Apartment Stories: Anxiety

Anxiety is a rather constant companion of mine. It use to be an every wakeful moment companion, a not let me sleep companion, and then it also use to bring its close cousin panic attack to the party. Thankfully, those days are behind me (for the most part), and anxiety only usually shows up occasionally, for small doses of time. Then this past week happened.

This past week –  last Sunday night and not stopping until about Friday evening, was rather brutal. Anxiety was with me more often than not. Doug, got sick last Sunday night, Monday we got our apartment sprayed for cockroaches. Those seem like insignificant things in the grand scheme of things – and they are…now. At the time it was anything but.

See, I have a phobia of throwing up. And Doug was throwing up. Was I there for him and taking care of him when he was sick – of course. Did I lose it thoroughly afterwards to my anxiety? Yes. Did I have a panic attack? No. Years ago I would have. So small steps in the right direction.

Then the spraying of the apartment. I had a sick boyfriend sleeping finally, and a piece of paper saying that I didn’t have to leave the apartment. Turns out the paper I had was wrong and we did have to leave – for 6 hours. Packed up sick boyfriend and we all went to my grandmother’s. Oh, and did I mention I was working from home that day too?

The next 48 hours were spent with me worried – irrationally worried – that I was going to get sick. Was I? No. Even writing that sentence makes me a little anxious because I’m afraid I’m jinxing myself. Doug had night shifts later in the week, and I slept over at my parent’s place after finding another cockroach after the spray and losing it. Because, hey, I hadn’t really been sleeping well. You can’t really sleep if you can’t really stop shaking.

The big triggers for me from this week that set me off were the throwing up and the change of my routine. Everything in the kitchen was in the living room and dining room, the stuff from the bathroom was in the hall and the bedroom. The apartment was in disarray, and I felt like I was in disarray already. Small drops of water as it were, that easily turn into a flood.

Now reading all of this from my calm mental and relaxed state – I know that I sound irrational. And that’s because it is. Anxiety is irrational. A switch gets flipped, a light goes off and all of a sudden your flight or fight response is triggered for no rational reason. And it can (as it did in this case) go on for days. It can be terrifying when you can’t easily calm down, and there’s no rational way to explain why you can’t.

So how did I calm myself?

As the week when on it started getting a little less on its own. I helped it along by meditating a lot. Meditating slows down your wayward thoughts, makes you breathe deeper, forces you to calm down slowly. I use the app Insight Timer. A friend of mine recommended it and it’s wonderful. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of meditations all for free. It’s fantastic.

I walked. Doug and I (when he’s not on night shift) taken 30-60 min walks around the neighbourhood. The exercise is light, but it gets you moving, gets your endorphins running, and by going with Doug it gave me someone to talk when my brain started running away with me again.

I also purposefully made this weekend my “reset weekend”. Doug and I put the kitchen and bathroom back together because a) it had to happen and b) it made me feel so much better. Friday night I went to bed at 9:30 and slept for about 9 hours. I woke up feeling refreshed. Saturday I made my day of rest – I cooked myself French toast for breakfast, I read, I relaxed. Sunday, was (is) more productive as we cleaned the apartment, and I sat down at my laptop to work. But even so, Sunday (today) is being approached with a relaxed productivity. Things need to get done, but there’s no racing around. It’s almost like nesting or puttering.

So here’s what I’ve been reminded of this weekend. Life happens, and it’s okay to fall apart after you’ve handled the important things (like taking care of a sick boyfriend), and it’s also okay to take the time to reset yourself. We’re not machines, and sometimes we don’t function like we think we should. And that’s all okay. We just have to take care of ourselves, ask for help when we need it, and most importantly try to remain positive that the irrational cloud that’s hanging over us from time to time isn’t a permanent fixture in the skyline.

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Apartment Stories: Mother F*cking Cockroaches

I need to preface this story by saying that I have never seen a cockroach before. I’ve seen hissing cockroaches on tv, but that is my only frame of reference. 

It all started when I picked up the kettle one evening a couple of weeks ago, and saw some beetle-y type of bug zip off. It startled me, but it was like a black blur, so I thought nothing of it.

A couple of days ago by, and then one morning I’m home alone, and open up the cupboard to have a beetle-y type of bug try to kamikaze me. I yelp, the bug falls out of the cupboard and there’s a mad dash of the bug trying to escape and me trying to kill it. The bug escapes.

Another day goes by and this time there’s one near the sink when I pick up the sponge. More yelling occurs, and this time I manage to take a picture of it. I text Doug (who is at work) and ask him “WTF is this bug.” The picture is a crappy one, and he can’t be sure. I ask him if it’s a cockroach because it’s the only word I have to define what these bugs are. He says it doesn’t look like one.

Now, all of these sightings so far have only been seen by me. I am currently the girl who cried bug, and Doug at this point thinks (I’m sure) that I’m blowing this out of proportion.

The next morning comes around, and I am running late for work, and need to take a shower. I pull the curtain back to see another one of these God forsaken bugs in the tub. This time though Doug is home – sleeping finally after a nightshift. So what do I do? I wake the poor man up and demand that he come look at this bug.

He comes into the bathroom and said the words that I dreaded hearing, “Yup, that’s a cockroach.”

I left the bathroom, went back to bed and just cried.

Overdramatic? Yes. Was I, in that moment, totally done with all of this? Yup.

Doug comes back to hug me, and promises to talk to the building manager about it that day. I get ready for work, Doug makes me lunch and I make it to work – on time even.

Later, when I come home, I get the scoop. Our building’s common areas are sprayed every month, and they also spray any apartments that have any problems. WE MISSED THE EXTERMINATORS BY ONE DAY. So, they’re coming early July.In the meantime, Doug sprayed the apartment, and we’ve recently set traps. Doug has taken out at least 3, and I’ve taken out 1 (it was really tiny. I do not do bugs people).

You know what the funny thing is though? Before we met Doug and I never had any problems with bugs in any apartment that we’ve lived in. We’ve been together almost a year and a half, and we’ve dealt with bedbugs and cockroaches. It’s like we had too good apartment karma and the scales needed to be balanced or something.

Never a dull moment here at the apartment. Stayed tune for next’s week (mis)adventure!

 

Apartment Stories: Moving In

Near the end of May I moved in with Doug, boyfriend extraordinaire and love of my life. We had always planned on moving in together this year, but a shitty living situation at his old apartment (a neighbour with a reoccurring bedbug problem that became Doug’s reoccurring problem) had us looking for a place earlier than we anticipated.

Doug moved into our new place in January, and I lived at the apartment on the weekends. I was saving up for a car, which is why I wasn’t able to move in at the beginning of the year. The apartment though was always “ours”. My name was on the lease with his, we furnished and decorated together, and also moved in some of my stuff in January too.

Finally, I moved in at the end of May, and I have to say the first week was a bit rough for me. I have an anxiety problem, and ulcerative colitis. Each of those on their own sucks, but the fun times start when one of them sets off the other, and that’s what happened the first week of me officially moving in.

I am not good with change or with new things. Do I adapt and overcome and succeed? Absolutely. It just takes me a little bit longer than everyone else to do that. I think Doug was worried for the first week that I regretted moving in or that I was going to change my mind because I was just so anxious. And I kept reassuring him that it was simply because everything was new.

Lo and behold by week 2 and 3 I was no longer anxious. There was no hum zipping through me like electricity or anything. Do I still get anxious in general? Of course. It’s something I deal with on a regular basis, and Doug is amazingly wonderful for helping me deal, and just being supportive. But the “new apartment, this is where I live now” anxiety is completely gone because this is home.

Anxiety is fantastic at helping you live inside a little box where you get way too comfortable – and incredibly bored. So, as nerve-wracking as it is, you have to continuously push yourself to try new things and move forward because while the anxiety can get really bad, it never lasts, and it is so worth it when you get to the other side of “new”.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s Apartment Story!