1.  I regret that I cannot invite all the people I've been close to in the past 10 years to my wedding.  Living in 3 towns and 2 states over the past 6 years has afforded me the opportunity to form lovely, amazingly authentic relationships.  I am also marrying a man who has a large blended family ... just like mine.  150 - Family = not so many extra spots. I really do regret this and sometimes the line that Shoes and I drew was rather, well, arbitrary ....

2.  I regret that I am not going to be able to take as many Bollywood dancing lessons as I would like before I move away from Portland.  You read that correctly and oh so many more pictures to come ....

3.  I regret that I took the Portland Underground Walking Tour.  Tourist tip #1: It's all above ground!  Tourist Tip #2:  No Tunnels!

4.  (This is the best one of all).  My wedding RSVP card says "Accepts" and "Regrets".  My friend, B.'s husband, the Mr., upon receiving their invitation, states, after accepting the invitation, he is also going to check regrets and write in, "I regret never riding on a barge.  Never fully appreciating Georgia O'Keefe's finer subtleties.  Never petting half the dogs I see in public.  Not smoking weed."

Anything innocent (or not so innocent - we can go there, sure)  you regret doing or not doing?  I'm so, so curious ....
i am on an anti anxiety medication.

i debated briefly about the benefits/risks of spelling out the name and drug class, but due to my mandate (see legal issues above) to put nothing on here that could be suggestive of diagnosis or treatment of others, i'll refrain.  (it's a highly personal decision that's not for everybody.)  for the next two weeks, i'll have assistance putting me to sleep and dealing with the intense, intense feelings of being overwhelmed to the point of shutting down.

so far, it's helping, although i did notice last night i woke up a few times.  initially, it was a relief to sleep through the night (although, ironically, many studies have shown that these medications do not actually help you sleep through the night; you wake up just as often, but you don't remember the waking.  it's a psychological trick.)

i've noticed a difference in the way i physiologically react (or thankfully, haven't been) to bad news.  i notice myself having worrisome thoughts and while i wait for the intense fear response, nothing comes.  so i move on.  it's almost as if my brain has permission to move on.

do you know how nice that is?

the real cure all to all of this would be to not try to graduate, find a job and plan a wedding all at once.
the other cure all would be to have a magic wand that instilled manners and courtesy to all.
i will pay somebody $1,008,287,924,923.99 for that wand.

one of the side effects to the medication is slight disinhibition.  while i wouldn't say i've been rude, per se, when people have provoked, i will say that i definitely don't feel the anxiety from the social interaction and have been able to hold my ground in a much more articulate manner.  one of the other side effects is feeling slightly sedated, which makes it a little difficult to get in the groove of paper writing.  (the psych did tell me it would  "slow" me "cognitively".)  for right now, in this very moment when i have too many things, and too many emotions, and too many people wanting different things from me, that's ok.

this is a time limited venture, after all.

i knew this season would be hard.
i did not know it would be this hard.
... to tell you that i had a bridal shower.  and it was lovely. i will share a couple of pictures with you, but my hunch is that elizabeth has better ones i will have to convince her to share.

apparently, i liked to be in a lot of these shots and so the pictures i have exist only of me and somebody else.  but what about the cupcakes!  the wasabi dishes i painted!  the flowers!

7 lovely ladies gathered, cupcakes were consumed, rosewater lemonade and wine were sipped, ceramics were covered and gifts were exchanged.  gigglers giggled and general happiness abounded.  beforehand, shoes informed me that he could also throw a bridal shower.  not in the "i want to throw a bridal shower way" but more in the, "this is what i'd do" way.

and he wasn't that far off.

oh, that shoes.  i could just marry him and his cheeky, loving, empathetic, witty self.

so i will. and i'll keep him.

my good night, how i adore that man.

aren't they adorable?  Love at First Bite - Confections by Debby in Salem.  Debby is Elizabeth's mother in law and let me tell you what, this little gem and the Margarita flavored one I apparently don't have a picture of?  Addictive.

yes, margarita.

i have a penchant.

sarah is showing you the lovely little trinket she's painting for her daughter.
sarah made it allllll the way out to sw portland despite having three tiny girls at home (thanks, grandma!) and we giggled.  (sarah brought a very cheeky shower present.)
elizabeth and i are still enamored with the CUPCAKES!

these two ladies i have known the longest.
sister cheryl (whose socks i could just hug right off of her).
my friend noell (we met in the 7th grade and have been through weddings and babies and divorces and college graduations and high school crushes - she's a good egg, that noell.)

tiffany and i are hiding at the end here.
tiffany drove all the way from the Vineyard town (4 hours) to be there.
i almost cried.  
she's painting a plate on which all the girls put inside jokes and private words.
she has just finished painting "perjoratives!"
that is because one time at her house, shoes played ping pong very, very, very badly, kept hanging his head and said, "perjoratives!"
it is funny because you do not use the word perjoratives in that manner.
it is also funny because shoes, tiffany, tiffany's partner chris and i cannot stop saying perjoratives.

thanks, dear heart, for such a lovely afternoon and all of your hard work.
you are a dear, giving, generous soul and i am so humbled by the shower!
thanks, too, to sister cheryl.

i do not have a picture of my wasabi dishes, but they crack me up in a way that only makes sense to me.  
i'll take a picture and share them at a later point.  

yay shoes and lisa!
i return again and again to people's feelings.  when we become disconnected from our underlying feelings and needs, we become affected.   our relationships become affected.

and not for the better.

in practice, clients don't talk very much at length about content, what happened, the story, before i start using some gentle reflecting and gentle therapeutic questioning.

in this post, it's very tempting for me  to run down the list of everything that's going on right now - specifically - everything that's going wrong right now. but, that's boring.  and as humans, i'm fairly convinced it's not what we need from each other.  do you read this because you really care to know how much i have going on?  do you read this because you want a list of everything factual that's going on in my life right now?

i'm going to guess no.  i'm going to guess we read each other's blogs because we want to have some sort of human connection.  we want to know that others feel like we do.  we want to know what's truly going on with people.  so i'm not going to run through that factual list of everything i have going on right now.  it's sufficient to say that any one of the life transitions i'm experiencing right now would be stressful in and of itself.

i'm afraid.
and, i'm panicky.

and, it's serious.

it's always been a joke, right?  lisa's high strung. lisa likes detail.  lisa's anxious.  lisa can take care of it.

but lisa's walls started closing in in early april.  it was a particularly (insert content here) stressful time.  and the stress - the slight worry - crescendoed in a big, scary way into feeling absolutely panicky (cued, not coming out of the blue, and not a true panic attack).  i go to bed at night, absolutely exhausted, and it takes one little, insignificant thought such as, "i need to remember to email so and so tomorrow" and i'm suddenly wide awake, my mind racing at top speed about *everything* i need to get done.  keeps me up late, wakes me up several times during the night and i wake up in the morning already worrying.  my mind is already in process.

what does worry feel like?  for me, a tightening of the chest, rapid breathing, a knot in my stomach, often a headache.  no concentration.  i sit down to write a paper and can't because i start thinking about all the reading i need to do.  if i move to the reading, i can't concentrate because i start thinking about everything that needs to be done to find a job.  in short, i'm not getting anything done (as in, i've requested extensions on all of my assignments and am barely getting my mental health assessments in on time).

it is not easy to admit that i do not feel ok.
it is not easy to admit things are not going well.
i am somewhat ashamed.
from somewhere in the back of my lived experience, dirty little voices whisper i should pray harder and trust more and God wouldn't let me go through this if He didn't think i could get through it.  my faith in God is unmoved.  i do not think i am having a hard time because i do not trust enough in God.  i think i am having a hard time because i am having a hard time and God is right there with me through it all. i pray often and feel His spirit moving.  and i exercise.  and take relaxation yoga.  and have a very small group of supportive friends who do not give me grief about any of this.

and it is sadly not enough.

i tried to deny how bad it is for a long time.  then i did a couple process recording with my co-horts (we do a lot of counseling sessions with each other.  i love them.)  and i realized how painful this is.  my co-intern Nicole said, "you're just now coming to a point where you're able to give witness to and recognize your suffering."  true 'dat.

in true mental health field form, it took me 2.5 weeks to get into a counselor.  they asked me repeatedly if i could wait that long, but who are we kidding? unless i was having suicidal or self harming thoughts (and i'm not), it wouldn't matter.  my appointment was this morning with a well seasoned, level headed psychologist.

it took 30 minutes. (when i write that i have a 4.0 gpa, am finishing my master's, am able to maintain my gainful employment and describe my symptoms accurately - with duration! - it goes smoothly.  Jesus, help the souls who do not come from mental health backgrounds and find themselves in the same situation.  it breaks my heart). and then he referred me to a psychiatrist for a medication consult.  that's tomorrow morning.  psychologist believes i present with sufficient acute symptoms and present stable enough to warrant the use of, possibly short term, anti anxiety medications.  psychologist also listed several reasons psychiatrist may not feel comfortable prescribing (namely, i'm moving from portland in a few weeks.)

so i'm sharing this with you, if nothing else for the following reasons:
1.  as phillip booth (how i love this poet) wrote about suffering, "why we guess we know / how much, never"
it is hard for people to understand how somebody that is as "stable" as i am could be undergoing mental anguish.
2.  in the spirit of transparency, to remind us all that mental wellness is an idiosyncratic continuum that is highly personal.
3.  to remind us all that there are no easy answers and that advice giving, while usually well-intentioned, is not as helpful as sympathetic listening.  good sympathetic listening uses ears more than mouths and gentle reflective statements such as, "this is really hard" or "you have a lot on your plate" or "you feel really overwhelmed."

and so that's where i am.
i am grateful there are only 3 weeks of classes left.
grateful there are only 2 weeks of internship left.
grateful for the hard work cheryl and elizabeth put into my bridal shower that's happening saturday.
grateful for shoes.
grateful for shoes' family - most of whom i visit with rarely - who continually email and ask what they can do to help - and are sincere about it.
grateful for professors who are working with me as i work through this.
grateful for good friends like b., who listen to me process through all of this and who plan lab parties.
grateful for the girls at the lab who have done nothing but offer complete support.
grateful for a God who is not scared or disappointed in where i am at right now - a God who holds my hand and soul consistently and is not impatient with my journey.

blessed be.
... you have to excuse yourself from the blogging world for just a little bit.

which is where i am right now.   there is so very much going on right now and while most of them are happy things, there are some very hard things, and no matter what they are, i am very much having trouble keeping up with all of them.  and by trouble, i mean Trouble.  the kind of Trouble that keeps you paralyzed with its thug friend, Fear.

i hope to share a very transparent, very honest post with you next week -- one that focuses truly on feeling rather than content.

for now, any good wishes, positive thoughts and prayers you might be able to spare would be very much appreciated.