Getting Better…Slowly

I adore my doctor.  She’s been my doctor for about 8 years now, and I’ve never given her enough credit.  I’ve always been afraid to ask her about anything having to do with my mental disorders because I was terrified that she wouldn’t believe me.  Not only does she believe me, but she very much so wants me to get to a healthy place.

I had another appointment with her last week, and she was concerned that I am taking the ativan every day.  She doesn’t want me to get addicted to it.  I understand her concern because I feel the same way.  It’s helping me so much though.  I take it when I can feel a panic attack coming on, and it calms me right down…within a few minutes.  I told her that I feel the celexa working, but it’s not enough during those really high anxiety times.  She increased my dosage to 40mg per day from 20mg per day to see if that helps.  She did promise not to take the ativan away, but she’s hoping that I’ll use it less.  Me too.

She also suggested I find a therapist, and talked with me about FMLA when I told her I was worried about missing work for it.  I know I need a therapist, and my company will pay for the first 10 sessions, so there’s really nothing stopping me but myself.  It’s seems such a daunting task.  I’ve talked about it a lot on my blog.

I’m still very frustrated that I can’t write in my handwritten journal.  I strained a ligament in my hand.  I’m hoping that with ice and ibuprofen, it will get better soon.  I have to take it easy.  At least typing isn’t painful anymore.

I guess the bright side of my injury is that I’ve been reading a lot.  I’m almost finished with the first book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire, and I will read the others.  It’s a great series so far, but it’s been a bit triggering.  I will write about it in another post.

I’m Still Here

I haven’t posted in more than a month now, and I don’t want people worried about me, so this is a quick update.

I hurt my right hand not long after my last blog post.  I haven’t been able to write for any amount of time before it swells up and I’m in pain, and typing is almost as bad.  I’ve been avoiding it in an attempt to heal.

I have been on my new anti-anxiety meds for over a month now, and I can certainly tell the difference.  I’m calmer overall, and can react in a normal way to stressful situations.  I am on 20mg of Celexa, which I take once per day, and .5mg of Ativan that I take when I am extra anxious.  I’ve been noticing that I need to take at least one Ativan per day.  I’m definitely thankful for the relief.  I have a doctor’s appointment next week, and we’ll see if she’ll keep me on my regimen or if she’ll change anything.

I think I would be even less anxious if I were able to write in my personal journal.  For the past few years, I’ve kept a handwritten journal that I write in most nights, curled up in my comfy chair.  Since I’ve hurt my hand, I haven’t been able to write at all, and that is very disheartening.  I’m trying to be extra careful with my hand so it will heal faster.  I need to be able to write, so I can purge my thoughts and clear my head.  I don’t know where to go with my anger, frustration, etc.

I will end this post now, as my hand is hurting again.  I just wanted to check in.  I have been keeping up with the blogs I read, and hopefully soon I will be able to join you all again.

Relief

I had the appointment with my doctor’s assistant today.  She prescribed Celexa and Ativan for my anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

I’m so relieved.

She believed me.  She listened to me and asked questions for about a half hour, and we really got into how this is affecting my life.  She was so attentive.  She didn’t rush me, and she didn’t make me feel like I was overreacting.  In fact, she looked shocked at some points when I mentioned some of my OCD tendencies.

I don’t know how well this medication will work out, but I’m so thankful that I asked for help.

Just Call Me Twitch

I am so on edge today.  Worse than I have been in a long time.  Every sound, every movement, every perceived expression on other people’s faces.  Everything is making me jump out of my skin.  I feel like I’m losing my mind.

I called and left a message for my doctor about my anxiety, and her nurse called me this morning.  That was a hard conversation.  She seemed to think that I was just going through an anxious spell.  I told her that I’ve had this since I was a child, and it’s just now gotten to the point that I can’t handle it anymore.  That was probably poor wording because the next question she asked me was…

“Do you feel like you are danger to yourself or others?”  That caught me a bit off-guard, and I said, “Oh God, no!”.  I don’t want anyone to ever think that about me.  I am not suicidal.  In fact, I love life in general, and I have a husband and child.  I would never take my own life, and I would NEVER hurt anyone else.

So the conversation continued with a battery of other questions.  Heart palpitations?  Check.  Panic Attacks?  Check.  Does Dr. know that you have anxiety?  Um, not yet.  I’ve been good at hiding it all these years.  And on and on until the nurse was satisfied that she had enough information to pass on to my doctor.  I was close to tears the entire time.

My doctor is rounding today, but will be in this afternoon.  I hope I get a call by the end of the day to let me know where to go from here.  If she doesn’t prescribe me meds, maybe she can refer me to a therapist or something.

I have to thank the reader’s who gave me so much encouragement.  It was a HUGE feat for me to be able to make that call.  I made the leap, and asked for help.  That is something that is incredibly hard for me.  I’ve always been self-sufficient, and pride myself on being so independent…to my detriment at times.

So here goes.  Cross your fingers that I’ll get the help I need.

And…it Gets Worse

I’ve been in crisis-mode since leaving the dentist yesterday.  We all hate going to the dentist, and I did this time especially because I knew that there had to be some damage to my teeth.

Boy, was I right.

All of my molars have stress fractures from clenching my jaw.  I will lose my molars if I don’t stop clenching my teeth.

I’m clenching my jaw because I’m so damn anxious all the time.  So now, I am not only damaging my mental well-being, but I am also physically damaging myself.    I really like to eat all kinds of foods, so this is a grim prospect.  I now have to be consciously aware to keep my teeth from touching.  I clench my jaw all the time.  I clench it harder when I’m especially anxious.  This means that I need to get on some anxiety meds to help me chill out.

I keep putting off calling my doctor.  I don’t want to have to go into an appointment with her and explain why I need to be medicated.  How do I explain to someone whose been treating me for years, that I’ve been hiding the fact that I’m a basket case from her?  I know she would hear me out, but I’m afraid that she won’t believe me, and I’ll walk out of there with no help.  Same place I am now, just without hope.  One can’t survive without the hope that things will get better.  I’m also leery about mood-altering medications since taking Effexor.  The withdrawals from going off that almost killed me.

So, I am stuck in this limbo of needing help really bad, yet I’m terrified to ask for it.

That makes me more anxious.  Le sigh…

 

Irrational Anxiety #2

I’m terrified of my car and driving my car.

Every time I get in my car, I brace myself for it to explode when I put the key in the ignition.  Every teeny-tiny smell that comes from my car makes my heart race because I’m just sure that it’s going to explode soon.

Now, my car is a good car.  It’s about 7 years old with only 60,000 miles on it, and I take good care of it.  I haven’t had a serious issue with it yet.  These facts don’t stop me from being afraid of my vehicle.

I hate going anywhere in my car, and that’s really unfortunate because I have to go to work everyday, I have to run errands everyday, and I have to pick my daughter up from her after-school program everyday.  As you can imagine, this is a huge anxiety booster for me because this is something that I can’t avoid, at all.  I have to drive…my car.

Not only does my car terrify me, but my driving abilities terrify me as well.  I am a great driver, but I imagine these scenarios where I forget to slow down for a stop light and drive right into traffic (this is every time I hit a stoplight), or I will swerve into oncoming traffic, or my hands will do something my brain can’t control and I’ll end up in an accident.  The best one is when I see a pedestrian, and I worry that I’ll drive up on the sidewalk and hit them.

I know it’s healthy to be aware of possible scenarios when you are driving.  Every driver needs to stay sharp, and not take anything for granted, but this is nuts.  I can’t ever enjoy a drive because I have these irrational fears that I am going to lose control and any number of things could happen.  I could kill myself, my daughter, or strangers I don’t even know.

It’s normal to have these thoughts occasionally, but I have them every single moment I am in my car.  That combined with the fact that I feel like my car will explode makes for a very unfortunate situation.

I hate that part of my life, and it’s such a big one.

Connections

*****WARNING – POSSIBLY TRIGGERING*****

 

Since my last post, I have actually recovered a memory.  I guess writing about that particular anxiety sparked some introspection into why I have that specific anxiety.

Shortly before my father abandoned me, we lived in Alabama.  My dad was stationed at Fort Rucker, and we lived in Ozark.  I was 8 years old.  I remember my father forcing my sister and I to stay outside for hours at a time.  We weren’t allowed to come in the house.  The backyard was nice.  Fenced in, and it had honeysuckle plants that I remember sucking on.  They were very sweet, I remember.

I also remember being so terrified of my father that I didn’t dare ask him if I could come in the house to use the restroom.  I vividly remember wearing a pair of light blue shorts and darker blue tank top.  I ended up urinating because I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.  I remember being in agony for a long time, just trying to hold it in.  I remember feeling really ashamed after it happened.  I also remember my father beating me severely because of it.

I’ve been thinking about this memory a lot, and it makes sense that I still have a fear that I’m going to lose bladder control.  I was beaten for it once, and that’s all it takes to create a mental disturbance.  My father beat me all the time, over little things, things that weren’t even my fault, or just because.  I’m actually glad that I recovered this memory.  I’m not overly upset by it, and it’s put some puzzle pieces together for me.

Now that I know where this specific anxiety comes from, I may be able to change it or even remove it completely.

Irrational Anxiety #1

In an attempt to make myself realize how ridiculous I am…okay, rather, in an attempt to recover and get this anxiety under control, I’ve decided to make a series of blog posts about the things that cause me anxiety that shouldn’t.  I have loads and loads of them, and I think I will be better equipped to understand myself if I write them down.  To be able to tangibly see them and try to change how I  react to these things.

My goal in life right now is to get this anxiety under control through medication and cognitive behavior therapy because, as it stands right now, this is no kind of life until I get better.  I can’t hope to work on any other part of my recovery until I have a good handle on this.

So here goes.  Irrational Anxiety #1

I am constantly worried that I am going to lose bladder and bowel function.

I don’t need to go into details obviously, but this is a constant fear of mine (especially when I’m away from home).

Now, this may stem from the fact that after a woman has children, it is possible for them to have incontinence from time to time.  I’ve heard this over and over again.  I NEVER have, at least so far.  This has never been a realized anxiety.  I also have digestive and bowel problems, but never in a way that I have lost control of them.  I am so afraid that I will lose control in front of people, and I will be mortified.  I am be afraid that no one will ever look at me the same again. I’m worried that if I stop worrying about it…that’s when it will happen.

Yeah, irrational is an understatement.

This is something that I should not worry about, at all.  If I does happen, I can worry about it then.  If people judge me because of it, they are not worth my time.  I know the people who are important to me never would.  I do my “exercises” probably more than anybody in history.  My pelvic floor is strong as hell.  I repeat again, this hasn’t happened yet.

Why do I worry about something that I have no history with?

No Control/No Sanity

Have you ever gotten to the point where you are fully aware of your mental disorder and realize how bad it really is?

I’ve always been aware that I have a lot of anxiety, in fact, I have generalized anxiety disorder, but I always thought I was handling it fine.  “I’m a normal human being and I don’t have to let this control my life,” is what I always thought.  This should be true, but I’ve come to the understanding now that I cannot control this on my own.  It’s taken over my life in a huge way.  I have a mental disorder.  I have others, but this one is in complete control of my mind.

I see the bad patterns and tendencies that I have when it comes to anxiety, and I feel powerless to stop it.  I’ve been trying to get it under control for about two years now, and all I’ve done is become hyper-aware of it.  I then, in turn, get more anxious because I feel like such a failure in attempting to control it.

I am anxious every second of the day, nonstop.  Constant worrying, constant fear, sometimes even terror.  Mortality has been my biggest issue lately.  I lie in bed at night after checking on my daughter for the third time, worrying that she will somehow die in her sleep.  I made a hair appointment (only because I had a gift certificate that was about to expire), and all I could think about until we had to make the trip was that I was  going to kill my daughter and I in a car accident.  I’ve been worrying about my husband at work, and I have no reason too.  I worry about my daughter every second she is away from me, even when she’s just in her bedroom and the door is closed.  If it’s quiet for too long, this fear rises in me and I have to check on her.  Every time she is fine.

Those are the big ones that make me really feel my disorder.  I know it’s not normal to behave this way.  There is an immeasurable amount of smaller worries, and things that should never even hit the worry radar that are making me go insane, little by little.  I fret over EVERYTHING I say to people, analyzing it all for stupidity.  I’m so worried that I will sound dumb to someone.  Right now, I’m worried about a work project that I just finished.  I triple-checked everything, but I’m worried that I might have missed something, even though it would be far from a catastrophe if I did.

It’s hard to really express how horrible this is for me, how horrible it has been for awhile now.  I really hate living like this.  I’m not comfortable in my own skin, and especially not my mind.  I expect that people judge me every time they look at me, and I hate that I am me.  Sometimes I wonder why God even gave me an existence, or this existence in particular.  It’s not fun to be me right now.  It’s not fun to be a slave to a mental disorder.  I feel so utterly out of control of my thoughts.

I think a call to my doctor is in order.

I Grieve, Not Because of Death

Obviously, I haven’t posted in awhile.  The last few weeks have been insane to say the least.  My grandmother’s passing has opened up so many emotions that I never realized were there.  I have so much to write about today, but I’m not sure where to start.

It has been emotionally exhausting just to be in the presence of the rest of my family members during this time.  Even though she was 83 years old, her death was unexpected.  She had gone into the hospital and had surgery to remove an infection, but she was recovering very well.  So well, in fact, that they moved her from ICU to a rehabilitation center.  She was there for 3 days before a massive heart attack took her peacefully in her sleep.  My aunts were lost and confused.  I helped with the funeral arrangements, and it seems I was the one who had my shit together the most.  I didn’t shed a tear, although I did feel icky.

Being in my grandmother’s house the day of funeral was surreal.  It was packed with family members, but it felt wrong.  The one person who was ALWAYS sitting in the same chair every time you went there, was gone.  It also felt very wrong to be going through her things.  It felt very wrong that family members were dividing up her things amongst each other.  I understand that is what has to happen when someone dies, but I wasn’t ready for it.

This is the woman who emotional abused and neglected me for a long time, yet I miss her.  She was a constant in my life.  She was always there.  I came to the realization last week that I never thought I would see her die.  I’ve always expected to die young, always.  It might be because my mother died young, but I never thought about the future at all because I was sure that I wouldn’t have a long life.  I was ok with it, but it left me not ever contemplating the situation of my grandmother’s death.  Even when she was in the hospital, I never thought she was going to die.  It was a non-issue.  Now I can think of nothing else than mortality.

My grandmother kept everything.  Letters, medical records, pictures, keepsakes and even every single one of my report cards from 3rd grade (when I went to live with her) until I graduated high school.  It was kind of fun going through those.  I found the only “D” I ever received.  I also found a letter that was written by an old friend of my father’s family to my father about his behavior after my mother died.  I always loved this friend as a second mother.  There was one sentence in that letter that rocked my world.  It said, “On her death bed, she made you swear to never send her daughters to live with her mother.”  Imagine my jaw dropping.  My mother apparently knew that my grandmother would not be a good person to raise me if it was one of her last requests.  Of course, we know what happened.  My father didn’t give two shits what my mother wanted, and he did exactly what she didn’t want him to.

If I had even the slightest bit of love left for my father, it disappeared the moment I read that sentence.

I guess the bright side of my grandmother’s passing is that I was given her old cedar chest which, as it turns out, was my mother’s.  It was her hope chest.  I imagine my grandmother got it when my mother died, and I remember it always being at the foot of my grandmother’s bed.  It’s in rough shape, but I plan to restore it as a treasured memory of my mother.  I also got my mother’s graduation picture, which is just stunning.  I’d never seen it before, and I treasure it.  It’s beautifully framed, and sits in a prominent place in my living room.

I am worried about the aftermath of my grandmother’s passing.  I’m not sure what will happen to my family.  She was the matriarch after all.  I don’t want us to grow apart because she’s not around as a center point.

Mostly, I have a head full of new facts and emotions I’m not quite handling well.  I know it’s a process, like everything in life, but I’m letting myself get overwhelmed.  I’m letting myself hurt for awhile.  If I know my cycle, I’ll become numb after that and then I’ll start analyzing.

I hope the Good Lord gives me peace for awhile because it’s already been a really rough year.

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