The problem with labeling girls as having “Daddy Issues”

So obviously, today is Father’s Day. Not that you would forget, but in case you did you can just check your social media and be flooded with imagery and posts dedicated to Dad today. They’re cute, don’t stop doing them and make sure to be thankful if you have a good Father figure in your life.

Unfortunately, not everybody does… or they did and they were cheated out of that figure far too soon. I kind of fall into both of those categories. I had an absentee Father for most of my life, not because he didn’t love me, but because his personal demons took him away from me. Eventually those struggles also took his life and I was left to navigate through the complicated emotions I felt about everything.

Luckily I have a wonderful Step Father who took on the roll that my Dad was never ever to fulfill. Still it was a complicated and messy situation that really had taken a toll on me over the years. I guess you could say… I have Daddy Issues.

Ughhh there are so many problems I have with labeling somebody as having “Daddy Issues”. According to Urban Dictionary:

Whenever a female has a fucked up relationship with her father, or absence of a father figure during her childhood, it tends to spill into any adult relationship they embark on, usually to the chagrin of any poor male in their life”

Ummm…. I’ve dated my boyfriend for 11 years and I really don’t think he considered himself a poor male in my life. Why does something we have no control over make us damaged goods? And where did this notion of woman who have had bad relationships with their Father are constantly seeking male approval? Urban Dictionary also notes having Daddy issues

“Results in younger women chasing older men and even seeking mistreatment in some cases.”

I mean, obviously you have to take Urban Dictionary with a grain of salt but…. WTF

Honestly I feel like I personally tried to seek out healthier relationships because of the damaged one I had with my Father… but maybe that’s just me?

Listen, I’m not saying loosing your Father or not having him in your life doesn’t create issues. It does and it is fully possible it shapes the kind of relationships we seek and even our behavior. I just don’t think it’s fair to label a girl as “crazy” or “easy” or “broken” because of it.

Today is a day to be appreciative to the men who have been there in your life. Maybe it’s the Father or your children, you’re Step Dad or even Uncle Joe who was always there for you. It doesn’t look the same to everyone and that’s ok.

I think the real message I am trying to drive home is just to love more and judge less. So happy Father’s Day and don’t worry it’s ok to have issues.

❤ Sweeney

Breakdowns & Breakthroughs

I know it is a bit cliche’ to call your life a roller coaster, but there is a reason for it being such a popular metaphor. I however, would be more inclined to call my life a ferris wheel. I live in this constant cycle of slowly building myself up, to eventually finding myself back at the bottom and wondering how I got there.

At least I’m consistent, I guess?

I also have the incredible talent to continuesly pick myself back up and rebuild after completely falling apart. It might not be the healthiest of skills, but it is still a skill and I have never once let myself stay at the bottom. It gets exhausting though and truthfully very embarrassing. You don’t typically find ferris wheels in the privacy of your own home, you find them at very public and often well attended areas.

My breakdowns and breakthroughs are always on exhibit and that makes me feel very vulnerable, especially to judgement.

Sometimes I think people feel like I have more control over it than I do. People have seen me get my shit together before so whats so bad about my life to make me constantly have these lows? And honestly… I don’t know and maybe thats the problem.

Don’t get me wrong, of course there are some things (*cough* many *cough*) I would like to change about my life, but a lot of the time there is very little rational to my emotions. It’s like I’m living in my own reality that nobody else can see. And unless you have experienced an anxiety disorder or depression it is really hard to understand. I wish it was easier to explain so I could stop feeling like a complete freak show.

Maybe some of you will reach out to tell me I’m not, so in advance… Hey! thanks for caring, I really do appreciate it. Deep down though, even if secretly, I’ll always think it. But who isn’t a little crazy anyways, right?

❤ Sweeney

(image credit https://berkandd.deviantart.com/art/Scary-Ferris-Wheel-199858606)

It’s Motherfucking Women’s Day

P.s That title should be sung to the tune of Kesha’s song “Woman” and if you do not get that reference I can’t be friends with you.

P.p.s Don’t worry (because I know you were), “Everyday I’m Supplmentin’ Prt 2” will be coming eventually, but I have been pretty busy and I am of the belief that writing a blog about anxiety should not give me anxiety.

Anyhow…. Happy International Women’s Day!!!! This year is somewhat momentous to me because this is the first time in a long time that I have felt like a STRONG ASS MOTHERFUCKING WOMAN.

I used to think I was strong because I was a fast (and very skinny) runner and captain of my collegiate team. I used to think I was strong because I was pursuing my masters in what some would consider an unconventional​ field. I used to think I was strong because I could drink more than guys but still run faster and be more successful​. I used to think those things, but I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my accomplishments​ it’s just that being strong means something different to me now.

So lets fast forward. I have a sprained​ ankle and have gained (I kid you not) 50 pounds since college, so I am not fast. I am doing absolutely nothing with my fine arts degree and am in a ton of student loan debt. My binge drinking started getting in the way of my success and no longer made me seem cool. So many of my peers seem to have their​ shit together and I feel super behind.

But guess what? I’ve never felt stronger. Now I think I am strong because I am learning to love my body no matter what size it is. I think I am strong because I am not afraid to pursue a career outside of what I went to school for and for realizing it’s ok and empowering to realize you want to do something else with your life. I think I am strong because I identified my drinking was getting in the way of my success so I changed my habits. I think I am strong because even though I might feel behind every day​ I am striving to be a better version of myself and have learned to be happy for others success instead of envious.

All women are strong and for the longest time for some reason, ​I decided that discluded me. Sure I still have my “why me” moments, but I am so grateful to have so many other strong women in my life to help lift me back up​.

So cheers to being strong and having a vajay. It’s our day, let’s​ enjoy it.

❤ Sweeney

Every day I’m Supplmentin’ Prt 1

So I’ve recently been doing a lot of research into some more homeopathic methods to help combat my anxiety and cravings and let’s just say, the vitamin shop is my new best friend. If I hadn’t decided to explore a variety of natural remedies to help deal with my emotional shortcomings, ​I am not sure I’d be as stable as I currently am.

At my worst, I couldn’t make it through the day without thinking irrational thoughts. I was so angry, I wasn’t working out, I couldn’t concentrate and the only way I knew how to handle it was with anti-depressants, benzos, or alcohol. Because I was prescribed my medication and the social acceptability of alcohol I truly didn’t realize how much damage I was doing to myself. Because I didn’t feel confident in my abilities to deal with my issues I ended up numbing myself to them. It took several extremely low-lows to wake me up and help me realize something needed to change. Change doesn’t happen overnight​, so I started by cutting out drinking and doing some research. I had gotten to the point where abstaining from alcohol & certain medications suddenly gave me minor withdrawal symptoms. How scary is that? The worst of these symptoms were anxiety…because of course.

Before I go any further I just wanted to point out the importance of seeking medical advice/ supervision when quitting​ any substance you think you may be addicted to. You can even get withdrawal symptoms by​ eliminating coffee from your​ life so be extra cautious even if you think you’re fine because it’s​ legal or it’s prescribed. This is, of course,​ something else I learned the hard way…because you know I have this habit of not making things easy on myself…more on that some other time.

ANYWAYS since I was experiencing withdraw symptoms I started with ways to help ease those which in turn led me to ways to ease my anxiety. Through my research and trial and error, ​I have compiled a list of my favorite natural ways to relieve anxiety, depression, racing thoughts, restlessness, and cravings.

Before I get to the interesting stuff, just 1 more disclaimer before starting any sort of vitamin regime, do your research. Make sure nothing you take interacts with any prescribed medications and be aware of how much you are taking on what. You can actually overdose on vitamins! Also, there are A LOT of supplements that do not interact well with anti-depressants so please be super aware of you are taking. I currently still take Zoloft daily so I am super careful to make sure nothing I take interacts negativity with it because then whats the point, right? Anyhow without further ado​ here is what I’ve found works best for me.

In the morning

Vitamin B- Vitamin B is my not so secret depression weapon! I take a B Complex daily which includes 8 B vitamins, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 all of which play a crucial role in keeping my body running efficiently. And let me tell you, my life needs all the efficiency it can get! B Vitamins also help convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. So pop the B’s when ya feeling Zzzzzz’s. As if efficiency and energy weren’t enough b-12 and 6 have been known to produce brain chemicals that affect mood and brain function. In fact, ​low levels of these vitamins have been linked to depression, so do yourself a favor and take some badass b’s!

Vitamin C- Vitamin C is a well-known vitamin and antioxidant. You most likely​ pop​ one when you feel a cold coming on. Lesser known, however,​ is that it can combat the damage caused by oxidative stress. Meaning it can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, fatigue, ​and mood. Woohoo​! I take 2 500mg of Ester C in the morning. Ester C is said to have quicker absorption, stronger availability, be less acidic and easier on the stomach than regular vitamin c supplements.

Vitamin​ D- As many people are aware sunshine is a great and free source of Vitamin D. But did you know that vitamin D also has the power to make grey clouds disappear (…..figuratively​ that is)? Healthy vitamin D levels can help prevent or treat depression, alleviating those grey clouds that often fog our thoughts. Unfortunately​, deficiency is common which is why getting vitamin D from sun, food and proper supplementation is super important​. I actually just found out I have a vitamin d deficiency, which kinda makes a ton of sense! I am now taking 2,000 IU of D3 a day in addition​ to whatever is​ contained in my multi. It is noteworthy to point out however that taking too much vitamin d can be toxic. Luckily you’re ​very unlikely to do so since it takes like 40,000 it​ daily to cause you harm.

Omega 3-6-9- Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids are nutrients essential to keeping your body and (especially) your mind, healthy. The internet has told me that Omega supplements​ have been known to treat mental health and mood disorders​ very successfully. Omega 3 seems to be the most popular of the omegas in regards to supplements​ and is most commonly found in Fish Oil supplements​. I, however,​ have been taking Emu Oil which contains Omega 3-6-9 since I fear I may have an EFA (essential​ fatty acid) deficiency​.

Magnesium​- Magnesium is a calming and soothing mineral that regulates the nervous system and has the potential to help you cope with stress. It has long been acknowledged​ as a safe and efficient way to treat anxiety. It has ​even been known help stop panic attacks…which I seriously​ before all my research thought you could only do with a benzo!

Multi- duh

Speaking on Anxiety Attacks…..

Kava Root- The root of kava is known to cause relaxation and it has been nothing short of amazing in aiding me with my anxiety and stress. It is actually considered just as effective​ in treating anxiety and insomnia​​ as tranquilizers and benzodiazepines​. The great thing about Kava though is you don’t develop a dependency for it. In fact, ​over time you need less and less kava to produce that same effects. Whenever I feel a panic attack coming on I take a Kava capsules​​e​ cut it in half and absorbed the powder under my tongue for quick​ relief​. You can also Kava in serum or tea form. One downside though is Kava has been linked to liver damage, although this is rare. I suggest not taking kava in conjunction with regular alcohol​ use.

Valerian Root- A stinky supplement​ (it smells like feet) known to help with anxiety that I have done far less research on than anything else on this list.

In Part 2 of my supplementation documentation​ (see what I did there) I’ll go over the nighttime rituals I use to assist in my anxiety. Get excited because these supplements​ make you sleepy so you KNOW they work with calming you down. Also, expect me to use the word “efficient” “promotes” and “aids” about 100 more times. Until then….

❤ Sweeney

I get by with a little help from my Cat

Sometimes when I’m anxious I don’t want a hug, I don’t want advice, and I don’t want anybody to try to calm me down…. I just want a cat. Anybody who knows me knows how obsessed I am with my cat, she even has her own Instagram page. Pets in a general can be very therapeutic another added bonus is they never judge you! Sure sometimes it looks like your cat might be judging you, but I assure you he/she is just thinking about food or a random speck on the wall. Seriously though, not only can animals make you happier they can make you healthier!

Here is an interesting statistic about pets and their effect on anxiety I quickly googled (so you know it’s true)

In some survey of pet owners from somewhere, 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership.
Say What?

Whats there not to love about pets? Sure you gotta feed them, take care of their poo and give them attention but at the end of the day, when my life feels like it is going to complete shit, it’s pretty cool to know that a living thing depends on me and loves me. It instills a sense of purpose during those times I feel I am not capable of anything. When I shift my attention to taking care of my pet, it really does help take my mind off of my worries. Anxiety has the tendency to escalate something small into something huge super quickly. But when I’m around my cat I’m forced to focus on her  (she makes sure of this) instead of whats bothering me.
Also, can we talk about cuddles for a second? They are amazing! I mean sure cat cuddles kind of come at the cat’s discretion, but that makes receiving all that much better. Also, my cat is pretty intuitive, she never denies me a cuddle when she can sense I’m in a bad mood. Although sometimes she does draw the line at having me pretend she is Simba at the beginning of Lion King.

IMG_0629

I mean listen, everybody has their own way of dealing with anxiety and I am not saying one coping mechanism is better than another, but I’d much rather run to pet my kitty than swig some booze or pop a Xanax. Just saying.

❤ Sweeney

My Experience w/ Sexual Assault

I never had any intentions on writing about this, but with its prevalence in the media, it is something I cannot seem to keep hidden in the back of my mind (where I prefer to keep it). It is also something that for the first time ever I feel empowered to share. It is comforting to see so many stand up against sexual assault and share their stories. There is finally a movement to strip abusers of their power and through that, I have recognized the strength my voice and story holds. The sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team Doctor, is what has finally inspired me to tell my story. Although I haven’t heard any of the 156 victim-impact statements, including Aly’s Raisman’s (which I heard was very powerful), the nature of the situation has profoundly struck a nerve with​ me. Once I feel emotionally capable of doing so, I plan on listening to what these brave ladies had to say.

After writing that first paragraph I knew what was to follow was the start of several intensely personal paragraphs describing my truth. And as you’re​​ reading this now, I am struggling to type the words, so I am just going to go ahead and start and it may come off as blunt, but there is no eloquent way to put it… As a child, ​I was molested by a non-blood related family member.

I’m not sure if I hid the experience in my sub-conscious for so many years because it was so painful or because it genuinely took me that long to realize I had been abused. The first time I recount the memory resurfacing was when I was 13, which makes sense because that is the age I think I was first capable of understanding what had happened to me. One of the saddest things about being abused as a child is not even comprehending the abuse you are suffering. When there is an adult who is in the position to watch over you it is heartbreakingly​ easy to get manipulated.

I was always excited to see my abuser because I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, and he would always buy me lots of toys when I stayed with him. What occurred between us would be presented to me as a type of chore, a task I had to perform​ to get something in return. Unfortunately, the “chore” entailed me letting a grown man grope my bare bottom and make out with me. I was 6. Although I didn’t have an understanding of the magnitude of what was happening to me I can recall it making me feel uncomfortable. One day when we had plans to go to the toy store after I did what he asked of me I ended up crying instead. He calmed me down and told me that for now on all I had to do was allow him to tickle me and that would be enough to still get toys. He never did more than tickle me from then on. I still despise being ticked to this day.

When I started to be able to remember and recognize what had happened​ to me it was very traumatizing and confusing. I felt disgusting and humiliated. Add to the fact that I was an already extremely self-conscious​ teenage, it unquestionably took a toll on my self-image​ and self-worth​. To this day I am not confident it will ever be something I will be able to work through. Sometimes I wonder if it somehow even had a hand in shaping my anxiety. I know it has affected my self-respect or lack-thereof for many years.

Currently, I am going through a metamorphosis of sorts and am fully committed to continuing​ down a path of self-actualization and improvement. I am glad the conversation on sexual assault is finally starting to become normalized. It has helped me reclaim my voice and therefore also my power. I sincerely hope the discussion continues and that more and more people start to feel safe and comfortable speaking out.

#MeToo
❤ Sweeney

Feature Images Obtained From: https://www.ncronline.org

From being THAT girl @ the bar to becoming THAT girl that DOESN’T DRINK (@ the bar).

So I’ve been told when you’re trying to cut out drinking from your life that it is a good idea to also cut ties with the friends you drink with. Theoretically, I completely understand this, but I’m sorry but…hell no. Do you know how long it fricken takes me to find a group of people that I can be completely comfortable around? Sure it has been tough, but I am willing to put myself in that difficult position to maintain important friendships. Not to mention, I also have a major FOMO complex. There are, however, definitely acquaintances of mine that I only feel comfortable around if I am drinking/drunk…. they can go. To be honest, acquaintances are the vain of my existence anyway​. So if I’ve hung out with you at a bar or party in the past month, congratulations….I must really like you!

It has been a strange experience going from binge drinker to non-drinker. Some of the changes have been really enjoyable, for instance helllllo no hangovers! And not gonna lie, it is pretty cool to remember your whole evening. When I go out now I put much more emphasis as to why I’m leaving the comfort of my couch and Netflix​. Whether it is to watch your band play or celebrate your birthday, I am actually going out to support and be there for you. Before any excuse to drink was a reason to go out and the occasion always played second fiddle. I was a very selfish drinker and I really didn’t care about anything other than when I was going to get my next drink. It feels good to actually be present. It is also reallllllly funny to watch my boyfriend get wasted which, after over 10 years of dating, I have rarely seen because he’d always have to be in charge of taking care of my drunk ass.

Now for the downside… it’s really hard. Imagine wanting nothing more than relaxing with a nice cold beer, preferably a microbrew​ (because I’m pretentious like that) but not being able to have one AND THEN subjecting yourself to several hours of being surrounded by said micro-brew. Ugh, honestly it is the literal worst. It is a craving like none other. I have found that my anxiety lessons a bit once I put any form of beverage in my hand. If I am at a brunch type of event, chamomile tea helps to calm my nerves and relax me. If I am going out at night I will usually stick to water or if I want to get really wild a diet coke/ sugar-free​ energy drink. Also… lots and lots of kudzu​ (and occasionally kava)root. I’m actually going to make a post soon about supplements and which ones I take for a more natural mood support, so stay tuned!

Another pitfall? Having to explain (over & over) why you aren’t drinking. Sometimes people do not even ask but I feel compelled to tell them just because I assume they are wondering (even if they probably aren’t). If my anxiety makes me feel like I stick out like a sore thumb than not drinking at a bar makes me feel like I am naked and painted hot pink. My friends are completely fine with it though and very supportive. If you are going through something similar and your “friends” make you feel weird about it, that’s when I fully support the idea of cutting ties.

The only other challenge I’ve come across so far is answering the question “So how long are you doing this for?”. Word of advice, do not ask somebody who’s​ struggling with drinking that because ​IDK hopefully forever? In my head that is like trying to calculate how long it is going to take me to fail. Could I learn how to drink in moderation and start partaking again? Maybe….but probably not. Will I ever just say f*ck it and start drinking again? I honestly can’t answer that. For now, ​it’s safe to say the “Sween Machine” is in a coma. It’s possible she’ll stay asleep indefinitely. It is also (hopefully significantly less) equally possible she’ll wake up. Instead of worrying about when that may or may not happen, I am just going to continue to enjoy my new found clarity.

❤ Sweeney