter: 
http://eepurl.com/koN8r

16 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, Blogging, Booktrope, Depression, Gravity Imprint, Guest Post, Life, Literary, Mental Health, Published, Survivors, Writing