Doozy Days (Two for the Price of One)

Hiya friends, welcome back. Today has been a downright doozy for me, between feeling like absolute shit and dealing with Asshole and a couple panic attacks. If you don’t mind, I’m going to combine yesterday and today into one post. I think this might help me get back on track.

being sickI’ve never been good at being sick. For as long as I can remember, I’ve cried my way through most illnesses. It didn’t really matter if it was something as simple as a cold, I could be found sobbing like a small child. Looking back, I can’t say for certain this wasn’t anxiety, and honestly it would explain a lot, like maybe why I still react this way.

One of my bigger fears, when it comes to my anxiety, is being sick. If I’m being completely truthful, I know my stupid fear is having an effect on me this time around, too. It’s really awkward to write about this, mainly because I don’t tell anyone about this part of my issues, but I have an incredible fear of being sick. I absolutely hate everything about it, I hate throwing up and I will do everything in my power to avoid it. I can’t stand not being able to breathe (now that I write it, I can understand why I don’t like it, being sick is very similar to the symptoms that come with anxiety and panic). I also tend to correlate illness and death. My aunt passed away last month after a battle with the flu. Logically, I can understand the idea that she was older and therefore probably weaker to some degree, which could have played a key role in why she passed away. Logically, I can also understand that this probably isn’t going to happen to me just because I am sick…but I can’t communicate that to my anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle. I can see that it’s quite the leap when I actually write it out, doesn’t change the fact that my brain latches onto it.

Between yesterday and today, I’ve probably averaged about three panic attacks per day, which currently is a lot for me. Generally, these attacks reduce me to a crying mess within seconds of starting. In the logical part of my brain, I know what’s happening: the two halves of the same wholepanic is just piggybacking onto the Asshole and my already worn out body and brain. It’s really easy to spiral for me when I’m like this. If I can’t keep righting myself, it becomes almost easier to allow my brain to find the groove in the broken record and continuously replay that one spot. I also have seen enough therapists to know that, more than just illness, death is a massive issue for me. When I’m sick, in my mind, it puts me closer to that and I just lose it.

The Asshole loves moments like this. He likes when my brain leaves him even a fraction of an inch to wiggle in, because it usually means he can poke and prod until he finds just the right button to push. Once he’s found that, he knows he can win. But he’s also…well, an asshole. He likes to drag out the anxiety. If he can keep me teetering on the brink for an entire day, never really letting the anxiety take over, but just keeping it ramped up and ready, that’s his biggest win. It’s not until Panic decides to join the party that things go topsy turvy.

The cycleMaybe I should take the time to explain that anxiety and panic are two completely separate entities. I know that a lot of people seem to think that they are the same thing, but that isn’t true. I mean, one can cause the other, and they can coexist in the samehabitat, but they are different. The easiest way to explain the difference is that panic happens without any trigger, generally when there really isn’t any perceived danger, and can show up out of nowhere. Anxiety happens because you think there is danger, usually triggered by actual real life situations, and for the most part, you can feel it building before it hits.

I’m only explaining this because sometimes they get confused. I’ll use mine to explain better. Asshole is always around, he’s always lurking in a corner waiting for his moment to shine. He’s also really good at pointing out dangerous things I should watch out for, like always watching my surroundings or the need to know exactly where I am at all times. Panic is like a toddler in a toy store. She comes in, fucks shit up for a few minutes, I tell her ‘no,’ she has a temper tantrum, and then walks out like nothing happened. There is no rhyme or reason to panic attacks. I mean, at least when I’m dealing with the Asshole, he can be reasonable – granted he’s usually not – but he can be.

It’s been a rough couple of days, but I think I’m finally on the mend now. Hopefully, I won’t miss anymore posts this month, but this is all I really have to say today. Plus, I have a lot of catching up to do with homework. You guys know the drill by now, there are two numbers down at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

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R&IHiya friends, welcome back. Let’s set the scene, shall we? I am currently laying on the couch, surrounded by tissues, water, cough drops, and inhalers. There is also my homework somewhere under the blankets and pillows. I’ve been alternating between sleeping, watching TV (Rizzoli & Isles, I’m a sucker for crime procedural), working on homework, and reading. To be fair, that list is only happening between bouts of coughing or sneezing.

In the last three days, I have seen two doctors, the first of which diagnosed me with an Upper Respiratory Infection, the second added on Bronchitis. For those wondering, the reason I went to the second one was because my trouble breathing got worse and that tends to give the Asshole just enough wiggle room to turn my life into a recreation of Twister. Good movie, terrible real life.

For some reason, once everything has a name, it helps shut Asshole up. He can’t convince me I’m dying of some unknown disease if I know what I have. Don’t get me wrong, this does not stop him from trying his luck. Like most of the world, I don’t like being sick; unlike most of the world, I have to deal with some of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had because I’m sick. I have been known to spend nights wide awake when I’m sick, even though I know not sleeping will just make it worse.

The past couple of nights I’ve been fighting with the Asshole, and trying to get better. Honestly, I just keep hoping to wake up and be all better. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still holding out for it. Meanwhile, I’m popping cough drops like candy, I’ve gone through an entire box of tissues, my nose hurts, and I sound like I could audition to sing the theme song from Shaft (bring it on, Isaac Hayes). Can ya dig it?

As far as how I’ve been handling things, before today I might have said rather well. I am, however, hitting maximum handling ability, which means tonight will be spent curled up Whinyin bed just trying to keep the Asshole in his place. It’s only 9pm and I’m already debating going upstairs and assuming the position of someone who wishes to wallow in self pity. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a massive baby when I’m sick. I’ve asked my mother if she agrees with this and she says she doesn’t, but I strongly suspect she’s lying to make me feel better in my feeble state.

Okay, I think this is all I have in me tonight. I’m knackered (I’ve also been watching a lot of British television) and my bed sounds really good right now. As usual, there are two numbers down at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Still Sick, Need Sleep.

Two trips to the doctor in two days. Anxiety and illness are competing at an 8, should be an interesting night. I’ll update you all tomorrow.

Short and Sweet

Hiya friends, welcome back. I hope you don’t mind but this is going to be a short and sweet post. I have generally been writing every night about my day, and then posting the next day. Well, yesterday I woke up feeling a little sick and it got progressively worse by last night, so I made the executive decision to sleep instead of write.

Sunday morning I woke up with a cough, and by last night the cough had morphed into a sore throat and pain in my chest with every cough. Being sick makes the Asshole think it’s play time, so he always find ways to wiggle in. It’s usually by way of trying to convince me that I’m really sick, and might possibly die. I spent a good part of the day just trying to push past feeling shitty – convinced it was allergies – and get some stuff done. Hobbs and I did do the food shopping for the month and I was actually really proud of myself for getting that done at least.

When we got home, I worked on some homework, and then just zoned and played some video games with Hobbs. We were in bed rather early, which is crazy for me, but I definitely needed it. In case you’re wondering, I went to a doctor today because I woke up worse. I have an Upper Respiratory Infection, but I’m on some stuff to help, so here’s to feeling better.

Of course, in typical fashion I had to get sick just as a new term was starting. Which means my life for the foreseeable future is going to be full of the humanities (not my favorite class). Okay, that’s all I really have to say today, and I have a shit ton of homework to do, and medicines to take. I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully with more to report. As usual below are two numbers, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Singing Birds and Purple Pills

Hiya friends, welcome back. I am happy to report that my anxiety/panic was nowhere to be found this morning. Which means I was finally able to get all the stuff done that didn’t while I was busy dealing with the Asshole. Let’s talk about it.

My four daySo, I woke up rather chipper this morning – it was definitely a ‘right side of the bed’ start for sure. I was basically waiting for the birds to fly through the window to help me brush my hair. I actually think I whistled as I walked down the stairs. I was at a four and loving life. On four days, things get done, people. Notes get taken to get ahead for next term, kitchens get cleaned, meals get planned and shopping lists are written. I was on a roll today. I even debated cleaning the bathrooms…granted I didn’t but honestly, no one in a good mood chooses to clean toilets.

When Hobbs got home from work we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond, armed with coupons (cause how can you not be, they send them out every single day), and a plan for a new spice rack. In the end, we didn’t get a spice rack, but there is a new food scale and meat thermometer downstairs ready to go. When we left the store, Hobbs asked if I wanted to eat out tonight, and usually, I just laugh at his silly proposal of normalcy, but it was a four day and I was feeling daring. Hobbs and I haven’t actually eaten in a restaurant, alone, for a VERY long time, and I would usually say that is due to crippling anxiety and debilitating panic attacks that no one needs to see, but after tonight, I’m thinking that might not be the only reason. Within five minutes of ordering our food, Hobbs had a hand covered in barbecue sauce. His depth perception is shit and he legit poured it all over his hand while trying to get it into a little cup. That wasn’t all Sir Bonehead did, either. We get our food and are enjoying some light conversation between bites, and the next thing I know, there’s barbecue sauce all down his white shirt. Seriously, I can’t take him anywhere. I know I’ve said it a lot this post but I really love four days.

While we were out to dinner, one of the conversations that came up was the blog and how it was going. Hobbs was with me when I was diagnosed and Panic1subsequently watched me try everything in an attempt to get my brain to sit down, shut up, and be “normal.” He has also seen every high and low I’ve ever had on this journey. He asked tonight if I was going to be talking about some of the darker moments in my mental health history and recovery, “like the shitty meds they tried that I got rid of? Or the time the darkness almost swallowed you?” I told him that I was planning on being very honest, but I also wanted whatever I wrote this month to be organic. I have a list of topics that could be talked about, but I’m trying to let them tell me where they fit.

So, for Hobbs, I want to talk about my choice to not take medication. I know that the hope is, by taking medication, if the right combo could be found, everything would stabilize and I might be able to feel more like I did today on a regular basis. The issue is, when I took the medications the doctor prescribed, that’s is not at all what happened for me. I can remember it so clearly, after a week of not being able to leave our apartment because I couldn’t make it through the door without collapsing to the floor and struggling to breathe, I made the decision to see a doctor. The first appointment was with my GP. After hearing my symptoms, he referred me to a psychiatrist that worked in his building. The week leading up to that appointment was fucking horrible. I was convinced that they were going to lock me up or have me committed, because as I was telling myself “no normal person reacts to the outside world like this.” Please remember I didn’t know anyone with anything like this, so I was positive this was me losing my damn mind.

The day of the appointment rolled around, and as I walked into the office I was chairimmediately on edge. I just felt like something wasn’t going to be right. Lucky me, I didn’t have to describe my feelings, because the doc had a front row seat to one of my more spectacular panic attacks. Within minutes I was in full-blown fight or flight mode, fingers gripping the arms of the chair (looking back I felt cheated there wasn’t a couch), I started to hyperventilate, my legs were shaking uncontrollably, and my stomach was churning. I was wound so tight in that moment, I bit my lip and the next thing I know, I’m holding a tissue to my mouth trying to stop the bleeding. The doctor talked me through it, I can remember hearing her voice saying “Listen to me, focus on my voice, breathe like I’m breathing.”

Fifteen minutes. That’s how long it took her to calm me down, fifteen minutes. When I could breathe at a normal rate again, the next words out of her mouth were, “How long have you been having panic attacks like that?” I also remember my very intelligent response, “What?” For the next thirty minutes, she proceeded to ask me questions all about the feelings that I’d been having (shocker, huh?) and how often they were happening. When I told her every day, more than once a day, the look on her face made me realize something was wrong with me. Out came the prescription pad, and I left with instructions to take a pill once a day and that she would see me in a week. I remember having a feeling of relief as I got in my car. I was broken, but I also had a name for what was happening now. That was the day I was diagnosed with GAD and as she put it, “a strong shot of panic to boot.” I think she was trying to make me laugh, it didn’t work, I don’t think she understood humor.

When I made it home, prescription in hand, I sat on the couch and bawled my eyes out. I was relieved that I knew what it was and that these magic pills would help, and I was distraught that I knew what it was and I was now officially “crazy.” I don’t think I moved until Hobbs came home, and the first thing out of his mouth when he saw me sprawled on the couch was, “I take it the appointment didn’t go well?” I just held the pill bottle aloft and shook it. I might have mumbled something along the lines of, “crazy pills, chill pills, same difference.” I think I totally expected him to grab his shit and screw out the door. We had only been married three months, and his vows said nothing about staying with the crazy girl. Instead, he took the bottle, read the label and said, “I’ll remind you tomorrow morning to take them after breakfast.” Interestingly enough, I knew right then I had made one of the best decisions I’d ever make in my life when I married him.

The bathroomCut to two months later and the magic pills hadn’t done shit. I was still crippled by my anxiety. I had spent more time face down on the carpet than anywhere else in my apartment. My dosage had been adjusted and played with, and still nothing. The next appointment, Doc decided to wean me off of those and try something else. From there, we tried two other medications, and then finally the doozy. The last pill got ripped out of my hands, by Hobbs, within a month. I was worse and he could see it. I went from maybe being functional at certain parts of the day, to being…yup I’m going to use the term…a basketcase. I couldn’t even take a shower, I would get up and go turn the water on and Hobbs would come in 15 minutes later to find me crying on the floor in the fetal position. I remember thinking one night, that it would just be easier to die in my sleep, than have to walk into that doctor’s office and try another fucking pill. I knew I didn’t want to die but I did want this feeling to stop. I wanted to stop seeing the bad outcome in everything. I wanted to be the happily married newlywed who made people sick because she couldn’t stop gushing over her new husband. I needed to feel alive, and not this shell of the person I used to be. At my next appointment, I walked in and said, “No more pills. If you can’t help me without them, then you can’t help me period.” That was the last time I saw that doctor, and the last time I ever took a pill.

Now, let me explain something: just because they don’t – or maybe can’t – work for me, does not mean they won’t work for everyone else. Maybe my brain is the rainbow.jpgadverse to meds, who the fuck know, all I can tell you is they didn’t work for me and that’s why I don’t use them. If you use them and have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I’m very happy for you that you have. I will never judge anyone for how they choose to handle their life. Whether you take meds or you don’t, we are all on this fucked up ride together.

Okay, I think this is the end of this post, because honestly, it’s harshing my four day. Not to mention it’s like 2am, and I have to be up at 6 to give the furry overlord his drugs. Remember, there are two numbers down at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Unedited and Unapologetic

Hiya friends, welcome back. First things first, my damn app lied to me, stupid period showed up today, and of course, we are having record high temps. In case you’re wondering, heat + period = a very anxious and unhappy me. Now, I’m not at ten or anything, but when these things combine I definitely end up finding a new normal for a few days. Right now, it’s 12 am, and I’m easily bouncing between a seven and eight.

MonstersLet’s walk through the day because I swore to be honest. I had trouble sleeping all night, while I love the warm weather, being too warm causes me some serious sleeping problems. Basically, I get too warm and my brain translates it into not feeling well, ie being warm equals having a fever which happens when you’re sick. What’s weird is that typing that out makes me realize how outrageous that really is, but that is pretty much how the Asshole operates. He takes something completely natural, like a beautifully warm spring day, and it becomes illness and sadness. He really is a dickhead!

I think because I struggled to get to sleep last night, I just knew waking up this morning was going to be shitty. Before I even opened my eyes, I knew the Asshole was in the room. I could feel the heaviness in my chest, and the cramps told me something else had showed up early. I tried to do my usual check-in, but honestly, within a few seconds, I knew it wasn’t a good idea. Like I said yesterday, sometimes it’s just going to make matters worse. I also knew immediately why it was happening, and while normally I might try to lounge in bed for a while, I needed to get up because there were things to be done. Mainly, a dog barking at me to go out.

I got up and tried to get my stuff done, truthfully I just wanted to rush through it so I could kind of wallow in my cramps, PMS, and who knows maybe annoy the Asshole by making him watch all of the crime documentaries I can find on Netflix. I mean, if he’s going to be around and ruin my fucking day, you bet your ass I’m gonna get annoy the piss out of him. Seriously, I keep trying to convince myself that it’ll scare him off, hasn’t worked yet but I’m not giving up. Okay, that was a tangent, and welcome to my ADHD.

Locked upAfter a while today, I think I just took my own damn advice from yesterday and sort of wrote the day off. Side note: I did watch a crime doc show on Netflix. I basically did just enough to ensure that the dog didn’t piss in a corner of the house. I didn’t cook dinner so we ordered out. I didn’t work on getting ahead for next term. Oh, I also went for a drive in the AC (Hobbs forgot his meter at work, so I took him to get it). Screw it.

It did get me thinking though and I wanted to talk about how when the Asshole shows up it can become really difficult for me to do certain things. The best way to explain what I’m talking about is to use these posts as my example. I love to write, it’s something that I enjoy doing and at times I even think I’m pretty fucking good at it. Enter Asshole, and my passion turns into loathing. I find myself struggling to find words, and when I do find them – if I find them – they sound stupid.

Full disclosure: I began this post last night, and I’m still working on it today. I have written and deleted sentence after sentence because they just sound lame, and I immediately think someone will read them and think I’m stupid. There is honestly no other way to put that, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try to make it sound a little less…stupid. I hate when I struggle with almost anything, especially my creativity because it’s something I feel is very defining to who I am. So, when Recordsomething comes along and fucks that up I tend to be left feeling extremely defeated in the end. I will second guess every single word that I’ve typed, every sentence I have uttered to anyone throughout the day becomes a sticking point in my brain. Imagine having a record player in the room you’re always sitting in, it’s always on, there is always noise coming from it, but it’s constantly repeating the same line. That is what it’s like when the Asshole decides I’m shitty at something. Particularly idiotic things I’ve said or written become immortalized in his “Greatest Hits,” to be pulled out and replayed when he decides I need to be knocked off my high horse. I have a saying that I have told everyone in my life at least one, “you can never make me feel as bad as I can make myself feel.”

This is what my day was like yesterday, this is the honesty I promised you. There are times when I make jokes about my brain and how it fucks with me, and I can pull myself out of the loop and laugh at the Asshole’s attempts. Then there are times like now, where I can feel the burning in the back of my throat from tears I refuse to let fall. It’s a bitch when your own brain works to effectively dismantle everything you think you know about yourself.

I think it’s pretty safe to say this is all you’re going to get out of me today, my friends. As usual below are two numbers, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. I’ll be back tomorrow, and I hope you guys will too.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Taking the Scenic Route

Hiya friends, welcome back. It’s about 10:30 pm, and I am just now getting around to writing this post. I found myself quite busy throughout the day, between the housewife duties, and prepping for next term.

Check insI guess, the smart way to do this from now on is to just jump into my day. The first good thing I can report is that I had no anxiety last night, I actually fell asleep rather early (1:30am is early, no matter how you look at it). I woke up and did the usual mini check in with myself. In case you’re wondering what a check-in is, let me explain. Within the first couple of minutes after my eyes pop open in the morning, I take a couple seconds to take a mental inventory. I’m basically just seeing where I am along my scale. In all honesty, I try not to spend any more than a minute doing this, only because it can lead to jumping numbers. Example: I wake up at a lovely four, and then spend too long taking inventory and the next thing I know, the Asshole shows up and starts his “Greatest Hits” playlist, and hello ten.

After the check-in, I just went about my usual morning routine. Ya know, get dressed, take the dog out, brush teeth, double check that I gave the cat his insulin..etc. There was a little hiccup when I realized we didn’t have a lemon for the marinade for dinner. Now, I knew last night we didn’t have a lemon and that Hobbs was going to grab one on his lunch and drop it off to me. This tiny fact did not stop Asshole from popping up with hisAnxiety Girl two cents, “What if he doesn’t remember, and doesn’t bring one, then there is no marinade, which means no dinner, which means Hobbs will have blood sugar issues all night, which means he could end up in the hospital…” Logically, I know this isn’t the natural progression of things. IF he did forget, I would have just made an adjustment to dinner and we both would have eaten, no big deal. One of the fun things about anxiety is Spock (geek hint: Spock is highly logical) plays no role in it. I am constantly thinking worst case scenario. It’s pretty safe to say I’m who you want on your apocalypse team; I will make sure you are prepared for everything.

The hiccup didn’t last long and pretty soon I was well into my day with no blips on the radar. I got my lemon and prepped dinner (which, in the end, was delicious), cleaned and had a long and lovely catch up with my best friend who currently lives across the country. All in all, my day was pretty good, and I’m thankful for it. I can only hope tomorrow goes just as well, but if it doesn’t I’ll find a way to push through and you guys will get to hear all about it.

Speaking of pushing through (oh, that segue was seamless), that’s the other thing I wanted to write about today. After I was diagnosed I got told to push through the anxiety A LOT, usually by people who had no clue that sometimes that’s just not a fucking option. Family and friends, well the ones who knew, would constantly say, “It’ll only get worse if you don’t push back,” which again is a fairly logical idea. To be fair, my issue wasn’t with their logic, it was more the fact that they had no idea what was happening inside my brain. I said yesterday that the early days of my anxiety were terrible, my brain was whirring with these horrible things. I would try and push through so no one knew what was happening. One of the better examples I have is about a particularly grueling trip to WalMart. I smiled the whole fucking way through that store, but in reality, my brain was constantly searching for the closest exit, just in case something happened and we needed to get out. Then there was the night at Olive Garden where I sat in the car while my family stuffed their faces full of delicious breadsticks and salad, simply because the thought of stepping foot in the restaurant caused my stomach to audition for the Olympic gymnastics team.

I guess, what I’m getting at is, sometimes it’s not possible to just “push through.” Sometimes the only way to survive with your sanity intact is to run the fuck away as fast as you can. In the beginning, no one ever told me that running away was okay. I thought that if I couldn’t push through I was somehow failing at having anxiety. I had a doctor once parrot that stupid fucking quote (and I love me some Robert Frost), “the best way out is always through.” Fuck, that annoyed me. I remember thinking, “Easy for you to say, Doctor Jackass. You’re not the one in physical pain because your brain is a giant asshole (see, told you he named himself).”

Not OkayIt would have been so helpful to hear just one person say that it was okay if I couldn’t always push through. Sometimes, you just need to live in that feeling for a little while, and that’s okay. Sometimes, you have to retreat inside and engage in mental martial arts with an asshole, and that’s okay. So, I’m going to tell you – the person who can’t just “go through” – what I wish someone would have said to me seven years ago: if you can’t push through today, it does not mean you have failed yourself. Sometimes, you have to take the scenic route to get to the other side, and sometimes…that’s where the prettiest flowers grow. Sometimes, pushing through looks less like smiling through the agony and more like continuously waking up to fight the same battle every day with a tear-stained face. Mental health/illness is not a one size fits all thing, we all have a different journey to take to find the happiness again. I used to think that I was failing, but now I see what I’m really doing – I’m finding my strength through the struggle.

Welp, that’s all I have to say, I think. I mean, I could say more but there’s still like 28 posts to write for the month. It’s been a few days now, I’m sure you guys know what’s coming next. Below are the numbers for the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)