Tag Archives: panic attack

The truth about flares

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I often get accused of being a chronic complainer.I don’t post how i feel for sympathy. Sometimes just seeing it in black and white helps me.  I just need to vomit it all out so I can move on. Its cathartic. This is not to say I don’t appreciate the comments.

Chronic illness is an asshole. Sometimes it makes me seem like an asshole. Most of the time in a flare I feel like I am being an asshole.
When I am resting I still feel like I am being lazy. I still think you are thinking I am being lazy. You can tell me all you want that you are not. When I have to cancel plans there is a part of me that feels I am just making an excuse. I know, if I went the pain would magnify. I know it.

Chronic illness makes your anxiety triple. Anxiety is an asshole too. Anxiety over what I do get done in a day. Anxiety over what I don’t get done in a day. Anxiety over what others are thinking about what I did today. Anxiety often makes me feel like I am being a complete wimp.
I feel ridiculous saying my skin hurts. Or any other body part that is acting up.
I feel like it’s an excuse even when I know the pain is too much to push through.Dishes have to get done ,I know that. It would seem standing doing dishes should be no big deal. Standing is a lot more work then we realize. There is a reason it takes babies so long to learn. There is a reason they get tired easily from it. If I do push myself my hips,knees and ankles blossom into painful bursts. If I keep pushing my hands will start to cramp up.  Have you ever tried to wash a plate and had your hand cramp. Most times I break the plate. It would make sense to stop doing the dishes before that happens. That is the thing though, the frustration, you don’t want to stop.

I am just as frustrated about my body flaring as you are, if not more. My brain is still functioning and often going a thousand miles a minute. I am thinking of all the things I need to get done. The things I should be doing. It is even more frustrating to feel somewhat okay while laying down yet, within five minutes of being up doing things, you are exhausted and often shaking.

I have a tendency to emotionally eat. Yes I know I shouldn’t eat that but sometimes emotions need to be fed. I do try very hard to balance my emotional eating with healthy eating. I do aim for that balance. I know full well I will pay for it later. Sometimes I feel it is worth it. Sometimes later when I am paying for it, I think I was being stupid. Just because I ate it yesterday or last week or last month doesn’t mean I can eat it during a flare. I could have eaten it yesterday and today it makes me want to vomit. I could have had it at lunch and my stomach tolerated it just fine. Eating it with dinner, not so much. It can be as small as garlic or lemon or as big as chicken. There is often no rhyme or reason to it.

So there it is the cold hard truth about flares and complaining.

No one asked you paranoia anxiety!

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Okay so technically there is no such thing as paranoia anxiety.  They are two separate conditions. It feels the same though. Anxiety can mimic paranoia in a lot of ways.

Anxiety often has you thinking very negative thoughts and sometimes even believing the negative thoughts. Paranoia you can’t see that its a delusion. No amount of therapy can help you see that lie.  So I know, after years of therapy, that it is in fact just anxiety.

I really hate though when it gets that severe. I start wondering if other people are reading my text messages. I have not left my phone anywhere. Then a voice in the back of my head says, “oh but they have technology that allows that.”  When its really bad I can get sucked into that and really disconnect from people. This normally leads to a depression. Luckily last night I was able to recognize it for what it was. I listened to some meditation, made fun of it and tried to move on.  It is not as easy as that makes it sound. It took years in therapy and wanting to move past these hurdles. I read books about retraining your brain. I use meditation to help me focus on positive thoughts. Positive thoughts help drowned out the anxiety.

No matter how good the medication combo is, no matter how much therapy, its always going to be there. I just have to remember that. I have to remember that its not always because of something I did. I wasn’t eating as healthy, sleeping as much, or whatever. I know my triggers. I know I hit some of them on our vacation. It took a lot last night to be able to make fun of it. It took a lot to pull out my toolbox for fighting anxiety. Sometimes I tell myself to just go through the motions. Somewhere along the lines, it does actually start to help.

It’s not completely gone today, but it is better. Writing helps. I will also probably go through our vacation photos and edit some. It always makes me happy. I will only have positive shows on today. Things like food network or something similar. This is opposed to my normal Law and Order or Criminal shows. They are too negative to watch with anxiety flaring. I will make it a point to go outside when the dog needs to go. Sunshine really does help. Even just five minutes outside can be so helpful.  The other thing I will make sure to do today is hydrate.  I have been drinking some soda but I will counter it with water. For every oz of soda I drink I plan on drinking two oz of water. If I could get past the fatigue from our vacation without caffeine I would. Well honestly I would try.  I doubt I would succeed at that.

LET ME OUT… Aka Week Six of Summer Break

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I really don’t know what to say. It has been a whirlwind. I am ready for a break and I think this week we actually slowed down quite a bit. Its not all bad but the days are super long and tiring.  Its hard to balance what the kid wants to do, needs to do with what I want to do and what I need to do.  Its not entirely different from what happens during the school year. I just seem to have less patience, its probably the heat. It takes it out of you when its ninety something by nine am and still in the nineties at eight pm. Between normal housework stuff, chronic illness stuff, and kid meltdown stuff , it gets a bit overwhelming. Never fear though, I wouldn’t change a thing.  So here is what actually happened this past week:

Sunday July Six.

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Blissful kidless morning. Church… and more kid free time in the afternoon. I would say it was blissful but Saturday night I slept horrible. I mean horrible, like I would have preferred a screaming baby horrible. I came home from church. I looked at the dishes and the cleaning that needed to be done. I laid down on the bed. I barely remember pulling the covers over me. I woke a few hours later and basically went to the bathroom, took a sip of milk and was out again. The vibration from my phone woke me up. The kid was on her way home.  Luckily the hubby was able to make dinner and do most of the parenting. The kid did hang out on the bed with me but I was not NOT up to getting out of bed.  It did not help that there has been a storm cell that brewed, growing and shrinking growing and shrinking in the ocean, it finally let down and rained.  Once it started raining I started feeling more and more normal. I woke up with that all over skin sensitive sensation , nothing can touch it without intense pain, and an anxiety attack.  Oh good just in time for bedtime.

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I am thankful I have friends that understand and help when and where they can. Believe it or not this type of crash is actually a good thing… it means the flare I have been dealing with is finally really truly curving off.

Monday July Seven

Three mile walk to cleaning job about killed me. The kid read her book. Then it was a flurry of activity to get ready for the car. Housework to burn some nervous energy. I am really proud I did not have a panic attack. We got the car and I actually had to pull over and have the panic/anxiety attack from not having one prior to getting the car.

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Tuesday July eight

The weight did not come off until we walked out of the DMV with the tag and title now in my name. I needed to just relax. We had so much time to kill as it took way less than expected. We went and checked out the Rookery as we had never gone when it was early morning. We thought maybe the bird behavior would be different. It wasn’t much. We went to Panera and had celebratory bagels and I got a big honking Sweet tea.

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We then headed to the library. When the kid points out a park we have not been to in almost two years. Mom can we check that out? Do we still have time? SURE!  It amazes me the changes we saw.  We even saw deer hoof prints. The kid tried out her tracking skills and declared they were fresh. Works for me, I have no clue.

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So then we go off to the library. GUESS WHAT???? I had the wrong library on my calendar. The one the Rainforest puppet show was at? Twenty minutes away. How much time did we have? Oh, it starts two minutes ago. I debated not going. It was not even an option for the kid. Of course we were going. Man. It was AMAZING. It was wonderful. She talked about conservation, She talked about endangered animals, loss of habitat, what the rainforest provided the Earth as a whole. She was captivating. She used Portuguese and Spanish words for the animals and colors. She talked about the cultural of the people who live in and around the rainforest.

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We decided we were not ready to go home. We wanted to explore the area like we were going to when our old car broke down. We found a new park. Oh man did we find a new park.

We are going back at a better time. Better time being early morning to beat some of the heat as eleven thirty am is NOT the time for a hike in Florida in July. We still saw some cool things, tortoise, eagle nest, iguana(huge lizard, not sure exactly on type)

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We didn’t exactly have hiking shoes on. No worries. I survived plenty of barefoot summers in Florida. The kid was really into it and we had a whole conversation about Earthing.

Wednesday July nine

It dawned on me that all the walking we have done since the car breaking down almost three weeks ago, has been with intent. It was fine as a change up for a week. Walking is my stress relief. Walking in nature more so.  This dawned on me late Tuesday night. I immediately made plans to go to a park for a hike Wednesday morning. I had a hard time falling asleep Tuesday night because I was so excited. It was nothing short of magical.

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It was beyond exactly what I needed.  We saw a total of eleven deer.  A hawk  landed in the tree right next to us. We saw two wild pigs.  Magical.

We came home ate lunch and rested. There was a snake and reptile show at the library. I felt good enough I thought. Its just an hour.

So wrong.  Bedtime started at four pm.  Of course it was hubby’s game night so dinner and all that crap was on me.  Somehow I made it.

Thursday July ten

Math tutoring day.  We were off and running. While recording her math tutor lesson, I wrote out her writing prompt instructions for the day. I am really happy to say she is really starting to enjoy her math lessons and is gaining better understanding each week!

We were off and running hubby to the ortho doctor…. checking on his thumb. While he did that, we went to the natural food store. We have been out of Natural Calm and DHA/Omega3 supplement. It was obvious we needed it STAT this morning.  They had samples. Most of the samples made me happy. One I wanted to try had corn oil in it. True it was Non-GMO but I don’t think my corn intolerance really cares about that part of the corn.  The kid worked on her writing while we were sitting in the car waiting for hubby to be done.  We decided on Burger King for a special treat for lunch.

THEN we had family naptime.

It was mostly rest time the rest of the day.  The kid finished her writing. She also had to get her hour reading session in.

Friday July eleven

Someone really must have given me crack or something. I agreed to take hubby to work and then thought since I will be up, we should go on another early morning hike. I have to say…. it paid out.

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Towards the end of the hike she was getting irritable and tired and cranky. I thought about tossing her in the bay….. instead I just tickled her and said ALLIGATOR. To which she ran ahead in a fit. Ahhhh Silence…. Oh I mean… yeah…that probably wasn’t nice.

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The insanity started at Target. I know I know. It was not their fault though. Insurance was being super weird and stupid and thus, waiting another week for medication. Paid a Doctor Bill, always a big occasion.  Home for lunch and rest time. The kid had Math to do. I had a church meeting to go to. She sat in the other room and read her book, mostly.  A quick very sucessful trip for a birthday present for the party we go to Friday.  The rest of the day, rest. I am trying to remember just because I am feeling better doesn’t mean that a Flare can’t happen.  I am trying to remember it is better to pace myself, and her. That resting is productive for the chronically ill.

Saturday July Twelve

I had hoped to go to the beach first thing in the morning. Morning came and neither the husband nor I were really feeling it. We were not feeling like doing much of anything. After all isn’t that what Saturday mornings are about. So we have just been loafing around the house.

Later we will go to a friends house to celebrate their son’s eighth birthday. The kid and him are eleven months and two weeks apart. Yes we figured that out! It’s hard to believe our sweet little babies are getting so big.  They really need to stop growing so fast.

The real cost of being sick

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 There is so much more to chronic illness expenses than doctors appointments, tests, and prescriptions. Those are the more obvious expenses. Those are costs that you can control to a certain extent with the type of health insurance  you have. These are some of the less obvious costs…

Lets start with diet.  I don’t mean the kind of diet you go on when you want to lose weight. I mean the kind of diet that completely changes how you eat. I won’t say that I avoid trigger foods altogether–I am human. I know [emotional? you just said “eating” which is good!] eating it is not the best idea, but sometimes it’s emotional therapy.

Many times the prescriptions that people with chronic illness take can cause digestion and gastrointestinal  issues as well. What that means for me is I can not rely on a good quality multivitamin to catch any lapse in diet. A good quality highly absorbable multivitamin can cost fifteen dollars or more per month.

The reality is fresh fruits and vegetables cost almost twice as much as canned or frozen fruit. Why is this an issue? Well this ties into the digestion issues. Many people with chronic illness cannot process the additives, extra sugar, processed sugar, and preservatives as well. This makes canned and frozen fruits not the best choice. I am not saying I never get these but its not my preferred choice, and I always have more issues after eating these foods.  I am lucky in my diet the only issues I have are preservatives, additives, lactose and corn.  This still makes it difficult, it could be so much worse.

While my family normally tend to be fairly healthy eating to begin with even before I got sick, it’s not even a choice now. It is how we have to live.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, just another hidden cost people don’t think about. I did do about six weeks of juicing with fresh fruits and veggies. It worked really well, and I did feel better. It cost me  about forty dollars a week. When it came down to it, I had to start focusing on making sure my family had enough groceries for the week and not just enough to juice.  Its great to juice or make smoothies, but I still have to feed my family.

Next we have what I like to call my toolbox. A list of things that you can do to help alleviate some of the chronic pain that goes along with chronic illness. Oh just take an Epsom salt bath every night. I use Icy hot and love it. Pick up some Tiger Balm. Pain patches, supplements, and exercise are what helps me.  It is one thing to say that but here is the hidden cost.  To be effective you need to use at least a cup of Epsom salt per bath, while recommended amount is two. At one point in order to take a just plain Epsom salt bath every night I was paying roughly fifteen dollars for salt each week.  This is just plain epsom salts. This was not for the ones that have added benefits of lavender or menthol or eucalyptus, rosemary or ginger added to them.  Not to mention its not like I can just jump into the bath tub any old time I need to.

Then you also pick up a variation of rubs, creams, and ointments. Each of these run from as cheap as five dollars up to twenty  bucks each. Since we often use them multiple times daily, we might get a week or two out of a tube or bottle–if we are lucky. Pain patches, however wonderful they are, are one short use and they are done. Five dollars for five patches that if you stretch it can last you four days. It gets to a point that you can easily be spending fifty to sixty dollars a month on these kinds of things.

There are some more natural remedies that you can take to help bolster the prescriptions that often you have to take. I have gone off a lot of prescription medications and have gotten down to my bare essentials so to speak. My bare essential prescription cost is about  [$150] {or} [One hundred fifty] every three months.  It was almost that a month at one point in time.

It is easy to say “go pick up a supplement.” Looking at quality matters a lot here. Turmeric, which is great for chronic pain, is a minimum of ten dollars for a month supply. Then often people in chronic pain use Magnesium which can be relatively cheap, again the type and quality counts here. The one I have had the best success with is fifteen dollars a month. I use a strong omega three supplement as I have both heart issues and mental health issues, and that helps with both.  I also take Melatonin as opposed to a prescription sleeping aid.  It is not hard for me to spend fifty dollars or more on supplements [a month? how long?]. Fifty dollars is where I am at right now with just the basic cannot-do-without supplements.

This is really just the first layer of unseen costs of being chronically ill.  This is not even taking into consideration that the kind of mattress you sleep on matters, keeping shoes fresh and supportive by changing them out every three to six months.

This does not even take into consideration that people that have chronic illnesses tend to not be able to work but yet not meet the terms for disability through the government.  I am lucky I have decent insurance and my costs are low comparatively speaking. Shockingly enough, to many the answer is not through medicaid, I actually paid more and struggled more going through the medicaid system.  The stress the system puts you through to jump through the hoops to get what you need……it’s unbelievable.  Even with the good insurance we have now my out of pocket expenses are anywhere from 100-150 a month. This is not including prescriptions that are significantly cheaper with insurance.  This is what I have it boiled down to as essentials. It could easily be twice that.

I often deal with people who are very flippant about my chronic issues because they are not visible nor are they the same from day-to-day.  To date my diagnoses are: Myofascial Pain Syndrome; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Fibromyalgia; Degenerative Disc Disease of cervical, thoracic , and lumbar spine; Irritable Bowl Syndrome triggered by a corn intolerance; Supra-Ventricular Tachycardia;  Raynauds; malabsorption of Vitamin D, Potassium, and Magnesium; severe outdoor allergies which borders on allergic asthma; OCD with tendrils of ADD.

I don’t look sick. I don’t like to talk about being sick or what I can or can’t do. If I am discussing it in detail with you, I trust you a lot.  I am not willing to continually prove my conditions to people over and over. What would I do to do that? Carry X-rays and MRI reports and blood test results around with me constantly? I am not being lazy or taking the easy way out and yes I can read that in your eyes. After dealing with Doctor after Doctor after Doctor who did not believe me, I can tell exactly who does and doesn’t believe me. Some of the disbelief comes because I was super active and really did a lot one day. The next day it takes everything I have to get out of bed. I am paying for being so active. When you have a kid, you tend to push yourself to do more, for them.

I have gone through the disability process with the government. Essentially they believe I have the issues I have but because I can parent to some extent and function to some extent, I am not disabled. What I was doing when I was working and trying to parent was not functioning.  I was a mess. I could not enjoy any time with my daughter. I focused on getting through the day til I could medicate and hopefully sleep. I had no quality of life, not to mention the immense damage to my organs that the prescriptions were doing. It has taken two years off of three medications to get my liver and kidney functions to somewhat normal levels. TWO YEARS.

It has been a long hard road to get my health back to some extent.  We are lucky that we have family and close  friends who understand and help us. We are functioning, barely, at a fourth of what we were earning when both of us worked full time, and this is with my husband working two jobs to help support us. If anything ever happened and he could not work, we would be completely screwed.

************************************** some exciting news in store***********************************************************

 

Below is a brief outline of the campaign, which illustrates what we’re trying to achieve and how people living with chronic conditions can help.

 

Via the “Hidden Cost of Chronic Illness” campaign, Debt Advisory Centre aims to raise awareness and visibility of the challenges faced by those living with chronic and ‘invisible’ conditions. We’re also conducting our own research into perceptions of chronic illness, especially in relation to the work environment.

 

 

We’d like to know the following about the patients that use your services;

 

  • How long they’ve had their condition.
  • What their specific condition is.
  • How it affects them (professionally, socially, emotionally)
  • What things they have to purchase in relation to their condition.
  • What other financial disadvantages they face.
  • Roughly how much they spend per month in relation to their condition.
  • How they feel others perceive their condition (employers, friends, strangers)

We’re keen to gather as much user-generated content as possible and welcome contributions via email and video.

 

Once we’ve gathered the information, we’ll combine it with research we’ve conducted ourselves and research supplied by other organisations ourselves. We’ll then be distributing and sharing those findings with the media.

 

Patients can find out more by visiting the campaign page http://www.debtadvisorycentre.co.uk/advice/Illness-and-Debt-What-are-the-Hidden-Costs-of-Chronic-Illness-0-4163-0.html

 

Please note, if you aren’t already aware, that Debt Advisory Centre is a fee-charging debt solutions provider and not a charity.

 

The importanance of medication changes

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It is easy to get stuck in a rut. You know something isn’t working like it used to but you don’t know what so you keep on trudging through. The thought of stoping medication is enough to send me into a panic attack. Take some deep breaths, you can do this. I have been through several and though not fun and not always by choice, it was often for the better.

That being said, I am remembering how horrid Cymbalta is to come off of.  I swore when I got off it I would not go back on. It worked so well so I did. I felt I had to. I had to function somehow. What I did not realize was it was not just the cymbalta but the combination of medications I had been on. I did not go back on the others. It was easier to stay on the medication I knew then to go back off and try other medications. At the time I also was not really comfy with the psychiatrist who was prescribing. I had to feel very comfortable to explore different medications, to me this is a very intimate process. It requires me to be more open with the Doctor than I might normally be. I have to be prepared for that mentally as well.

Medication changes for people who are dependent on them is pretty important. There is a little thing called tolerance. Ideally we should be increasing and decreasing and changing up medications, tweaking them. Often though we just stay at the same dose the same medication until it is all not working.  By that time we are often in a flare. It does not really matter what the medication is for, chronic pain, mental health or chronic illness. We build up a tolerance to it.

It is exhausting. I mean EXHAUSTING to go through medication changes. Often we wait. It is not the right time. It is too hard. It will wait. The only thing waiting does is put off the inevitable. It makes it even harder on us. Then comes the frustration because no matter the medication, the change slows us down. There are some things we just can’t handle doing right now.

Then there are the situations we really need to avoid, the ones that are triggers. The ones that push our buttons. We go from fine to OMG GET AWAY FROM ME NOW. For me it tends to be the ones that say prescriptions are not the answer, I just need to do…….. try…… or my personal favorite turn to religion. I tend to not tell the people that are apt to turn to that about the medication changes I am going through.It is the only way I have of coping with that. It is still a work in progress.

I am not telling ANYONE to go off their medications. It is something that needs a doctor supervising. It is not something to attempt or do on your own.  I can not stress this enough.  Research the other medications that are out there, sure that is fine. It is ultimately up to the doctor to decide which ones and which combos are right for you.

I want my dreams back

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I know, I know, I know you are probably tired of hearing about medication changes.  It’s like top on my mind right now though.

I know I have mentioned it before but a good gage for me on my mental health is when my dreams are very science fiction. The stranger more alien the better. It is how I have always been. It took about three years in therapy before I discovered the link. A lot can be said for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in that respect.

Coming off cymbalta ,I knew my dreams would get weird and a lot of my anxiety would creep in. Knowing that on an intellectual level is completely different than knowing that on an emotional level. Completely and totally different. For some reason it’s something I still struggle with, remembering the difference.  Things I thought I had completely worked through pop back up in my dreams, making it even harder than normal to get out of bed. In the clear light of day when I am fully awake, I am okay with the choices I have made. Would someone please convey that to my dreams? Please!

The first hurdle seems to be conquered. My dreams are starting to get a little more science fiction a little more frequently. You see when you only sleep two to three hours at a time , at night you tend to have a lot of dreams. A lot. Less and less I am waking up in full anxiety attack. I even got a little paranoia creeping in. I always love when I get paranoid like that. NOT! I try to soothe myself with at least I recognize it. Sometimes it helps.

I can only hope that when I start the prozac next week that my dreams will continue to become more and  more normal, for me. I am really ready for some wormhole travel and meeting some new aliens, maybe even some time travel in the T.A.R.D.I.S. I would also take some supernatural dreams, you know some vampires and werewolves, maybe a few zombies.

Mental health acceptance..a personal choice

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Accepting you have a mental illness is hard. It is really hard. It takes different people different lengths of time.Some never get there. Its a process. Its even scarier when you have a family history of mental illness. Of multiple mental illnesses. It is always looming there. You wonder if it is actually happening or if you are just so afraid of it happening. Family says ” oh we are just a family of worriers. Nothing wrong with that.” There isn’t. Until that’s all you do.  Worry is different from anxiety.  I was even at one point told by a doctor for years.. Mother’s worry. Its what they do. It is not a concern. When worry keeps you up at night, wakes you up at night, interferes with work its a concern. It’s a big concern.

I was lucky. I had a change in insurance.  I was forced to change doctors. I am not sure if I had not changed doctors if I would have made the progress I have made. I am actually pretty sure I wouldn’t have. I would have continued burning myself at all ends and continued to destroy myself. My next doctor did medicate… that is all I did for awhile. I didn’t need help. I had this. It was just a chemical imbalance. I didn’t need counseling.

Then one day I was sweeping my daughters already clean room. I barely had any dirt to sweep into the pan. I remember that day so clearly. My eighteen month old daughter was clapping saying. Clean room. I knew something was wrong. This was not what an almost two year old should be happy about.

I don’t think I made any progress that first year. Not really. Tiny little baby steps.

I made progress. Four years or so in therapy. A lot of talking. Walls came down slowly.

Strangely enough I was not able to do some of the things until my therapist retired. I was suddenly at a loss. I didn’t want to find someone new.  I had  enough therapy. Stuff was still not completely fixed. I burned some bridges I know that. I don’t think for me it could have been done any other way. It was messy. It was quick. While it happened. It was the longest time of my life. Ugly cry does not even touch what happened. I was sure I had just destroyed my life. My daughters life. I had just destroyed my marriage. I was sure of it.

None of those things happened. I have a wonderfully supportive husband who said we will make it work. It will be okay.  My daughters life is not ruined. In fact I think it has been enriched by the experiences we went through. In ways I could never have imagined. Instead of destroying my life I had found my life. Again.

I thought about all this as I talked with a friend about mental illness.  In a lot of ways she gets it. She understands. She has supported me in some of that rough burning bridges patch. In some ways, not so much. They take things personally when its not personal. It astounds her.  They know that they take it personal. I agree with this and I disagree with it. Someone who has been through therapy may know they take it personal. However being able to tell when you are taking it personally and when you are not. THAT. That is much much much harder.

I know I am not the norm. I know I am hyper aware of a lot of my mental health issues. Much more than most people. I talk about it easily, openly. Its just how I work. It is NOT how all people with the same diagnosis as me. It is a very personal choice and it happens at different times for people to be open and honest about mental health issues.  It doesn’t mean it doesn’t blur for me. It doesn’t mean I am always making progress. It doesn’t mean I take a few steps backwards. If I hold myself to be honest then I can say I have done all of those things.  I will probably never stop doing them. I don’t know about accepting that but I am okay with that.  I know when I try to tell myself that I am past that, that is when I get into trouble. Truthful acceptance , its a work in progress.

Social anxiety can be awfully sneaky

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When most people think about social anxiety they think of a hermit afraid to go out into the world.

That is a thing. They were not wrong. It’s just not social anxiety per se.

..its a lot more like this…..for me…not everyone.

….looks around…watches some people

… looks around…..someone caught my interest. Then it happens.

oh god they looked at me okay breathe..

oh god they smiled. NOW WHAT!!!!

okay I can do this..Deep breathe….maybe….maybe if I return the smile a little they will just go away..

They smiled back. They start moving closer to me.

no no no no that was not an invitation to come talk to me.

no don’t talk to me. Did I brush my hair? I bet my teeth look really horrible. I wonder what they see when they see me. I bet they see a person who is a mess. They are clearly judging me. No no now come on they probably don’t think that. ….probably…but what if they do.  Oh god. I don’t care what they think. oh but I do. Even as I am telling myself I don’t I do.

They say Hi

Oh god okay.. um..Hi.

How old is your daughter?

small talk why is there always small talk. No no I don’t care how old their kid is. Oh but she is kinda cute.

Does she go to school here?

Why? why would they want to know that do they look safe. Do I feel safe vibes from them? Am I really flipping out about this question?

Sometimes that is all it gets too… Sometimes its worse..Sometimes I end the conversation abruptly because of a bad vibe or my own uncomfortableness.  Sometimes after a good chat with this new person I think. Hey that wasn’t so bad.  But every time it happens…EVERY TIME. Why do i get all flipped out about this…my confidence returns a little bit and I can tell myself that what the other person thinks does not matter. Sometimes I even believe it. Its a daily struggle with this for me.

Just because you can’t see how uncomfortable I am doesn’t mean I am not. Sometimes being in a room with a lot of people makes my skin crawl. Even if no one is talking to me. I am sure they are looking at me. I am sure they are critiquing what I am wearing how I look and on and on and on. I feel like there is this big beacon light shining on me. Even if its not. Even as I tell myself its not.

I know some people are much worse. I know some people it triggers all kinds of other things.

I really really really honestly truly wish I wasn’t like this even just in my head.

My daughter talks easily to others. Enjoys others company. Seems to enjoy small talk with other kids or adults. I admire that in her. Inside I am like No no don’t go talk to that kid. The mother/father/grandparent/guardian will feel inclined to come talk to me. At the same time I don’t want her to have my restrictions. In a lot of ways I have put myself in situations that I would have totally avoided because of my daughter. Because I don’t want her to have the same social anxieties I do. Mommy and me groups, School functions/performances, and so on. Its seems when you are a parent a part of you is always seeking out social things for the kids to do, even if it makes you cringe on the inside. Sometimes dealing with the social anxiety from going to the book store at story hour or the library is better than staying at the house all day, again.

I have a few friends that have it worse then me. One who actually has battled agoraphobia and another who if it flares she almost runs out of where ever she is. I get it. I understand. I get through a lot of my uncomfortable situations through gritting my teeth and pure Irish stubborn will. I joke about it. I post about it not just on chronically sick page but on my personal page as well. I try to use photography as a distraction to lessen it. I use sarcasm and humor. I really abhor that I have to take anti-anxiety meds at all. I really hate my dependence on them. I hate that I have to take something that both addresses anxiety and depression. They are separate things don’t get me wrong. They do however like to hold hands ….. a lot.

Social anxiety is not fun but it is also not what a lot of people assume it is either.

When Mania strikes

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I used to shop……..it was on sale. the kid needs more clothes I need the next size up I need this. I NEED. You could not tell me it was being foolish or ruled by impulse. I have no credit cards now because I have no restraint with them whatsoever. If I feel I need something even if its more like a want, CHARGE IT. I wasn’t always aware of why I needed to shop or why I was doing it even knowing I didn’t really have the money to do it.  It took time in therapy before I realized it.

So with my therapist I tried to focus some of my mania. I am not bipolar. I don’t get caught in the grip like someone with bipolar does. I have Attention Deficit Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with a mix of Anxiety and depression. I still have to balance what is a healthy amount to do all of these. Sometimes I get so focused on them.

I write lists…….I write detailed and long lists that detail each thing I need to do each day. I write out days worth of lists at one sitting sometimes. Its my way of regaining some control. I don’t do good with long term lists. I need to check off each thing. Waiting weeks or months to check it off. Drives. Me. NUTS. I have notebooks that I use and I throw them away when I am done. This is an on and off again thing. I start and stop and a lot of it depends on how out of control I feel, or my life feels.

I clean. I don’t think, I clean. Wash the dishes. Clear the counters, wipe down the counters. Wipe down the appliances. Is that dirt on that wall? Better spray it down. Sweep the floors. Vacuum the floors. Mop the floors. Move the laundry along. Scrub the tub. Sometimes, rarely but sometimes, I even go systematically through each room. Most of the time it’s clear the counters, take something to put it away. Straighten the bathroom counter, move laundry along, go back to the kitchen counter. Do the dishes. I use enough spray cleaner that there is no doubt in anyone’s minds that I cleaned. My hands are dry and wrinkly and probably slightly chemical burned. I don’t pay attention to any of that. I attack the dirt.

I write…. I can’t tell you how many posts I never publish. I type it all out or talk to text it all out. Then erase it. Sometimes it stays in my draft folder for weeks or months, but mostly I delete it. I just needed to get it out. I wouldn’t want to hurt others with thoughts I have so it’s not published. Sometimes I just need to see how I am feeling in black and white. Okay and most of the time with little judgey red squiggly lines that I spelled it wrong, too.

I disregard what I should not eat and eat whatever I want. Normally candy, chocolate pastries. It’s a bit different than when I am pms-ing because I am not always aware I am eating too much until I have a stomach ache. There is something that takes over and whatever it is . It’s all I want. Every day at lunch. Every night after dinner. Whatever it is. This actually I have gotten better at controlling myself over. Mainly from weight gain and how I don’t like what I see anymore. Sometimes that is all it takes. Sometimes it takes more control for this exact reason too.

I go for walks . Long walks by myself. I don’t really think out what is bothering me. Instead I focus on nature. I absorb the peace that nature offers. I walk until I start to think again. Until I start wondering what time it is. How far have I walked? What I am going to eat for lunch. I sit when I need to. I walk. sometimes I stand still. I don’t pay attention to the pain. I don’t give it attention. When I have my camera in my hand nothing else matters. The wonder of nature takes a hold of me too. When I get back to my car its like coming out of a fog but something has settled in my mind and I feel renewed. The angst I am the more I walk. The more the NEED to walk drives my thoughts. I have even been driving somewhere saw a park. Felt the need.  Sent a text…Going to be late and walked til I was satisfied.

I used to be able to do the same thing with reading. To the point that my husband would tell me I loved my books more than him. I would spend days in bed reading if I didn’t have to work. When I was working I wanted to be reading. I can still do this but most of the time I am entirely too tired to do this. I read and fall asleep. I have always had this routine so add Chronic Fatigue from the chronic pain. I fall asleep way to easily reading.

Two new tests in Three days.

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Friday am in the ridiculously early morning hours of Friday.  Comcast took my internet connection hostage. They were having “technical difficulties” and it should be resolved by four pm. How handy to have an exact time. Only, it wasn’t. It is now Sunday and we still have no internet at home.  Really its a first world problem and I do know that.  However I didn’t realize how much we used the internet. I mean I did but at the same time I didn’t. Its just always there.  My daughters homework is online. My blog is online. Our banking information is online. I am involved in a Committee at our Unitarian Universalist church and we correspond by email quite a lot. Our phones have internet capabilities. They are smart phones. However we have a smaller data plan because we typically have WIFI most places we go.

WordPress android app and I have had some time bonding. I have even used the voice to text for some of my blog posts on Friday and Saturday. Call me old fashion though, I like typing. Oh my finger joints and hand joints and wrist joints yell. If I do too much so do my elbow and shoulder joints too. I really think I get some of my juice from just the sound of typing going on. It’s a sweet melody to play in the background amongst my thoughts.

We have done a lot more reading, a lot more cleaning and even a bit more tv watching. It has been interesting to say the least. I am done with this lesson. I understand how much I depend on the internet. Comcast you can release our signal now.

I may have mentioned I have some social anxiety. Mostly I am quiet until I feel comfortable then I feel I can talk. There is a magic time that its just right. So presenting a forum on Facebook in front of the church congregation. Actual public speaking. Actual question and answer. OMG what did I get myself into and why in the world did I think I could do this? This morning I took an ativan and got there early hoping to have some time to play with the laptop and projector a bit. (early shows I am prepared right? NOT) That did not happen. They didn’t even know I needed it. ( I could still run out the back door right?) Quickly it was set up. No time to review account settings privacy settings or security settings before people started arriving. FUN. LETS WING THIS. It took a few minutes but finally my voice did not sound like I was on the verge of crying. Much. I wasn’t visibly shaking that I could tell but I could feel it. Half way through and a few bumbles and I realized I wasn’t sweating just from being up front. I was also sweating from the heat generated by the projector and laptop.

Finally we reached the end, quite literally we ran out of time. (Oh darn)
I stood the whole time , walked around a bit. My back was not very happy with me afterwards. I certainly did not feel up to standing to sing in the service. I probably got up three or four times during the service to refill my water cup because SWEATING STILL.

 I did feel invigorated by the experience. I conquered it. I did it. I did not run screaming out the back door. I did not pass out, I did not loose my voice. It helped that the subject was something I was extremely knowledgeable about. So after the church service today the coordinator asked if I would do this again in more of a question and answer style in say three months. What can I say? (I know I had the deer in the headlights look) SURE. (what am I freaking crazy. Don’t answer that) For the most part I will ignore and be in denial about it until the day before, who knows maybe even the day of!

Two things I did not think I would handle very well. I have had feedback that I have handled them both very well. I am however thankful for friends who know exactly what I need the minute I walk in their door!

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