July 26, 2008

Please Excuse the Mess...

It is absolutely mind boggling how much it costs to "fix up" your house. It's a fee here, a labor cost there, throw in a bit of tax, and their cut, next thing you know, you've just payed a company well over a grand just for some carpeting. "Oh, it looks great", that's what almost everyone says, but I'm thinking maybe I'll start charging an admission fee to see my carpet if it looks so great to everyone else, because it cost us up the wazoo.

So, we said to ourselves "We'll just do this part ourselves", as we approached the task of painting the whole house. Not too bad of a job, a bit tiring but it "looks great", and it's cheaper than paying a painter. Well, at least cheaper in the labor department. We arrive at the local Lowe's and suddenly that D-I-Y job is costing us another couple hundred in paint, primer, brushes(and you'll need every different kind of these, those corners just aren't going to work with a roller), etc.

Now, we've pulled the trim off and, WHAM!!!, we're wondering how in the heck they even got the trim on with all those gaps in the drywall. Off on another wonderful journey to Lowe's, couple hundred more later on new trim, drywall putty, and some drywall to patch the bigger holes, and wow you have something else that "looks great".

Standing back I'm like "Wow, we did it, it looks....", but I'm interrupted by my fiancee saying "Not yet, we've still got this, this, this and that to do". And, I feel my shoulders slumping, my heart fall down to my knees, and the urge to just go to sleep for a couple days.

It's a never ending struggle to "work on" your house, and there is no short supply of men and women willing to swindle you out of what little money you have, after paying all the bills that also go with a house, for a half ass job.

And, that's just the inside of the house that I've been ranting about, you've still got a lawn to make nice enough for the city not to give you a ticket(they'll ticket you for just about anything, make sure your trash cans are out of site), a roof to check for leaks, make sure those gutters are cleaned out, and, Oh no, those darn weeds are sprouting up again.

Yep, this is the life, owning a home is the greatest thing in the whole wide world. Tsk, Tsk, if only everyone knew the joy of this, uh huh.

Though I must admit, I've lived in a lot of apartments and the strange noise at 2am, the drug deal going on next door, and the tiny little side lawn( 4 kids and a tiny lawn, if you want any sanity left, this is near impossible), nope don't miss any of those things.

The yin and the yang I guess, grass is always greener on everyone else's side(yeah right, take a closer look at that grass, is that spray paint ?).

Well, I am off, off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of..... Sorry about that, we've had the kids all summer(time for school to start again, thank you God), I'm off to continue the wonderful, exciting, sometimes overwhelming, very expensive task of taking care of our house.

Don't Panic...

My mind starts drifting, the room starts to feel unreal, ahh crap, breath, breath, I have to sit down, ok, ok, still feeling light headed but I'm breathing. Oh no, now my stomach's making strange noises, I feel like I'm going to puke, get home, hurry, hurry, oh God I'm going to get sick, no I have to control it, I can't control it, my hearts going to pound out of my chest.

Home at last, need to lay down, my head is swirling, my whole body is shaking, I'm so cold, ughhh my stomach, curl up on the couch, put my head against the back of it, try to relax, I'm freaking out, this is never going to stop, I'm going to get sick and I'm just going to keep getting sick, need to sleep, it'll go away if I sleep....

This was a very common scenario when I first started having my panic attacks 8 years ago, and it was always a grueling experience that drained me emotionally, physically, and mentally.

But, the doctors couldn't really help me and they still can't really treat me for it, they just don't understand enough about what causes panic attacks.

I took classes and even ended up on bi-polar medication to try and help treat the symptoms, but none of these things really helped. I ended up having to basically treat myself, make my own way through the terrible experience of panic attacks.

Unless you've experienced a true panic attack, you can't truly understand the experience. It's like nothing else I've ever been through in my life, and nobody can really help you, but you.

You see commercials all the time with treatments for panic disorder and anxiety disorder, but when it all comes down to it, you've got to be able to treat yourself.

I've found the thing that helps me the most is talking myself through my panic attacks and mentally "pushing" them away from myself, which I now know is called "bio-feedback".

It sounds complicated and it takes some time to get a grasp on, but it helps. You have to picture the panic attack in your mind, imagine where in it in your brain, and see yourself pushing it from that spot in your brain and out the back of your head. It may sound silly if you've never experienced panic attacks, but suffering from panic attacks teaches you very quickly to try anything. I still suffer from panic attacks now and again, as I'm sure I will for the rest of my life, it's just not something that goes away in most people( no matter what a phychiatrist tells you, they're just trying to help). But, it does get easier as time goes on to control them, as long as you're willing to make your way through it.

Here are some things that I've done to ease my way through my panic attacks over the years that might help you:

  • Just relax. I know it may sound hard, especially in the middle of a panic attack. But, just letting the panic attack "pass through" can be the quickest route to it's end.

  • Instead of counting on a comfort zone(most people who suffer from panic attacks have a "comfort zone", a place where they feel most comfortable when suffering from an attack), find a comfort object. This is something you can take with you, like a lucky coin, necklace, or, if you're into piercings, a comfort labret ring or eyebrow ring.

  • Remember to breath. A lot of people, when in the middle of a panic attack, get so hyped up during one that they forget to just breath normally. Hyper-ventilation can also occur, so just focus on getting your breathing under control.

  • Learn to "belly breath". Breathing from your stomach up to your chest, you can find plenty of books on it(especially yoga books). It gets more oxygen to your blood, without all the work.

  • Find a focus. Find an object, a person, a building, whatever you can find. And focus on that thing. This can help you "pull away" from your mind, a sort of day-dream technique, and helps you through panic.

  • Do not let yourself become a recluse( agoraphobia is a big problem for people with panic disorder). Remember, whether you leave the house to go out with your friends, visit your family, etc, or not, if you suffer from panic disorder it can happen anywhere at anytime. Sitting at home is not going to make them go away, it's only going to make you hate yourself for not being strong enough to leave. If you're going to have a panic attack, you're going to have one. Locking yourself away is not going to stop that, so go out and enjoy yourself for at least a little while.

And remember, panic attacks and anxiety attacks are two completely different things. They're in the same general mental disorder category, think of anxiety attacks as being the son of Panic disorder. But, the symptoms are much heavier in cases of panic, and anxiety can usually be treated with medication. I'm no phychiatrist or doctor, I've just suffered through panic attacks for 8 years of my life. If you think you may have panic disorder or anxiety disorder, I encourage you to see a doctor. A lot of what people perceive as one of the above disorders can actually be caused by problems with your thyroid, heart problems, and a wagon full of other things. Get checked by a doctor, don't just assume, it could mean your life.

I hope this has helped some of you out there suffering from this terrible disorder, as I wish I could have found more information like this when I first started suffering from it.

Here are some useful links for you to find out more about panic and anxiety disorders:

Wikipedia.com- A wonderful site for finding information on all of the topics I mentioned above.

The Mayo Clinic- The Mental Health section of their site has all sorts of information.

MedicineNet.com- This site offers a fairly good catalogue of information on both anxiety and panic disorder.

PanicAttackSpace.com- A great blog, chock full of information and statistics on panic disorder and panic attacks.

Anxiety Attack- A great blog for finding more information about anxiety attacks. It's well written by a sufferer of anxiety disorder.

July 24, 2008

The Interview

You're sitting across the table from a guy who acne seems to be winning the war, keeps playing with he peach fuzz like that's going to make it grow, and just can't seem to stop tapping his pen against the table. He scribbles down notes as you're talking(let's face it he's doodling, not listening to a word you say), and staring at you like you just stole his lunch money.

Welcome to the twilight zone, better known as a job interview.

"So why should we hire you ? What sets you aside from our other applicants ?", He asks both questions without stopping for a breath, while he picks that pimple that's definitely going to scar. "I don't know, I applied for this job and I'm perfectly capable of performing the duties expected without any problem whatsoever", the answer sits on the tip of your tongue.

Why do they always ask you questions like that ? What ever happened to filling out an application, them interviewing you with questions like "How many hours can you work ?", instead of what getting a job has turned into; filling out an application, making your way through a personality exam, and getting asked questions like "Why do you deserve this job ?".

Let's face it, most companies in this day and age want only a couple of things; for you to be able to speak Spanish, work 60 hours with almost no pay, and for you to be smiling the whole time.

So, why all the ritual torture ?

Than you have one more wonderful thing about getting a job today, the millions of managers that can't seem to tell you they just aren't going to hire you. Instead they say they'll be calling you(which half the time they never do), they've got a few more applicants to interview before they make a decision, etc. Which, in the end, means only one thing, they aren't going to hire you. Just tell me your not going to hire me, don't lead me on just because you don't have the ability to be honest with me and save me the time of waiting for your call.

That's it, sorry, just need to rant sometimes.

July 23, 2008

Calling in sick...

Hello, all of my readers. I just wanted to leave this post for all of you to let you know why I wont be posting for a couple of days. Right now I've got some sort of stomach bug and need to get some rest so I can get rid of it.
Thank you in advance for being understanding of my absence.

July 22, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life...

First and foremost, I don't care if it's Christmas or not, everyone should watch this movie at least once. It's one of those movies that you have to go into with your whole heart, or you'll miss the entire moral of the story. I won't give the entire premise of the story away, but the general idea is that you should appreciate your life and realize the things you do, and have done, can change every one's lives(whether you know them or not).

It's amazing how that works in life, how everybody is inter-connected, linked together, and how we can help or hinder each other without even knowing.

But, I guess it can be pretty scary too, not knowing what things you may have caused to happen, once again without realizing it. It's bad enough sometimes knowing that you caused one thing or another, it's a whole other thing thinking about all the things you don't know you caused.

Every time you choose to go to the dairy department before the meat department at the grocery store, decide to buy a pair of jeans instead of going and looking at the movies, every little decision can change the whole world.

It may seem funny to think about, you can say "My life doesn't really matter", but when you start looking at all the little dots connecting every second of the day, the whole idea of any one life not being important is ludicrous.

I think it's this web of lives, decision, ideas, and different paths that make up what we think of as fate.

Think about this next time you decide to walk over to the canned food section of the grocery store, instead of the frozen food section. It's that kind of choice, the kind that we make constantly, that may decide if you live happily ever after or get hit by a truck.

July 21, 2008

Follow up on "Once a Firefighter, Always a Firefighter..."

My fiancee found this just a bit ago, which was perfect, because is coincided with my Firefighter post. It's a petition to set aside a national holiday for Police Officer's and Fire fighter's, a national thank you to all that they do for us. I encourage everyone to check it out, and if it sounds like something you would like to do, sign the petition.
I just had to share this with everyone, I can't believe we don't already have a day set aside for this.
You can find the petition HERE, give me your feedback on if you think this is a good idea or not and why. Such a great idea...

Once a Firefighter always a Firefighter...

A lot of people, even though we are supposed to be a politically correct society, still can't fathom the idea of the words "Woman" and "Firefighter" in the same sentence.

Why is it that these two words are so hard for many of us to comprehend, even though it's been proven time and time again that women are just as capable in these kinds of positions?

In fact, some studies have shown, because women are often more empathetic, that women are better candidates for these types of careers(Firefighter, Emergency Medical Technicians, etc.).

My fiancee was a volunteer Firefighter for a local Colorado station, and she often found people giving her looks of dis-belief and even scorn when she's wear her uniform. And, not only her but her grandparents, had a very hard time finding "memorabilia"(things like those memorial statues, awards, etc.) that pertained to female Firefighters.

By now, in the world we live in today, it should be a recognized fact that all of us, male and female alike, are capable of anything, it's all a matter of drive and determination.

Why is it that we, human beings, are such talented nit pickers, able to find a reason to sneer at someone for something that half of us wouldn't have the courage to do?

Personally, if I'm drowning, caught in a burning building, choking, having a heart attack, etc, I don't care if it's a man or a woman saving my life. I, again personally, am just happy to know that their are still people out there willing to jump in and save lives.

My fiance's credo on being a Firefighter really helps me believe in the goodness that still exists in some people, "I don't do it for the pay, I do it because I love to help other people". And, for her, this was something that rang true because she was an un-paid volunteer.

Doing something because you want to help others, plain and simple, just isn't something you hear truthfully very often anymore.

I want to hear from you, my readers, on this subject. Whether you agree or dis-agree, I want to hear your opinion on this matter.

July 20, 2008

One little drop in the ocean....

To the Internet that's what us blogger's are, a tiny drop. So, what happens when blogger's cause a wave. It's already being proven that people are starting to trust blogs more for their information than their own news channels. Why is that?

I think it's fairly simple, one people are tired of hearing the same thing night after night(shooting here, hit and run there, oh and it's going to be a crazy presidential election), and two, because people don't trust the news stations anymore. They only show so much of what's really going on, and I understand that, you can only cover so much news without being on 24 hours.

But, blogger's have the advantage here, we're everywhere. All across the world there are blogger's typing up posts on everything from how to cook a chicken to wars going on in places most of us have never heard of. A lot of us are bringing light to issues that most didn't know existed, and helping us cope with the things that strike us right where we live.

Us, the blogger's, are out-sourcing not only news stations, but newspapers and magazines too. And, we will continue to as time drawls on, because we have an edge over those organization's. We can cover every topic that people want to hear about and give them options as far as which topic they want to hear that hour or day, we give them multiple sources for that information, and we can give them first hand experience.

We are not perfect reporters either though, we are opinionated(can be a good or bad thing), some of us are rude and crude, and some of us are only copyright cases waiting to happen. We must all decide as blogger's to be either hero or villain, but we must also decide whether we're going to take this seriously or take the easy route.

Blogger's are the future of the information "super highway", we are the journalist's, editors, writers, poets, news anchors, and artists of the new age.