Monday, October 21, 2013

pills and Jesus but not a Jesus pill

Everything had been fine up until the moment that it turned really shitty - 

These things were true:

I was sitting in a movie theatre. 

I was with my friends.

I was breathing.

I stopped breathing.

My chest was tingling.

My arm was numb, it was crawling up my body,

it was up my neck,

my face was numb,

I was dying????

Everything felt real - I ran out of the movie theatre on Paramount's studio lot, where I worked at the time, and ran back to the Page office. A friend and coworker immediately noticed something was wrong.

"I'm having a heart attack," I rasped. "I am going to die. I'm going to die."

I kept thinking and saying it over and over. My friend was alarmed and quickly walked with me to the medical building. The nurse examined me and remained calm but in my head I kept thinking, "This is it this is it, I won't be able to breathe any minute."

The nurse listened to my symptoms - I was shaking and crying - and told me I was fine.

"I don't feel fine," I cried feebly, fumbling for my phone, wanting to call my mom. 

I was so convinced that I was going to have a heart attack or stroke that I called my best friend, Chanelle, and she came and picked me up and drove me to the ER.

The doctor at the ER was sweet and as I sat there on the exam table she looked at me and told me I was having a panic attack. 

She was sympathetic:

 "You don't want to live like this," she told me. "I get it. I'm from the East Coast too. LA is tough and being away from family is hard." She was young, but she looked tired and patient and I was grateful for a nice doctor.
 I didn't say anything, just avoided eye contact with the medical student, who was a guy my age, that was taking notes. I felt like an idiot. 

"You should talk to someone," she continued, handing me pamphlets. "And maybe go on medication."

She was really sweet and after I left the emergency room the statement kept swirling around in my head. 

And maybe go on medication.


Anxiety meds.

Anti depressants.

Was I going to become one of those people? Someone who needed medication? But I have God, I would tell myself. I'll pray it away. I'll read my bible every morning, I'll go running, I'll eat gluten-free, I'll even become a vegan before I go on "medication."

I didn't listen to the doctor and eventually I felt better because she told me my skull wasn't closing in and I wasn't suffocating and I was okay.

And then a few months passed and I felt a scratch at the back of my throat one day at work, and then my heart started racing, and I thought I was suffocating and I thought my throat was closing and I was having another panic attack all over again. But I still didn't take the doctor's advice - I didn't go to a therapist, I didn't go on medication. I avoided it and the anxiety consumed me. It was so bad that it got to a point where I would be out with friends and then suddenly I thought my throat was closing and I would run out and start crying.

 If you have ever dealt with severe anxiety you know that it feels like there is a dark veil surrounding you at all times.

It started to dictate my life - everything from a car ride home alone to going to bed became a terrifying and huge obstacle. It was better in the morning and during the day, but the minute night fell or I was alone, it would come back, clawing its way through my body until it had such a strong hold on me that I felt trapped and crazy. I really felt crazy - like there was something wrong in my head. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I couldn't hang out with friends without being afraid I was about to have another panic attack.

A second ER trip later and several family phone calls of, "If you don't do something you need to move home, you need to get better," and I finally found myself with a small bottle of anxiety meds in my hand.

I looked at them - it was this strange line I felt like I was crossing. In so many ways, I felt like I had failed. 

But I'm only 24. I should be happy. 

I shouldn't be taking these. 

And then I took them and I haven't had a panic attack since and sometimes it feels like I failed or something. Like I should've prayed harder or ran more or stuck to that gluten free diet.

But sometimes you can't listen to stigmas and what people tell you and you just have to freaking take Zoloft and stop having panic attacks.

That's the thing - 

It doesn't mean I don't love God if I take anxiety meds. It doesn't mean I'm weak, or foolish, or stupid. It is exactly what it is. And what hurts me is when people tell me I don't need them. 

I don't need them? We don't need a lot of things. We don't need to take Advil every time we have a headache. But we do because it helps. I take anxiety medication because it helps.

* * *

"Happiness is just a feeling. Joy is deep and real and isn't the same thing."

I lie on my back, staring at my ceiling, thinking about these words. I've heard them a thousand times at a thousand different bible studies, a thousand different sermons, a thousand different conversations with friends. The sunlight filters in through my bedroom window and I close my eyes.

"I don't feel happy all the time," I say aloud because saying words out loud sometimes makes everything seem a little more real.

"But I don't think I'm depressed," I say again.

The light shines in my room and warms my face and it's soothing and it kind of feels like I'm dreaming--you know, that space in between sleep and awake when you feel warm and safe and lazy.

Happiness is fleeting - some days we feel happy. Others we feel sad. It's normal and it's life and it shouldn't dictate the deep joy that is in the core of who we are. 

Because these things are true:

I am 24.

I get panic attacks.

I take medication for said panic attacks.

The Creator of the UNIVERSE knows me, loves me, and created me.

I am okay.

* * * 

Do you struggle with anxiety? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you feel as if there is a stigma, perhaps especially in the Christian community, about taking medication for anxiety or depression?

Monday, October 14, 2013

girly names i wish i had

What am I doing posting 2 blogs in 1 day. Awful, I know.


You ever notice how some girls have the cutest damn names you ever heard and they are also the cutest damn girls in the world with like, dainty wrists and perfect complexions and who just like, "forget to eat" --

Yeah well I'm not like that. I like my name but I honestly just don't understand where these cutesy names come from and is there like a certain species of humans that have cute names that only breed cute children and then they all live in a yellow cottage and eat scones that have no calories?

I don't know.

Anyway here are some names that are supes cute so all you couples out there lookin' for baby names feel free to take these!!! I made them up so I get all the money YAAAAAY.

Lula-Belle Cheeks 
Daffy Dilly Weed
Gillymunch Babycake
Lottie Curdle
Dingley Dapper
Maebaby Babybaby
Sarah Shine Heartsmith
 Kindle Kitty
Candlehands Butterscotch
 Pumpkinspice Latteahbaby
 Berry Baker
Milky Wonks
Tookieteeky Tinkytock
 Alabama Handstand
Cuddlewuffin Meekymouse


throwback monday

found an old poem i wrote when i thought i was going to be a slam poet when i grew up.

this one is fun and silly.

I am a bad b-u-t-t
I am a bad butt
I’m so bad I won’t even CUSS, you won’t hear those words starting in my gut
Crawling up through my ribcage and spreading their VENOM cause
Heck NO
I am so cool,
Cussing is below me.
I eat unrinsed strawberries cuz PESTACIDES don’t own me!
I take my coffee either black or with so much sugar I give myself cavities
I wait for my mail so the mailman’s confused and wonders what issue does this girl have with me?
Yeah I cuddle with my cat and he ain’t even declawed
And heck yes I drive at the speed limit, I’m so badbutt I refuse to break the law
Yeah I go to Goodwill with my Grandma which makes me badder than those hipsters
Who rep Brooklyn with their TOMS and keychains big framed glasses make them wish for
Something so vintage like a senior citizen Wednesday afternoon discount
So I get my jeans at 1.50 as I badbutt two-step off the sidewalk drop a nice dismount.
I blare Ke$ha and Gaga in my car cause those girls are so deep
True artists they know of the world’s suffering and deceit
I go through yellow lights and ignore the hater’s beeps
Heck YES I pick up my little sister from school at 2:30 p – m
And sometimes at nighttime I think she might be my only friend…
But that doesn’t matter because I am a bad b-u-t-t
I finished college at NYU heck, I got my Bachelor’s Degree
I destroyed that deans list walked away with a 4.0
I’m so bad I wear clothes that cover me up and skin I just don’t show
Me and my friend saw TANGLED in the movies in the middle of the day
And I cried when they sang that duet on the boat and I’m STILL okay!
I’m so bad I even go to church every Sunday and I LIKE it
I drive myself too because heck I gotta LISCENSE
I drink diet coke at a club because drunk people smell and sometimes scare me,
I listen to musicals before I go out with my friends, people say turn it off and I’m like, DARE ME!
I like that reading Narnia in an air conditioned room is my idea of a beautiful moment,
and when my IPOD comes on shuffle you hear old school Nelly tracks & the soundtrack to Atonement
People say I’m weird but I’m like….you’re weird?
People say it’s embarrassing, but I’m like…no fear!
I feel my heart pat pat against my chest in the middle of the night,
My own mortality astonishes me and I think it’s an ever-losing fight
To claw – rip – shred against the world’s views of what I should be molded to be
Bad – cool – rebellious –
Adjectives that are the very opposite of me
So as the seconds minutes wander and tick slowly quickly by
I’ll just relax into the arms of God and let out a contented sigh
Because even though the world says I’m not cool enough, I’m free
to be satisfied in the knowledge that I’m the only me.

Friday, October 11, 2013

O.o (october obsessions)

What I'm listening to:

Dr. Dog's new album B-Room.

This new album is everything. Dr. Dog has been one of my favorites for awhile now, but I have seriously been listening to this album on repeat. It's a perfect October soundtrack. Even in Los Angeles where you still get sun burnt in October and can lay out by the pool on a Saturday afternoon, this album is bringing me back to Philadelphia mornings. To crunchy leaves beneath my feet, to Chai Lattes and sweaters that are too big and all that wonderful nostalgic ish. 

What I'm watching:

I just finished "Orphan Black" and it is easily my new favorite show.

I mean, look at this girl.

Not only is she gorgeous but homegirl is such a badass and Tatiana Maslany is one hell of an actress. She is playing like, 5 different clones and doing everything from a rough Cockney accent to German to Russian to American. It's a joke she hasn't already won an Emmy, but it's only one season in so let's all just give it time and watch this woman take over the entertainment industry. 

What I'm wearing:

Jon Snow's face on a T-shirt. Because what else are you gonna do when you live in LA and dating is harder than getting taken seriously when you tell someone you want to write and perform comedy for a living? You're gonna stick on a T-shirt of one of your many fictional crushes, carrying a baseball bat and wearing a Nirvana flannel and you're gonna take a mirror pic in a Harry Potter store and call it a day.

 What I'm doing:

Hanging out with Benedict Cumberbunz of course. Oh did I say hanging out? I meant face-in-holing myself with him. Coolcool.

What I'm wanting:

Calm down, I'm not going to say Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Although, yeah I definitely want one. What I'm wanting is genuine faith. I want to pray and believe in that prayer. I want to know that God loves me, that God loves people and I want to love people the way God loves. That is what is on my heart this October and it's real and tangible and I crave it.

I also want to stop being annoyed with myself. I want to stop over-analyzing everything I do. I want to stop driving home from a party or hang out and thinking in my head these thoughts:

"I was too loud."

"I'm a freak."

"This is why I'm single, I kept moon-walking out of the room."

"Really, Nina, you don't have to be THAT loud."

"Why do I act that way, why why whyyyyyyyyy."

I want to get rid of those thoughts and I don't want to do it by watching a youtube video of some guy speaking to an empty auditorium and performing a terrible slam poem about how I'm a princess and other such bullshit. I wanna believe that I am loved by God because it says it in the freaking bible. I want that to be enough. I want to know that, feel it and say F*ck it. This is who I am.

I'm messed up and nervous and I cuss too much and sometimes I eat feelings and I can be really moody, but this is who I am. I also love God and am learning and wanting to learn as much as I can and just be a genuine person. A genuine human with genuine feelings who is genuinely just trying to figure it all out.

* * * 


Monday, October 7, 2013

how to deal with a quarter-life crisis

It's a real thing. People may scoff at you and say "You're so young!" but truly, it is a real thing to have a quarter life crisis.

And I think I'm going through one. Like, right now. Because the other night I freaked out, grabbed my roommates construction scissors and chopped bangs thinking I'd look like Zooey Deschanel and start wearing Peter Pan collars and listening to vinyls. Instead I just look like a girl who tried to cut bangs and still needs to lose like 30 pounds before she's anywhere close to trying to be Zooey Deschanel.


People may roll their eyes and say, "How are you having a life crisis? You're soooooo young. You have the rest of your life to worry!! The twenties are there for you to mess up, travel, make mistakes, have FUN!!!"

Oh REALLY? Have you ever tried to have fun while this hoe-bag named Sallie Mae is glaring over your shoulder, watching every single penny while you are like GOSH Sallie Mae I just want to buy that pumpkin candle at Target and Sallie Mae is all like, "UH OH girl, put it back!" and then you put it back and glare at all your friends who have apartments that smell like autumn.

Riding the struggle bus, that's me. Woof double woof woof.

The thing is, it's so easy to throw pity parties for myself. Oh booohoooo. I'm 24. I'm single. I'm not wealthy. I live in Los Angeles and don't have to answer to anyone and have a car and an apartment and job and....waaaait....



Pause and breathe and think. 

Be thankful be thankful be thankful, I have to remind myself. I walk to the beach and I watch the sunset and it's cheesy and sometimes it's absolutely necessary. It's necessary to sit on the damp sand, feeling it fall over my hands and feet and between my toes and I feel the wind running through my hair. I hear the pitter-patter of the little seagulls' feet and I hear the voices of strangers around me and I think it is okay. It is okay. 

I grew up Catholic. I grew up Catholic and guilty and confused as to why I had to kneel every five seconds and why I had to be an altar server and why I had to pick a confirmation name because none of it made sense. But this morning I woke up and was just in my daily, boring routine of getting ready for work and the morning anxiety began to settle in...Panicking about money and life and what the heck! I'm 24 and still share a room and should I have moved somewhere else besides Los Angeles and WHAT AM I DOING?!?!?!?!

And for some bizarre reason, something we used to say in Catholic mass came into my mind and wouldn't leave. 

"Thanks be to God," the priest would say.

"It is right to give him thanks and praise," we would reply.

"Thanks be to God," the priest would say.

"It is right to give Him thanks and praise," we would reply.

I would say the words without any feeling, repeating them disconnected. But now, eleven years later, I feel them resonate deep within me. 

It is RIGHT to give Him thanks and praise.  

"But God, I'm not always happy. I'm stressed and sad sometimes," I say, pulling my knees up to my chin like a five year old, seconds away from a tantrum.

"I am with you," is His answer. 

I groan, rolling my eyes.

"You sound far away and that doesn't help me pay my bills and feel better," I snap, acting like a brat.

"I'm literally not going anywhere," God says. He doesn't pat my head condescendingly. He doesn't send me to time out. He takes me by surprise and pulls me into Him and wraps His arms around me and won't let me go.

"God!!" I yell, trying to get out of His arms. "You're embarrassing me! I want to be ALONE!"

"No," is His reply and He holds me and doesn't let me go. He holds me until my annoyance reveals itself as anger and that turns into shame and that turns into tears and then I am opening up, letting myself be held and I weep and weep until there feels like nothing is left and there's snot and hiccups. 

"I'm sorry," I say to God. "I'm sorry and I love you and thank you."

And I feel peace and lighter and better. I still feel afraid and nervous but I know I'm not alone. And I think that's  what I need to remember.

Especially the next time I try to cut my bangs because I certainly wouldn't try that in front of anyone and God was probably all like WHAT are you doin' my child!?!?! That's beside the point.

The point is -

Thank you is what I want my heart to say.

Because it is right to give Him thanks and praise.