Dimmi tutto

bed_sheets_red_wall.jpg

bed, Canon PowerShot S95

Dimmi tutto… This is what my italian friends said to me as we would sit down over coffee when I lived in Italy. I always loved the expression, but it became all the more poignant when I heard it in english. My friend Stefano would sit me down with his thick accent and say, “Andrea! Tell me everything!” It was the best kind of invitation… and I love how it implies that we have all the time in the world, that there is no hurry, that there is nothing more important than you and your story.

Tell me everything.

I’ve been off the map lately. Wrought with anxiety and insomnia for most of last week, I thought I had gone round the bend on some of those days. I’ve never had insomnia like this before and sleeplessness with anxiety (attaching to thoughts and not being able to let go of them, fretting over silly details and decisions) is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I tried several mantras… It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to sleep. There is nothing to do now…. and they would work for a bit before the thoughts would creep back in. Or the song… Something Ben was singing earlier in the day, about an itsy bitsy spider or a preschool Shabbat song playing over and over in my head.

I finally got some sleep last night, and ironically I am feeling tired which I think is a good thing. My life has become so full, so noisy, that when I finally stop and lay my head on the pillow, all of the unprocessed stuff of my psyche wants out. All of the hard stuff of life, all that energy seems to want a place to go. I haven’t been crying enough.

A friend who has been through a fair number of storms this year told me yesterday, “I think I just need to tell someone the story from beginning to end. The whole thing, however long that takes.” And I think I need that too. Someone to offer me the gift of that kind of presence, someone who can simply say, Andrea, tell me everything.

P.S. Don’t worry, I called a therapist for the job today. 😉

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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37 Comments

  1. Tracy

    Love this Andrea…I have found this past year or so to be particularily full and it always plays out in the wee hours for me.
    Lack of sleep or poor sleep, always helps me make poor choices by day, so it’s a lose lose scenario. When I was tired of the cycle, out of desperation I did a HUGE bedroom purge and tweak. The last piece of my bedroom vibe make-over was buying a huge wooden canvas….it was very wintery here still but sunny so I set up my outdoor table and dressed warm and meditated a bit on what I wanted more of in my bedroom, and got down to creating an encaustic painting infused with my intentions (for sleep, love, passion…) and it was hung by drum roll later that night. I am sleeping better since, honestly. A sum of all my efforts type deal – but I stlll wake too early in the morning some days, and wake with worry at other times…improving sleep cycles is an evolving process it seems. Hoping you find your sleep groove soon…
    when I tuck in tonight, I will send you sleepy vibes and warm glowey light…
    Txo

  2. HeidiRenee

    I too have difficulty sleeping – if I’m anxious, or excited – I JUST read this and thought it might be something that would help me – and I pass it on, not because I have mastered it, but it seems to intuitive that I think I might be able to do so one day:
    http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/sleep_tip/
    Yay for you calling a therapist – I LOVE Brene Brown’s story about hers – hope that it is a glorious adventure. I couldn’t live without mine.

  3. Frumptastic

    I have always thought that you are awesome. Can I say that? You are going through a lot right now and it is completely understandable that you’re suffering from insomnia and anxiety. I’m glad that you are taking that next step and seeing a therapist. It’s amazing what they can do for you!
    I have a long history of panic attacks and anxiety and can completely empathize with you. It’s absolutely no fun but you can get through it! Hugs!

  4. Sarah

    I’m sorry you are having trouble sleeping. I had similar issues when my son was about 8 months old. Coupled with fierce anxiety, hair loss, weight loss, and heart palpitations. It turned out to be an out of wack thyroid, which can be set off by having a baby. It’s easy to diagnose (a simple panel of blood tests). I ended up taking propranolol, which calmed the palpitations, soothed some anxiety, and in turn helped me sleep. Hope you feel better soon!

  5. blackbird

    I’m thinking on you as you move through this difficult time.

  6. Anna

    What I love most about you gets represented every time you do this awesome sharing. You are so wonderful AND you are so real. You aspire to certain practices and qualities and sometimes you don’t quite get there AND then you figure out what you need to get back on track.
    Perhaps this is so obvious. But as you have so eloquently pointed out, we often put so many expectations on ourselves with so little room for compassion and acceptance when we don’t always meet those expectations.
    Every time I read a piece where you describe your process, I am reminded of the need for self love and self care in the form of acceptance and compassion. I need reminding. So I thank you again for always showing up in this space!!
    I wish you a comfy space and a loving ear for the telling of the whole story!!

  7. Kelsie

    Dear, dear Andrea! Light, love and rest to you.

  8. Cheryl

    Sometimes you just have to sink into a warm fragrant tub with a big glass of red wine! Then the tears fall freely…

  9. SarahWT

    Sending love, Andrea. 🙂

  10. linda

    Lots of love coming from the Outer Richmond all the way across to you.

  11. linda

    Lots of love coming from the Outer Richmond all the way across to you.

  12. debbie

    I bet there were quite a few of us ready to raise our hands and volunteer to be the one who would happily sit by your side, warm cup of tea in hand and listen (heart open wide) to your story from beginning to end …
    so happy you found an unconditional ear.
    sending love.

  13. Nina

    I don’t know how much you are interested in alternative healing…but, have you ever tried flower essences? Most people know the big one: Rescue Remedy, but there are many individual flower essences that address specific emotional balances, like spiral thinking, insomnia, anxiety, etc. I’ve had great personal success with them and use them routinely with my kids. They’re very subtle and I’ve never known anyone to be harmed by them. In your area, I bet you could find a practitioner to develop a personalized remedy. I don’t know if you’re breastfeeding, but they’re safe and Nico would actually benefit from your specific remedy because he’s connected to you. I only hope that you feel better. Sending you love and healing vibes…

  14. Tracy

    Oops in my excitement to share an action strategy that worked with my own anxiety and sleeplessness, I forgot to say…
    I’m sorry for you…
    Tell me everything, is a beautiful opportunity to give
    Those we love…
    I love this part – thank you 😉
    Tracy

  15. tracey k in ohio

    “I haven’t been crying enough.” I so needed that line right now. Of course the Xanax I take to keep anxiety at bay has not allowed me to cry (a gift & a curse), but I can tell, I really need to give my ‘medicated’ emotions “some where to go” (loved that, too). Inhale. Exhale, and allow yourself to be still. 🙂

  16. Caroline

    So glad to see this post and that you got SOME sleep. I love that saying too and I’m so excited to use it more. My only wish is that life afforded me that kind of time with you. As always, I’m here (a tiny bit distracted) with love and intention. Wanted to mention in the flower essence world, one I’ve been told to take many times and it sounds like a good one for you. It’s called LTGO (let go). Profound, eh? 🙂

  17. Em

    Insomnia sucks. Just to say that something that really helps me is to say to myself ‘I feel shit.’ Or ‘I feel really angry’ or ‘I am incredibly tired and in a foul mood and I feel guilty and miserable about this,’ and then not actually do anything about it, but just let myself have those feelings without needing to punish myself for them or artifically try to buoy myself up.
    It is true that it’s ok to rest, actually it’s bloody wonderful, but it’s alright that not resting makes you feel appalling. I have found that acknowledging these feelings works for me (how terribly Buddhist) but I think of it like when the little boy in The Sixth Sense acknowledges the ghosts and finds out that they feel scared. I think that perhaps even though you are a very capable grown up, something in you is small and scared and needs help. I am glad you are going to get it.
    Hope you are feeling a bit better and am sending big love for your brave spirit. Am also sending some imaginary felt pens because I’ve never known colouring to fail. Kids know this but adults mostly seem to have forgotten. Silly us.

  18. Puanani Leal

    Dimmi tutto…Xoxo.

  19. Shosh

    It’s so funny how crying can feel SO GOOD. There’s been a lot of stress in our lives lately – good stress but stress – and massive deadlines. I watched an interview on youtube that in and of itself was sad, but I lost it. Completely lost it. Over everything in the video, over everything going on in my life.
    I hope your therapist (and friends, and family, and blog readers) help you to lighten the load by helping you to carry it.
    We’re all in this together, this motherhood-wife-woman-self-person of the world thing : )
    Feel good.

  20. Kristin

    I too have been through years of insomnia caused by anxiety. Recently, I took an intensive eight-week meditation course, and it has helped so much. I had been meditating on my own for two years, but taking this course made all the difference. (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, if you want to look for one in your area.)
    I’m sure what my teacher would tell you is to simply make your anxious thoughts the subject of your awareness. Watch them, accept them, even welcome them–rather than trying to fight them off or crowd them out with positive mantras. At her suggestion, every time I start to have my anxious bedtime feelings, I say to them (silently), “Hello, old friends. Come on in and stay awhile.” It’s amazing how much that helps.
    I realized that, before I took the class, I had been trying to use meditation to fight off my feelings of anxiety. Now that I have quit resisting those feelings, it has helped so much. Wishing you peace and ease.

  21. Meghan @ Life Refocused

    Yes. “I haven’t been crying enough lately.” I SO resonate. Tears to both of us. xo

  22. Jennifer in D.C.

    I LOVE that expression: “Tell me everything!”
    I also love what you say/wrote afterwards, of what it implies, that there is all the time in the world. When really there isn’t.
    I hear you on the time off thing. I’ve had to take 1/2 a day today just to stay off of my feet because I would be limping each day after getting in.
    Right. It’s cool to cool out and recharge and DO NOTHING for a little while.

  23. amy j.

    Andrea,
    I have so been there, many times. I feel for ya. I never had insomnia until I became a mother, lol. Well, that’s not true…I had a nervous breakdown nearly once working a HORRIBLE job and I couldn’t sleep for like a week!! It’s horrible what lack of sleep does to you.
    And I know just what you mean about crying. I have nights to myself half the month with my husband working. On those nights I bask in the solitude and quiet and many, many times I cry myself to sleep over various things. I always sleep so deeply after I do…that or laughing.
    Talking it out will help, for sure. You will weather this storm and look back on it, a bit battered and bruised and think, Phew! glad I got through that. And, you’ll feel completely strong and empowered! Trust me. I have faith in you!

  24. jennifer

    i started to write my comment thinking, ‘i’ll tell her that i’ve been there too’ then i read the other comments. and what struck me more than anything is how almost every comment says they’ve been there too. you’re not alone Andrea. what you’re experiencing is completely normal and it’s totally okay to feel the way you do. we’re all here, we’re all rooting for you and that’s at 3am when you can’t sleep or at 3pm.

  25. crativevoyage

    ((((((((Andrea))))))))))
    insomnia sucks big time
    thanks to the poster reminding me about meditation its on my list of to do’s

  26. melissa

    oh my, this means everything right now. really. {tell me everything.} heart-soaked gratitude and welling tears. thank you, andrea.

  27. Gemma

    I so hear you! I use my journal to pour out a lot of that stuff, and since I started doing the daily brain dump of writing Morning Pages I find less stuff builds up to plague me in the wee hours, but of course there are stretches (lives?) where that isn’t possible. I use a rosary in the wee hours. The combination of turning all the crud I can’t do anything about to a higher intelligence with verbal and tactile repetition never fails to calm the storm. And once in a while I can’t sleep until I figure out that I’m being nudged to pray for someone or something, and once I do sleep comes instantly. Glad you’re talking to someone who can be a safe container for your full story. I have also done that, and it can be healing.

  28. Sandy

    Hugs for you. There have been some intense times in my life lately as well. And I remember a time in past where I needed to tell the whole story of a single week that broke me down, and I just started writing and wrote a few dozen pages (of just that week). It was cathartic. It still took more time to process, but the writing was a beginning for me.
    Oh, and I remember an old high school teacher saying “Tell me everything!” when I dropped by the school many years after graduation. I remember experiencing that statement as such a gift as well!

  29. tess

    Andrea,
    oh you sweet thing. Life with two babies, on top of everything, including all the goodness, can put our brains on “off kilter” sometimes. I went thru all of that after a death in the family. I went to a therapist kicking & screaming, and she was Wonderful. Someone who can who can really let you Dimmi Tutto. (and xanax for about 8 weeks, small small amount) helped me get thru it. Never thought i’d do either one. But after both, Therapist and small xanax, i’m back to 100% health and complete happiness. It’s good to get back to yourself. Be gentle, do the basics, enjoy, and take the help. Bless you and your tiny boys.

  30. Catherine Just

    first thought I had while reading this post
    ” I love you ”
    Second thought
    ” I know the feeling ”
    Third thought
    ” I wish I lived closer so I could make you some tea and we could sit somewhere and talk or not talk”
    Forth thought
    ” I have been having lots of thoughts swirling in my head too and had been thinking that I needed to talk to YOU about them ”
    and final thought
    ” You are so great and doing everything right and this too shall pass. I sometimes would just stop trying to fight the restless sleep and crazy night time mind and just get up and listen to it ”
    ok and more hugs and love.
    xo
    *c

  31. Catherine Just

    I forgot to ask
    where did you get that bedding! I’m in LOVE with it.

  32. K

    What if you WROTE that story, Andrea?:)

  33. lkjsndflkjdsdf

    t5iRbF Some message was here

  34. Rebecca in Switzerland

    Mamma mia, che bello!
    Vorrei un’amica quoi chi dice la stessa cosa: Dimmi tutto.
    Grazie, grazie, grazie.
    This is perfect. Today was Divorce Day… divorce form the man who I thought was of my dreams, my partner for all of it… and who in truth never was really married to me in his mind at all, never committed.
    Even though we’ve been separated eons now and I am happy (even happy he is happy) and moving on powerfully, I think I just need to tell the story from the beginning to end.
    I believe I’ll write this story, here in my new little apartment in Zurich, and drink prosecco now. 😉
    Thank you for this. It’s so good to hear from you on your blog again, so clear and true like this.

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