Stress and Anxiety

I attended a class based on neuropsychology and anxiety recently. I got a lot out of it, and I’m realizing I’m so stressed all the time that I don’t know how to relax. And I’ve realized this has been going on for a long time. I’m used to working 12 hours a day, every day. I’m used to not having days off or vacations. I’m used to having 20 minutes or so of ‘free time’ and spending it working on my website, updating social media, or bathing dogs. I literally don’t know how to ‘settle’ anymore. I talk about achieving balance, and that IS what I want. I don’t want to feel stressed anymore.

stress1I didn’t realize all these symptoms were from lack of sleep, mental rest and lack of down time. I seem to always be tired. I’m working on eating healthier, working out more consistently, balancing house chores with work chores, and setting more strict “work hours” for when I do my pick ups, drop offs, and answer client phone calls and messages. But when I’m not working, I’m thinking about work. When there’s just ‘one more thing’ or projects that are incomplete, I can’t stop thinking I’m wasting my time just sitting and not doing anything. I forget things over and over again. And most of all, it feels like my emotions are non existent. Like, I I just don’t feel anything. It’s strange because I’ve always had an over abundance of my emotions and they are normally all over the place. Now, this lack of emotion is disturbing to me.

It feels like once I “get off work”, and try to turn off, we make dinner, and then we watch 20min or so of a show, and then go to bed. There really isn’t time for much else after dishes have been done (and sometimes, we don’t even do that!). On weekends, we catch up on gardening, house projects, cleaning, shopping, and sometimes we’ll have time to go out and do something. But it’s hard to enjoy even getting out because we try to pack so much in. Even when I go to sleep, my mind is still racing. Then, I wake up and immediately my mind is racing. It’s on overdrive all the time. It doesn’t slow down, it doesn’t stop, and when I meditate, I can stay focused for about 3 minutes, and then I lose it. For just 10 minutes, I want to focus on my breathing and thank my body for all it does for me. But I can’t stay focused that long. Apparently, that’s a symptom of stress too.

There are not enough hours in the day to do everything. I’m stretched thin. I’m functioning, and I’m not unhappy, I just don’t have anything else to give at the end of the day. Even in the middle of the day, I have to psyche myself up to do anything that’s not on my normal routine. It shouldn’t be that way. Even if I just need to google something, or return a personal phone call, or clean up a mess. I have to mentally prepare myself to get off track and hopefully I can get back on the track again. I’m just going through the motions, but not really living. That’s stress too, I found out.

Everything in my life is great, and I’m moving forward towards bigger and better things every day. I found a great love, who makes me want to do better, dream bigger, and then make it all come true. We want that for each other, and we want to help each other achieve those dreams. But we are both stressed to the max with all the recent changes in our lives that the big dreams are just overwhelming. Recently though, we’ve both been too tired to do that. Going out always seems like work. I want to go have dates, and enjoy a getaway weekend sometimes, plan vacations where it’s not the most stressful thing in the world to leave, work on chores without feeling like I’m sacrificing down time or having to pick and choose between work and house projects.

stressI want to hear what people say, and stop assigning negative thoughts to compliments. I always hear negativity, and part of what we are trying to work on is removing negative influence in our lives. We want a wealth of positive vibes, happiness, and love. But when we are stressed, negativity makes a nest inside us and comes out in forms of self destruction. For me, it’s negative thoughts that are tied in to compliments, and not feeling like I’m enough. I want to eliminate the stress so I don’t have to feel like this. Because I know that’s not true.

I’m taking a different approach to finding balance and I have started learning about energy healing from within, psychotherapy and reiki. We’ve started on a new spiritual journey together where we are attending these classes and learning how to better balance ourselves and work through our underlying internal issues. I’m scared, but also feel like once I know, I can begin a new path to healing. I want to be able to feel connected to my spirit once again. I want to stop missing the beauty.

 

 

Burned Out

I have been going, going, going for far too long. I’m tired, and I rarely enjoy any of the things I can really enjoy when I’m not so tired. I’m just so tired all the time. Things that are fun should be relaxing and help me recharge. But when I’m doing hobbies or trying to unwind, my mind is racing with all the things that I haven’t done.

I am trying to focus on the things I HAVE done instead of everything I HAVEN’T done, which is lot on both ends of the spectrum. I graduated high school with a 3.95 a YEAR early. I graduated college with my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science when I was 20. I bought my first house when I was 21. I opened up my own business when I was 24. I was successful and quit my full time job when I was 25. I am a successful business owner and bought my second house when I was 28. I have been homeless (in a sense). I have felt love and heartbreak. I have felt loss. I have felt failure and success. I have seen death and also new life. I have built the life I have now on a dream that I made come true. I am proud. I sacrificed to make the dream come true. I missed out on so much because I was building this. There was light at the end of the tunnel. It’s there, I’m in the light now. My business is self-sustaining and now I have too much business for just one person. I have for quite a while. It’s taken over.

overwhelmedI see it like mint. My boyfriend taught me how to plant vegetables and herbs. I learned how to keep it alive and how to nurture it and meet its’ needs so it can thrive. I learned what a struggle looks like, and I learned to love our plants. Now, back to mint. It’s a hearty plant that takes over. At first, I was worried about it growing at all. I thought I would kill it. So I took care of it, watched over it, loved it. Now, it’s taking over our planter box. I can’t keep up with it. It’s going to take over everything else in the box because it’s just growing all over everything. My business has taken over every area of my life, and now I need to prune it. Trim it back, and let the other areas have a chance to thrive too.

I know exactly what I need. I know what jobs I need help with. But it’s taking the time to train someone else and get them up to speed that takes away even more time that I don’t have. Training directly under me…someone should be paying me to teach them what I had to pay for. I need a student. “Dog Trainer Seeks Apprentice”. Too many have phased out. This life isn’t for them. They can’t handle the stress, or the intensity. It’s too hard, it’s too stressful, and it takes over. Too many people think they want this life, but they don’t. It’s not easy. It’s not playing with puppies all day. It’s mentally challenging, physically exhausting, and emotionally draining. You get attached, then it gets ripped away. You get frustrated when your clients can’t do what you can do. It’s not a realistic expectation for them to do what you do. You have to constantly remind yourself people aren’t being stupid… they just don’t know.

On a personal level, I sometimes don’t feel good enough for the other areas of my life. I feel like I fall short. Like, other people could do a better job than I could. Like I hold them back from better things. I’ve spent too much time building this business-life that I’m retarded in other areas to the point where I will always fail. I don’t voice it because I’m ashamed. Ashamed of not being better. Of not being able to perform as excellently in all areas of my life as I do in my business. I’m a phenomenal dog trainer. I’m an excellent teacher and coach of people who need help with balancing their dog. But balancing my life it seems I constantly fail. I feel like I’m spinning out of the control and I can’t catch the string of my life that is floating away. I’m watching it, but I can’t catch it. It’s going too fast. My lungs can’t get enough oxygen, my muscles are sore, and the space between my fingertips and the string is getting bigger and bigger.

I tried to balance. Work hard, play hard. I scheduled time off MONTHS in advance so I could enjoy a weekend here and there without dogs. One weekend a month. 12 weekends a year, I wanted to enjoy a couple days off. Even if that just means staying home, but only having our dogs. Day hikes, trips to visit my family (It had been 4 years since I had visited my dad at home until June of this year). I’m feeling pretty upset since this probably means I will need to work and miss my boyfriend’s friend’s wedding in Georgia, miss his birthday weekend, miss rock hunting, breathwork energy classes, parties, holidays, family get togethers, hanging out with friends because I’m too tired, camping.. etc.

I need about 4 more people besides myself to run the business where it’s more self-sufficient than it already is. I dream so big that in order for me to do everything, I need 4 people here, and then I need me. I have such big plans and wants in my life that it’s overwhelming for me to think of more than just today. And then when I do, I don’t want to do anything because it’s too much.

I don’t feel good enough. But for me to be better, I need more energy. I feel like I’m failing. I feel like my needs are being met and I’m being selfish. I do my best, but I feel like it’s not enough. I’m not enough, but I’m too much at the same time.

Unexplained Peace

journeyAll is right. In this perfect present moment, everything is exactly how it should be. I’m totally one in this present moment and everything is right. How can that be when the world isn’t perfect? Nor did I have the perfect day. Far from it. How can I be so ‘present’ when emotionally I was so all over the place today? I was pissed, angry, tired, depressed, frustrated, disappointed, and panicked. Lots went wrong today. But here I am, in this present moment, and everything is right in the world.

Maybe because I’m choosing to see the world in that way. I’m choosing to see the beautiful. I’m choosing to feel the zen. I’m not manic, I’m not overly positive. I’m just here. Just being. I see the beauty in myself, in the world, in the work of others, and the beauty of mistakes. But I also see the disappointment, misunderstandings, greed, and failures. It makes us who we are. Neither are bringing out any emotions in me right now. I’m just an observer.

Things went wrong today. It was actually kind of a shitty day. An hour ago I had plenty to write about. Now, I feel like my mind is blank…in a good way, so I’m just trying to explain this feeling.

I felt so overwhelmed, pissed, sad, panicked, angry, disappointed, blindsided, and then now… nothing. Not numb, at least not in a bad way. I’m not depressed, or manic. This doesn’t happen often. I’m usually on one side of the spectrum, especially lately. It’s kind I’m just here in this physical body. My soul is here, at peace, in my physical body using it to harbor a calm soul. It’s a feeling I haven’t felt in months, and I guess it just took me by surprise.

flowersThis is the mood where I just go outside and stare up into the sky and observe. I watch everything. It’s like I find a deep meaning in everything, and in nothing. Material things don’t matter. Physical bodies are just there to support the spirit. Emotions are not present. Physical looks, products, money, materials and possessions cease to matter in this state of mind. All that matters is the soul. Politics and corporate drama are non important. Conflict between friends seems to fade away. All that’s left is the spirit, the soul, and a higher purposes. It has been a very, very long time since I’ve felt this feeling of what I call ‘ultimate peace’.

I was feeling vulnerable and very strong emotions of being scared of death earlier in the day. I felt like I was dying. I was literally thinking I was going to die. This time, I panicked in the water, and I felt like the ability to breathe was also taken away from me. In this present moment, fear is gone. I thought of loss of life, and all my loved ones living on without me. For some reason, right now the fear of death is gone. If I were to shed my physical body in this moment, I feel like my soul would be free, and I would be at peace with it. This is not a depressed feeling, or suicidal thoughts flooding my conscious. This is not me wishing for death. There is nothing negative about what I’m feeling. It’s like everything is quiet with me. My conscious and subconscious are on the same plane of existence and I’m feeling one in myself.

It’s like this feeling has also shed emotions because they don’t exist in this state of mind. Maybe I’m dreaming while I’m awake? Because the only time I can remember I have felt this is when I have woken up from a very good dream (also rare when that happens).

No idea what triggered this feeling, and also it doesn’t matter. I don’t care to figure it out because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where this feeling came from because it doesn’t exist in this state of mind. Whatever it is, I feel like I want to preserve it. The ultimate peace is learning to be. Have I somehow figured out how to do that? I’ve been trying for years. Yet, in this moment, it hit me. Just now. Very strange, but I’m ok with it. I would love to feel this at peace all the time.

Uphill Battle

Depression is debilitating. Literally, you can’t work through it. Motivation goes out the window, your body hurts, you can’t focus, you feel like crap, and you just want to sleep. It does go away, it does get better. But in those moments, you feel like you will never be happy again.

You try to do things that make you happy, but all it does is just makes things worse because you are forcing yourself to do something. I find it’s easier to do something you don’t want to do, because you’re not going to like it regardless of your state of mind.

Everything is negative. Everything is stupid. And you don’t want to do anything anyway. Just sleep. Well, guess what? You wake up and you still feel the same. Doesn’t help anything. Everything in life is dull and you fail to see beauty and happiness in the things that used to make you happy.

Getting past the hump of when depression is the worst is the most challenging task I think I have ever done. You just have to keep truckin’ and not let the darkness take over. I have mentioned before what it’s like when the demons take over your conscious as well as your unconscious. It’s terrifying, and I won’t let it happen again. So, I’m fighting this uphill battle with trying to stay on top of my emotions.

jainismI attended a chakra and archetype class a few months ago where I started to learn more about the religion of “Jainism”. I started researching, as it sounded very similar to what I believe in, and it’s very in line with my deep morals and beliefs. I feel I have become less spiritual lately, and want to focus again on bettering myself and rising above all this negativity in the world. If you are interested in learning more about Jainism, it’s basically the principle and practice of nonviolence. They don’t believe in a single God, but they do believe in many Gods who have achieved enlightenment. I don’t have the mental capacity yet to say I want to achieve enlightenment. I mean, that sounds great, but I can’t grasp that concept in my real life. What I do really appreciate about this particular religion is the atmosphere and feeling that we should fill the world with love and peace and not even let our thoughts be negative towards another person or thing. To just love. Not that I’ve entirely forgotten about that, but I notice I’m not actively practicing it, and I am allowing the energy of outside influences affect my inner peace.

Some of the things that almost always interrupt my peace is what’s happening in the world. A big one right now is the political debate. Voting time is upon us, and the news, the internet, social medias, and everyone’s thoughts are a revolving door of new, negative, and heated things about each candidate. Personally, I feel politics are out of the scope of what I’m here for. I stay out of it, not because I plead ignorance, but because I feel there are bigger problems of the overall mindset of the country. Placing law after law, and solving the symptoms of a bigger problem will not resolve anything. Take for example a dog who pulls on the leash. Putting on a harness, a prong collar, or any other training tool will not solve the issue. What is the issue then if it’s not pulling? THAT is the right question, now isn’t it? It’s the mindset of the dog who thinks it’s ok to pull on the leash. Stop the mindset and it doesn’t matter what tool (if any) you have on the dog. It’s not about the tool, it’s about teaching the dog pulling isn’t an option anymore. All behavioral issues have solutions if you change the neurological pathways on how they reach a decision. Which means teaching the dog to think. Teach people to THINK instead of REACT to everything and you have a solution. Fix the bigger problem, not the symptoms.

jainism2Anyway, struggling with motivation to work today, and I just need to buck up and get ‘er done. I don’t have a lot of on my plate work-wise right now, which is nice, because it seems I can’t handle much more than what I have now. We are working on the dog house this weekend, and the project seems very daunting. I’m sure it won’ be that bad, but this is work I haven’t done before, and with very little mental energy, I’m hoping more than anything I won’t just get in the way. I’m going to have to be taught, which means it will take longer to get things done. And constant teaching and supervising is exhausting, so I kind of feel like I have to be a fast learner. And in my current state of mind, I’m hoping I can pull it together.

Practicing lots of calming breathing exercises today, and listening to my meditation mixes. Just doing the bare minimum so that everything that needs to get done, is done, and then taking time to uplift my spirit today. For every one task, it seems it’s taking me so very long to prepare. I have used schedules in the past for myself to keep myself on track so I don’t become unproductive. That helps if I actually care. It’s when I don’t care that it’s a task to even follow a pre determined schedule. So send me positive, happy vibes and maybe I’ll have enough in reserve to come up with some positive, happy thoughts for myself today. I am trying my best.

Realigning with Mind, Body, Soul

I’ve forgotten about balancing all areas of my life. And in each big area, there are smaller areas that also need to be balanced.

My mind is constantly enriched by what I do. I have to think, I have to focus, and I have to teach. I’m honestly on intellectual overload most of the time for what I do and what I’m helping people learn. I need to dial this back so that all of my different areas can thrive. I need to give my mind a rest, and focus on a few other areas as well. I need to learn to ‘turn off’ when I’m not working.

mindbodysoulMy body has definitely taken a backseat lately. I have started to neglect my body’s wellbeing by not working out as often as I need to and not eating as well as normal. I rescheduled my 1/2 Ironman race due to all that’s happened within the last few months. Buying a new house and making sure my business is still successful has been my priority. Moving in, organizing (which I also feel I’ve fallen behind on), and making sure every single dog gets their needs met every day has been where my focus is. So, I want to get back to working out 3-4 times a week to make sure I’m ready for my tri in St. George in October. Still going to Australia, but not for the race. Which means now the dates are flexible, and we can spend time exploring and having fun. We need a vacation, and that’s going to be a big one.

Ah yes,, my soul. There was a weekend recently where my boyfriend and I connected very deeply, and I made a realization about myself. I realized I actually AM amazing. I do amazing things, and I help a lot of people. Even though I am very proud of how far I have come, I guess I never really realized how much good I actually do. I know I’m awesome, but I didn’t realize I was anything super special. I’m just me. I mean, I live a big life, but I’m still just me. I didn’t realize how far I have come, or how the things I’ve been through have shaped me, or how many people I help every day. I also do what I love. Every single day, I get to work from home, hang out with my dogs, help other dogs who need direction, teach people how to be stronger pack leaders, and enjoy being in nature every single day. I live a pretty awesome life, and I want to get back to feeling the balanced zen feeling.

I’ve forgotten to watch the sunrise. I’ve forgotten to listen to the rustle of the leaves in the wind. I missed the lightning in the rain. I’ve been too busy to notice the birds are having babies in my trees. I have been blinded, and missed the beauty. Again. This time, I haven’t been lost. But I’m not paying attention. I haven’t meditated in way too long.

Again, I missed something that’s right in front of me. I got caught up in daily life and forgot to stop and pay attention to the beauty of the world. I started to care too much about everything else, and not enough on where my attention is most needed.

I desperately need a nature day. I feel like I’m getting closer to having the freedom to take one when I need one, but I’m just not there yet.

I live an extraordinary life. I’m amazing, and I built this life. I want to get back to feeling amazing every single day. And that means I need to reconnect with my mind, body, and soul. It’s easy to get off track when something in your life pulls all your attention to one area. I need to keep balance and focus on each area equally.

And that means I’m going into the mountains today and meditating. When I started my healing journey last year, that’s where I started. And that’s where I’ll start now.

Fall Aspen trees and Maples. Mt. Timpanogos, Wasatch Mountains, Utah.

Fall Aspen trees and Maples. Mt. Timpanogos, Wasatch Mountains, Utah.

Reminders of Loss

The hardest part about loss is the constant reminder that something is gone. The little moments that didn’t used to mean much, but now leave a dark empty hole where they used to be. Little memories create stabbing pains. Like little flashbacks, then the teasing little hurt that comes after reminds you there is now an empty space.

recoveryNothing really helps. Nothing really makes this feeling go away. Distractions ease the pain for a minute, but it always comes back. At least that’s how this is going for me. Start to sleep, wake up and realize it’s not a dream. This really did happen, and the pain isn’t fake. The loss is real. I wish it wasn’t. I wish I could turn back the clock and enjoy the little moments again because someday they will be gone.

Distractions do take my mind of off the suffering for a little while, and I try to do all my favorite things. Watching shows, working, video games, snuggling my dogs, being outside, and enjoying friends’ company only helps for a while until I realize this is real again. The only thing I need is time. I don’t really want to do much of anything. Cuddled up here with my dogs, staring off into space is honestly all I want. I don’t need chocolate or conversation, just company. Seems my dogs all know that. They can’t make the pain go away, but they know I need them to just be here. They’ll lay with me all day without complaint. They won’t try to push to talk about it. I don’t feel like a very good leader for my dogs this week. I can’t be a leader for them right now, I need them to make some good decisions for themselves right now.

Time seems to be moving faster than me. Where did the week go? Last I remember, I was talking about if the prednisone was working.

If I needed to start thinking about options for Napoleon.

If we were at that point yet.

Then, he declined rapidly. I watched as he started to lose his motor function. The light in his eyes went out, and he was telling it was time. He started having accidents in the house. He couldn’t hold his weight sometimes when he was just standing.

Then, he was gone. He was just gone.

soulhurtsNapoleon was a special dog for a lot of people, and I really love that everyone who knew him got a chance to see how special he was. He shared his happiness with the world, helped me through hard times, helped me teach other dogs, and helped clients learn some new techniques as well. It makes me happy to know so many loved and cherished him like I did.

The hardest part about loss is the reminders. I can’t stop thinking about it. My soul has a dark, empty space. There isn’t emotion there. No anger or sadness. Literally, that piece of my soul feels like it died. A little piece of my soul went with Napoleon. He left a little piece of his soul with me, but also took a little piece of mine.

I will heal. With time. But time has to slow down for me to catch up. I feel like it’s moving too fast, and I can’t keep up. I just want to lay here with my dogs until I feel better. Do absolutely nothing until my soul has started to heal. I’m trying to be happy and live, because that’s what he would have wanted. He was a very happy dog.

My heart and my soul hurt so much. But I will heal. I got this….

RIP Napoleon

Nappy and Heather

July 2013

My stomach is in my throat, and tears stream down my face as I’m grieving the loss of one of my oldest partners. Napoleon was my first dog, and my sidekick for the last 7 years. He helped me see the love of training dogs and helped me make the dream of owning my own business a reality. He was my demo dog for my clients and my service dog for working through PTSD. He taught me to be softer and how to ‘wait’ for what I wanted rather than to increase the amount of pressure I was applying. He taught me to trust, and he taught me what the human-dog relationship was all about.

The loss of my dog is that of the same as a loss of a child. An innocent, pure soul who we helped become something in the world. My heart is broken, but I feel it all throughout my body. Words are hard to form, and it’s difficult to get anything done. To find the motivation to even move or talk. This is a deep, deep loss and it feels like I left a little piece of heart in the vet’s office.

Milkbone NappyNapoleon lived with my mom since I broke my foot at the beginning of April ’15. She fell in love with him, just like everyone who met him. He was an amazing friend, and I enjoyed doing everything with him. He was an “American Dream Dog” as one of my client’s described him. After he had some training, he always listened, he was spot on with every command, he was 100% off leash reliable, and was polite with other dogs. I used that example with a lot of my clients because I believe any dog can be your “American Dream Dog” once you achieve this type of relationship with them. This won’t take the dog out of the dog, or change who they are.

I feel I have this type of relationship with all my dogs, but the one I had with Napoleon was different and special because he taught me this was possible. He taught me about living a life with a dog is one of the most fulfilling adventures. He was the reason I was introduced to Heather Beck from K9 Lifeline, and that started my entire journey on the path to becoming a dog trainer.
He stuck with me through flooding in my brand new house, the journey of me figuring out how to handle my PTSD, anxiety, depression, and my bipolar swings. He was there when I needed to get away from the world. He always greeted me like I was the best thing since sliced bread. He went through my divorce with me. I used him to help with evaluations and dogs who needed help. I used him as an example for nutrition, obedience, and behavior stories.

CGCnappyJust like all dogs, he has all kinds of happy, silly stories. I’m trying to remember them all, but the hurt is too much right now. Give me time. I feel this in my bones. My muscles hurt everywhere,  my head is going to explode, and my heart is in pieces. I hurt everywhere and all I want to do is sleep. But I have to be strong. The world keeps turning, and he wouldn’t want me to shut down. So, I’m working. Slowly, but I’m doing what needs to be done, and I’m teaching. I may break down in front of everyone, but I’m not stopping.

I don’t hide how I feel very well because it’s exhausting and takes way more energy than just being honest. So I’m being honest. My heart is broken and I’m on a roller coaster of emotions. I’m raw and fragile and I’m not a rock. I can’t be anyone’s rock for a while. I need to take care of me, and I promised I would be strong.

dirtynappyIf I didn’t make the decision, he would hang on as long as possible to be there for me, and he would be happy about it until the very end, regardless of how he felt. Rob told me Nappy would tell me when he was ready, and so I made the decision that as soon as I “heard” that, I would make a decision and I wouldn’t waiver. So, on Saturday night, he showed me. It was really hard all day watching him, and that night, it was unmistakable. I didn’t know if I would see him again when we went to sleep. I made the decision I would call as soon as everyone had a chance to say goodbye.
NappyHappysept2015This dog was very special, and helped me get over a lot of baggage. And maybe, he did his job. He helped me release a lot of things I was hanging onto and taught me how to handle emotions a little better, how to let things go a little faster, and how to teach everything I learned to others. And I absorbed that information, so his job was done and now it was time his soul went elsewhere and helped others learn.

I don’t believe in a Heaven or Hell. I don’t believe in God or Satan. I believe that when we die, pieces of our souls go where we are most needed. Usually to another broken soul, or to a new life. Napoleon has a pure, happy soul. He helped me realize I am also in charge of my own happiness, and external influences shouldn’t affect my happiness. I am in charge of my state of mind, and I can fight anxiety, frustration, anger, and sadness. I can choose to be happy. Right now, I am choosing to grieve the loss of my friend. Don’t worry, Poly, I’ll be happy again.

I miss you so much, and I’m so happy you chose me for a few years to teach me everything. I’m lucky to have had you in my life. You’re so special, and I hope your soul finds peace and happiness wherever it goes.

I love you, buddy.

Nappy 2013

December 2013