Lady slippers were a common sight in the woods of New England. I saw them constantly in my forest wanderings. They're quite pretty. And delightful to see in a deep forest bordered by centuries old stone walls. Gosh, that time and place was pure magic.
I have never seen one out in the woods, but I have rarely been out walking in the woods. I have to always be near "civilization," which means close to help if needed. Such is the nature of panic disorder. Major bummer. But, there are worse things. Terrible way to live your life. In fear. But, I have taken a few walks at a state forest about 40 miles from here. They have walking trails, so I walked one that was about 2 miles. Didn't see a ladyslipper though. They are so interesting! The forest you described sounds so lovely!
I suffered some severe, paralyzing panic attacks when I was a waitress years ago. Didn't know at the time that the sudden onslaught of fear, inability to breathe or think, racing heart and need to get the hell outta dodge sensation was a panic attack at the time. I think those episodes were partly due to the stress of that crazy job especially for someone like me, a born introvert, but also, I was drinking coffee and diet cola back then like water and the amount of caffeine in my blood must've been some astronomically high percentage. I can't imagine not getting lost in the woods or wandering far far far away from civilization. Ever read "Into the Wild"? Excellent damn book about a young man (adapted into a movie I think directed by Sean Penn) who did exactly that, wandered into the wild....and never came back out.Amazing true story. I read it after my father read it who read it after my older brother read it. I then passed that onto a dear friend in England and hope the book is still out there in the world wandering around from reader to reader.I could live deep deep in the woods, disappear a la Salinger, and only come out now and then for necessities. Do you take a med for your anxiety? One of my coworkers mentioned how constantly anxious and stressed she feels while at work and home, and about how she can't seem to find a med that will calm that anxiety.Meanwhile, (god, I'm rambling...forgive me...) I'm into my fourth month of organic happiness and am damn loving it.Happy Sunday, friend. Life is good.
If only I could be like you and others who don't have the irrational fears of being far away from "help." Anxiety/panic disorder is disabling on so many levels. It is truly difficult to have a good time most anywhere you go. Along with the disorder comes much social anxiety as well. I started having "episodes" when I was a teenager. I thought I was losing my mind. Finally went to a medical doctor who put me on Inderal (beta blocker) for the tachycardia which goes along with the panic. It's so frightening to think you are dying from a heart attack. And that was at age 16!I love Into The Wild (the book and the movie). I love to think about being out away from the noise and congestion of small town life (I live on a busy street in a small town!). I don't Chris intended to die out there. He just didn't think about the river being so much wider after the thaw. Sad way to die, but I would say Chris lived the life he wanted to live. Just ended too soon for him. I have been on meds since 1994. I refused to take them for years thinking CBT and lifestyle changes would be enough, but I need meds, too. Before meds, I could not drive any further than a mile or two from my house. Even going to the grocery store induced severe anxiety. Now, I can go places, but I still get panicky if something goes wrong, and I perceive the situation as dangerous, whether it actually is/was or not. Unlike your coworker who feels stressed and anxious, I had full blown panic attacks--up to 4 per day--before I started taking medication. I could not keep going through that. It is exhausting! Think of the most frightened you've ever been and how much adrenaline you pumped out and then how exhausted you were after the fear was gone and you'll know what I mean. Completely wipes a person out! I have a story to tell about my trip to Naples, FL last fall, but I'll save it for another day. Proved something to myself, though, and feel grateful for that, but I was scared as hell and could not believe I didn't totally lose it. When you say 4 months of organic happiness, are you referring to organic in a food sense or an entire way of life? I am happy for you, Laurel. Life is good. It's just a bummer to be riddled with so much fear that the joy is overshadowed much of the time.
Organic in the sense that I can pin the arrival of, and daily constancy of this happiness on no external source. I am taking no medication. This happiness was with me one morning when I awoke one cold morning in late February, a feeling so odd that for days I questioned its presence and persistence, and has been with me, like a good dog happy to see you the moment you get home, ever since.Honestly, it's the best gift out of the clear blue that's ever been bestowed upon me. I strongly suspect that this is how "normal" folk feel on a day to day basis. I don't question it anymore. My theory is that it's somehow related to the shift in chemicals and hormones that has begun thanks to edging toward that change so many women dread. Hell, if my change of life is stoked with ridiculous, unexplainable happiness, I'll welcome it with open arms.Do tell about Naples sometime. And yes, Chris (his name was Chris? That was my older brother's name...) lived the way he wanted to live and I think despite dying that way, he was happy. And really, that's all any of us can ask for.
I have no idea what it feels like to be "normal," but I think I've come close a few times. I was never happier than when I was pregnant and my children were young. I can say I enjoyed those days of my life so very much. It was easy then to put some of my fears and concerns and pain on the back burner. I now had children, and the love is so intense and the fear so great that one is simply consumed in it. My children and I had many happy, fun days, and we still do when I see them, but they are all grown and gone and have their own lives, as they should. So, I guess I could say I know normal. I was once acquainted with it. :)When I went through menopause, it was an incredibly awful experience. Years of monthly pain and heavy bleeding made me long for the day that would no longer happen, but then the day came, and for the first year, I just felt miserable. I prayed to bleed! At least that was a release and my hormones would balance out a bit. At the end of the first year, then came the realization that I could never be pregnant again (even though I certainly was not considering having another child, it was just the thought of not being able to that bothered me). By year three post-menopause, I was leveling out a bit, but mostly just down. Now, I just am. Some days up. Most days a little down. Many plain old indifferent. I periodically have some of the symptoms of menopause. I was already overweight by about 20 pounds when I entered menopause. Now, I am overweight by about 50! No kidding. Sluggish metabolism, low energy levels, bad habits. It sounds like your body is handling it all well. But, you are much healthier than I am (or at least I think you are!). You still exercise daily, don't you? I think that makes a huge difference. I know when I am a dedicated walker, I feel better. I do eat healthy foods. Lots of vegetables, chicken, fish, not too much red meat. Mostly organic whole foods. But, I still indulge in too much alcohol, which in turn makes me crave carbs, and then I grab the chip bag. Hence, the extra weight. I can't do any type of strenuous cardio or I would, but walking is healthy. Just not this week (107 yesterday--still in the 90s at 10 last night). I think most of the country is experiencing the same thing. I thought about getting an elliptical but don't know if it will be too strenuous for me. I think you can adjust them, right? And, I could just pace myself. That would solve the problem of not being able to walk when the weather is like this. I am glad you are feeling so good, and I hope it continues. Maybe one day I'll wake up and feel that way! One has to have hope. Hope you are staying cool!
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