One Bad Hour (or Hating Panic Attacks And My Gallbladder)

I’ve been doing pretty well lately as far as my panic attacks go. I still have my “expected” ones when I’m going to go on a plane or have to go to the dentist. Those aren’t fun, but I’m able to prepare for them the best that I can. But I haven’t had to deal with an unexpected one in a while.

When I saw my therapist, he had asked me about my panic attacks. I had told him that I still had my expected ones, but no unexpected ones. I thought he was asking because it’s in my medical record. But it turns out that Vyvanse can make panic attacks worse. I didn’t know that, but fortunately I hadn’t experienced any issues on my original dose. And my therapist had no reason to believe that on this increased dose I would have issues.

But the other evening, not only did I have an epic unexpected panic attack, I had a horrible gallbladder attack as well.

I’ve had a history of gallbladder issues. It’s something that is in my family history and I used to have attacks every few months or so. I had an ultrasound and I don’t think they found gallstones. I was just told that if my attacks became more frequent or painful to come back and we would reevaluate. I may need my gallbladder out, but as of right now it’s staying.

But I haven’t had a gallbladder attack in a while. And I’m not sure if the panic or gallbladder attack came first, but having them together was pretty horrible. I was in incredible pain. I couldn’t find a comfortable position to be in and I was sweating like crazy. I also might have been crying but I really don’t remember. I may have passed out too because time passed that I don’t remember.

This episode lasted about an hour and honestly it was one of the worst hours I’ve had possibly ever (even worse than recovering from hip or tonsil surgery). I really debated calling 911 at times because whenever I have an unexpected panic attack I question if it is that or if it is really a heart attack or something worse. It doesn’t help that a gallbladder attack can feel similar to a heart attack as well.

Once the episode was done, I rested for a minute before trying to get up. I took a shower (all that sweating made me so gross) and then just hung out at my house the rest of the evening. I was supposed to go to an event that evening for Ms. In The Biz, but there wasn’t really a way for me to pull myself together in time (nor did I really feel comfortable driving).

Yes this sucked that I had to go through it. Panic attacks will possibly be a part of my life for forever (although they are getting better) and gallbladder attacks can be a possibility unless I get it out one day. But honestly, it was only one hour of my day and the rest of the day was pretty good (except having to miss that event). And there’s no point in letting one hour ruin everything else that was good about the day.

Even with the horrible hour I was still able to check off things on my happiness checklist for my therapist. I’m choosing to focus on those good hours and not the one bad one. Hopefully this won’t happen again for a long time, but if it does, I think I’m in a much better mindset to deal with it.

Less Networking More Socializing (or Another Evening With My Fellow Mentees)

My Women In Film mentoring circle had another one of our potluck gatherings at my house. While I love when we get together on the alternating months with our mentors, I really look forward to the mentee only meetings.

Since it’s been hot here (and I don’t have a/c), I put together food for the potluck that required no extra heat in my house. Trader Joes saves my butt in these circumstances. They have great cheese selections and the meats and crackers are good too. The crackers were half-broken when I opened the box, but I tried my best to make the tray look as pretty as possible.

Meat and Cheese Tray

I think a lot of us had the same idea because so many things that were brought were pre-made. We had wine, some chocolate, potatoes salad, and regular salad. It made a nice little spread for us. But that’s fine with us since we are there for the company and not the food.

And yes, the point of these gatherings is to network, discuss our goals, talk about the progress we’ve made, and encourage each other. And we do that for a while. We set a time limit for everyone to talk so we all get a chance to talk, and the “business” conversation took a little over an hour.

I talked about some of my frustrations I’m going through including wanting to get back into improv classes. I’ve almost got all the money saved up, but the schedule of upcoming classes doesn’t really fit into my schedule. I mentioned how I hadn’t had any auditions in the past month, but that really doesn’t worry me. And of course I talked about how I’m running in the SAG-AFTRA election (although since none of the women in my circle are in the union they can’t vote for me).

And after that, we kind of just had fun together. I really love this. I’ve made some wonderful new friends and I feel encouraged that we will continue to meet (maybe not as regularly) after the officially mentoring circle has ended. I love that we have really bonded as a group and we really look out for each other and want the best for each of us to have in our careers.

I actually saw one of the board members of Women In Film at my Sunday job this past week and got a few minutes to talk to her. I told her how grateful I am to have this new mentoring circle and how we have really connected as a group. She seemed really happy to hear that our mentoring circle is doing so well. Many groups sound similar to how my old group was (not meeting regularly), so our group is in the minority with our motivated we are with setting our meetings.

We should be having our next meeting with our mentors next month (hopefully I’ll have more to update by then). And I’m looking forward to that. But I’m really looking forward to the next mentee only meeting where we can sit back, relax, and really just talk and support each other.

Work Work Work (or Another Very Part Time Job)

I’ve been pretty stable with my work lately. I’ve got my box office job and my research job. While I’m almost making enough money, I haven’t wanted to find anything else that is regular hours because I’m scared of getting burnt out.

I had worked very briefly for my old boss (sadly, that gig didn’t work out due to timing and resources). That job wasn’t going to be more than the time I was there so I wasn’t expecting too much. Then he called me to help with a one time gig doing some concession sales at a screening.

After working the concessions, he asked if I’d be down to work some box office hours for him at future screenings. I said sure because during the screenings I can just sit in the lobby and read (and get paid for it). And this past Sunday was my first shift.

I had some work to do prior to the shift like getting the box office materials from my boss and making a Costco run to pick up things for the concession stand. But even with the prep work, I was still so nervous when I got to the theater on Sunday. I was in charge of the box office, and even though I had some student workers helping me there, I really felt thrown in. I didn’t pay attention to what was happening the last time I was there because I was so busy selling concessions. So I tried to stay positive and know that the student workers would be there to support me and not try to make me fail.

The shift went pretty well. I had a couple of minor issues to deal with and one pretty big one, but I think that most of the guests there felt like it ran smoothly. And the student workers helping me were really amazing and understood how frazzled I felt and really tried hard to make things easy on me (or show me where things were supposed to go if I put them in the wrong place).

And it was pretty easy during the screening. I enjoyed reading my book and while I was working for 6 hours, I really only “worked” for about 2.5 hours. I was pretty nervous during the screening that someone would come rushing out and be very upset about something, but beyond some people asking if we could turn down the air conditioning there were no complaints.

I’ll be working at another screening this coming weekend and I’ve got a couple of other screenings booked over the next few months. This won’t be something that will make me a ton of money, but any extra money is good money to me right now!

Wedding Dress Outing (or Helping A Friend Find The Perfect Dress)

When Rayshell and I had dinner recently, one of the topics we talked about was her wedding planning. She’s actually gotten a ton of planning done already. The venue is set and they’ve got the caterer and hotel blocks done. But the one thing she was having trouble with was finding the perfect wedding dress.

She had found a couple of dresses that she liked, but didn’t really love. And one dress that she almost loved, but it was way over her budget.

As we were talking, I remembered how years ago I had gone wedding dress shopping with a friend. She was looking for a very particular dress (she is very religious and needed it to cover from neck to the ground and have long sleeves), so we had gone to a handful of store together. The only one that I really remembered was Alfred Angelo. So while Rayshell and I were at dinner, we pulled up their website and checked out some of their dresses. There were a couple that she liked (and were in her budget), so Rayshell made an appointment and invited me to go dress shopping with her!

We got to the store about 10 minutes before the appointment, so we sat down and looked at some of the dresses in the store and in some of the catalogs they gave us.

Alfred Angelo

Rayshell found several dresses that she wanted to try on while we were waiting for someone to come and help her pull dresses. When the stylists came over, we showed them the ones that Rayshell liked, and then we got the bad news. Most of the dresses that she liked are discontinued and not in the store. But one of the ones that she liked was still there, but there was only one dress left and the stylist wasn’t sure if it was in her size.

So we started wandering through the store together pulling dresses. We found the one that was on the list that Rayshell liked, and luckily it was in Rayshell’s size! So we grabbed that one. Rayshell and the stylist pulled a couple of other dresses and while Rayshell and I were looking we pulled that original dress again two more times!

Finally it was time for Rayshell to go into the dressing room and start trying the dresses on.

Wedding Dresses

The first dress Rayshell tried one was pretty, but it seemed not quite right (and Rayshell seemed to think the same thing). The second dress looked too much like a costume to me.

Finally it was time for the third dress which was the one that we had selected 3 separate times. And when Rayshell came out of the dressing room, I knew instantly that that was her dress!

She was glowing and smiling and it was exactly what she had described to me as her dream dress! It was the only one in the store like that because it was discontinued the day that the sample arrived so nobody else would have that same dress. I felt that it was fate that the only one of that dress was in the size and color she needed!

Of course, Rayshell had to walk around and see how the dress looked in sunlight (versus the store lighting) and I took tons of pictures so she could see how it looked from every angle. I can’t share the pictures of the dress with you (because then her fiancée might see them), but I did get permission from Rayshell to show you one detail from the dress.

Rayshell's Dress!

That detail doesn’t even do it justice. That dress is so incredible and so perfect for Rayshell! After Rayshell was pretty sure that it was the dress, she Facetimed her mom (I held up the phone) so she could show her mom the dress too. After her mom approved, it was settled that Rayshell had found her dress!

I felt so lucky that Rayshell invited me to go dress shopping with her. It was a really fun and special afternoon. And it was a nice added bonus that I got to be there when she found her dress. I haven’t had that opportunity before so it was really cool for me to do that. For most weddings I’ve gone to, I only get to see the dress at the wedding (or maybe a picture of it from a website). With my sister-in-law, I got to see the dress at the fitting, but that’s different from getting to go shopping for it together.

Rayshell’s wedding is still months away, but I’m even more excited for it now because I can’t wait to see how she looks in the dress when it’s all fitted and accessorized!

A Week Of Workout Wins (Or 3 Days Of Awesomeness)

I might have only had 3 workouts this week (I’m not trying to make 3 workout weeks a habit but my schedule is tough right now), but I really had 3 amazing workouts. And it wasn’t just what I got done in the class, it was a bunch of other things too.

To start with my wins in the workout, I did continue to push myself on the treadmill a bit more. I was able to do more on Monday than on Wednesday or Friday because I started the increased dosage of Vyvanse on Wednesday (so I had to be careful with my heart rate). I wasn’t able to push myself with the weights as much as I would have liked, but I did experiment with a heavier weight and heavier medicine ball for a bit. I wasn’t able to do it all with the heavier things, but at least I tried.

Now for the things that totally made my workout week.

On Monday I was hanging out in the lobby waiting for the last class to end so I could go into the room and get my treadmill (I’m particular about what treadmill I use). I noticed that there was a guy who looked familiar in the room, but I couldn’t get a good look at him. But I looked up at the heart rate monitor screen above the treadmills and saw my friend Sean’s name up there! Sean and I worked together at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios years ago and I haven’t seen him in forever!

After his class ended, I went up to him to say hi and he seemed pretty happy to see me too!

HHN OTF

He actually was talking to people in the lobby during my class so when my class ended he and I got to catch up for a bit. That really made my day on Monday!

Then on Wednesday I got to Orangetheory and signed in. The manager said that she had something for me. She brought out a box that had old ink cartridges in it! I had mentioned a few weeks ago to the owner that I recycle ink to help pay for my Disneyland pass and he saved their inks for me! That was so awesome and made me feel so special! Now I have another $10 toward my pass (and they said that they would continue to save inks for me).

OTF Ink

And finally, on Friday I had a non-scale victory (which I needed because I haven’t had a lot of victories on the scale lately). I’ve gotten all of my workout clothes from Old Navy. They really seem to be the only company that has cute workout clothes in my size (and workout pants that don’t look like diapers on me). I’ve mainly bought workout pants in black so they go with any of the tank tops I own. I’ve gotten a couple of pairs of patterned workout pants but have never looked how they looked on me.

I recently took advantage of a promo code at Old Navy that you could use on clearance clothes. I was able to get workout pants for about $10 each! I got some basic black ones and another pair of patterned ones. And this past Friday, I finally felt comfortable enough to wear them to my workout!

Old Navy Pants

I’m kind of in love with those pants. They were so comfortable and I think they looked really cute too! I’m thinking about trying the other patterned ones that I have and have only worn at home again. Maybe now I can be confident enough to wear them in workouts (which is why I bought them).

I love that this past week of workouts were so positive for me. I haven’t really been in a workout slump but I did hit a bit of a personal slump lately. I working on getting out of that as quickly as possible. Hopefully with my workout being so awesome it can now spread to other things being awesome as well!

Happy Hour Birthday Dinner (or Just Having A Nice Catch Up Chat)

My friend Rayshell’s birthday just passed. Instead of doing another big birthday party, she decided that she wanted to do a couple of one-on-one dinners with her friends. Since Rayshell and I do fairly regular happy hours, we combined our happy hour gathering with a birthday dinner!

We usually alternate meeting on my side of town and Rayshell’s side of town. But since I had to be on my side of town pretty late in the afternoon, Rayshell was awesome and agreed to stay on the westside.

We met up at Bossa Nova. It’s a Brazilian place that I’ve passed a million times but have never gone to. I thought at first it was a Brazilian steakhouse, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was more sandwiches, salads, and pastas.

We started off with some yummy cheesy bread (that we ate so fast that I didn’t get a photo of it) and we each got a sandwich.

Bossa Nova

It was a nice chill hangout. Of course, we talked a lot about her wedding planning. I really loved hearing about what she’s got set for her wedding so far. I already know that it’s going to be an amazing event and I’ve been trying to plan what I want to wear even though it’s months away!

Beyond the wedding discussion, we really had what most people would consider a boring conversation. We discussed our day jobs (we both have had a slower summer at work). We talked about random acting stuff like new headshots and a film that Rayshell just booked (that wasn’t boring to hear about!). And we talked about random stuff that is happening in our lives.

While it is fun to go out and do adventures with my friends (I’m going on one with Rayshell this weekend), it’s also so nice to just have a simple dinner and chat with a friend as well. I feel like these chats are what help keep my friendships grounded and strong. We all live such crazy lives and it’s easy to either let a ton of time pass without connecting or forget that we haven’t had a catch up chat in a while.

I know that I need to make this effort with more of my friends (especially my LA based friends). There are some friends who I feel like I’ve seen lately because we are connected on social media but when I look back at my calendar I haven’t seen them in months or even close to a year! I know that this isn’t their fault or my fault, it just happens. But now that I’m aware of it I’m going to work on fixing that.

Another Therapist Check In (or Showing Off My Happiness Checklist)

I had another appointment with my therapist this week. Last time I was there, he gave me homework to do over the next 90 days (the number of days between my appointments). I was to make a checklist of 10 things that make me happy and track how many I do each day. The goal wasn’t to do all 10 every day (I don’t think I ever did that), but it was to try to make sure that I at least do some every day.

I did this for 90 days (my appointment ended up being on day 89 so I finished it the day after my appointment). And my checklist looked pretty full.

Old Happiness Checklist

I brought my (almost) completed checklist with me to my appointment to show my doctor. It was the first thing we discussed and honestly I think he was pretty surprised that I did it. He said that many patients start one and only keep it up for a couple of days and others never actually do it. But I wanted to prove that I’m taking this seriously and I’m not just going to therapy to get medication (although that is what started this process).

He told me to continue my checklist for the next 60 days (again, it’s the length of time between my appointments). I had to make a new checklist and I was allowed to keep any or all of the previously happiness items on the list. I decided to keep all but one of them. I changed shopping/beauty because while that does make me happy, my financial situation prevents me from doing it as often as I’d like. Nothing else on my list is restricted by money so I figured that that one was meant to go. In place of shopping/beauty I put binge free day. It’s a bit controversial that I listed lack of eating disorder symptoms as something that makes me happy, but hopefully my therapist will be ok with this.

New Happiness Checklist

After going over my checklist, we discussed how I was doing on Vyvanse. I’ve been very torn about the medication. It has helped a tiny bit (I’d say I’ve had many a 5% improvement) but I don’t want to take something if it isn’t making a significant change in my life. There are side effects that can be dangerous and I want to be in a place where the benefits outweigh the side effects.

My therapist seemed to understand my feelings and how I don’t want to give up on Vyvanse but I don’t know if continuing to take it is the right choice. So we are going to try changing up my dosage to see if that helps. I’m now going to take one pill in the morning and another pill right before lunch time. I just started this yesterday so I have no idea yet how it will really affect me or if it’s going to work a lot better. But I am very hopeful. I have to be since I know that many things can be affected if you are positive or not. So I’m going to remain positive about this and give it the best shot I can.

My therapist said that the best plan is to take the medication and forget about it. I shouldn’t make it the focus of my day (I wonder how he feels about me writing an entire blog post about it?). So if I’m supposed to forget about the medication, I’m going to focus on the happiness checklist and seeing how much I can get checked off in the next 60 days.

Unite For Strength (or SAG-AFTRA Election Time)

I’m so excited to announce that I am running for a Convention delegate seat with SAG-AFTRA (the actor union I’m a member of)! I was asked if I was interested to run by a friend of mine. I was a bit hesitant at first, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. So I decided to go for it! I’ve been wanting to be more involved in my union and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. I just needed someone to give me the push to get involved.

I’m running with the Unite For Strength slate. The UFS group was formed before the two unions merged. They were the SAG-AFTRA representatives that were pro-merger. I actually got to attend one of the pre-merger UFS meetings before I joined the union. The same friend who asked me if I wanted to run this year brought me as his guest. It was a bit overwhelming at that party at first since I really didn’t know anyone (and everyone seemed to be a really established actor who I had looked up to and I was a bit nervous). But I was immediately struck by how smart and friendly everyone was. And even though I was a non-union member attending the event, everyone was interesting in getting to know who I am and answer any questions I might have had (and I had a ton at the time).

I’m honored that I’m a part of UFS for this coming election. We actually have a ton of really amazing people running for various positions in the union.

UFS 2013 Mailer Side 2

(I’m #144 on the list!).

We had a meeting as a group the other night to discuss some election things including rules of what we can and can’t do while we campaign and so us newbies could meet some of the more experienced union members who can help us out. It’s a little intimidating being in that room and hearing what other members have had to deal with in past elections, but I tried to listen to what everyone said and take in as much as I could (thankfully, UFS also sends us emails so I have copies of all the super important stuff).

Again, I was so impressed by everyone else running with UFS. Everyone was so friendly and really was there to help everyone else. I got to talk to most of the people who were at the meeting and they helped me realize that everyone has the same nerves and fears when they ran for a position for the first time. But that’s why you join a group like UFS. They are almost like election mentors and they are there to help guide me through this. And hopefully I’ll be elected and then they will be there for me again to help make sure that I am able to be a successful Convention delegate.

I think the most important thing I learned at the meeting was that it’s ok for me not to know everything. I’m going to learn and there are plenty of people who are supporting me who can help me out if I can’t answer something. My job is really to listen, to learn, and to be a voice of the union. And that’s something that I can do.

If you are able to vote in the upcoming SAG-AFTRA election, I would love it if you would vote for me (#144) and the rest of the Unite For Strength slate. But even if you don’t want to vote for me or the slate, it is so important for you to vote no matter what. I know for the merger vote there was a pretty high turnout but for this election it’s not expected to be nearly as many. So every single vote counts. It is important to be an active member of the union and by doing so you may be inspired to get more involved one day like I’m hoping to do if I win my delegate seat.

If any of you have any questions about Unite For Strength, the upcoming election, or anything else regarding SAG-AFTRA; feel free to ask me. You can comment on here or you can use my contact form if you want it to be a bit more private. If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does and get you the answer. Even if I don’t get voted in as a Convention delegate, I really do want to help any of you find the answers you want regarding the union. I had people who did that for me and now it’s my turn to repay the favor.

Ballots should be getting to you in the next few days, so please take a look at the Unite For Strength slate and make sure you vote!

The End Of My Musical Season (or Finally Enjoying Phantom)

This past Sunday was the final show in my season at The Pantages. I’m sad that I can’t afford to get season tickets for the upcoming season, but since I don’t care to see all of the shows that are going to be playing, I’m happy that I can pick and choose what I want to pay for (and since I’m only going to see select shows I might be able to get better seats).

The final show of our season was “Phantom Of The Opera”. To be totally honest, I wasn’t too excited about this show. I’ve seen it many many times and haven’t really enjoyed it. Almost every time I saw it it was because someone decided that we would go and I didn’t have a say in it. I also saw it once in middle or high school where we were sitting so high up that I got very light-headed and thought I would faint. So the show has never been something I’ve been enthused to see.

Even with not loving the show, there was no way I was going to miss the last show of the season. We had a bit of an adventure getting to the theater. We had no idea that the train that we usually take in wasn’t going all the way to the station we needed to transfer at. So we took a train, a bus, and then another train. Fortunately we gave ourselves plenty of time so we weren’t late at all.

We originally were supposed to see the show about a month ago, but we changed the dates on our tickets. And by doing that, we ended up sitting a couple of rows ahead of where we usually were (at The Pantages your season tickets are for the same seats for each show). I tried to have an open mind about the show and was feeling a bit excited when the lights went down.

Phantom

I’m glad I tried to have an open mind. This production was really great. Yes, I knew everything that was going to happen and all of the songs. But honestly the set was the most incredible thing. It opened and closed and folded in on itself throughout the show and really became its own character. And when it’s a show like “Phantom Of The Opera” where the opera house is so important, the set being a character really helps to draw you in.

The cast was amazing and there were some fun pyrotechnics as well. Overall, I really had a great time at the show and I think my friends enjoyed it too. Even though I won’t probably get to see as many shows in the next year as I did this year, getting to have season tickets this past year really helped me to get to know some great girls. I knew them a bit before we got tickets together, but now I can really call them my friends. And I know that in the future if there is a season that has some great shows we will probably get season tickets again as a group.

In the meantime, I’m on the lookout for some good musicals that I want to see. And now that my brother and sister-in-law live in Santa Barbara, my sister-in-law can join me for some shows too!

Being A Bit Of A Show-Off (or More Baby Steps)

I had a pretty great week of workouts this week. I might have only gotten 3 workouts in, but I really maximized them.

Monday was a really fun day. I had a friend come try out class with me! She had never been to Orangetheory before, but she was looking for a new workout class to motivate her. I love having new friends in class because if they get a membership then that means I’ll have more friends in class on a regular basis!

My friend was on the treadmill next to me and it happened to be a run/row day so the treadmill segments were pretty short. Because I want to push myself (and because I’m a major show-off), I decided to up my speed on the treadmill again.

My push and all-out paces have been pretty steady at 3.7 miles an hour (my base pace has been at 3.5). But I started at 3.7 for my pushes and then went to 3.8 and even 3.9 at times. I don’t think I can do those higher speeds for an entire class, but it’s good that I’m trying to add on speed for a minute or two. I’ve had issues with increasing my speed because I feel like it’s an all or nothing sort of thing. But it’s not horrible to have variable speeds throughout the class.

Since I was showing off at Monday’s class, I decided to see if I could push the limits of my push and all-out paces for the rest of the week. I was able to do a minute or so at 3.8 and 3.9 for my other two workouts. I even was able to do 4.0 miles an hour for about 30 seconds for an all-out segment (so it was also at 10% incline). I think I’m almost to the place where I can increase my push pace more often, but I’m still struggling with increasing my base pace. I’m testing the waters of 3.6 miles an hour, but it’s still a struggle for more than a few minutes.

Since Monday was a run/row day, I also had a good opportunity to work on getting better at rowing. Rowing is weird for me. I feel like I’m still struggling with it, but my coaches have been telling me that rowing might be my strongest thing. I’m great when it comes to sprints of about 250 meters or less, but the distance rows still make me struggle. One of the other workouts this past week had a 600 meter row and I had to take my time with that and that frustrated me.

I think this frustration I’m feeling is a real positive thing. It means that I know that I can do better and I’m not questioning myself as much as I have in the past. I’m still physically struggling, but I’m happier with that than I am with a mental struggle. I wish I could discuss this with my hip surgeon, but I know a lot of things I do aren’t really recommended. But since my hips are going to go bad no matter what I do, I figure I might as well work on my strength even if it might make my hips go bad a few months sooner than they would if I was cautious. Also, I’m been pushing the limits with my hips for a couple of years now, and I’m still doing way better than they ever expected I could.

Since I’ve been pushing myself on the treadmill a lot, I think it’s time for me to push myself with the weights. I’ve been using the same weights for a while. And I think the reason I’ve been nervous is because the weights I use look more like regular weights to me and the next set up looks a little scary. I know that’s probably really stupid, but I think that’s the only reason I’ve been holding back. It’s time for me to realize that I’m strong and can do more lifting than I have been doing. And by lifting more, I’m going to build more muscle which will help me in my weight loss.

I love this motivation I’ve found! I know that it can only lead to good things!