Adventures of Anxiety Girl!

anxiety-girl

 

My depression and anxiety are a million times better in sobriety, but sometimes they still get the best of me. The past week has been a rough one, and I’m fighting these feelings instead of turning my worries and problems over to my Higher Power. Two years ago when I was working with my sponsor E., she would always tell me to put down the boxing gloves.

Me: (overwhelmed. struggling. flailing!)

E: KC, quit fighting yourself. PUT DOWN THE BOXING GLOVES. Turn it over!

Me: But I’ve been fighting myself my entire life! THIS IS WHAT I DO.

E: And where has that gotten you?

Me: Le sigh…okay, fine. (prays, asks for help and acceptance.)

Two days later…

Me: Hey, E! I feel so much better. Why didn’t I turn my problems over sooner?

E: Told you so! That’s why I’m the sponsor and you are the sponsee. (wink, wink)

I’m struggling with a few things that I’d previously had a handle on. But as time moved on and life didn’t move in the direction I had hoped it would by my time frame, I’ve gotten angsty. Frustrated. Completely bummed out. Last fall I kept thinking, okay. This is going to happen when it is supposed to happen. In God’s time! It’s going to work out when it is supposed to. But I’ve gradually lost faith of it happening because it hasn’t happened yet. Looking back on my life post-car accident, I’ve been able to see that everything has happened when the timing was right.People, places and things worked out when they needed to. When I kept doing what I needed to in the program, when I stayed in the middle of the bed (so to speak), the magic happened.

Note to self: pray, turn it over, help another alcoholic, have faith. You’re gonna be fine!

An unrelated source of anxiety is my probation. It officially ends on June 9. I’ve lived in perpetual fear since being released from jail that I would make one wrong move and/or forget to do something, and I’d be immediately booted to prison. Since moving back to Akron and getting my probation transferred to a much bigger county with more crime, I am small potatoes here. Instead of seeing my PO each month, I go to the police station downtown and check in to a kiosk. I’ve only had to see my PO when I moved down here, and when I’ve needed to fill out paperwork that grants me permission to travel out of state.

Despite marking each month’s probation check in multiples time on my Google Calendar, in the past couple years I have woken up several times in the middle of the night, sweating profusely, heart racing, thinking that I missed my check in day. And being terrified of getting shipped to prison. Even jaywalking terrified me for a while! My judge is no joke, and I know that if I even sneezed wrong around that guy, he’d want to ship me out. I promise that I am not overreacting. My anxiety of jaywalking is, however his seriousness is not.

I had to check in yesterday, but the doors were locked. Government offices were closed for President’s Day. I immediately emailed my PO, and told her that the doors were locked, I didn’t see anyone, and that I hope it was okay if I would check in today. My anxiety rose on the bus this morning as I neared the police station (which is conveniently located where I exit the bus every day to walk to work). Worse Case Scenario Girl imagined me checking in, then promptly getting handcuffed and carried out when a buzzer went off. SHE DIDN’T CHECK IN WHEN SHE WAS SUPPOSED. SHE FINALLY FUCKED UP!

My PO told me once that if I was unable to check in on a certain date, to let her know ahead of time. Well, I wasn’t anticipating not being able to check in yesterday but at least I notified her ASAP. Tomorrow I will see her to get some work travel cleared, but I’m still freaked out. Deep down I know that I have nothing to worry about. I’m not a threat to the system in this county. She likes me.But I will still be on edge until I am done talking to her tomorrow. Until then, I know that I need to pray and turn it over. And calm the fuck down! (wink, wink).

One Year Ago

My sentencing was one year ago today.

That morning I was escorted out of the courtroom amid the sniffles and sobs of many family members, friends, AA contacts, and colleagues. It was the worst day of my life.

This anniversary has been weighing heavily on me in many ways. I’ve been dreaming about my time in jail constantly, I think I see corrections officers on the street or around campus while I’m working. My time away continues to affect me in weird and profound ways, and I plan on documenting my experiences here.

I had hoped to write about the events of June 9, 2014 here today, but my schedule is wonky. I had to work late, and I have to open the library in the morning (I hate opening shifts – I’m so not a morning person). And well, the Cavs are on (ha). But I plan on doing so in the next couple days.

Until then…

585 Days

I am still struggling to keep up with texts, emails and phone calls. Still adjusting to real life, along with my new normal: living with my mother and being unable to drive. There’s a lot that’s happened during the past six months, and I’ll get to that. There are also three more posts I wrote in jail that need to be published. Unfortunately the whole blogging from jail thing didn’t work out as planned, but that’s okay. Shit happens.

In September I received a copy of Hazelden’s Twenty Four Hours a Day book from a fellow inmate. It was custom to dole out extra commissary or other goodies to your buddies upon release. What a wonderful feeling it was to get to that day myself and distribute my shampoo, lotion, candy, notebook paper, etc.

In treatment last fall, we read from the 24 Hours a Day book every morning. I still don’t have a copy of my own, but enjoyed adding the daily reading to my morning rituals while incarcerated. One of the first things I did after getting the book was to flip through to June 9, the day of my sentencing. I was floored when I read it. I took this photo of the entry at a meeting yesterday morning:

image

Coincidence? I don’t know, but it brought me to tears. The day of my sentencing and the start of my incarceration wasn’t my bottom, but it sure felt like another bottom. I was sober, but felt like I’d been drop-kicked into a sewer. Thanks to my drinking, I was broke, spiritually bankrupt, I hated myself and yes, life seemed impossible.

“We had to end it all or do something about it.” Waking up in the ICU, not knowing what I had done (aside from drinking and driving) to get there, I knew it was do or die time. Not everyone gets a second chance, and there’s a reason that I got one. There’s a reason that I lost nearly everything. I am here to help others and to show them that the impossible can be done. That despite all the shit stacked against us, it is possible to climb your way out the rubble, the ruins of drink. To come out of life on top. To succeed. To deal with hardship without diving into a bottle every time something bad happens.

Am I glad I did something about it?” Hell yeah, I am! Onwards and upwards, friends. Onwards and upwards!

575 Days

A quick post to let everyone know that I am finally free. I’ve missed you all so much, and appreciate your kind thoughts and support. It still means the world to me!

I am slowly adjusting to life post-incarceration and am reveling in simple pleasures: sunshine and fresh air, real coffee, walks with my dog, fresh fruits and vegetables, being able to hug friends and family, sleeping in a real bed with a pillow, wearing my own undies, etc. While I am grateful to put the past six months behind me, there are still many obstacles looming on the horizon. I’m scared and hope I have the strength to get through all this. One day at a time right?

Looking forward to catching up with you all!

13 Months + 3 Days

Robin here. I finally got mail from KC today! Two letters, and she included a blog post in one of them. I’ll pass along any comments you leave. 

Hello from jail! So glad that Robin is able to post for me and that she gave you guys an update about my sentencing. Monday (sentencing day; this was written last week) was obviously awful. The victim did not show up, so unfortunately I did not get to apologize to her in person. Someone read a statement from her. She and her husband have forgiven me, but her family is still really angry. I wish we could have talked in person. I hate that I still don’t have a face to her name.

It took me some time, but I was able to read my full page-long statement to the judge/court. I could hear my family and friends crying as I read it. My lawyer hugged me afterwards. The judge acknowledged my 30 amazing letters of support/character and my achievements since the accident, but showed zero leniency. Six months in this hell hole, license suspended for three years, and three years probation. Even the women I live with here are in utter shock. I’m the only one not here for drugs. I’ve done nothing but rehabilitate myself since the accident, and now I’m taking enormous steps backwards.

My alcoholic thinking got the better of me the first two days here. It was screaming in my head, throwing toddler-style tantrums. I actually cursed my efforts to get well, all the time I spent in counseling, in treatment, in AA. Hundreds of hours felts squandered. In my head the court system didn’t give a shit if I was passed out in a gutter somewhere as they certainly didn’t care that I was a year+ sober

It’s amazing how fucked up our thinking is. I was angry at how hard I worked to turn my life around and achieve sobriety. In reality, all that hard work kept me from having a nervous breakdown these past two months. It’s kept me sane. There is no easier, softer way. This gift of sobriety is something I will have to work hard to maintain for the rest of my life. I have to take it one day at a time, just like this sentence. Looking forward only causes anxiety and stress.

The first couple days here were obviously awful. My body, heart, and mind were in shock. To make matters worse, I had to wait a full week until today (Monday) to go to commissary. All I had for a week was one change of clothes, one blanket (it’s freezing here!), a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap. No comb, no shampoo, no pens, paper, snacks, coffee. Thankfully some of the women here helped me out by lending me a comb and shampoo, making me a cup of instant coffee or handing me an apple or a couple cookies. Finding a hair tie under my bed the second day was akin to winning the lottery!

My body is already bruised from my bed. We have a thin bedroll on metal. For the first time in my life I’ve been thankful for not being a petite woman! I can’t imagine how much more painful my bed would be without my extra padding. The food is terrible. Salty and processed, zero fresh vegetables. My fresh fruit is limited to an apple or small orange every other day. The air conditioner freezes us out and we all shiver at night in our metals beds with one blanket. But I have a roof over my head, daily access to a shower, food in my stomach (even if it is gross), and I have the support from so many amazing people. This sucks, but it could be so much worse, you know?

Will send another update for Robin next week. Hope you are all well. I miss you all. Enjoy some fresh air, sunshine, and a salad for me.

 

 

 

392 Days

Here’s hoping I can get some rest tonight. Whatever happens, I will survive. Hell, I’m already a survivor! And I’m so proud of myself for the changes I’ve made in my life. My sobriety is a precious gift, and it will help me to get through whatever life throws at me tomorrow. Say a prayer or send me some good vibes if you can. Hopefully I will be back here with you all sooner than than later. Until next time…

383 Days

This might be a long and rambling post, so apologies in advance.

It’s been a rough week for me. My foundation is starting to crack as butterflies and fear keep jostling my insides. I was unbearably nervous for my meeting with HR Wednesday, and the nerves have been with me since. I get hungry, but after I eat, I feel sick. I’m smoking, and I haven’t bought cigarettes since 2005. I sit at my desk and cry as I receive yet another amazing letter of character for the judge. I’m trying not to fixate on my sentencing on the 9th, but that’s impossible.

My meeting with HR, my union rep, and my boss went as well as I could ever hope it would. However, it was an informal meeting and the HR higher-ups so to speak seem to be unwavering in their belief that I should not be granted any leave of absence due to serving time in jail. I am writing my letter of resignation next week in preparation for the unknown. My boss can hold the letter for a week or so and tear it up if need be. Having had a history of shitty bosses, I am overwhelmed and feel incredibly blessed to have a boss that is doing everything he can to keep me here. He keeps acting like it’s no big deal, but to me it is huge. My boss is not here today, and he will be away at a leadership conference all next week. We spoke after work yesterday discussing my resignation letter and my options. We’re both hopeful that if my job does end here in June, that I will be rehired. My leaving the university will be on good terms, and HR has said that they will not discriminate against hiring me with a felony on my record. So, if I am forced to resign, I am trying to stay positive with the hopes that I may be able to slide back into my position at a later date. I held in my tears until after our little chat  yesterday. It felt surreal to be crying over my boss, since this may have been our last day working together. His letter to the judge was wonderful, with him asking the judge to consider anything other than straight jail time so I can keep my job here. I hope he knows how much his support means to me.

When I got home from work, I received a letter to the judge from my big brother and it left me crying for an hour. My brother and I are extremely close and 3 1/2 years apart. He was the last one to see me before I drove the night of the accident. Apparently he tried to stop me from driving, and I got belligerent about it. The rest as they say, is history. This is totally assholish of me, but I wanted you all to see his letter. Certain names are left out, of course. Here goes:

Your Honor,

This is a letter of character regarding my sister, Kristina.

My name is blah blah. I was born on blah blah, 1976 in blah, graduated from blah High in 1994, and have lived there my entire life. I’m a CNC operator/set-up person at blah blah blah. I’ve been with the company for nearly 17 years.

Growing up, I was (still am, and always will be) Kristina’s big brother. We’d argue, laugh, fight, and have fun together the way most siblings would. We watched the same movies and TV shows, listened to most of the same music, and both loved reading books. Those are four of the things I’m most passionate about in life. Kristina and I have remarkably similar tastes when it comes to these things. As we moved out of our teens and into adulthood, our shared love of movies, music, TV, and books only brought us closer. Although we live an hour away from each other and we don’t see or talk to one another as often as we used to, there is no one I feel closer to. She’s my best friend. I love her more than anyone else in this world.

She went to college after high school and worked hard to earn a Bachelors degree in English, and later, a Masters degree in Library Science. Like a lot of college grads, it took her a long time to find a good job in her chosen field. No matter where she was or what job she had prior to her current “dream job,” she worked hard and took pride in what she did. Those traits are increasingly rare in this day and age, especially for people under the age of 40. I’ve been working in a factory since I was 20 with people of all ages. Believe me, I know how rare a strong work ethic is today. Kristina loves and cares about her job enormously. I have no doubt that she is great at what she does.

The night of May 11, 2013 is a night I’ll never forget. I received a phone call from my Mom – who was in absolute hysterics – telling me Kristina had been in an accident. I told her I’d be right over. When I hung up, I didn’t know Kristina’s condition, whether she was alive or dead. I couldn’t get that information out of my Mom. It was about 15 minutes between the time I hung up and the time I pulled into my Mother’s driveway. She was outside waiting for me, crying, but calmer than she had been over the phone. She told me that “they” said Kristina was going to be okay. Those 15 minutes of not knowing whether or not my little sister was alive or dead were, BY FAR, the worst 15 minutes of my life.

After learning Kristina had been badly injured, but would survive and recover, and learning that the victim of the accident, blank, would also be okay, I felt thankful and relieved. Those feelings quickly turned into anger and disappointment. Why somebody so decent and hard-working and intelligent would make a decision that would jeopardize her life and the lives of others was beyond my comprehension. She made a HUGE mistake. That cannot be overstated. I think it was blind luck that both blank and my sister survived the accident. Any punishment meted out to Kristina would be well deserved. However, I personally don’t know if jail or prison time is given to the guilty as a means of punishment or reformation. If it’s the former, then she committed the crime and should pay for it. If it’s the latter, I think jail time would be redundant. She has completely changed her life. She’s been sober for over a year now and has an entirely new outlook. Unfortunately it took an event of this magnitude for her to realize that she had a drinking problem. It hasn’t been easy, but with the help of AA and an Intensive Outpatient Program for alcohol dependency, she has turned her life around and expresses a desire to help others by sharing her experience. I could not be more proud of her.

I know my sister well enough to know that the guilt and remorse she feels over injuring and traumatizing blank cannot be measured. She would do anything to undo the damage she caused that night. But it did happen. This is reality. Both parties have to live with the events and consequences of that terrible, avoidable accident, for better and for worse. Kristina can’t change what happened and I’m sure she’ll regret it for the rest of her life. What she has learned about herself and the changes she has made as a result are an unexpected blessing. Everybody makes mistakes. The wise and the penitent and the conscientious learn from theirs. I know Kristina will NEVER make that mistake again.

Thank you for your consideration.

Fuck, right? I don’t have any words for this.

Two weeks ago I met up with one of my former drinking buddies. I’d seen her only a handful of times since my accident, and had a growing resentment with our situation. I won’t get into detail, but she’s not one of those people I can blow off by saying she’s a drinking buddy and only a drinking buddy. We kept in touch via text after my accident, and she was there for me for the death of my greyhound and three weeks later when we had to euthanize our cat early this year. She hired me back in 2007 to man the front desk of a very busy county humane society. While working on my masters I decided to take on my passion of animal rescue/welfare. I had already worked in libraries for eight years and wanted to indulge this passion before spending the rest of my life in libraries. Anyway, we became great friends. And drinking buddies. I felt abandoned by her after my car accident, as previously she had all the time in the world for me when I was sitting next to her on a bar stool. So when we got together a couple weeks ago, I finally told her how I had been feeling.

I was not expecting her response. Turns out my drinking had become so bad that she forced herself to detach from me. She was there the night I passed out in the park, she helped to drag me out of a cab and get me into my house and on a couch on my birthday last year. I was gobsmacked that one of my drinking buddies was disgusted by my behavior. I was once again overcome with shame and embarrassment. And then anger. Anger because whenever I tried to control my drinking by not drinking for two weeks or a month or whatnot (ridiculous, right?), she was the one who never respected my desire to try to stop for said period of time. I would still be deluged with texts from her: “Drinkies tonight?” “Margs tomorrow?” “Beers on Friday” “Day drinking on the patio Sunday?” I’m struggling with what I should do with this, with her. The best thing would be to continue to detach with love, to walk away. It’s hard with shared friends, though.

Last night sucked. I was overcome with so much emotion, especially after reading my brother’s love and anger toward me and this situation. I feel horrible for hurting so many people with my actions, even worse so that I am still the cause of stress and worry because of my potential jail sentence. I hate that I was so out of control for so long that it took me cheating death and hurting another person to stop the madness. I wonder how long I will feel shitty about my actions? How long people will bring up my actions thus bringing back all the hurt and guilt and shame again and again? I am so proud of myself, and of what I am becoming. But still, I have moments where I wish this was all a bad dream.

I’m tired.