My Fucked Up Brain and Little Arms

Hiya friends, welcome back. Ugh, I’m angry with myself. Here I am, having to apologize for missing a post, again. Honestly, on Thursday I just couldn’t sit at my computer for any longer than it took to finish my homework, then on Friday I was so busy, I just didn’t have the time to sit – period. I swear, I will finish these next two weeks strong.

Let’s get right into my last two days. Remember the other day, how I said I could just see Asshole sitting there, acting like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth? Yeah, I was fucking right. He came out swinging Thursday morning and was a thorn in my side all hoofin day.

MAr2.jpg
Now you see it, right?

Every morning I wake up at about 6am to give the Furry Overlord his insulin. Some mornings I go back to sleep for a bit, other days I just stay up, it really depends on the night before and how I’m feeling. Well, Thursday I woke up late and as I sat up, I felt the dizziness start. That was when I knew Asshole was gonna be around all day. Every person with anxiety will tell you that there is one symptom that always shows up first, for me it’s dizziness. If I get dizzy, it’s a fair assumption that I’m going to spend the day/night anxious or panicky. I proceeded to pinball my way down the stairs to administer the Meowser’s meds. While standing in the kitchen I felt the next telltale signs of the Asshole’s presence, the nausea and the racing heart. In that moment, I knew going back to sleep was out of the question.

I basically spent most of Thursday trying to get my homework done as fast as I could so I could just go relax. I also spent a great deal of time pleading with the universe to stop spinning my house so fast. By the time Hobbs got home, I’d had enough, I was over the spinning and I was just ready to lay in my bed and sleep. We got takeout because I couldn’t stand up to cook (it was fucking annoying). By the time we went to bed, I had decided to just write the day off and try to make Friday better. I laid there, propped up and doing puzzles on my laptop, until the sweet relief of sleep claimed me.

Cut to Friday morning. Wake up. Assess the dizziness…it’s gone! Yes! I happy danced in

My wish
My spirit animal

my bedroom and then all the way down the stairs. My day was full to the brim of cleaning and moving things in preparation for our house guests. (T-minus 19 days until they arrive, and I can barely contain my excitement!!! Tiff says three exclamation points is overkill, I say she doesn’t understand my excitement.) I got my kitchen and bathroom cleaned, while Hobbs and his friend moved some furniture that was too heavy for me and my T-Rex arms (they’re basically just there for show and to carry babies).

All in all, between Thursday and Friday, I had two very different days. One was spent battling with my mind, the other was so busy I don’t think I sat most of the day. This is how my life goes. No two days are ever the same. At times it’s fucking annoying, but there are some times I don’t actually mind it. Don’t get me wrong, the anxiety and panic suck, but at least my life is never boring.

I hate to cut this short, but I have some homework to finish before I get to go to bed tonight. 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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Learning to Celebrate the Small Things

Hiya friends, welcome back. I have exciting stuff to say today (well, maybe not exciting for you, but for me, it’s hoofing massive). I went shopping. Twice. Once yesterday and once today, BY MYSELF. You probably just read that and made the wtf face at your screen, but seriously, this is a victory for me. A small one, but a victory nonetheless.

linusUsually, I do not leave the house without my security blanket – otherwise known as Hobbs. (He tends to act as a buffer between me and the world…actually it’s more like he keeps me anchored so I don’t drown in the anxiety or panic.) As we all know, he has been home this week because he’s sick, so he couldn’t very well go to the store with me, could he? Unfortunately, his not being able to go didn’t change the fact that we needed shit from said store, so I had to suck it up and go buy said shit.

Backstory time, gather round kids. Up until two months ago I did not have a car, and had not had one for a good 5 years maybe, so, technically, there was a very valid reason for me never venturing out on my own. The true reason, however, is that I was avoiding the outside world because I loathe havingFinish Him panic attacks in public. I can usually keep the Asshole at bay long enough to pop in someplace and grab a few things; I mean, he talks shit the whole time, but generally, I can control it for a bit. (Side note: if anyone could see inside my memory warehouse they would laugh at the scene. It’s basically just the Asshole and I having a Mortal Kombat style face off, with the warehouse employees shouting “finish him.”) It’s really just the panic attacks that come out of fucking nowhere that ruins the real world for me. For a long time, I couldn’t bring myself to risk it; it wasn’t worth it. Y’know when people say the risk is worth the reward? Yeah, not here. I have seen enough brain wranglers to know that I was dealing with a mild form of agoraphobia.

Agoraphobia.jpgUp until a few months ago, I avoided leaving the house at all cost.

Up until two days ago, I avoided leaving the house alone.

But, I did it. Two different stores, in two days, all alone. I made it with no panic attacks in public. I mean, the Asshole chatted shit the whole time, but I stuck him in a maze with barbed wire on the walls and legos strewn across the floor. He was not happy, but it kept him occupied long enough for me to get the shit I needed and get out. I’m not even gonna lie, I walked through the front door of my house and happy danced my ass all the way to my kitchen to put away the groceries. It was a small victory, but it was a massive moment in my journey.

In other news for the day, I have been feeling pretty…okay. Hobbs is on the mend which means the anxiety over that has sort of melted away. I’m feeling better every day, so that’s faded too. The weather is finally getting nicer, which for some reason, always affects my anxiety (if anyone knows anything about why this is, please let me know). I cooked a delicious dinner (minus the weird grain mix we tried that reminded me of birdseed). It was the closest I’ve been to a four day in like a week and a half, so that’s pretty damn good. All in all, it’s been a really good day.

Writing these every night gives me time to reflect and it’s making me realize A Bad Day.pngthat, even when shit goes sideways, I’m not doing too bad. What’s that saying, “it’s a bad day, not a bad life”? I’m gonna get that shit embroidered on a pillow, and put it where I can see it every day to remind myself. (For those wondering, an embroidered pillow with the saying of your choice, is anywhere from $18.99 to $ 32.99. That’s vaguely affordable if you ask me.) Alright, it’s almost tomorrow now, so I should probably try to unwind and get to sleep before 3 am.

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)

The Delicate Balance

Hiya friends, welcome back. Sorry that you got two posts so close together, but oh man it’s been an interesting couple of days. So, Hobbs came home sick yesterday, and he ended up staying home from work today too. I also said that, at times, my anxiety extends past me being sick and onto people I love.

Let me explain.

Charlie BrownBasically when Hobbs gets sick, I absolutely lose it. I’m pretty sure that the way anxiety works makes no fucking sense. The thought process with this is much like the lemon thought process. For instance, take how today went. Hobbs is home sick. What if it’s worse than what I had? That’ll mess with his blood sugar, which means he could end up in the hospital. People die in hospitals. Great! Oh, don’t forget the fact that he clearly caught this from me. It’s my fault he’s sick now, which means it’ll be my fault he ends up in the hospital. Then it’s my fault if anything happens to him.

Seriously, this is a very annoying way to live sometimes.

Logically, I know this isn’t how things work, but again, there really isn’t anything logical about mental illness. I try really hard to remind myself, when I’m off on these worst case scenario jaunts, that what I’m thinking is completely plausible. I mean, they could Normal Timetechnically happen. The chance that it will happen, is very slim, and even if it did, I can’t possibly hold myself responsible for how germs work (those things are evil). I’m pretty sure this won’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t have anxiety, but the reason behind reminding myself that it could happen, is to keep myself from going off on the “You’re a fucking nutter” quest. Basically, it’s to stop the “Yup, I’m crazy” thoughts. Thinking you’re crazy does absolutely nothing to fucking help the situation. It’s better for me to acknowledge the ideas could happen but they probably won’t.

In an attempt to keep my racing thoughts under control, I tried to stay busy today, but Hobbs still heard, “Are you okay?” a million times. To put this in perspective, he probably heard it a thousand times an hour. I ask that question a lot, even when he’s not sick, but it got to the point today where he was answering before I even finished the question. Oops. I’d apologize for it, but, I mean, at least I care, right?

To his credit he doesn’t get all pissy about it anymore. When we first started dating I’d ask constantly, and by the end of our night he would be so frustrated with me that he’d inevitably bite my head off for the last one. It wasn’t until post diagnosis that we both realized what was happening. I was doing what the doctors call “reassurance seeking.” Seriously, that’s a real fucking thing. Basically, it means exactly what it says. When I’m anxious, my brain forces me to ask the same types of questions over. And over. And over. For me this usually manifests in questions like, “Are you okay?” “Is everything okay?” “Do/are you feeling alright?” “Are you upset?” “Did I make you mad?” I can only imagine how annoying it must be to be on the receiving end of these questions, especially when I’m asking them every 15 minutes.

Now, I’m not saying that’s the only way this reassurance thing manifests for me. At the beginning, I would incessantly ask Hobbs if he thought I was crazy, or if he thought I was really sick and it wasn’t just anxiety or panic. I thought this would go away in time, but it’s one of the things I haven’t been able to shake. Please don’t think I’m complaining about this because I’m not. I mean, if this is the worst thing that happens to me when I’m anxious/panicky, I’ll fucking take it. Granted, it’s annoying as shit for Hobbs, but he knows that if he just keeps answering, it helps my brain calm the fuck down and it could also help to cut off a massive panic attack.

The other really annoying thing about this, is that there are times that all the he helpsreassurances in the world can’t fucking stop it. There have been times when Hobbs has gotten sick and I’ve spent all night having one panic attack after another. I feel so fucking bad for Hobbs on those nights. He’s the one who’s sick and yet he spends hours trying to convince me that he’s okay. I’ll say it again for the people in the back, anxiety can be a real asshole sometimes.

One of the good things about this time around, is that I know what he is going through – I literally have first hand knowledge. This knowledge doesn’t stop me from asking him the same stupid question a million times, but at least now I can believe his answers. (Wow, that sounds really bad when I read it back. It’s not that I don’t believe what he tells me, it’s just that the knowing helps it sink into my brain and the Asshole can’t twist it around.)

In humorous, but not entirely unrelated news, we both called our moms on Sunday and told them to stay away, or they’d be leaving with a lot more than just the cards we bought. The reacted completely differently, of course. Mama Hobbs said, “Of course, call me when you feel better.” Mama Biblio threatened the germs to try and take her down. I’m not saying my mom went all Ray Parker Jr., but I definitely had the song from Ghostbusters in my head. (Yup, it’s official, I’m getting better.)

Okay, it’s very late now…well, not really, but I’m still on the mend and I’d like to continue the uphill motion. You guys have got to know the drill by now. There are two numbers 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)

Brace Yourself, The Man Cold Is Coming

Hiya friends, welcome back. So I just realized that I completely forgot to write a post last night for today…oops. I swear, when I’m finally feeling 100%, this will get back to normal. (I also think, somehow, I got all off track and I’m now writing in real time…interesting development.)

Man ColdLet’s see, today was pretty good. I actually did some housework, and finished my homework. Hobbs had to work this morning, but last night I knew that wasn’t going to last long when he looked at me and asked, “Did this *gestures in my general vicinity* start out as a scratchy throat?” In that moment, I knew I was about to have a man baby on my hands. He was home by noon, and within fifteen minutes of walking in, was camped on the couch in his sweats.

Since he’s taken up residence on the couch, I’ve been cleaning and trying to get these germs outta here. The cleaning had two purposes. Remember I mentioned that me being sick caused me some major anxiety? It’s worse when Hobbs is sick. It stems from the same place. Y’know, the idea that getting sick equals dying, at least, I think it does. I mean, I’m no doctor but it’s my best guess. Which means cleaning becomes my focus task, because “a busy body can’t possibly panic”…well, it can but I can usually handle it better. I didn’t get too anxious or panicky today; I mean, there were some blips, but nothing too earth-shattering or meltdown inducing, so I call that a fucking win.

There’s no telling what tomorrow holds, but I’m figuring I should probably get some good sleep tonight, just in case. Which brings me to the end of this post, I Timelessapologize for the brevity but I promised Hobbs we’d watch Timeless tonight.

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)