Sometimes, you have to add a battery pack and twinkle lights

In June, I attended my fourth BlogHer conference. But this one felt strange. The last six writing conferences I attended all had a similar feel — one in which I knew dozens of people and was comfortable just…being me. That’s when I thrive.

This time, I started the conference off with a bang. After 3 flights in less than a week, and a truly amazing Disney adventure, my back was acting up for the first time in months. I was in pain, which only exasperated my desire to hide.

I know what you’re thinking. Chrissy? Hiding?

So, I’m an introverted extrovert. If you know me, you couldn’t possibly see me as shy. But if you don’t, you might think I’m the quiet one. Adding to that, I spent much of this year suffering from mild depression and anxiety, and now, I’ve got a recipe for disaster.

And so at BlogHer, only knowing a few of the several thousand people and trying to fight through pain, anxiety, and depression, I found myself hiding. Skipping sessions to nap in my room. Barely taking any photos throughout the events. Wandering the exhibitor hall by myself instead of sitting through full keynotes from really interesting speakers. Opting out of late night partying with new friends, and instead, I found myself floating down the lazy river with my roomie, Renee.

It was still fun, but it was a different kind of fun than one should have at a writing conference full of like-minded people. I found myself asking why I was even there.

On Friday night, I took a Valium for my back pain and crashed early.

On Saturday morning, Renee left, and my dear friend, Samara, was doing her own thing…so I wandered the expo for a while. I was interviewed for a Forbes podcast, and the guy looked at me — sporting a normal-ish blonde hairstyle and simple blue dress — with douche eyes and actually said, “Quirky Chrissy? You don’t look very quirky. Now, I saw this other girl who had rainbow hair and a unicorn horn. Now, THAT’S quirky.” Maybe it was the place my brain was hiding, but I wanted to simultaneously punch him and cry. But how do you defend your personality when someone mocks your chosen moniker?

I left the expo feeling down in the dumps.

The thing about being an extrovert who suffers from depression and anxiety is that you need people to help lift you out of the cycle, but you don’t want to be around people when you’re depressed or anxious.

By the time the closing party rolled around, I was ready to go home. But I told Samara I’d meet her down there. And I knew there would be snacks — I was starving, and I’ve yet to find a reason to say no to free food. So I decided I had one last chance to bust out my magic twinkle skirt.

And then I found some more of my people, and people recharge me the way the battery pack sewn into this skirt makes it light up. They bring me back to life (that’s the extroverted part of my brain). I met the unicorn girl, Elliotte, — who, by the way, is AMAZING — and she was kind and wonderful and inspiring…and she gave me a pink unicorn horn.

writers posing at the blogher17 closing party

Photo credit: BlogHer17/SheKnows Media

If I could have gone back in time and worn this fucking skirt the whole time I was in Orlando, I think I would have. Because there’s no better way to make 50 new friends than to wear a light up twinkle skirt. It was my superhero transformation and for a few hours, I wasn’t depressed or anxious or homesick. It wasn’t a REAL fix, but it helped me.

It was my superhero transformation and for a few hours, I wasn’t depressed or anxious or homesick. It wasn’t a REAL fix, but it helped me end the weekend on a high note.Twinkling Stars Skirt - Blue. 3X by ThinkGeek

I started seeing writing friends at the conference, some of whom I knew were there and that I’d said hi to, but hadn’t made a point to actually hang out with, despite my desperate need for more human interaction. I was shy and nervous. I convinced myself they didn’t want to hang out with me. I was afraid. But once I put on my magic skirt, and it was like I could hide my insecurities behind the sparkles and just illuminate the bright spots. It was a Band Aid, but at the time, I really needed a Band Aid.

selfie with writing friends at BlogHer

Eventually, I met up with Samara and she was ready to DANCE. And so I danced. And twirled. And shined brighter than I had throughout the whole conference. I felt glimmers of the me that I love to be, and I knew I had to get back there.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Things You Shouldn’t Do When the Side Effects of Your Meds Include Anxiety

I pinched a nerve in my back. Which, if you’ve never done so, is one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had the “pleasure” of dealing with. I believe that’s what I did about a month ago, when I thought it was just from yoga-ing without stretching…but now I think it was just something waiting to happen. And the yoga-ing was the straw that broke the camel’s my back. It wasn’t nearly as debilitating the first time, and it went away relatively quickly.

This time, it came back with a vengeance. A vengeance that was not willing to part with me quite so quickly. And it all happened days before I was supposed to board a plane to New York for one of the biggest parties of the year. Brian almost didn’t even let me go!

So I went to the doctor. Who prescribed muscle relaxers(corti-something something) and steroids (prednizone) after taking 37 seconds to press my back in 3 places (which will cost me something in the 3-digits)…thus diagnosing me with a pinched nerve in my lower back (sciatic nerve methinks, but non-radiating). She has since refilled the steroids (with a different, apparently more potent version) and told me to get my butt to physical therapy, a place I’m all too familiar with. And now that I’m  off the drugs, I’m stuck with a twice-daily PT routine that feels as tough as my most intense yoga class. Or personal training.

But when I was on the drugs, I got some serious fucking anxiety. Now I have a tendency toward anxiety and depression,  and whatever good Prednizone did to my back, it was wicked and evil to my brain. It was the worst anxiety attack I’ve had in years. And I’ve had a few.

So I did what any normal girl would do when hopped up on pain killers with a side of anxiety. I did everything wrong.

Things you shouldn’t do during an anxiety attack

When the meds for the pinched nerve in my back made me absolutely insane, I decided to do these really stupid things that only magnified my anxiety to the nth degree. Learn from my lessons people.

Have your palms read

In my infinite wisdom, while out with some girlfriends at a ladies day out event, I thought it would be brilliant to have my palms read. Sure I didn’t really believe in any of that mumbo jumbo but figured I’d give some quack 20 bucks, and she’d tell me some of the badass things in my future. Of course, I didn’t realize that her visions would be vague and could lean toward the negative or positive depending on where my head was. And fucking being the lunatic on drugs that I was,  I definitely leaned toward the nego. And my anxiety was through the roof the rest of the day. And just to drive the nail a little deeper, I fucking believed that bitch. The minute she told me I was on a lucky streak, I took everything she said and mentally filed it away.

Consume alcohol

With all that anxiety, you may find yourself in search of chocolate. When the only chocolate in the house requires baking (fuck that) or is the last piece of Easter candy (a hollow cookies and cream bunny) that you planned to snap photos of for a potential blog post next Easter (that you’re probably not going to write anyway), you know what you have to do. You open a bottle of Bailey’s and pour a largely portioned shot (twice) and take pictures. Since your tolerance is pretty much shite, you’re drunk…and you anxiety is now magnified even more. You’re probably going to start crying pretty soon, aren’t you? Oh, you’re too smart for that shit? Me too, guys. Me too.

Upgrade your website host

When your anxiety is already raging, there’s no time like the present to fix what ain’t broken. Well, my site was kind of broken. But not really It was running super slow, and the people at DreamHost told me if I  spent more money, my site would run faster. And everyone wants that, right? So I jumped on my computer after a few shots and went to town. I also panicked the fuck out and spent 30 minutes chatting with customer support who told me I should avoid making any changes for a couple days while it transferred over. They also said some other stuff which I promptly forwarded to Brian.

Contact your boyfriend who’s out with his friends

So now I’m freaking out about my stupid soothsaying palms, drunk, with a broken website…and alone. Brian was out with a friend,  catching a flick. After movies, they tend to stand outside and talk…sometimes for hours even when it’s balls cold outside. I couldn’t handle that much more of my anxiety alone. I needed to drag someone else into my crazy bullshit. Since Brian voluntarily lives with me knowing I come with my own brand of crazy… I played the part of psycho girlfriend.

First, I checked the runtime of said movie. Then, realizing he was still in the movie, sent a text…something along the lines of “hey. I’m crazy right now. My anxiety is killing me slowly. Please come home as soon as possible so I don’t accidentally die over-analyzation.” I made that last part up. I don’t think I actually thought I was going to die. But my brain was not pleased with where I was at.

When he didn’t respond shortly after the movie was out, I sent a Gchat message. Because crazy requires company…and gchat lets you see if someone has seen your message.  And I could be a little less anxious knowing he hadn’t actually seen my message. See? Batshit crazy. But I was just like…”hey no big deal, but just…let me know you saw my message. Kthxbye.”

When in doubt, visit Facebook

As if my anxiety wasn’t already rockin’, I took to Facebook where everyone’s joys were flying all over the place. Why is it that when you’re super anxious, Facebook is all look how happy everyone is? And when you’re flying high on life, it’s all, “OMG look at all this SAD.” Why? Because Facebook is a dick. Luckily, I have some pretty bad ass friends who I shared my anxiety with. They told me I probably shouldn’t have done anything I did, but hey while you’re here, let’s talk about squirrel-foxes, macaroons and nannies. Best. People. Ever.

Thankfully,  the drugs are out of my system and I’ve returned to normal levels of crazy. Well…normal for me, anyway.

When have you had to deal with crazy side effects?  Any experiences with psychics or palm readers?  Do you get anxiety? What have you done while anxious that just increased your anxiety tenfold?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Birthday Anxiety

Good morning Blog Friends! My birthday is exactly one week away.  And I love doing fun things FOR YOU on my birthday.

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So I get birthday anxiety. I don’t know if that’s a thing or not, but if it is, I get it. If you haven’t been around here long, you probably don’t know that I’m definitely the Clark Griswold of my little world. I have high expectations for just about everything…which leads to serious disappointment most of the time.

So I haven’t made plans for the second anniversary of my 29th birthday. Because we’re going to a wedding on my birthday. And I share a birthday with Brian’s brother. And because life has been out of control and busy. Moving is hectic…moving everything into storage and living in someone else’s house is more hectic. Especially when the house feng shui doesn’t jive with your own personal OCD tendencies. But I digress.
All of that is actually OK. I’m excited for the wedding. Brian’s brother is awesome. And a hectic life? Means I’m getting shit done. And the house sitch? Hello house hunting fun!

But birthday anxiety. That is a tricky one. I can’t quit that. Brian and my friends keep asking what I want to do. And telling me to throw a party. (Because I do throw a killer party). But I don’t wanna. I’m not in my own house. I don’t have time to cook or clean. And so I don’t have plans.

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Instead, I’m going to send YOU joy. Because giving away presents makes me happy. Especially when it’s a giant box of surprises. There will be fun for the whole family (if you feel like sharing) so trust me when I say you want to win.

But how do you win? Easy. Just leave a comment below with an answer to the following questions. You can gain an extra entry through social media by sharing this post, just make sure you tag me.

Do you get birthday anxiety? If you do, how do you deal with it? What’s the best part of your birthday? What should I do for my birthday?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Confession Friday: Sometimes I’m a Hot Mess. Sometime’s I’m Not.

Let me start by saying this: Anxiety Disorder is a fickle bitch. For me, it’s like I’m a complete contradiction of myself. Take that one time I met Jenny Lawson, for example.

Within two hours of freaking the fuck out when I met Jenny Lawson (Shaking hands, heart racing, rambling uncontrollably about nothing, and basically making a complete fool of myself, when all I wanted to do was impress her with my clever wit and overall adorable-ness…neither of which I was able to showcase), I went out to the bar where I proceeded to stand up in front of an entire bar full of people, and sing a song about masturbation without a second thought. (I’m kind of a karaoke nerd. For the record, I was singing the Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself,” loudly. Proudly, even.)

Why?

No, seriously. It doesn’t make any sense! I can make a fool of myself (ON PURPOSE) in front of a hundred strangers…but meeting one famous person sends me into a pile of incoherent goo. IN THE SAME NIGHT.

Karaoke Queen Karaoke Queen

Do you have any crazy quirks that make you question your sanity? Tell me, Blog Friends!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!