Thursday, January 22, 2015

This is Anxiety.


On Edge,


Sometimes I hate downtime. Honestly, I really love downtime to the core of my being. It's my anxiety and OCD that hate it. 

Well, my dogs sure do love downtime!

Downtime causes my brain to have too much freedom to wander off into Anxiety Land, causing 

on edge,
anxious feelings to pulse throughout my body. 

It's funny how something so revered--freedom, fun, relaxation--can cause so much havoc and stress in my every day. 

It starts in my brain; my brain tells my body that something is "off," something's "not right." I need to be doing something. My brain tells my body that non-productiveness is ridiculous. 

Ignoring my anxiety brain, I try to remain relaxed and calm, but those feelings soon shoot throughout my body like electricity. I begin to feel unnerved, jumpy, jittery, unable to sit still. I sometimes feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin if I don't get up and do something. And my brain is screaming, "JUST GET UP AND DO SOMETHING FOR GOD'S SAKE!" 

I've had a few of these days lately, few and far between from how many I have had throughout most of my life, but enough to make me feel fidgety, on edge. 

That's the thing about anxiety: it's unpredictable. It can wake you from a deep sleep. It can bring down the happiest of days. It hits you in the face like a ton of bricks. Yet you keep pushing it down, ignoring it, blocking it, but the physical affects of anxiety are real and hard to ignore. 

It's hard to make yourself get up (when you want to be relaxing) and run up and down the stairs or jump up and down or dance when you don't feel like it. Sometimes releasing the energy is the only way to bring the anxiety down. It doesn't always work, but it's usually a hit, not a miss. 

Some days I just get tired of the unknown, the rapid fire, the frustration, the restlessness. It gets old.

My goal is happiness, contentment--so I will continue on with this journey, even though the battle gets draining sometimes. I wish I could step in a boxing ring with my anxiety and give it a piece of my mind. Sometimes I've had enough and would just like a vacation from the anxiousness. I can handle it--I do every day. 

Some days it's just hard to feel turned upside down and dangled by your ankles when you just want to do nothing but relax and feel 



Do you ever have days like that?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tried It Back!!!

Guess what?!? Tried It Tuesday's back!

Since I haven't posted a Tried It Tuesday in awhile, here's the "Tried It Tuesday deal:"

On Tuesdays I typically post random items that I have tried {or found out about} and enjoyed in hopes that you will find something in my list that you may enjoy too! 

Here are some things I've tried recently and enjoyed:


I  am seriously in LOVE with the App Word Wall! I got my sister Rachael to play with me too! I love a good brain challenge. Word Wall is a FREE App that challenges you to take a wall of words and find all the pairs of words that are associated with one another until there are no words left to be matched. For example, words can be matched as synonyms, antonyms, sayings/phrases, or parts/whole, just to name a few. 

Here's a picture of an example screen you get when you open the App:

Once you read through the words, you tap two words that you believe fit together in some way, or can be associated together, and they turn dark gray {as shown below}:

My first match was entertainment and film.
And then...

Film -- Entertainment
Crap -- Poo
Animal -- Dog
Drink -- Wine

Once you get towards the end and there are only a few words left, you start to realize that some of your matches may not be "the best" matches/choices, so you end up having to do some rematching. The game will alert you that you can no long make matches with your leftover words. 

I ended up rematching "column" with "support."
Then "dependent" became free, so I could match "baby" with "dependent."
I kept going until all matches were made {I stopped taking pictures after this screen :) }.

At first the timer bothered me, but it only counts up. You get stars if you complete the puzzle within so many seconds, but I've never not made it to the next level. {I think you can take as long as you want.}

So fun!!! You have to try it, and exercise your brain!!


My dad was always a caramel fan. He loved butterscotch too. I never had a huge taste for them {I think because of their chewiness}, but I recently found some silky smooth, soft caramels that are delish!

I picked these up at Target. They lasted me a few months; I'm not a huge candy eater. 

They were on sale at the time for $2, but are normally $3.99 for a package of 16 pieces. They are also Gluten Free! They are not too chewy, not too sweet, and have a nice, subtle buttery taste. 


I recently read a few books that I've had stacked waiting to be read, and I have to mention the one I just finished. It was FANTASTIC!

Mockingbird follows Caitlin, a young girl living with Asperger's. Her world is very black and white. Everything around her seems confusing, but her older brother Devon, was always there to help her throughout her life. After Devon was killed in a school shooting, Caitlin's life became even more confusing: her brother is no longer there and her dad is not able to give her his full attention because he is so distraught. Caitlin wants her life to go back to normal, but she doesn't know how to do that. She thinks that understanding how to find "closure" can help her, but she's not sure how to go about it. On her search for closure, she realizes a lot about herself and her new life. 

For My Teacher Friends:

F & P Level: W

DRA: 60

Grade Level Eqivalent: 3.5

Lexile: 630

I absolutely LOVE this book. Caitlin is a character you will fall in love with!


For Christmas, I got silhouettes made for my mom of me and my sisters. They are beautiful! I found a shop on Instagram @missthistleshop also at that makes custom silhouettes of people, animals, and houses! The owner sends you digital copies that you can get printed in any size you like. Here are what ours look like:


I found the gold frames at TJ Maxx. Love them!! Thanks, Meiska!! <3


Does anyone else love Ed Sheeran? I <3 his music, but I have never seen his music video for "Thinking Out Loud" {love this song btw!}. Holy poo, he dances in it!! I watched this like four times Sunday night. Love it!!

Oh! And have you seen OK Go's newest music video? Amazing! They did it in one take! So cool. This makes me smile!! And they count in Japanese :)


I love Bigelow tea. My all-time favorite is Cinnamon Stick, but my local Kroger and Target DO NOT sell it anymore! It makes me want to loose my mind! (It's the little things that make me happy! I want my tea back, damn it!) However, I did find a delicious new Bigelow tea that I am really digging right now. It does have more caffeine than normal tea, so I have to only drink a cup now and then because of my headaches.

I really enjoy the creaminess of the tea from the honey. I also haven't noticed that the tea gets bitter if you steep it a little longer than you'd like. 

That's it for this week's Tried It Tuesday!

What have you tried, found, or enjoyed anything new this week?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Monday, January 12, 2015

Still Unsure about my Migraines

So my migraines have been going...

I've come to the conclusion that they're never going away, but I've always known that. It's just hard to come to this realization at this point in your last-ditch-effort treatment to suppress your pain.

On Thursday, I will get my third Botox treatment that will last twelve weeks. At this end of this twelve weeks, I'll see {hopefully} how much the treatments will help me in the future. (Nine months was the amount of time my doctor wanted me to wait to see the full effects of treatment.)

The treatments have been, over time, helping a somewhat as I've noticed. So far, the frequency of migraines that I have in one month has not gone down, but by a few. The intensity and severity of my migraines has gone down. The migraines are more responsive to medication; they tend to go away within 30 minutes, instead of lingering all day (when I take medication). The only problem is determining when to take medication (because I only have a certain amount per month) and not to take too much because then I can get rebound headaches from it. 

One of the hardest parts is that when I do get a migraine, even right after taking my mediation, I almost always feel the need to lie down until the medication kicks in. That is impossible to do at work, so I usually just give myself an injection or take a pill, plow through, and hope it goes away with out being able to rest for 20-30 minutes.

But the toughest thing to get used to {besides the Botox injections} are the Torodol injections that I have to give myself when my migraine last for days at a time and none of my medication is working to get rid of them. I have never been a needle-loving girl. I used to pass out in the doctor's office when my mom was pregnant with my younger sister, Rachael, and they'd take her blood for tests. I distinctly remember blacking out once and then waking up with my head between my legs while I was sitting on the floor.

Being able to give myself injections at all is coming a long way for me. Seriously. I laughed the first time my doctor suggested it. I never in my life would have imagined myself at this place giving myself injections. My grandpa would have laughed too. He used to pass out at the sight of needles as well {must be genetic :) }. The last few times that I've had to give them, just looking at the needle made me nauseous. I was already nauseous from the migraine, so I had to call Bjorn to give them to me. 

Sometimes it can be really overwhelming. It still makes me a little emotional just thinking about how far I've come and that I still seem to have so many migraine-filled days. I know I should be optimistic, especially knowing that with all these medications, the migraines have become more manageable. But it is really hard sometimes to be optimistic in the face of all of this.

I'm not looking forward to Thursday. My second round of Botox was not a fun one. The numbing cream wore off waiting on my doctor, so I felt every needle going into my face. Super not fun. This time I am timing them to get their booties in the door before it wears off. If not, we're rubbing some more cream all over my head. 

So we'll see how this round goes. I definitely notice the Botox wearing off, which I think is a good thing. The last two weeks, my neck has been so stiff and in a lot of pain. It must have really helped to block the nerve signals from my neck and upper back, which really helped with those types of migraines. I know I need to get another treatment; it's just knowing I have to get it done that doesn't make for a good week :(

Hopefully, I'll have some good news that the Botox is helping more at the end of the next three months, since my doctor is beginning to tailor the doses and injection sites to my needs and pain areas. Knock on wood, fingers crossed, and I told my dad to keep an eye on me. I know he is. Here's to hoping these next three months are positive for my migraines. 

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Winter Break is Over!!!! :0

Aaaggghhh! Tomorrow is my first day back to work after a two week break. Thank god it's a teacher workday. I put my grades in this weekend so that I can talk to some teachers that I work with about grades, work on some paperwork, and get ready for this week. I AM NOT ready to go back. It's hard after two weeks off to get back into the swing of things. 

I really want to be enjoying myself on the couch like this little guy instead of getting ready for my state ESL testing and so forth. Blech!

I had some great things happen over break! And I'm going to try to think of those things to get me through this {I'm predicting} long week. For one, my niece was born on January 2nd. She is super adorable, of course! Ashley, my sister, is doing well. My niece's name is Olivia Noelle. I really want to squeeze her cute, little cheeks, but she lives in Utah. :( Pictures and videos will have to do for now. 

I also got off to a great start on break by organizing my walk-in-pantry. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but I just haven't had the time to take everything out, deal with the mess, and reorganize everything. Now I just have to slap some labels on everything, and it will be good to go!

Please ignore the crate that needs to go to school minus the small plate 
and vintage cake pan. Gotta stick that crate in my car :)

Most of the bins, the hanging tray, the lazy Susan, and other organizational tools for this project, I picked up at the thrift store. There's a post on that one coming! You can find some great, inexpensive, organizational finds there! They don't always match color-wise, but hey, they get the job done!

Bjorn also got me some super cool attachments for my iPhone for Christmas, since I'm such a picture-taker. They're different lenses that attach by magnets over the lens of your phone that achieve different photo effects. Here's me testing out the fisheye lens. So cool! You can check out these lenses at Phtojojo.

This is mid-walk-in pantry organization. Boy, that was a crazy mess!

And let's just talk about a guilty pleasure that I've been dabbling in while I've been driving to and from the post office mailing clothes and books from my Instagram shops,: teeny-bopper music! Does anyone else love either of these two songs right now? I know, Bjorn is probably poo-pooing me and rolling his eyes {or shoving his fingers in his ears}, but these songs make me want to turn up the radio, sing really loud, and dance :) Evan, I know you're laughing at me too! ;)

I already know the words to this first one:

5 Seconds of Summer, "Perfect"

MKTO, "American Dream"

I mean, seriously, my 6th graders love 5 Seconds of Summer ;)

Overall, I had a really enjoyable break. Now I just have to find ways, with the stress of work and everyday life, to find ways to continue to relax, enjoy myself, and be happy throughout the rest of the school year. I think I'm off to a great start so far! 

To all my teacher friends, happy first day back to work!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Friday, January 2, 2015

Finding My Happy in the New Year

This year I am not writing about New Year's Resolutions. I don't want to feel the pressure of one looming over my head. For some reason, when I hold myself to a resolution, I feel anxiety about it; I feel this mounting pressure as time goes on to always live up to my resolution. Then if I fall behind, I feel down on myself, like I'm not good enough at anything, because I can't keep a damn New Year's Resolution. And I don't think that's the point of having a New Year's Resolution. 

There are a lot of things that I want to do this year, and I don't want to feel the pressure to do them. I just want to want to do them. And I know, from past experience, that giving myself goals just leads to failure. With my anxiety, I know that would be setting myself up for failure. 

So this year I decided to make a list of things that I'd love to do this year that will make me happy. This past year was a roller coaster of emotions--finding my way through depression, dealing with new treatments for my headaches, and feeling stagnant on my happiness journey. 

I am writing this list in hopes to remind me of the things that make me happy and to remind myself to in all honesty, do them more often. 

Here's my Happy List for 2015:

1. Read

This fall I definitely did not read as much as I usually do. A lot of my energy this year was spent just making it through the day, so I didn't spend a lot of time doing the things I love. Look for an upcoming post on my to-be-read list for the new year!

Here's a preview of a few books that I would like to read this year:

2. Blog

I miss writing and want to write more. Expect more blog posts coming soon! And because I love writing, this note from Jacqueline Woodson means so much to me:

I look at it when I need to spark my motivation. It makes me happy. 

3. Move More

Over the last year, I haven't been as active as I usually am. I haven't been going to Zumba. I haven't been dancing. Changing medications, feeling tired, and feeling depressed have taken a toll on me. I've gained some weight, and I don't feel like myself. I want to feel like myself again. 

4. Laugh

It's funny the things that you take for granted when you feel depressed. I never laughed--about anything. It took so much energy to laugh, smile, try to feel any kind of happiness. This past month, I remember two times--one on the phone with my sister and one watching TV with my husband--when I just uncontrollably laughed, non-stop until tears formed in my eyes. It felt nice to feel happiness again--genuine bliss. It's funny how going through such a dark time made me distinctly aware of laughing. Afterwards, it was like I had a moment with myself--I just laughed out loud. I can't remember the last time I did that.

5. Learn to Meditate

One thing that I've learned through my headache journey is that pain creates pain {and stress creates pain which creates more stress and pain}, so I have decided that I would like to start meditating. There has to be some kind of link between mind over matter and nerves signalling pain. I've tried a website for biofeedback--a way to try to promote self-soothing and calming of your mind and body. It involves deep breathing and guided imagery. I like it, but I feel like I need some more heavy duty mind-over matter practice when it comes to my migraines. I've got it down {most of the time} for my OCD, but intense pain is a different beast. I do well when my migraines are not severe, but it's hard to focus when you can't see straight, you feel like vomiting, and you're sensitive to sounds. Sometimes in those instances, it literally hurts to think. I started a Pinterest board called Meditation. I am going to keep adding to it as I find new meditation ideas. 

6. Relax

In talking about meditation, I think relaxing fits in nicely here. I've been much better at this lately. I've learned with time, especially with my migraines, not to push myself. If I have a migraine, I need to lie down and rest. I don't need to spend the evening cleaning the house. It will be there tomorrow. If my house isn't pristine, so be it. If I'm planning on working out and I feel a migraine coming on, I won't push myself. I'll work out another day. It sucks, for sure, but I've learned that I'd rather feel better than almost pass out or throw up on the dance floor. And driving home with a migraine is horrible! I've learned my limits; it's time to acknowledge them and take a deep breath. I don't have to be perfect. 

7. Have Fun

This one is a biggie for me. When I was depressed, I didn't do anything fun. I didn't want to. I want to have movie marathons, read books, blog, play with my dogs, go out to dinner, cross stitch, and learn how to play the ukulele! 

8. Don't Sweat It

This is a big one for me and my anxiety/OCD. I have always and still do {to certain extents} worry about other people and whether I'm doing the right thing to keep them happy instead of whether it's the right decision for me and my life. I've always been this way, and this is probably going to be an ongoing struggle. I always feel like when I say "no" to something, that I owe an explanation. I feel that I need to keep other people happy and I worry that something I did wasn't the right thing to do in a certain instance. 

I used to worry and dwell about different things that I said or different situations that happened on given days. Over time, I've gotten better about spending less time thinking about them after the fact, but this year I'd like to dwell even less. The choices I make need to be what's best for me and that's not being selfish. I need to take care of myself. 

These are the things that I want for myself in the new year. I'm going to work on them, but not set myself to a certain timeline or make myself feel like I have to do them by a certain point in the year. After all, finding happiness is an ongoing journey. In my personal life, I do much better without deadlines hanging over my head. So here's to the new year. I hope everyone is looking forward to 2015 like I am! I'm ready for a happy year :)

What do you plan on doing this year to find happiness?

Love and happiness <3 Holly