01 August 2016

a friend's new blog

My friend LJ is midstride parenting an infant, and she started a blog that is so fabulously raw and honest, here.  go,  read it.  seriously.    https://malleableforms.wordpress.com/

06 July 2016

blame it on the moon

New moon and suddenly I feel like I have something I can blame, an external Thing that has nothing to do with me.
A moon, phasing....
These past weeks have been so tender-- so filled with tears. I am sure this is a cleansing of some kind, and I am keeping with my intention to bring curiosity to it, but the tears.
holy wow
then, like a sore tooth, I poke at it-- how about this? how about facebook? how about this video? how about this song? and yes, tears. and yes, tears.
and so why am I poking it?

there is this thing happening, this thing, this thing of anxiety and also of releasing. I am practicing both. Practicing how to live with this anxiety until I resolve it, and practicing how to live with releasing. How to allow the tears. Knowing they are temporary. Sometimes, nanoseconds. But this is a grief thing happening too. As if I am letting off little tiny bits, here, I say to the universe, please, take this.... and this.... and this.... a million little exhalations of stored up sadness.

And i am laughing some too. Sometimes flat out, sometimes wry.
short moments but moments and with each I realize how unfamiliar laughter has become. oh Kate of the booming shake the rafters laugh.
that will come, I know it.
it will.

06 June 2016

broadening, deepening

I wanted to post an update on the panic attack tango.
There's been this tectonic shifting happening in my emotional landscape... slow and deep. Things are moving in ways I did not think possible.

I am currently medication free after having really bad reactions to the last few I tried, and finally, just realized that now was not a time I could afford to feel that bad while trying to feel better.  I've dived deeper into therapy-- different modalities than before-- and, rather suddenly,  the sadness spigot was turned on. And the anger spigot. Nothing Big and Dramatic except there is a now a presence where there was an absence.  Tears come a lot now, often, but not for long. Sadness comes a lot now, but not for long.  Anger comes now, but not for long. Each comes and goes, comes and goes, and with each has come such an incredible richness.

Panic attacks are still triggerable- so I am not CURED (angels singing)-- but I am developing a different relationship to it/them.

I know it will not kill me (because it hasn't) and I know it will not stay forever (because it has always passed)-- so now, when it happens, it is horrible.  But then, it is horrible and then, eventually, it is gone again. And I am still here.

I am not feeling cocky, trust me.  This is about reveling in the differences, the changes, the widening, and deepening, the shifting, and the trust.  The trust that I will live, and it will go.  If this lasts? great.  If not? I am so grateful for the break. So grateful.

18 May 2016

Online Journaling Workshop!

Soul Reclamation Online Journaling Workshop

Coming up on June 3,4, 5 (or download to do when you wish)– I’m excited to be offering a guided journaling workshop!
This is about reclaiming parts of ourselves, long misplaced, buried, forgotten.
This is about inviting ourselves to feel more whole.
This is about mindfulness and presence, awareness, and forgiveness and shame-release.
This is about letting go, even a little, of our fierce grip on some of what keeps us from being able to move forward into who we are becoming.

** 5 guided journaling exercises posted on a private page on my heartwork website over the course of 3 days.
** Each exercise could take as little as 10-minutes
** “ Journaling“ could mean writing or not, art or not, but something “external”, not inside your head, usually works best.
** Participate in real time or download for later.
** A totally optional private, temporary, Facebook group (prompts will be posted there too)
** Sliding scale. 0-$20 via paypal .

This is intimate work, and to make it work as well as we can, we will not be sharing the content of our journals. We can talk about process, feelings, context, but the privacy or our writing or other forms of expression is to allow more complete freedom and unselfconsciousness of both exploration and expression.

This may be for you if you are feeling ready to let go of some old shit, while staying safe, present and mindful.
But this is not for you if you feel at any time it’s not for you. Yes, it is that simple. Trust you. Trust you. Trust you.

+++&+++>      This event has passed and it was awesome.  Interested in learning about upcoming workshops? Sign up for my mailing list on www.kate-johnson.com

04 May 2016

good cry

confession:  today I had a good cry.
confession#2: I am actually not sure if I have ever had one before.

I've cried in a billion different ways, but I never would have categorized any of them as good.
except, maybe, the hope-fueled flying penguin debacle.

I always fight it.
Today I just let it happen.
And you know what? It felt kind of good to not fight it.

but this time was different. Like I was ready to let something go. Or at least let it rise up and be seen (by me, in the privacy of my own aloneness)

So, this to say, hmmm.
Shifts shifting shiftily...subtle but not.

02 May 2016

ok then

Ok then.  What the hell was that? Apparently it was my usual panic attack hell + a new layer of total hell in the form of a bad medicine reaction.

On the advice of a dear friend and honorary medical professional by experience (thank you A) who recognized a bad reaction when she saw it, I gave myself permission and stopped the new med and felt like myself again by saturday night. Feeling like myself was pure heaven.

Today I saw the psychopharmacologist, and she graciously agreed that the new med was Not For Me.  Whoot.  I do not need more crazy.

So- a new tact-- specifically a trial of inderal, which I took long ago for social anxiety and liked it. So who knows? I have no idea if it will keep me from triggering into crazy land. I can only hope it will and wait for reality to test it (no time soon please).  The fear of the fear is really debilitating. And I wish I could say otherwise, but I would be totally lying.  I have never, and I do mean never, felt so debilitated. Not by colitis. Not by acute grief even. Because in the midst of the colitis. In the midst of the grief, I knew I was still kate.  When taken up with panic, I lose connection with myself. And that, my friends, is some extra scary stuff for me and probably most people.

I am worried, of course, that it will not work. And that I will get triggered and and and and... and then be on that bad ride. But at least it is a bad ride. Not a bad ride covered in an extra coating of crazy. And I know that is better than my 24 hours of sheer hell from friday to saturday night.

I want to thank all of you-- both here and facebook friends-- for being so incredibly understanding, kind, supportive.... and while I do feel vulnerable talking about this, I think it is really important.

Here I am-- dealing with this nearly invisible thing that pulls me down. And while there is nearly nothing as lonely, I know, I KNOW I am not alone.
How many others have their version of this?  Maybe not panic attacks. Maybe more generalized anxiety (oh my heart goes out to you), or depression (oh loves), or mania, or secret eating, or shopping in hopes to get the Thing that will change everything for the better. Make the aching stop. Make the loneliness go away. Make the feeling of otherness vanish. The Thing that arrives on wings of self esteem and gold dust. Or maybe it is secret shame. Regret. Even longing. Whatever pulls us away from our centers and into the big scary land of insufficiency and out of controlness.

We all have secret wounds. Secret battles. And as we move through the world, when we are strong, I invite all of us to send out compassion to the unseen. The unknown and unknowable in all of us.

29 April 2016


So tonight I am surfing a resurgence of anxiety.
I'm just off an old med, and coming up the curve on a new one, and apparently, the universe decided to have some fun with testing my new chemical balance and created a close-range trigger.

This is panic attack stuff, with a frosting layer of anxiety about the anxiety. It is a crazy thing, being abducted by aliens crazy.  My brain and body feel hijacked, and I become both a sufferer and an observer.  I know that I will be fine, but it does not matter what I know. I feel horrid. Tender, raw, reactive, vulnerable, at-risk in existential ways.

I like feeling together and competent. I like feeling happy and good. I like focusing on the positive. I like looking ahead with happy anticipation. Anxiety is like a kick in the gut. I know I have written about this before, but it is my right now, and I wondered if I wrote about it as it is happening if I could pretend to gain some control over it. Or at least ride it out doing something I love (writing) in a place I love to write (I can't whistle), to people whom I love (Hi Shelagh!).  So here we are.

My brain feels buzzy as the chemicals ache to run their usual course, but my new medication keeps the chemicals from flinging themselves totally out of control.  My new medication kind of traps anxiety, at least initially, in a cage in my solar plexus. It actually rattles there. But with smaller triggers, it rattles and then abates, leaving me watchful but not overtaken. This trigger, today, was the perfect one for me-- direct triggering-- and instead of staying a rattly feeling, I felt the whoosh of chemicals down my arms, through my torso, and up behind my face, my scalp, and the immediate dislocation and desire to fall asleep Right Now, which is probably adaptive.

Some old ancestor of mine probably learned taht right in the middle of the crazy, they would run in circles and make noise and be loud and attract lions. But if they just went to sleep, their brain would reboot and they would not wake the real or proverbial lions.  I think now, when I am super stressed, this desire to take myself out of the game through immediate sleep must have roots that kept my line alive up until now. 

So the first rush of panic comes and then a wave of sadness comes too. Sadness that the panic is "back".  It is as if when it is gone for a while, I dream it possibly gone forever. And when it comes back, I wonder -- why????? how much? how often? how long will it stay activated?  and Anxiety is abusive. And I am scared of it. And that is the second layer.  My response to it is one of fear.

I like to feel like I am in control of.....? everything I guess.
And feeling / knowing / facing that I am not is scary. I wonder if I am competent and capable enough to be able to handle what comes.
I wonder if I can do what needs to be done or if I will freeze, or disassociate from my injured self so far that I will not be functional.

All this to say, I am in a momentarily but deeply sucky place right now.
I am trying to bring my curiosity but really I have impatience and fatigue and a sincere desire to never feel like this ever ever ever again.

thank you for listening.