Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Happy place.

I performed with my ensemble group onstage tonight for the first time in over two months, and I had such a blast, there's no way I can adequately put it into words. It was a phenomenal experience, and I'm so proud of myself for committing to it and putting myself out there.

The break I took was necessary. The choices I made to leave some groups were wise. Returning to what I loved was incredible. I couldn't have asked for a better show to return to. I have to remind myself that I have power over what I do and where I go.

Moving toward relationships that are fulfilling and healthy and fun is proving to be such a gift to myself. It doesn't matter where I go - where anyone goes, really - there will always be drama and politics if you seek them out. Making the conscientious decision to accept they exist and choosing to enjoy the experience anyway? That makes it worthwhile.

My R is fucked up. I'm having to aggressively pound on the R key.

As I was saying, it's important that I recognize that I need not avoid drama, or even overlook it. It's a part of life. I have dramatic people in my environment. How they choose to conduct themselves is their business. Acceptance is so critical, and so difficult at times. I will be the first to admit that I gossip. I don't do it to be cruel, but I am meddlesome. I have a desire to know what's going on. And frankly, if it doesn't involve me, it's none of my damn business. My work environment has stressors, as does my theatre environment. It is what it is. I obviously can walk away from it at any time. The fact that I choose to stay is a point of courage for me, but it's pivotal that I recognize I don't have to add fuel to the fire. I want to end my day having treated myself exceptionally well, while also knowing my actions and conversation have served to lift people up, educate people, and exemplified kindness and sensitivity.

I nailed it today.

I was able to spend time with a new and unexpected friend over my lunch hour that was so refreshing and engaging. She is so lovely, and it was such a great surprise to walk away knowing that I potentially have a new friend; she is without question a person who lifts people up around her, and I respect that a lot. I could learn from her how to be a better listener. There are few things I appreciate more than a person who commits to being an aware listener. That alone made my day outstanding.

During the afternoon, I was struck with an anxiety attack. I haven't experienced one of those in some time. I actually can't remember the last one I had. Panic, yes (see my post about wheel blowing off the tire); depression, yes. But the low-level anxiety? Nope. For me, once I recognize my body is giving me warning signals, my brain goes into alert status. It's like I'm airport security and just got a message that someone got through security with a weapon. I become hyper-vigilant and questioning of everything that's going on.

Here's how my internal dialogue typically goes:

Whoa, I'm freezing cold. I can feel my heart beating fast. My stomach is churning with butterflies. My throat is tightening. Why am I anxious? Is it something at work? Could I have done something wrong today? Is there something way back in the recesses of my brain that I'm feeling guilt about that I haven't acknowledged? Is bad news coming? Who am I letting down? Why would I let someone down? God, I probably did. Or if I haven't, I'm probably going to disappoint someone soon. I need to focus on not being anxious. Breathe, go outside. Now I'm being dumb. I can will away anxiety about as well as I can mentally coerce myself into falling asleep. Shit. What did I do? I'm tired. There's that. I said I'd do the show tonight, and I'm nervous about bumping into people I don't want to see. That could certainly be it. I could suck onstage. What if my group doesn't want me there? I wonder if they'd prefer I leave. Oh, God. I hope that's not it. I'd better do really well tonight. But no, improv is supposed to be fun. I need to have fun tonight. Now I'm stressing about having fun...

I could go on indefinitely. There was a moment this afternoon where tears welled up because I was feeling overwhelmed, but they didn't fall. I wanted Xanax desperately, but I didn't have any. And here I am, nearly twelve hours later, and I'm OK. This kind of goes back to what I was talking about yesterday. My anxious self truly is the worst case scenario monster.

The cruel part of my brain, after having made it through a day I've perceived as having the potential to be a shit show and it turning out wholly otherwise, judges me. It chastises me for wasting so much time on negative thinking. Brain chemistry is such a pain in my ass.

My eyelids are getting heavy, so I'm going to let them do what they need to do. Tomorrow brings some overtime, a trip to see an old friend, and hopefully a really fulfilling night at home. I intend to bake.

Sweet dreams. Be as gentle with yourself as you would be with your best friend, your child, or someone who obviously is in need of something. I'm trying to take my own advice. Group hug.

Wendy Whiner.

Not bored.