#thepersonalside: The Serenity Pill

I am appropriating my second post of the month to the hashtag, #thepersonalside. I checked Twitter to see if the hashtag has been used at all. Curiously, it has not, even without ‘the’ at the beginning.


image by Michael Nutt https://www.flickr.com/photos/nutt/
image by Michael Nutt

The Serenity Pill

General Anxiety Disorder [GAD] is a permanent sideshow in my life, brought on by the stroke I had and intensified by the change of life that growing older brings. Do not get me wrong. I do not mind growing old. The GAD is just a hurdle for me to contend with is all.

My grandparents gave me an affirmative attitude about the later years of life by example. They were grateful for all they had and made light of the disappointments, aggravations, and pain they endured. In addition, none of them seem to be afraid of death. They looked at all of their existences as being part of life.

Anxiety can impoverish that forward-looking attitude to the point where one can only worry about what is coming next, what can befall him/her, the unknown, and even aspects that are trivial. It can do it without the person being aware, causing dreadful tension, atrocious headaches, and sometimes nausea. That is General Anxiety Disorder.

Some people have trouble functioning at all when this disorder hits. I am sure my husband might have liked it better, although not by much if I had reacted by hiding out in the bedroom not participating in life. With me, irritation, oversensitivity, and provocation set into my head. I was not a happy person and I was making my husband’s life wretched. Why did he stay with me? I cannot figure out why. He told me he knew something was wrong and we just had to find a way to deal with it. My opinion is he is a soul who is always duty-bound and I am grateful for this.

The doctor prescribed one antidepressant after another when I finally decided I needed more that just dairy products to keep me calm. I had gotten to the point where I did not like the taste of milk anymore. The thought of having the same reaction to ice cream was appalling to me. Whenever I feel the need for an attitude pick-me-up or want to give myself a special treat, I head over to Dairy Queen for a small Blizzard. There was not any way I wanted to give that up.

Eventually, the doctor found the medication that I, now, call my Serenity Pill. Lexapro is in the category of antidepressants but is used more for anxiety than most of the other ones. It acts on the brain chemicals serotonin and norephinephrine[1] to balance what is out of whack. It allows me to feel sad, anger, annoyance, and even minor depression but without that feeling of forebodingness that cause my mood to be so desperate.

Lexapro is not a cure-all. I still worry about those things I don’t have control over but it is in perspective now. These things are not haunting me daily anymore. Only when I read something, see something, or hear something pertaining to these matters, I will worry. I adjust my thinking using cognitive techniques[2] to put myself in that calm frame of mind again.

Brain injuries, such as the stroke, can play havoc with emotions. I can only be thankful that I live in a time when there are medications to help me deal with this adversity.

[1] Treating Generalized Anxiety

[2] Stress Management – Ways to Relieve Stress


“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.” ― Anaïs Nin


The Recognition of Goals

The Recognition of Goals
Image provided by
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/kaba/

It was a week ago this last Sunday that I posted the entry, Clashing to Fulfill Goals. I told you how I was taking chances by not making goals for myself. Skipping down the road of life dealing with things as they appear had become my norm since the kids had grown and ventured out on their own.

Maybe I was just weary from all those plans that must be made while children are growing up. Maybe I should have planned an extended vacation or sabbatical to recover from those years of always having something else that needed to be taken care of. Something like taking two or three years off from making schedules and the constant organization was the ticket I probably should have bought. Instead, I was sporadic, sometimes the super organized neat freak, and sometimes the lazy slob.

I can’t say I was happy.

My foresight is  atrocious — obviously.

Here I am getting ready to journey on the rocky path of elderliness and my perceptions of personal necessities have changed — drastically. Don’t most people my age start thinking about slowing down, if only a little bit? Don’t they start relishing the thought of sitting in comfortable chairs on the front porch observing the world as it goes by? Yet, here I sit at my keyboard trying to figure out schemes to fulfill dreams despite the decline of my mobility and probably my sanity.

Who else does this sort of thing? The only answer I can come up with is this: Only crazy lunatics who have a delusional conception of life’s longevity are doing this kind of thing.

Oh well. Such is life. Are there any other crazy old lunatics out there in cyberspace? Speak up!


When I first started writing my WiP (work-in-progress), I had given myself the anticipated deadline of May 2017 for the final draft that will be sent out into the world of publishing. I still think this is a good estimation of how much time I need. Howbeit, I didn’t go into any sub-goals. I thought about them. Still, I went by way of expecting intuition and luck to guide me.

Where was my brain? There are so many holidays coming up and I just know how my GAD (general anxiety disorder) is going to act up. It’s manageable, but only if I organize and schedule every little thing that’s important to me. Finishing my first book falls into this category, doesn’t it? Of course it does!

With this pointed consciousness, I have set up the following schedule for my ‘baby’.

2nd draft, halfway point
Dec. 15th
2nd draft, end point
March 15th
(Ides of March)
closed critique
(2 or 3 people)
3/15 to 4/15
start 3rd draft
April 16th
3rd draft, halfway point
June 30th
3rd draft, end point
Sept. 15th
semi-closed critique
9/15 to 10/15
make appropriate changes in draft
10/16 to 10/31
beta reading
11/1 to 11/30
make appropriate changes
12/1 to 12/14
send to professional editor
Dec. 15, 2016
until May 2017


For blogging, I thought I’d still keep that kind of loose. Oh sure, I’ve got my schedule for when posts on published, but I’m not going to designate what type of post for what day of the week. My blogging ideas run in spurts by subject. When I tried to organize my posts by topic, I got apathetic. I hope you can bear with me on this.


Now I have a question for you. Please, don’t be wishy-washy. I want some usable feedback, please.

What specific subjects within my categories would you like me to explore more? (The category list is at the bottom of the page. I’ve updated it a little.)

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
Theodore Roosevelt



If you look at the sidebar on your right, you’ll see that I’m helping a friend with a giveaway. Please check it out by clicking on the image.


Discipline and Work Ethic

Discipline and Work Ethic
Image provided by
Dalibor Tomic @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/dalibort82/

After writing the second part to the story (originally a flash fiction) for last Friday, I found myself wondering what I’d write about for today, Tuesday. Yes, I still have a list of prompts tucked away in my blog folder on OneDrive, but I want to save those for Fridays. Why? I haven’t the foggiest — even after writing the post I published yesterday.

I did notice that the push for organizing, scheduling, and goal setting were hot topics for the start of the new year. Yes, I know that the first month is gone. You may be wondering why I’m even bothering to bring these three subjects up so late. Maybe it is too late or maybe it isn’t.

I find it impossible to make plans that go far into the future. What I mean by this is anything further ahead than a month is something I can’t deal with because of all the ‘ifs’, ‘ands’, and ‘buts’ of what could happen between now and then. This is just a problem I have because of General Anxiety Disorder. With me, in particular, it’s that feeling of being overwhelmed. So, I try my best to work around this awful feeling so I can function normally — that is as normally as a crazy old woman can.

This does tie into the ideas of organization, scheduling, and goal setting. Discipline and work ethic does and should play a big part in getting these mindsets into action.

Work Ethic

When I think of work ethic, I assume that most people know what good work habits are. Should I assume such a thing? You’ll have to answer this for me. I associate the term, work ethic, with something positive. It’s automatic for me. If it’s being talked about, it’s the good side of it. Sure, it can be discussed in negative terms, like the lack of work ethic. Even so, the root term is still positive.

What is your work ethic? Mine is work until I’m tired, take a fifteen to twenty-minute break, and get back to work. However, when I get so tired or weary, I figure it’s time to stop for the day. The way I know that it’s time to quit until tomorrow is there’s too much repetition going on because I can’t remember what I did last clearly enough.


Discipline is difficult for me lately, at least the way I think of it. My idea of discipline is scheduling, habits that stick, and doing away with excuses.

I make out a schedule for the things I want to accomplish, trying not to cut the time for each active short but also, not giving so much time that I think I can get lazy or bored. Example: 2.5 hours per day for writing on my novel project, 3 hours (split) per day to read blogs and write comments, 2.5 hours per day for housework.

This schedule should be working, but I’m having trouble getting my butt into gear every day for one or two of these activities. I understand that a schedule should have some flexibility. And I am allowing for that. I’m letting things distract me that I should be able to quash, or, if not, put to the side until later.

Making the habit of this schedule stick is probably part of my problem. After all, the holidays throw many people off their routines, right? Okay, maybe not many, but I’m sure there are some anyway. Another reason I shun the holiday season.

Now then, am I making excuses? Is admission an excuse? Probably, especially if I don’t rectify these things that are stopping me from doing what I want to achieve.

Are you following through on your plans for this year? Or are you having problems too?


Good Changes Gone with the Wind

Good Changes Gone with the Wind
Image provided by
Grzegorz @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregloby/

When I wrote the post about my husband’s work hours changing, I have to admit that I thought the change would be ideal for both of us. I think the same today. I was delighted with the schedule. I wasn’t hearing any complaints from Hubby so I can only assume he was happy with the arrangements too.

To tell the truth, I don’t think Hubby was all that concerned about what shift he was on as long as it wasn’t the graveyard shift. The twelve-hour shift during the day was pleasurable according to Hubby. The client he’s responsible for doesn’t need a lot of extra care. As a DPA (Direct Personal Assistant – also known as a caregiver), having a client like Davy (The name has been changed to assure the privacy of the client.) is a snap. Hubby was working three of these long shifts and then pinch-hitting for other staff members when they had to take off from work for various reasons. He was usually getting over forty hours in per week.

I was beginning to get the hang of the twelve-hour alone time at home. I was getting more of the chores done within one day. I was finding those times to write when I was actually feeling inspired. I was reading more and watching movies that Hubby had no interest in. Life was getting good.

Last weekend, Hubby got a call from his supervisor telling him that his hours would have to be changed because Davy’s roommate was being moved to a town a little ways down from the plateau where our town is. At first, we didn’t know what his hours would be. The anxiety was building up in me to the point where I couldn’t sit still for even five minutes. I was acting as if I had run out of my meds for GAD (General Anxiety Disorder).

GAD is just one of the bonuses of having a stroke. Not everyone who is a stroke survivor has GAD. Although most have some sort of mental disorder, there is a large variety. The effects of a stroke are different for everyone who is unfortunate to be challenged by it.

Early Sunday afternoon, Hubby’s supervisor called back. Now the work schedule for Hubby is the second shift again, Monday through Friday. He’ll be getting home a little after eleven o’clock at night. We’ve run our lives on this schedule before and have made it work. Still, I know that it’s going to be a little hard on me because I’m a morning person. I do much better having the bulk of my chores early in the day.

Did I ‘hear’ someone say that Hubby can help with the chores? He will do that, but not on a regular basis. The most that the poor man can handle on a regular basis is going to work and coming home from work at the same times every day. I could go into this further but it’s really a whole other story to tell.

I’ll do what chores I can in the morning without him following behind me undoing whatever I’ve done. Chores like vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning the bathroom will have to wait until he’s at work so that the floor, surfaces, and the entire bathroom stays clean for more than an hour.

Yes, all of us have our crosses to bear. This one is mine. Do you carry this cross? Or do you have another one? I hope you’ll share with me. After all, misery loves company. 😉