Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello Anxiety: “Sometimes It’s Fine to Be Corny.”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

So the other day HR and I bought a bunch of local fresh, Savannah corn. It was the yellow and white bicolor variety (which I refer to as bisexual corn). I shucked it ALL MYSELF. For some reason (childhood issues?), Robert WILL NOT help with that chore. But I find it soothing and therapeutic. Savagely ripping the husks and tassels off and carelessly tossing them into the trash. (Note: Talk to Therapist Rubi about all this.)

We first did corn-on-the-cob—my favorite corn rendering. But we had a bunch left over.

“Google it,” HR said. “Find another recipe.” For some reason, that suggestion got on my nerves a little bit, but I did it.

Break in the Narrative.

This morning, I woke up early, ready to face the challenging world. But two things happened, causing that challenging world to be REALLY challenging.

First, I burned (burnt?) the bacon. Okay, let me explain. For 99.99% of the adult population, burning bacon is no big deal. But for me, today it was devastating, especially when I had just gotten off the phone with my dermatologist’s office (which actually caused the bacon to be burned).

For months now, I have been having pretty severe lower leg rash issues. I was supposed to have had an appointment this morning to look into the problem. But I got a call—my dermatologist came down with COVID-19. And I would have to be rescheduled.

Well, the earliest I could see my doctor would be mid February 2023!! I have a conflict/avoidance issue, so I didn’t pitch a fit, which most normal people would have, and which I should have.

So after the burned (burnt?) bacon, and the dermatologist fiasco, I spiraled a bit. Into anxiety. Of the “Nothing is good in the world variety.”

As we were sitting down for breakfast, HR said, “Well, at least you didn’t cry when you burned the bacon. You usually cry when you mess up your dishes.” (TMI?)

We both laughed at the pathetic yet victorious truthfulness of his observation, and salvaged what we could from the bacon. I should’ve taken a picture of it. But if you can just imagine a piece of black construction paper, that’s basically what my bacon looked like.

Back to the narrative.

I found a recipe for Sweet Corn, Shrimp and Rice Skillet. Initially, I thought it was too fancy for me to try. HR’s the gourmet chef. But then I decided to attempt it anyway. In my grandmother’s 10-inch cast-iron skillet.

First, I cut the corn off the cob.

Then I made a purée of onions, garlic, shallots, red bell pepper, fresh ginger, fresh turmeric and homemade vegetable broth.

I added the corn.

Put it in the oven to cook it all down a bit.

Quickly sautéed the shrimp.

And put it all together.

Beautifully delicious.

But what was best about all this corn-ing around was that it got me out of my downward anxious spiral. Finding the recipe, doing the prep work, especially cutting the beautiful corn, was meditative. Allowing me to pay attention to my bodily sensations—smelling the freshly grated turmeric and ginger, feeling the shrimp as I patted them dry with paper towels, tasting the purée to make sure it was seasoned perfectly, choosing the pretty deer bowls from the cabinet, and calling my husband to lunch when all was ready.

I attended to my body, which got me away from the stories my mind was telling me about my “problems.“

Yes, sometimes it’s perfectly fine to be corny.

Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello Anxiety: “Hell’s Bells”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

I recently came across this definition for anxiety, which rang so true for me.

“Anxiety — a condition in which the brain’s alarm bells keep on ringing, ringing, and ringing … Long after they have served any useful function.”

(from Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation)

P.S. Just between us, I really don’t like some definitions, truthful though they may be.

Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello Anxiety: “A Tale of Two Happy’s”

(Or is the plural of “Happy” spelled “Happies”? The jury seems to be out on that question.)

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

I LOVE yellow. It’s such a standout HAPPY color.

Bouquet in the lobby of Resorts World Catskills back in July
Field near the hotel
Atlanta Botanical Garden

I also love Happy. Happiness. Happier.

I even have a Happy Cup! Don’t you?

I like him because he’s always happy. No matter which way you turn or spin him. No matter what you put in him. Even hot coffee! Even with his fine line wrinkles (look at pic closely).

The cute little jokester!

A contributing factor to my ongoing issue/challenge/frustration with anxiety is that I aspire to be that Happy Cup. After all, I write a blog named “NealEnJoy”! So when Unhappy (i.e., breathing difficulty, fear of nausea, etc.) comes a knockin, my first response is often to ignore it (as if) and with gritted teeth BE HAPPY. Or more honestly put, pretend to be happy.

This opposites-competing cognitive dissonance is not fun or … happy. Try though I do to keep happiness wound up.

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Here’s my Happy Holder. What, you don’t have one?

He doesn’t turn around or spin in quite the same way as my Happy Cup.

And he irritatingly tells me that my blog should more truthfully be named “NealDoesn’tALWAYSEnJoy.” Because Neal (or anyone else) doesn’t always.

“Backside” thinks he’s so smart he even quotes Jung.

A DIFFICULT BUT TRUTHFUL LESSON.

But I have to confess that I still prefer Holder’s “front” side …

Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety. “500”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

From my NPA (Neal’s Protocol for Anxiety) …

Meditation — Any of my saved meditations from “10% Happier,” “Buddify,” “Apple Fitness+” or meditation on my own without guidance.

I reached a milestone in my meditation practice today …

Seriously? I’ve done 500 days of meditation? Shouldn’t I be like a Meditation Master, Guru or something? And not still a mess.

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers 8/19/22

1. My homemade pickled jalapeños … on everything.

This time a turkey, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion pita.

2. Truth …

3. Discovering Senior Citizens Inc. here in Savannah and attending a fascinating lecture, “The Rosenwald Schools: Challenge and Triumph.”

I bought the book!

4. Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.

5. My chair in our study! It has a personality of its own. It’s alive. It (he? she? they?) is a place of refuge for me. It’s where I read. And mediate. It’s where I sit in peace.

And where I often sit in not-so-peace when my anxiety, Truffles, comes a’knockin. (My anxiety protocol sheet is at the ready nearby in the magazine rack.)

And the checkered pillow?

I bought it for my father when he was in assisted living and early dementia.

When I lean back on it, I feel his strength.

May you sit in joyful peace this weekend.

Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety. “Now”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

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NOW — One of the most significant words in my life … right now.

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Everything we do happens in the present moment. Thinking happens here. Remembering happens here. Feelings unfold in the now, and so do urges. NOW is where our lives are lived.”

— Forsyth and Eifert The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety

Why, oh why, do I keep forgetting (often purposefully) this dynamic truth?!

If you are a regular blog follower (and why on earth would you not be?), you may remember that I struggle with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), especially as it concerns my irrational fears of breathing issues and throwing up. TMI?

[Side-note: Other than the disgusting TMI above, I’m perfect. Don’t believe me? Okay, just ask HR.]

[Side-note #2: DO NOT try to contact HR for any reason in the foreseeable future. He has disappeared, and I will let you know when I find him.]

Mindfulness practice is trying its best to teach me that attending to right now, just as it is, even with thoughts and feelings of anxiety, is productive. Attending to now steers me away from negatively reacting to my anxiety with doomsday thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Mindfulness encourages me to simply pay attention to those thoughts emotions and behaviors, and to go on with my life.

Well, at least in theory.

My often but always-nonproductive strategy when dealing with the DA (Dragon Anxiety) is to fight it. Fight fire with fire. Denying it, ignoring it, feeling sorry for myself, comparing myself to all those “they-don’t-have-to-joke-about-being-perfect” people out there who NEVER think they are about to stop breathing right now. Or about to vomit. (How I hate that word.)

Whew.

Breathe.

So on this Thursday I set an intention to embrace Now.

I will try to make the best, healthiest choice that Forsyth and Eifert offer in my Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook:

“You can choose to continue your unpleasant experiences with hardness and negative energy. Or you can decide to be kinder and gentler with yourself, to create space between you and what your mind (based on old history) is telling you.”

I’ll try to let Neal’s Now actually be Neal’s Now.

[Side-note #3. I sorta found HR. So I guess you can ask him. I can deal with his answer. Besides his answer is not in Neal’s Now right Now.]

Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety: “Accepting Acceptance”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

Homework from a recent therapy session found me composing “realistic” affirmations or mantra statements. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, which is ironic since I never do anything perfectly.

As with most of us, I suppose, I really want life to bend in the direction I desire. But it often (very often) does not.

Here are a few affirmations I will (sometimes begrudgingly) practice:

“My life IS as it IS right now, and I accept that truth.”

“Everything may not be perfect in my life right now, and I am accepting of that truth as well.”

“I’m okay where I am right now.”

“I am who I am right now.”

Posted in Reblog

A Fellow Blogger’s Sincere and Clever Post: “Lavinia”

I LOVE fellow (shouldn’t there be a female version of that word?) blogger friend McKenzie ‘s post yesterday. She has named her eating disorder “Lavinia.” Say it out loud … “Lavinia!”

Here’s the link to her Cool with a capital C post on McKenzie Free:

I have decided to follow in the footsteps of my fellow blogger Neal (Hello, Anxiety: “A Christening — Introducing Anxiety’s Brand New Name!” – …

Lavinia
Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety: “Truffles Showing Up in Big Kroger”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

If you read my most recent “Hello, Anxiety” post, you may remember that for a variety of mostly sensible reasons, I have nicknamed my anxiety “Truffles.” In a nutshell, I’m trying (gritted teeth) to recognize anxiety as a part of my experience. And to back off from automatically wanting to fight it as my mortal enemy.

Well today HR (Husband Robert) and I were in Big Kroger here in Savannah, stocking up on supplies for the upcoming Easter egg hunt with the grandkids.

Seriously?

“Wait,” you interrupt, “Why call it BIG Kroger?” Because it’s GIGANTIC. I have to use GPS to find Spam. What? You don’t eat Spam? Okay. Whatever.

It’s a twenty minute Uber ride to the cracker aisle.

Anyway, I was walking (exhausted) down Aisle 2043 looking for colorful napkins when I stumbled into Truffles.

She/he/they was/were standing there, resplendently purple. Queenly. Kingly. I tried to walk past, pretending I didn’t see.

But I couldn’t. I stared. Transfixed. I picked Truffles up. Held him/her/them in my hands.

And for the first time in a long time (maybe forever), I was able to laugh, LAUGH, at my anxiety. Perhaps, laugh WITH my anxiety. In Big Kroger of all places.

I placed anxiety back on the shelf. Started to walk away. Finished with the little play.

Robert looked at me, stopping me, and said, “Neal, who knows when we will be back here, or if it will still be on the shelf.”

Irritated, I stood there.

Stood.

Between Robert and anxiety. Then sighed, walked to the checkout counter.

And actually BOUGHT the f***ing TRUFFLES chips.

Like, paid for them/it/him/her.

Is this a new relationship?

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More to come.