anxiety

How I Deal With My Anxiety

french bulldog in bed

(No, I do nottt look like this when I’m at home.)

 

Okkk, so let’s talk about anxiety…

Mine comes in the form of depression, PSTD and mostly social anxiety. Depression is something I’ve had since I was a child and growing up, I tried a LOT of practices to try to remedy it: the short list includes cognitive therapy, hypnotherapy, yoga/meditation, books + more books, inner child healers, ayahuasca and even crystals. 

The thing with depression is that these things may help alleviate day to day, possibly even for years, but I realized for me (almost too late), my brain needed some help chemically. Thank god for medicine! I just started an antidepressant Celexa nine weeks ago and it’s been amazing. It has totally helped lift the edge and the bottom doesn’t feel so “bottom” anymore. It’s even helped with anxiety.

So, now I feel like with the meds, the other forms (like yoga, working out, therapy) really sink in. It was like before, they skimmed the top but I was barely crawling out of the dark. 

Side note: I resisted meds for my entire life and was adamant to do the “natural” way. Nope… nothing has worked as much as antidepressants. It’s like my whole world has opened up!

With depression, you “know” all the things you’re supposed to do: eat healthy, exercise, self care (oh, I was and am a pro at self care–massages, staying home with a book + hibernating in bed? Yes pls! #introvertlife) but depression s-u-c-k-s. I always explained it like an elephant was sitting on top of me and no matter what I did, I could barely get out of bed or “do” things. And doing something social? The idea of it was always fun but then when it came time to leave the house, my body was a puddle of clammy nerves. And anxiousness either withdraws me OR I turn into an awkward, forcing-laughter-mess. Which then completely drains me. Ugh, the worst.

So, to the fun stuff… now, with the support of meds (hey, serotonin!), there are ways to alleviate anxiety–hell yes!

 

You know what, sleep honestly heals everything. Angry? Sleep it off. Feeling sick/drained? Take a nap. When I’m starting to feel depressed, I take a hit of CBD + dream it off (scientific evidence article).

 

I was never a weed smoker (I’m already a cerebral person + weed just intensifies that, ie: weirdness + paranoia) but I decided to get a vape pen + CBD oil and see what it was all about. CBD is sooo amazing–relaxes everything in the body but doesn’t get in your brain! It totally helps recalibrate trauma in your body and physically break the patterns when anxiety shows up. I wish I had this when my social anxiety was at it’s worst with my sweaty palms + heart racing. 

The funny thing is I also got a THC oil (pot) and I smoke that once in awhile. I have had a few interesting experiences of paranoia with it (Weston walked up beside me and I freaked the hell out; forgot who he was for a second lol) but I smoke the THC when I really want to knock out. It gets me feeling super heavy and ready for the deepest sleep.

 

I was never consistent with exercise before. I was that person who bought 10 pilates classes and used 5 as the rest expired. NOW, I look forward to working out and my body craves those endorphins. I workout almost everyday and mix it up with pilates, yoga, cycling + weight training at home.

I really think pilates is life-changing. I’ve been doing pilates for 7 years (off + on) and it is like no other exercise. Mind-body connection, breathing, lengthening the body and strengthening the core. My legs look longer, thinner but strong now (I used to hate my legs, especially calves).

 
 

 

I’m always itching to travel. Always. If you start feeling like you’re in a rut, getting out of your daily routine and where you live is one of the best ways to reset. Just opening up your perspective and getting to hit refresh on the energy around you is beyond nourishing. You don’t even need to go far—hop in the car and do a little roadtrip somewhere you’ve never been before. It’s such a great gift to yourself. 

 

So, everyone knows dogs are good for us, locking eyes gives us an oxytocin hit, etc but to be honest, when I was in my depressed episodes (before the medication), the dogs didn’t really help. If anything, I felt guilty because I didn’t want them to see me lifeless and sad. It was hard to drag myself outside to do anything with them—I am so lucky to have my husband; otherwise, I don’t know if I could have been there for Weston + Fira.

The amazing thing is dogs don’t judge.. and they don’t keep a score card and remember the times they’ve been out for walks. I think my next post will be about “dog mom guilt” because sometimes it’s hard to take them to the park everyday and have adventures, no matter how much we want to. 

Now, this is just my experience, but with the meds it’s become so much easier to get outside and do things. Taking the pups out for a walk gives me an extra pep and I love taking in a new podcast episode while we walk.

Throwing a toy around completely brings me back to the present, cuddles from them feel even fuzzier and whenever I can, I take them out with me! Bringing them with me alleviates some of that social anxiety—my little sidekicks. 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 

jetset skin

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A Little About Me…

Hi guys. Welcome to all the people who signed up for my blog the past week! I feel like I need to formally introduce myself… so, I’m Nikki. I’m mom to 2 frenchies @WTFrenchie—most of you know me from there.

And most of you know I like to travel and I love art, fashion and frenchies. It’s weird to think I have a blog and put myself out there but honestly it all started with the frenchies. Back story: I used to be depressed and suicidal most of my life and shy AF. When I say shy, like SHYYYY. I never said anything in school (too scared to raise my hand so I peed my pants shy) and adding depression on top of that, I was a pretty miserable, lonely kid. My family and I also moved around a lot—I was born in New Orleans, grew up in Arkansas, Texas (from the sticks) and California.

Anyway, my constant in life was/is BOOKS. I love reading and even thought I was going to be a writer of fiction novels one day (my fave books off the top of my head btw are History of Love, East of Eden, House of Sand & Fog, anything by Paulo Coehlo). From my early teens, I really got into spirituality, self improvement, the subconscious mind. So I read everything I could from Louise Hay, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, etc etc to the classics Think And Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big. My 20s were spent trying out therapists, holistic teachers, shamans, hypnosis, meditation retreats, vision boards, moon circles, ayahuasca—I’ve literally tried everything.

In my mid 20s, things finally started shifting for me, I think… after a 5-month “eat pray love” trip to South America, I came back to LA, met my now-husband, (I got Weston before my trip) started to gain confidence and realize my worth and value and I also quit makeup (I was a makeup artist for most of my 20s) which I wasn’t truly happy doing. I’m 30 now and feeling more myself than ever and THANK GOD because the 20s were highs and low lows for me.

frenchies in bed

And the frenchies. When I got Weston, I was terrible around people—so much social anxiety. Only alcohol helped. Or flat out avoiding people #antisocialclub. But with a frenchie comes the inevitable comments and questions from delighted strangers so you’re forced to chat and after awhile it becomes easier and easier… so that’s what happened. And then I started his instagram. It was an escape for a bit—something fun and I guess, innocent. Sometimes it’s nice to just forget about how serious life can be and what I’m suppose to be doing here as a human, my journey (I can literally think about the human existence for HOURS, no prob). Then Fira came into the mix! Jon and I have never wanted human children so these pups are what we consider our babies. One day we will have a toooon of dogs—no limit.

So, this is me. Someone who lives by “find a way to make beauty necessary; find a way to make necessity beautiful”, someone who believes in making the most out of your life—from the inside. Figure out what hurts you inside, nurture that, feel your worth (no one gets to tell you–we get to decide on our own) and let it inspire you on the outside. Whether that’s travel, beautiful things that make you wonder, books, whatever it is—all of it is giving. All of it is inspiration. I think that’s what the dogs and travel have given to me.

 

I would love to hear a little about yourselves in the comments… what is your favorite book? Do you get anxiety too? Where is your dream travel destination?

frenchie white sofa

Social Anxiety and the Dog

I don’t think I’ve ever really known life without social anxiety. I was always the quiet kid. I didn’t speak much and my family didn’t either. I grew up in my imagination, creating worlds with the things in front of me—my toys, stuffed animals and pencils.

Elementary school, middle school, high school came and went with six moves to four different cities and three different states. My anxiety only got worse. Small talk was so foreign to me—it seemed like secret code or a game that I had no instructions to (and it still kind of feels that way!). My stomach knotted into “fight or flight” response when eyes were on me, sweat rose to the surface of my palms, a trillion thoughts flooded into my mind but none that fit into the conversation, so I just avoided it whenever I could.

When I was 23, I chose a funny little French Bulldog to bring into my life and named him Weston (now six)—a hilarious creature quite the opposite from who I thought I was: friendly, spunky, tenacious and a lover of utter attention.

I never realized by getting him I would be kindling one of my fears: talking to strangers. But it happened. Over the years, I’ve been approached everyday because of him, joined Meetup groups with other dog lovers, even thrown parties inviting strangers pretty much to my house but have made new friends all because of Weston.

There is not a day we are walking down the street that people don’t run up to him. I see people through his eyes. Guards immediately disappear and I see people how they truly are—beautiful, joyful, curious people.

It is so crazy how different people are around a dog–so much love and laughs happen. It really makes talking to people so much easier (a walking xanax with four legs??) and creates an openness that might not have been there so easily. I’m not completely removed of social anxiety but I am a world away from where I was before Weston. I see myself as I have always seen him: friendly, spunky, and tenacious. And maybe, I am learning, I don’t mind being center of attention after all.

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