Kenny Rogers,  you wonderful man.

Remember how optimistic I was about my new office job?

Yeah…no.

I got the fuck out of there after a week.

“BUT LAURA!” You protest, seemingly unaware that I can TOTALLY hear you yelling through the internet. “INSERT RANDOM REASON WHY THAT WAS A STUPID IDEA HERE!”

Y’all gotta listen for a second.

I’ve worked office jobs before. I’ve HAPPILY worked office jobs before. The hours I can adjust to. Ain’t no thang.

Sometimes, you just know that sticking around somewhere is going to stomp on your will to live, make you hate everything and everyone, and spend the few hours that you aren’t at work or sleeping sitting in front of a computer writing on a blog about how you want to kill a motherfucker because they got your Starbucks order wrong AND YOU ACTUALLY MEAN IT.

I have to make a list here.

1. The people. (Not you, Sarah, you’re cool.) I felt like I was in a really shitty, dark, High School, only these girls were like 30 and were, which was brought to my attention, bitter over the fact that I was hired and their friends were not. My every word and move were being lurked all the fuck over in an effort to get me into trouble. Someone actually flat out LIED to my boss about something I said on my first say, which resulted in him calling me into his office and asking what the fuck. No thanks. I am not about to spend the better part of my day being paranoid about opening my mouth and being watched by some weird chicks who have nothing better to do than focus on what I’M doing.

2. Full-time with no benefits. Again, I’m fine with office jobs. But when I’m expected to sit at a desk in a shitty, dark, office for 9 hours a day WITH NO BENEFITS, the excitement of a few hundred more dollars on my paycheque starts to fade away really quickly. Like in a week quickly.

3. The shitty, dark office. A rented out office space with a bunch of mismatched desks in the middle of the room with a bunch of mismatched computers thrown onto them, then down a hallway, then into another smaller room with the same set up and a dying plant against the window-sill of a dark window that is made of these things:

which also make up the other window across the room, which I can only assume is facing a brick wall as well because sunlight is a not a thing employees in the back room are blessed with.

Actually, fuck it, I’m drawing a picture.

It’s been 40 minutes, I made this for you in Photoshop and my mouse is being weird so sorry.

BEHOLD.

office

Note the sad star. I was that star.

4. The chairs. I something completely awful to my back and I could hardly walk or sleep for 3 days. The chairs are satan. woven into horrible vinyl or polyester or whatever the hell those things are made of. My back got better when I stopped going into work. I spend most of time IN a chair, no problem – but I’ve never had pain like that in my life.

Some people just aren’t built for dark, sad, bitchy work conditions. If that’s your bag, all the more power to you. Sometimes you just KNOW when something is bad for you, and thus, I want to part of it. Not when I’ve been working so hard to get out of the dark place I was in last year.

I’m fine for money at the moment, so that’s not an issue. I still freelance, am currently building a site for a client and friend, and I’m waiting on a call back from DavidsTea (which as you remember was the totally best thing of life)… if I don’t get that, than I’ll just keep looking. I’m not worried.

I’m productive as fuck when I’m happy. Being there was turning me in the opposite direction of both, and I knew it wasn’t for me.

If I were a Sim, my happiness would be a deep red colour, and I’d paint a sad painting, or flail my arms around and yell gibberish at the sky until a hot tub appears in my living room, or maybe pee on the floor.

Something to think about, because that’s pretty bad.

PS: I should clarify, I’m in no way slandering my old place of employment, or my old boss. It’s a well-run business. It’s just not the kind of place I’d do well in. Don’t send a hit out on me or anything.

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I had a big paragraph written, and then I accidentally closed the browser tab.

That’s pretty much been my day so far.

 

SO ANYWHO.

What I’ve been doing since January, Coles notes edition:

1. Went to a handful of therapy sessions with a super sweet lady. Went well. I currently don’t feel the need to attend any longer.

2. Through the above, and otherwise simply just by chilling the fuck out and not overthinking everything (which, let’s be honest, it’s me here, I’ve slipped up a bunch),  learned that the only person who can really fix my shit, is, shockingly, me.

3. Told someone I loved them for the first time since 2009. “Well, that’s  great! Good for you!” You might say. But NO, there’s more (there’s always more). It was said after months of really good moments, and a few not-so-good moments… but mainly moments of me unfortunately unloading the remainder of my insecure crazy garbageface mess onto the poor guy, and we haven’t spoken since (it’s only been 2 days but still). I actually said, “You know what…I love you. But you’re a prick.” and walked away. I’m not sure if I was trying to be dramatic or I just really needed McDonald’s breakfast and didn’t want to see the look on his face, because I’ve never in my life just blindly told someone I loved them before.

It’s rather poetic…in a sad, ridiculous, Dawson’s Creek sort of way.

 dawsoncrying

4. Got a job at Hot Topic, which is cool because I wanted to work there in high school. Remember all those shows where the insecure teen goes into some random store, and meets this super awesome employee that gives them life advice and a cool new wardrobe? yeah, I got to be that for a few months. But only a few months, because seasonal. More garbage.

5. I start a new, full-time, desk job tomorrow at a courier company. I’ve never been a morning person (people say that all the time, but seriously. I’m useless before, like…noon.), so this will certainly be a test of my willpower. On the plus side, and one of the main reasons why I’m updating, is because since I’ll actually be out of my apartment and not sitting around with no pants on with no motivation to write ANYTHING, I’ll actually be updating this thing regularly.

download

6. G33KPRON is better than ever. Still with them. Love them the most. We sponsored a party that sold out The Horseshoe, so suck it.

So that’s basically it. I’m on some weird personal journey of not being constantly sick and anxious and ruining things, and it’s (for the most part) going quite well.

In closing…the union of these two minds brought me more joy than I care to admit:

Grumpy-Cat-Lil-Bub_opt

 

See you tomorrow. I won’t be very awake.

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Hiiii. So my last post in April (yeesh) was pretty serious, and if you don’t know me personally, it probably looks like I died or something. Especially since my site legit went offline and I lost my domain name UNLESS I COULD PAY $150 TO GET IT BACK.

Yeah no.

But the second half of 2012, was, I think, both the best and worst 6 months I’ve had in years. Since that what’s it’s here for, I’m recapping the highlights.

 

1. That time I went to Buffalo. Twice. ON A BUS.

Yeah, THAT HAPPENED.

Yup. Did this in my head the whole time.

Now what was I doing in Buffalo, you ask?

Well,  I met a dude on OKCupid, and after several months of texting, phone calls, and picture exchanges, I decided I’d go and visit him. It went super well, so I went back a month or so later. Between hotel rooms, weird bars, not-so-weird bars, a really cool cafe, a super awesome street fair where we saw way too many food trucks than I can remember, a goth dude with cat ears and a tail, awesome new friends, a bus that had a broken bathroom and smelled like poop death, and a really great sense of relief that I made it, I had a blast both times I went down and I’d totally go back. In the end, though, it didn’t work out with the guy for a multitude of reasons (mainly distance and the fact that he works and goes to school), but we still talk every now and then, and I’m still super stoked on the fact that I was able to spend a total of 9 hours on a bus (we drove/Go trained it home once) and not freak out. Hi Andy. Thanks. :)

 

2. That time my G33KPRON girls won at life at Fan Expo 2012.

Literally the best weekend of life. This past summer,  G33KPRON had our first booth at the Fan Expo. Every year, it stands to be the most exhausting, nerve-wracking, weird, and exciting weekend out of anything I’ve ever experienced. We also had the privilege of throwing the official launch party on the Thursday night. The guest lineup was pretty bonkers, but we collectively had our hearts set on Norman Reedus, Alan Tudyk, and Nelsan Ellis (those were the top 3 if I recall correctly).

The day before, and day of, the launch party, we hand out hundreds of flyers telling people about it. Naturally, it would be awesome if we got some of the guests to attend as well. Promo, schmoozing, bragging rights. You know.

After composing myself (as much as I could while dressed as Tank Girl) I shyly ran up to Norman’s convention handler (who is the super awesome Sean Clark of Dread Central/Bloody Disgusting), gave them a flyer, and told them about t he party and about how totally great it would be and how they should totally show up.

Norman looks it over, and says yes, and that he’ll bring Sean (Clark) and Sean Patrick Flannery.

Wat.

Then we took this:

Then he went back to meeting fans, and I ran over and yelled about how Norman Reedus was totally coming to the launch party and oh my GOD.

Near the end of the day, we invited Alan Tudyk as well. I had approached him before and he said to come back and fill him in…and as I was, Twiggy was at his booth doing just that. Oh, us. Lawl.

Setting up for the party was a nightmare, people were being douchebags, stress was everywhere, it was the bad kind of crazy, and everyone really needed to just smoke a joint and relax or something…but when it got going, people just POURED in. At was a huge success. Everyone showed up, as promised.

Also this happened:

NBD, just us G33kPRON ladies with Norman and Sean.

 

418918_10151119190914659_238597890_n

All these cameras interrupting our hangs, UGH. (Did I mention he was my Fan Expo BFF?)

Anyway. Booze was had, schmoozing was had, great party was had.

Norman, Sean x2, Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) and Sara Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead) also came out Saturday night to my favourite bar(s). Things got messy, no photos were taken, and Norman left his hoodie at the Bovine so now I have it. I fully intend to give it back to him next time he’s here too. Serious.

Sunday night was much more chill, but just as awesome. I went to Comedy Bar to catch Nelsan Ellis‘ guest spot on Sean Cullen’s The Seanpod, and I was lucky enough to hang out with him backstage for a while. I was shocked to realize how quiet he is in person, and he was complete pleasure to speak with. Soft-spoken, polite, and VERY humble. I guess he liked hanging out with me too, because he granted G33KPRON the only interview he did all weekend! We were so excited and grateful! Here’s the video Jess got:

Boosh. This year we’re going to go balls out (get it? Because we have no balls? …hello?) at Fan Expo, so I’ll be posting all about it.

Now, onto a less-awesome note…

 

3. That time I had a near-suicidal meltdown while trying to lower my med dosage.

:/

This is the first time I’ve written about this. A few people know it happened.

Remember my last post about the really shitty horrible awful side effects of Effexor withdrawal? Well I went to the doctor and decided I wanted to try tapering off a small dosage at a time. I was going from 150mg to 112.5mg. not a huge difference, but sometimes it’s too much. If I ended up having any side effects, I was to just go back and they would adjust it.

Much to my surprise, I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms whatsoever. Obviously this was really awesome, and I assumed I’d be fine, and was super happy that after almost 9 years, I was slowly eliminating this horrible drug from my body and mind.

OH, NO YOU DON’T. NOT SO FAST, IDIOT.

Exactly 3 weeks in, I had just woken up from a nap (I really vividly remember this night, sigh)…and suddenly I started feeling scared. Not anxious, just flat out afraid. On top of that, the most prominent thought in my head was…

What would hurting myself be like? What about killing myself? How could I do it? How would people react?

What in the actual fuck? I don’t want to hurt or kill myself. I never have. Why the fuck am I thinking about this, and why won’t it go away? And why am I go scared right now?

Like clockwork, in comes one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had. My whole body was tingling, my chest was hurting,  I couldn’t breathe calmly, I was shaking and crying and freaking out and THERE WAS NO REASON WHY.

My friend Danielle was online at the time and promised me it was actually one of the more common side effects of lowering (not totally stopping, just lowering) Effexor dosage.

Oh, okay. Well…what do I do? Well first, I took another pill so I would be back up to my normal dosage by tomorrow.

Then I called my mom.

Of course, anyone knows that when you’re upset, if you talk to your mom about it, you get 2376497 times MORE upset.

I totally lost it. I just laid on my floor and cried while holding my phone, not knowing why, or why those horrible harmful thoughts were stuck in my head, and why I couldn’t calm down. My mom stayed on the line, and talked to me until I found a few Xanax and crawled into bed and calmed down a little. When I was sleepy, I let her go and put myself into the calmest headspace I could imagine until I finally passed out.

When I woke up the next day…I felt totally fine. No panicking, no harmful thoughts, just mentally exhausted from the night before.

I was, and for some reason still am, a bit shaken up by the whole thing…I don’t know if I’ve been totally the same since. It’s not a feeling I can accurately describe, but it’s like I’ve become more timid. I know the only reason it happened was the medication, but that hasn’t stopped me from worrying it will happen again.

That was in November. Nothing even remotely similar has happened since, and as soul-crushing as it was…I know at some point in the future when I’m in a secure enough place, I’m going to try lowering it again. I have to. This stuff is poison, and now that I know what to expect, I’ll be able to fight through it. That won’t be for a while though. I’ve even thought about finding a psychiatrist to help me. Getting totally free of this drug has to happen soon, and I would be stupid to not seek out any and all help I can get.

So…yeah. That was time I went temporarily crazy.

Thanks to Allie for the picture.

 

 

4. That ti- GRUMPY CAT GRUMPY CAT GRUMPY CAT!!!

I love this cat so much. Tardar Sauce is my spirit animal. We are kindred. We are one.

I’ll just post every picture, whatever.

 

 

 

Those were the key points of last year. I worked at DAVIDsTEA for a few months as a Seasonal TEAm Member, and it was flat out the best thing ever, so I’m gong to reapply when a spot becomes available. (I will recommend them forever, buy their tea. DO IT.)

Until then, I’m writing for G33kPRON, and ghostwriting for a company my friend owns. It’s keeping me afloat for now.

Stay tuned, weirdos. <3

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I will never tire of looking at my stats page.

 

encrypted_search_terms This still confuses me.

list of things i want to do with my boyfri I didn’t leave out letters, that was it. “boyfri”.

hilarious/fat stripper names hahaha I forgot I wrote about that.

i dare you to get it up What??

kara schertzer-fluharty I still don’t know who this is, or why people end up here when they search for her. (Have I googled her name? Nope.)

rhianna naked Yep. Still got it.

lady gaga caution tape/lady gaga telephone outfit YES. THE WORLD MUST KNOW.

don’t touch my boyfriend bitch okay. jpg

 

FCEYI

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I’ve been debating with myself for months to write this, and debating even longer to actually publish it. This is probably one of the most personal things I’ve ever written, and I honestly have no idea how well this is going to go over. I guess my intention, is just to make people aware of what this illness actually like, how common  it actually is and moreso how difficult is to explain to someone if you’re unfortunate enough to be afflicted by it.

I would normally write about how awesome I am, or attempt to be witty and funny about my life’s happenings.

But today, I am going to get seriouspost on y’all.

*****

I’m  going to write about my Agoraphobia. Now before I get into it, I should state that thankfully, the worst of it in my case has been over for years, and hit me in college. For the most part, I can leave the house comfortably, travel to familiar places, and generally have a good time and be my fabulous self.

Anywho.

When people think of Agoraphobia, they immediately remember that time they read Wikipedia and say, “oh, a fear of open spaces.”

This is factually incorrect.

The actual definition is described as, “a condition which develops when a person begins to avoid spaces or situations associated with anxiety.” Meaning, it is a fear of having a panic attack somewhere that you can’t “escape from”…the best example I can think of is being stuck in traffic. If I were to have a panic attack while stuck in traffic – I’d be trapped there for God knows how long, making it even worse. So because of that worry, I avoid long car rides like the plague.

However, the longer someone has Agoraphobia, it tends to get worse.  Yay.

Sometimes, even when I’m headed out to my favourite bar, it just hits me out of nowhere, causing me to pause for a few minutes and breathe it away. If I can’t, I stay home. It almost always stops when I decide to not go out. I’m not afraid of anything happening, since I’ll be in a familiar place surrounded by people I know, so there’s no reason for me to be anxious…but that doesn’t stop it from showing up and ruining  my night. If I have ever made plans and then bailed last minute, there’s a pretty big chance that’s why. But More often than not, I can calm myself down and head out.

I wasn’t always able to do this, it took YEARS to get where I am now, and it was really fucking hard. I’ve  missed out on countless things because of it, but if I sat around and felt sorry for myself, well…that wouldn’t exactly be beneficial. So I just accepted that I couldn’t do certain things and left it at that. Depending on who you talk to, that might be totally unacceptable, especially if whoever you talk to has no idea what Agoraphobia is, or just lumps it in with having a panic attack.

 

NOW, TIME FOR A BUNCH OF BACK STORY!

When I was at my worst point, I couldn’t  leave my dorm room. I was so worried I would have a panic attack in class or any place I had to go, that I just wouldn’t leave at all. I’m fully aware of how ridiculous that sounds, and I was fully aware of it then, too. Sadly, nothing could be done about it. Nothing a therapist could tell me would be new to me – I knew what was wrong, I knew what the symptoms were…I decided that it was caused by  moving to the city, and that such a huge change would just need time to adjust to so I would just deal with it.

I was lucky enough to have the most wonderful and supportive boyfriend through college and shortly after, who I honestly don’t think I would have improved nearly as much without. I had my own way of doing things, and found ways to work around my anxiety, and he was caring and helpful the whole way. We broke up in 2007 when he moved to Vancouver to be an awesome furniture designer, but I still consider him one of my best friends and will always love the crap out of him. Thanks, Kyle. You rule. <3

By the time Kyle had moved, I had relocated from the ghetto outskirts of Toronto (Rexdale WHAT), and moved right the hell downtown. If I was going to beat this things, I had to just jump in and get through it. Easier said than done. I sadly found out that working full time turned me into a nervous mess every weekday morning, regardless of how well rested I was. Why was I nervous? Who knows. I liked my job, I was good at it, I was familiar with the way there…but despite all of these things, Some mornings I would wake up,  have a shower, eat breakfast, and suddenly – BAM. My chest would tighten up, I would start sweating, my heart would begin to race, my stomach would do everything I didn’t want it to…and I just couldn’t leave the house. I’d call in sick, go back to bed,and hate myself.

This has obviously cost me a few jobs, and led to me presently doing freelance from home. I don’t mind it, really, but as most people who work from home will admit, it’s a bit harder to get going with your work day when you don’t need to change our of your pajamas. Unfortunately, however, the longer I go without going out, the higher the chance is I’ll be anxious about it when I DO go out. Double edged sword, or something. It’s horribly frustrating.

AND THAT’S ALL THE BACK STORY!

 

If you don’t know how to calm yourself down, panic attacks can be literally crippling. I’ve seen people end up curling into a ball and crying, hyperventilating, not knowing how to stop, worrying they might be dying. Personally, I went to the emergency room twice last year because I was having chest pains, which were amplified immensely by panic attacks and I didn’t know what the hell was happening. It was terrifying.

The odd time I actually do end up having a panic attack when I’m out – I usually just try to hide it. I will rarely actually tell people it’s happening, unless it comes to the point where I need to leave. I will normally just find a less crowded space, and chill by myself until it’s gone. People have mistaken this for me being rude – I promise it’s not that. I’m naturally a very bubbly and talkative person – if you see me not making eye contact and being anti-social, it’s because I feel anxious.

I also wanted to touch on the medication front. There are 2736245162 different kind of medication people who suffer from anxiety are given. Since high school, I’ve tested out Celexa, Paxil (ugh) Zoloft, Prozac (fuck no) and after a hiatus and my miserable college ordeal, Effexor. The only one that caused any kind of positive change was the last one, and I’ve been taking it for far longer than I should be. Most people who take medication often feel as if there were more negative effects…no sex drive, no extreme emotions whatsoever and they felt like zombies, anxiety got WORSE…thankfully, none of these happened to me. The only change, was that I wasn’t a constant anxious mess. So I figured I was one of the lucky ones, and stayed on it.

Shortly after high school I was given a prescription for Ativan, which is a wonderful little sedative that was used if I felt an attack coming on. I stopped taking them in 2005 because I felt I didn’t need them.

Oh, premature confidence. You so dumb.

I had my worst panic attack to date about a month or so ago, out of nowhere, at an event I was BEYOND excited to take part in. I actually cried when it happened, either out of frustration that it was happening or just the severity of it, but that was something new to me as far as panic attacks went.

Now that things are starting to off-and-on become situationally worse (more often than not I’m fine, which is obviously a good thing), I’m getting a new prescription of Ativan for a few reasons. The main one being, I don’t want to be tied to an MOAI anymore, and now that I understand so much more about myself, what triggers panic attacks, and now that I have enough experience coaxing myself down from them I would like to not have to take something every day that isn’t working anymore. The hard part about this, with the withdrawal.

Here’s a list of symptoms I found…I’ve bolded the ones I get if I try to stop taking it cold turkey:

1. Crying spells 
2. Worsened mood 
3. Low energy (fatigue, lethargy, malaise) 
4. Trouble concentrating 
5. Insomnia or trouble sleeping 
6. Change in appetite 
7. Suicidal thoughts
8. Suicide attempts
9. Anxious, nervous, tense 
10. Panic attacks (racing heart, breathless)
11. Chest pain
12. Trembling, jittery,or shaking
13. Irritability 
14. Agitation (restlessness, hyperactivity) 
15. Impulsivity
16. Aggressiveness
17. Self-harm
18. Homicidal thoughts or urges
19. Confusion or cognitive difficulties 
20. Memory problems or forgetfulness
21. Elevated mood (feeling high)
22. Mood swings 
23. Manic-like reactions
24. Auditory hallucinations
25. Visual hallucinations
26. Feeling detached or unreal
27. Excessive or intense dreaming 
28. Nightmares
29. Flu-like aches and pains 
30. Fever 
31. Sweats 
32. Chills 
33. Runny nose
34. Sore eyes
35. Nausea 
36. Vomiting 
37. Diarrhea 
38. Abdominal pain or cramps
39. Stomach bloating
40. Disequilibrium 
41. Spinning, swaying, lightheaded 
42. Hung over or waterlogged feeling 
43. Unsteady gait, poor coordination 
44. Motion sickness
45. Headache
46. Tremor
47. Numbness, burning, or tingling
48. Electric zap-like sensations in the brain 
49. Electric shock-like sensations in the body 
50. Abnormal visual sensations
51. Ringing or other noises in the ears
52. Abnormal smells or tastes
53. Drooling or excessive saliva
54. Slurred speech
55. Blurred vision
56. Muscle cramps, stiffness, twitches 
57. Feeling of restless legs 
58. Uncontrollable twitching of mouth

Soooo yeah. it’s pretty awful and I want it out of my system ASAP. I was a total bitch to my boyfriend a few years ago when I missed a few days for some reason or another and I felt horrible about it because I couldn’t help it due to the withdrawal (sorry Davey).

Thankfully I have a new family doctor who will be slowly tapering me off it until I don’t need to take it at all anymore. It’s going to take several months,and I don’t know how it’s going to make me feel, but in the end it will be worth it.

*****

If you’re still lost, and genuinely want to know what the hell I’m talking about, ask me. Please, I’m serious. I’ve met more people than I can remember who suffer from both Agoraphobia and General Anxiety, and more people than I care to admit who assume they understand it when they end up not knowing what the fuck.

I really hope people reading this come out with a better understanding of it, rather than just brushing it off or thinking I’m crazy. Because believe me, people have called  me crazy and worse because of my panic attacks, and I don’t know whether I’m offended, or I just feel sorry for them for being so ignorant.

In my almost 30 years being alive, having Agoraphobia has cost me jobs, countless social events, friends, and relationships. The latter two may have been due to ignorance of the issue on both our parts, but anyone remotely recent in my life has thankfully had the maturity and open mindedness to  learn rather than run. I have never demanded things be done a certain way because of my anxiety, and honestly feel bad when people feel that they need to change things to accommodate me. I’m not disabled or unable to function on my own, and it’s horribly insulting when people  ignorantly assume that because I have anxiety or take medication that I am someone to be avoided. Anxiety doesn’t mean someone is crazy. Anxiety means someone is overly anxious. Nothing else. You’d be surprised at how common it is, and how even more common it is that people don’t admit to having it because they’re afraid of others’ reactions.

I’ve improved bounds since my lowest point, and I’m really fucking proud of that fact. I’m not embarrassed about it anymore…it’s just a thing I have to deal with occasionally, just like everyone has their own thing. I also have people in my life who not only can relate, but are supportive, understanding and just awesome as hell. The effect a good support system can provide is nothing short of profound, and I completely love each and every one of you who read this and have either helped me in some way, or suffer from anxiety yourself. If I can get to where I was to where I am now, so can you.

I know that feel, bro. It won’t be forever. <3

 

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