Panic attacks suck

Particularly at 12:21 am. Particularly when you're alone and the rest of the world is asleep and you're stuck trying to talk yourself down from one. In the dark. With no Xanax prescription. So I write. Hopefully it calms me enough that I can sleep in a bit. It's going to make waking up for early morning jiu jitsu practice brutal.

It feels like the weight of the past 6 years came crashing down on my head in the dark as I was trying to get to sleep. The past 6 years have kicked my ass. I've seen my husband through a 15-month combat deployment and major surgery, lost my father and my grandmother within 6 months of each other, watched friends face unimaginable horrors, said goodbye to more friends than I can count due to suicides, combat-related deaths, PCS moves, or simply life moving them on from me (some of these were blessings in disguise), faced ridiculous unexpected stresses related to MacGyver's Army career and the legal mess that spelled the end of it, multiple non-combat-related separations, his unemployment and subsequent employment in a foreign country plus that extended separation, and buying a house (our first!) on my own.

The panic attack makes sense (particularly given the fact that my closing date on the house falls right smack - TMI alert - in the middle of my PMS week...oy). But it still sucks.

The other night, I dreamt that I was driving my poor old sedan on the freeway in SoCal. And as I'm driving (through the tunnel that leads you under the runway at LAX), my steering wheel came off. It was quite the panicky chaotic scene as I tried to steer my car without a steering wheel. Obviously I'm processing more stress than I realized. My dream is about as good of a metaphor for my life as you could ask for - more often than not, I feel like I'm just kind of careening down the road with little to no control.

Tonight, before I could even crash out, the stress hit me so here I am at 12:30am typing away in an attempt to keep these demons away. I had turned off the light and was working on drifting off when I started thinking about our flight to Korea. I am not a fan of flying over water - never have been. Over an ocean that large, where the hell do you land if there is a mechanical issue? You don't. I've had many a nightmare about crashing in to the ocean. For some reason, flying over land doesn't bother me as much (I'm still not a huge fan of flying anymore. I used to be, as a kid but now it just makes me nervous) because in my mind, there are many places you can land a plane if you're over land. Not so much if you're stuck out over the Pacific Ocean. And the idea of crashing into the ocean terrifies me. Moreso if my children are on board with me. So, when I started thinking about our flight to Korea, it set my panic attack that has been building for weeks off like a firecracker. I can still feel my heart racing and I can't get my breathing to settle down.

I need a break. I need a hug. And I need for the next 2 months to hurry the hell up and be over so that we can be together again as a family. I need the next few years to be kind to me. Not easy, just kind. Because the last 6 have really kicked my ass. There's no shame in admitting that, right? I have none. This isn't too much to ask, is it? Don't answer that if you're going to disagree with me.

In my fantasy world, I could hit 'rewind' and go back to 2006. Back to the calm before this storm. Back to the 'before'. I'd be surrounded by good friends who were enduring the same challenges I was facing, before the sadnesses hit, before things really got rough. Maybe if I focus on those things, I can push the panicky feelings aside. Maybe it will help me feel less like I'm drowning. Maybe it will help me breathe.


- hfs


Minimal(ish)™ - Korea version

Be careful what you wish for. Or, as my inner Grammar Nazi says, "Be careful that for which you wish."

Shut it, Grammar Nazi. 

I've been on a 'downsizing kick' since we first had the military pack us out of Alaska. We had moved ourselves TO Alaska (and by 'we', I mean MacGyver - he loaded our stuff out of the storage unit in SoCal into a UHaul truck and, with his mother, drove through blizzards north to Alaska) but the Army packed us out of Alaska. And it was disconcerting to have other people handling our stuff. ALL of our stuff - we had lots. Not tons but more than other people we knew. And it made me feel...self-conscious (I've since learned that comparison sucks the joy out of everything but, at the time, I did not yet know that). I've been trying to purge and downsize ever since.

About twice per year, I'd get on a kick to get rid of as much as possible and live simply. Do we really need 15 dishtowels? Six sets of sheets for each bed? Twenty-two bath towels? Two 8x8 baking dishes? A box marked 'wires'? Four RipStiks when we only have TWO children? And so on. I'd do my best to purge and limit the things we bought and brought into the house but usually to no avail. I'd even gone so far as to pray about it (because God cares how many towels I have. NOT.). 

Evidently, He heard my prayers. And He chose to send us to Korea. With a company that will not pay moving expenses (beyond the employee's plane ticket and a small allowance for tools and other professional gear). *please note this is NOT a complaint against said company for their policies. Just an observation. I am grateful for the things they do provide and the fact that MacGyver has a job.*

Evidently He has a sense of humor. Because we are unable to ship our HHGs (household goods), we are either getting rid of stuff (yard sale, giving things to friends, Goodwill/donation) or putting it in storage. In the past few months I have easily purged 10% of our HHGs. Before MacGyver left, we had probably purged another 10%. And I still need to get rid of the mattresses (they are old and needed to be replaced anyway. No sense in storing them), our dining set, our behemoth of an entertainment center, our hand-me-down Christmas tree, and a few other odds and ends. We'll be taking some things with us to Korea - clothes, personal items, school stuff, a few kitchen items, and our irreplacables but that's really about it. 

The challenge I'm facing right now is this: what should I get rid of and what is worth putting in storage? I abhor the idea of coming back in 2, 3, howevermany years and unpacking our stuff and wondering what the hell I was thinking PAYING to store item X for that long. It drives me MAD. And I know I will. I know I will open up a box, find a toy or a book or a kitchen item and think, "I never used/liked this item...why did I hang on to it?" I suspect we'll hold yet another garage sale (which I also abhor) right after we get back just to get rid of all the crap we *should* have ditched before we left!

So all those years of praying that God would provide an opportunity to live a 'minimal(ish)'™ lifestyle have paid off...not necessarily in the way I would have envisioned but, hey, beggars can't be choosers, right? 

If you need me, I'll be out in the garage, bagging up clothes and stuffed animals and toys and books and decor and other crap that I've toted from California to Alaska to Alabama to Tennessee to Hawaii and back to the mainland. And now it's time to ditch it. So I can go buy new crap to tote back from Korea!


- hfs


Five Years

Seems like it was yesterday. Miss you like it's been forever. 


- hfs


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...