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Learning to Live with Anxiety

Learning to Live with Anxiety

I don’t even know how to begin this. I guess I can start with what happened: while leaving work back one day in February I felt this horrible pinching/pressure in my chest. Figuring that it may just be my bag being too heavy, I shrugged it off and continued across the parking lot to my car.

The pain hadn’t subsided after sitting in the car for a few minutes, so I texted my fiancé asking him how he knew when his chest pain was heart related. He suffers with some heart conditions (that I don’t know how to spell so please don’t ask what they’re called), so I figured he’d be a good sounding board to calm me down.

While driving I started to feel flutters in my chest as if my heart was vibrating. Panicking, I called Cam to talk to him and try to calm down. All of a sudden I felt this horrible squeeze, as if someone had grabbed my heart and gripped with all their strength. I couldn’t breathe, and I felt a “whoosh” of blood rush once the squeeze went away. At this point I reached full out panic mode, told Cam I was hanging up to call an ambulance, pulled off the road and called 911.  This was all within five minutes of leaving work.

In the ambulance I was convinced I was dying. I was dizzy, kept having the pains, and I was cold and shaky. It felt like I was going to pass out but I did everything in my power not to because I was convinced if I did I would never wake up. Heart attack, heart failure, blood clot…all of these scenarios were running through my brain with the worst-case possibilities seeming to be the most likely.

In the ER they monitored my heart rate, and I watched as it once more went up to 136 bpm and I felt everything all over again – the pain, the shakes, the cold.

I really thought it I was a goner.

After ruling out other possibilities with an x-ray and some blood-tests, I was still a little shocked when I was told I had most likely just had a panic attack. I’ve had an anxiety attack twice before, neither time being so bad that I thought my life was ending. Never during those first two attacks – one in college and one about three years ago – did I feel any severe chest pain. I was almost convinced they had missed something or made some kind of mistake.

Since the initial incident I have been to the emergency room two more times. I have also seen a cardiologist to rule out any possibility of heart conditions. I have even met with a therapist to try to get to the root of why all of a sudden I’m in full panic mode. The good news: my cardiologist says I have a perfectly healthy heart and can with great confidence say that it should remain that way for forty or so years. You thinks this news would bring me such joy and peace and calm, and I’m so sad to admit that it doesn’t. While I am glad to hear I don’t have a heart condition, my mind has decided to move on to other possible illnesses.

So what does this make me? Crazy? No. Well, maybe a little.

My type of anxiety can be classified as “Illness anxiety disorder”. I am constantly convinced something is wrong with me and I am dying. A harmless pop in my chest becomes a busted blood vessel in my mind. Pain in my shoulders are chest are obviously a heart attack, even if I did go to the gym recently. Even at times where I think I am at peace and I can live normally, my brain is running constantly in the background scanning my body for issues. The slightest twinge or twitch sends me back down this horrible spiral.

Until that first panic attack, I was never like this. Illness anxiety disorder can surface in anyone. It can come about due to major stressors in life (such as planning a wedding, and buying a house, and a whole bunch of other stuff all at the same time). Symptoms of illness anxiety disorder can include:

  • Constantly worrying about having or getting a serious disease or health condition
  • Thinking that minor bodily functions and actions are due to a severe illness
  • Being easily alarmed regarding health
  • Finding little or no reassurance after doctor’s visits end with a clean bill of health, because you’re convinced that they missed something or that you may have forgotten to mention an important symptom
  • Frequently searching online for symptoms and possible related illnesses (we are all guilty of this for sure)

For me, I know this started because of that first panic attack. And I know that first panic attack was caused by my stress over finances for everything going on in my life right now (house, wedding, etc). But despite the doctors’ claims, I still have that nagging voice in the back of my mind saying no, it’s a heart attack. It’s cancer. I’m dying. The thoughts never end, no matter how hard I try to keep them at bay.

I know I’ll get past this. I know that the cold weather isn’t helping and that spring will help clear my mind and make me feel more alive. I know that if I put more effort toward exercising and making my body stronger my mind will become stronger as well. I know that I’m going to be okay. I just have to continually convince myself that that’s the case. And that’s okay.

Anxiety is an unbelievably common issue. Kevin Love’s recent story with his personal bout with anxiety surfaced and brought to light this issue that so many of us face but don’t necessarily understand or discuss. It is a brutal thing, and it is comforting to know that you aren’t alone and that you aren’t indeed crazy, thank you very much. If you struggle with depression or anxiety (or both), I strongly encourage reaching out to someone. Having someone beside you who can understand and support you through it all is so helpful. I’m unbelievably blessed to have an understanding fiancé and family and friends. If you aren’t struggling but you know someone who is, find out how you can help. Talk with specialists to learn how to handle anxiety and depression and be there for your friend or family member. Be there for them when they just need a shoulder to lean on while they sort through everything in their brains.

Take each day one step at a time. I tell this to myself every morning. One hour, one minute, step by step I can get through this day. Focus on one thing at a time: your work, a puzzle, coloring, reading a book. Don’t multitask everything by looking at your phone while doing something else. Take time to live in those moments. It’ll help slow things down and make the day more manageable. At least, it does for me.

 

Xo Karli

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/illness-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373782

Coffee Talk & Catch Up

Coffee Talk & Catch Up

As always, it’s been a minute! Life always manages to snag me up in this whirlwind of non-stop activity, and every time I let so many hobbies fall to the wayside. Upon returning home from our vacation to Cape Cod, I spent a week preparing for my sister’s bridal shower. I’m so happy with how everything turned out! It ended up being a beautiful day. I may make a separate post about it soon so I can share some photos! 

After the shower was said and done I really started dedicating more of my time to studying for the FAR section of the CPA exam. It’s unbelievably brutal. I had originally planned on taking the test on October 16th, but I’ve now rescheduled for November 11th. I was starting to burn out studying three hours every single day and somehow still falling behind. And as much as I enjoy learning and strengthening the skills I need to succeed in my profession, it was exhausting to do so much and never feel caught up. Maybe there’s an important life lesson here, but I rescheduled nonetheless and some of the weight has lifted off my shoulders. I feel a lot more confident that I will be able to cover all of the material and revisit tougher areas before the exam. 

There’s been more than just studying and wedding things going on, though. I’m so happy to say that I’ve finally taken the leap to start my own business! Since I was a child I’ve loved taking pictures. I started off with my little pink Barbie film camera, and that has escalated to being a photographer for families, engagements, and weddings. I haven’t done too many yet, but it was enough of a taste to realize I enjoy it. After debating for almost a year, I finally opened up shop! You can check me out over at www.karliskandids.com . I’m so happy with how everything is coming along so far. I’m really excited to see where this adventure takes me, and I’m so so glad I finally made the leap of faith to get the ball rolling. 

Starting a business is definitely a lot of work. I didn’t expect it to be easy, by any means. But there are so many things that never really crossed my mind, either! For example, I need to come up with fun little ad campaigns and design them to match with my brand. And while I have no doubt I can do it, it will definitely take time to make everything perfect. Luckily, I’m a firm believer in enjoying the journey. And this journey is bringing me so much joy and excitement. I’ve never felt this lighthearted and giddy about ANYTHING, so whether anything comes of it or not I’m just glad I tried. Bonus, everything I’m learning about branding will be able to translate over into this blog as well. Yay!

Sorry there isn’t really much to this post. Although I keep telling myself I’ll get back on track with this blog, I suppose we have yet to see if that will happen. Fingers crossed that I will find some more inspiration and get back into this! As well as sharing my sister’s bridal shower, maybe I can also share a little makeup haul from my recent trip to Ulta? That would be fun! We’ll see.. ūüėČ

Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by. Hopefully I’ll have more content up soon!

xoxo, Karli

 

 

Calming Down Before Breaking Down

Calming Down Before Breaking Down

When life gets you down, it’s so easy to get sucked into your emotions. It’s easy to panic, to retreat from friendships and family, to lose your cool and lash out and those around you. It’s easy to get angry and blame it on your feelings later. But it also totally freaking sucks. Who wants to look back on a day or series of days and say “wow, yeah, sorry about that. I was just in a bad mood LOL”. NO. This is not okay. While it is understandable to be upset, it’s so important to learn how to handle those emotions, reign them in, and take control back over your head. (note: it is a much different situation if you suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other severe mood-altering mental diseases. please understand my post is referencing a much simpler form of emotion!)

I have a few fail-safe ways to calm my nerves and my brain after it becomes overwhelmed with stress. I mean, ideally we would be able to counter anything before a total freak out. But let’s be real: you don’t always see the breakdown coming. So, what do I do to calm down?

 

  • Take a bath!¬†There’s nothing quite like taking a long soak after a stressful day, or to just turn around your mood. Add some fun bath fizzies, bubbles, and candles to really set the atmosphere. These Me! Bath bath bombs are my favorite bath bombs from Target! I love the “Love Me!” scent. It’s so fruity and sweet, and my skin feels amazing afterwards too! I usually use two per bath and find that more than enough. Between those and a crisp glass of wine from one of my Winc subscriptions, my mood is significantly better within the hour!

you may be interested in What I Loved In April . Check it out for a review of my new favorite wine from Winc and a link for $13 off your first order! (disclaimer, if you buy, I get $13 off my next order too! Win-win!)

 

  • Read a good book!¬†Reading is so, so important. It helps keep your mind sharp, and it provides a great getaway from reality for a while. Some of my favorite stories feed into my wanderlust, or totally transport me to a different world. I highly recommend Wild by Cheryl Strayed for those of you hiking afficionados. Looking for something more dramatic and, well, fictional? I’m really enjoying this series by Sarah J. Mass.¬†It feels like a mix of Beauty in the Beast, Hunger Games, and a few World of Warcraft references for blood elves that I can’t help but notice! It was slow going at first but I really got into the second book. The third just came out, and I can’t wait to pick it up!
  • Journal!¬†As some of you may know, I’m a journal addict. I’ve loved collecting journals since I was a child, and I’m always using them for some purpose or another! Not only do I use journals for jotting down thoughts throughout the day, but I also use a dotted Leuchtturm1917 A5 journal for bullet journaling! I switched back to this method after using the Filofax for a little while. Never heard of bullet journaling? It’s a great way to mix planning and recording your life into one handy little journal. And with full creative freedom, you can make it look any way you want. Let your creativity soar, or keep it simple. Whichever way keeps you journaling is the best way to go!¬†There are tons of wonderful accounts on Instagram to spark some inspiration. If you’re interested, I highly recommend checking out breeeberry, Boho Berry¬†(who is actually the blog that got me into bullet journaling), ¬†and iamlisajacobs (who has wonderful handwriting and a really pretty Insta feed in general) . Bullet journaling makes me feel organized which really helps calm the buzz of overwhelmed thoughts in my head. If you don’t have to worry about your schedule, that’s a lot less to think about throughout the day.

you may be interested in My Must Haves for FiloFax and Bullet Journaling 

 

  • Hike!¬†Perhaps my favorite recommendation of them all! I love the outdoors. I grew up with my dad taking us to parks on hikes and walks all the time. It’s been one of my favorite things to do as long as I can remember. Pair that with a photography hobby and the cutest dog on the planet (I might be biased), it truly can’t be beat as my favorite way to unwind. Always check the maps at a park to see what trails work best for you, and don’t forget to bring plenty of water! If I’m really in a bad mood, I go on a nice hard trail with a lot of ups and downs and switchbacks. It gets my blood flowing, and it’s hard to focus on negative thoughts when your legs and lungs are pleasantly sore from the exercise. I went on a wonderful hike today with Willow, and at the very beginning is a river. She loves to swim, so I let her go crazy for a while in the water. It warmed my heart and lifted my spirits. I haven’t felt this great in days!

I’ll finish this post here, but keep scrolling if you want to see some photos from the hike! As always, thanks for stopping by!

 

xo, Karli

Treating Mom to Life’s Simple Joys

Treating Mom to Life’s Simple Joys

Mother’s day is coming up, friends! And to those of you who love your momma and want to give her a wonderful Sunday, good for you! My mom has been a centerpiece of my life time and time again. She is always supportive, encouraging, and PROUD of me through all my endeavors. When I told her I wanted to be an accountant like her, she was overjoyed. When I shared my love for photography in high school she surprised me with my first Canon DSLR camera, and still gets me accessories for my hobby. When I mentioned I was starting a blog, she thought it was such a cool idea and discussed ideas she has had about a blog of her own (which I wish she would start because she’s an amazing writer!). All this and much, much more make my mom so special to me. And while I want to give her the world this mother’s day, I’m also a young adult with a starting salary and lots of bills to pay. What’s a girl (or boy, if you guys out there are reading this!) to do with a constricted budget and a mom who deserves diamonds?

One really important thing my mom taught me is that a gift or experience doesn’t have to be expensive to be cherished. So if you’re running on a tight budget, here are some simple, inexpensive ideas to show her your appreciation!

  • Make her breakfast

This one is a given. Who DOESN’T love breakfast in bed? Make your mom a healthy omelette or a yummy berries and yogurt parfait. If you really have time and a bigger appetite in the morning, you should definitely try this amazing looking breakfast pizza recipe from Real Simple! If you do, let me know how it is! I’ve been dying to try it myself, and just haven’t found the time. Bonus points here for a refreshing mimosa and fresh hot coffee!

  • Offer to help clean!

I’m sure most moms will be overjoyed if they walked into a sparkling clean kitchen or living room. Let her kick her feet up while you help handle some of the mundane household chores! Don’t take too long, though! Leave time to spend some true quality moments together.

  • Take her shopping for garden flowers

This one is something my mom and I did for at least three years in a row. We would drive to all the local nurseries and look at all the freshly bloomed flowers. Some years we would buy hundreds of dollars worth of flowers and totally re-do the front gardens, and others we would each get just one little plant and see how long we could keep it alive. These are some of my most cherished days with my mom, even in their simplicity. Flowers can be pretty inexpensive, and it’s a fun way to brighten up a desk or table!

  • Sign her up for a fun subscription box!

Okay, this one could get a little pricey. But how much fun would it be to surprise mom with a box of goodies delivered right to her doorstep? While my subscription box experience solely lies with Trunk Club, the box from FabFitFun looks like a great idea! It runs a little pricier, but it has a nice array of products that anyone would enjoy. They are seasonal, though! So that’s something to keep in mind. If she’s a makeup lover, you could always go for the Ipsy or Birchbox subscriptions as well! There are tons of different themes for subscription boxes now, so definitely look for those as a fun gift idea.

you may be interested in: Trunk Club Review – Athleisure Edit

  • Go for a hike

If your mom is outdoors-y, strap on your hiking boots and go for a nice hike! The fresh outdoor air will make you both feel amazing, and you can fill the time with great conversation and catch up!

While I hope to take my mom on another flower shopping trip and out for brunch, I know she would be just as happy with a big bottle of wine shared on the back deck enjoying the company of her family. And that’s the beauty of some moms, isn’t it? They love you more than any gift you could ever give, because you are their greatest gift.

Happy mother’s day to all the wonderful moms I know. <3

xo, Karli

 

 

February Challenge

February Challenge

My January goals didn’t pan out the way I intended, so in February I’m choosing just a few goals that will be easier to follow and hopefully make me feel more accomplished. One thing I’ve always struggled with is spending. I am a certifiable shopaholic, 100%. Shopping literally makes me happy. I get the same rush from shopping that I do from a triple-espresso latte. I seriously wish I was joking. Something about buying things just makes me…happy. And I know that’s not healthy and it’s not okay. 

This month I’m going to try to tackle my addiction to shopping and see if I can overcome my need to spend. And boy is it going to be hard. The goal is to go the whole month without buying any new clothes, shoes, accessories, or house decor. I’m only allowing myself to spend money on food, gas, and family events. I will only eat out once a week: the rest of the time will be meal prep. 

February is the shortest month of the year, so if you have goals you want to tackle or a challenge you want to try this is probably the best month to do it. Four exact weeks, 28 days. Somehow that seems more manageable than 30 or 31, am I right? 

If shopping is something you struggle with, I dare you to join me in this little challenge of self-restraint. No new makeup, no new clothes, no new shoes, no new purses, phone cases, necklaces, no new ANYTHING that isn’t food, gasoline for your car (if necessary) or expenses for family outings (ie. the occasional breakfast, tickets to a show, etc). 

I’m really hoping this challenge gives me a sense of contentment. I have enough “stuff”. I don’t need more. I want to feel content with my life and myself without needing to buy more and more things. 

I will also take the time that I’m not spending shopping to focus on more important things, like reading. Walking the dog. Working out. Or studying! I’ve officially signed up to take the BEC portion of the CPA exam on March 2nd, so I have plenty of studying to do. I’m hoping to de-clutter and donate some clothes from my closet. Deep clean the house. There are so many things I can do in the time that I’m saving by NOT traipsing through the aisles of stores debating my next great purchase. 

I dare you to join me in this challenge, ESPECIALLY if you think you have a shopping addiction. If going the whole month seems impossible, give yourself smaller goals. Make it one week. Make it two. Make it halfway through the month and buy yourself one little thing (don’t spend more than $10-$20!). Resist shopping by making a physical list of all the things you want to buy. At the end of the month re-visit that list, and see if anything calls out to you still. You might find that by the time we reach day 28, you no longer wanted that t-shirt or those shoes. But maybe something does stand out. Make that one thing your goal. And at the end of the month, if you made it through the whole month (or at least your midway check point!) reward yourself with the most desirable item on that list. Be reasonable, and try to keep the amount low. I’m going to give myself a $50 reward limit. At the end of the month, $50 is nothing in comparison to the damage I could have done (believe me, I’m horrible). 

Let me know if you join, or if you’re going through a similar self-made challenge for February! I’m excited to see where I go with this. Maybe I can break myself of my shopping addiction? That would be a sight to see.

Cheers, and good luck!

xo, Karli

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving! This year has been so long and so full, and I have a lot to be thankful for. Gratitude is an important thing to practice every day, not just on Thanksgiving day. It’s important to remember and hold on to things you are grateful for and things you love. These are the people and experiences that can help you turn around some mildly depressive thoughts and remind you what it is you live for each day. I for one definitely struggle with reminding myself to be grateful for even the little things. So to start Thanksgiving off on the right foot, here is a list of what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday season:

  • I know this one sounds silly, but I’m thankful that I woke up this morning. It’s so important to look at each day as a blessing and a gift, one where you can choose how it plays out and ends. I’m thankful that I’m given another 24 hours to do what feels right for me in any given moment.
  • I’m thankful for my job, where I am surrounded by supportive people who care about me and my ambitions. I’ve never felt anything less than their equal and that is definitely a blessing in the workplace.
  • I’m thankful for my boyfriend. Even though it’s been a rough year for us, we’ve learned a lot and only through that can we make the decisions that will move us forward. Regardless of the bad, you’ve been there by my side through thick and through thin, and you’re my best friend through and through. I can’t appreciate that enough.
  • I’m thankful for my wonderful amazing family. My mom, dad, stepdad, sister, brother, and two half brothers mean the world to me. I may not be present enough and take enough time out of my days for family, but I love you all more than you can imagine and don’t know what I’d do or who I’d be if it weren’t for your constant love and support.
  • I’m thankful for my health. I get to wake up, get myself ready, drink coffee, drive, and run a Turkey Trot this morning with my wonderful sister. I have two legs that can push me forward and a body that functions well, even if it is out of shape. There’s so much I can do without worrying about limitations, and that’s definitely something I take for granted by sitting on the couch for hours at a time. This holiday season I’m striving to complete the Runner’s World holiday run streak, where you run at least one mile per day every day through the holiday season. 1 mile for me is 10-11 minutes. Just getting up and doing one mile will be a wonderful way to remind myself that I can be active and take care of my body simply by taking the baby steps to get there. And once I get to the gym chances are I won’t just stop at a mile. I’ll run more, or lift, or maybe do some stretching.

I highly encourage you to write out your own list of things you’re thankful for. And try and stay away from being thankful for material possessions. While they are wonderful and fun, it’s important to remember the people and experiences of life more than anything. So yes, while I’m sure many of us are thankful for a wonderful cars or pretty apartments and great technology, remember to give thanks also for the family and friends that support you through the tough times and the good.

Also, I highly encourage everyone interested in starting up running to take a chance at the holiday run streak with me! I think this will be a great way for me to remember my health while I’m consuming all the cookies and drinks my heart desires over the next few weeks. It’ll also be a great way for me to get some good use at out of my new running shoes!

And lastly, perhaps the most important thing to think about this holiday: we are lucky. If you get to go visit family today, sit around a big table and eat delicious food to your hearts content and drink wine and laugh alongside the ones you love – be thankful. But I also encourage you to remember those who aren’t so lucky on this day. It’s really important to remember the battles that are happening RIGHT NOW in America affecting our neighbors and friends. I encourage you to reach out and help today, help someone in need. Whether this be through a donation, an act of kindness, or signing a petition – please help those who aren’t able to enjoy this day like you and me. One particular fight going on really strikes deep with me: the fight over the North Dakota access pipeline. The North Dakota Sioux people really need our help in stopping this destruction of their land. Follow this link¬†to see what you can do to help.

I’ve done my part, now let’s hear yours! What are you thankful for? What can you do to give back today and help someone else in need? Let me hear your part in the comments below!

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, Karli