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.
So, 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 subsequently 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 immediately 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.
Cut 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 adverse 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)