So where to from here?

When I started this blog I had the intent to share my experiences with depression and anxiety, the good days and the bad. I had hoped to gain some kind of understanding of my issues by putting them into words and to maybe help someone else realise that its not just them.

Now I am just lost. Some things have changed for the better, some have stayed the same but along the way I have also come to realise that I have way more problems than I first thought.

I no longer see my therapist. Partly because I moved over an hours drive away but mostly because I hated going. It seemed to just be another thing I wasn’t good at. And now that I see that written down I can see how strange it sounds. I would tell my partner that I didn’t want to go to my appointments because I wasn’t good at it and he would look at me like I was speaking a different language.

My anxiety has gotten better in most cases. I can now go about my day without being crippled by irrational fears. I think moving last year had a lot to do with that. I no longer think my house is going to kill me. But I still have a lot of social anxiety.

As for the depression, it all just depends on the day. Some days I am fine. Some days it’s hard but I can pretend I’m ok. But I still have the days where I just cant get out of bed. I think that is just something I will always have to deal with. I have accepted that as fact.

I have stopped taking the medication! This was a big step for me, and a long process. They never tell you how hard it is to get off the pills when they are prescribing them. It took me almost 6 months to wean myself off them. Even with the gradual reduction, the first 4 days without them was terrible. I couldn’t sleep or eat. I just lay in bed and stared at the celling. I couldn’t focus on anything for more than a few seconds, not even my own thoughts. Someone would ask me if I wanted something to eat and it would take me about 5 minuets to gather my thoughts enough to tell them “no”.

So where to from here?

I have now set myself 2 goals. To quit drinking and quit smoking. I will now share my experiences with these as well as the struggles of living with depression and anxiety.

I just had a cigarette, so that one is not looking so good. But I haven’t had a drink in almost 2 days.

Fingers crossed ūüôā

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Time For a Change

People are always saying things to me like¬†“A change is as good as a holiday”¬†and¬†“The only person who can change your life is you”. I do not agree with the first statement but I know the second to be true.

It makes me mad when people say these things to me because its like they equate my disorders with stupidity. When I hear these words from other people (people who don’t understand my disorders) I just want to scream at them¬†“I know this shit. Do you think I am stupid¬†as well¬†as crazy?”¬†But I know they are right. So I am making an effort to change some things in my life in hopes that I will start to feel better.

Yesterday I got up early and exercised. I haven’t done that in a very long time so it was hard but I did feel a little better afterwards. The thing that holds me back from exercising everyday is that I am afraid of what my son and partner might think or say if they see me doing it. What if they see me exercise everyday and I get no results? So for now I am doing it early in the morning when they are still asleep. Yesterday it was just some quick push-ups and crunches (things like that) but today I took one of our dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. I am not looking to get ripped, just loose some weight and hope to feel a bit better about my self.

I am making a change in my diet as well. This one I cant hide as easily so it scares me quite a bit. Usually I will start my day with two giant cans of Red Bull and a number of cigarettes. Now I am trying to have a piece of toast before I have only one can. I know its not much but I gotta start somewhere.

I have even made an appointment at the hairdresser to have a cut and color. I haven’t done this in almost 10 years. I could never justify spending that much money on myself once I had a child. But money is alright at the moment so I figure why not.

I know these are all just small things but I am hoping they are just the beginning of me reclaiming myself. I hope to build up to the big changes that need to happen. I don’t really have an end goal as I don’t like to set myself up for failure. So I am just going to keep changing things little by little and see where I end up.

Therapy… I’m doing it wrong!

I have just returned from my appointment with my therapist. I am more on edge now than I was before I went. It happens every single time. Surely she has better things to do than to watch me pick at my nails, stare at my shoes and feel extremely uncomfortable for an hour. 

I thought I would share with you a (sort of) transcript of¬†today’s¬†session¬†so you could see what I mean.

Enter room sit down

Therapist : So how have you been?

Me : Fine and you?

Therapist : Good thanks, and how has your anxiety been since our last session?

Me : Pretty average

Therapist : And your mood? Have you been experiencing more or less depression?

Me : About the same

Stare at my shoes…. Pick at my nails… 10 minutes pass

Therapist : You seem anxious. Are you feeling anxious right now?

Me : Yep

Look awkwardly around the room,¬†don’t¬†make eye contact.

Therapist : So how have things been in general?

Me : Pretty average.

Therapist : So not much going on? No more or less stress?

Me : Nah.

Pick at nails, prey for time to hurry up… 20 uncomfortable minutes pass

Therapist : So is there anything you wanted to talk about today?

Me : Nope.

Therapist types on her keyboard for what seems like a lifetime

Therapist : So if there was nothing else you wanted to talk about today I will make a new appointment for you for the same time next week?

Me : OK.

 

And¬†that’s¬†it. That conversation took place over a 45 minute period.¬†

I know I just need to nut up and tell her I¬†don’t¬†want to continue seeing her, but for some reason I can’t bring myself to do it.¬†

So Here’s the Thing…

I don’t know if I am better or worse while medicated. Obviously there are pro’s and con’s to both sides, but the main thing I keep thinking is that I could have really good days when I wasn’t popping pills but the best I can do while dosed up is have an “OK” day.

I know that Lexapro is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and I think¬†that means that it stabilizes the chemicals in my brain that control moods so that I don’t feel so depressed. But it also stops me from feeling good. So I am just walking around all day feeling neither happy or sad. I am just stuck in a perpetual state or “meh”.

Before I started taking them I would have days where I would randomly sing and make up silly songs to amuse my son (and myself) and we would do fun things, silly things, new things. Hell I remember a day, while home alone, I sang a 5 minuet song about the lunch I was making. There were a lot of bad times too but I mostly remember the good times.

Now I feel like I am stuck in neutral and I can’t seem to find first gear. Nothing is fun, nothing is exciting, it all just… is.

I am not having as much anxiety or as many panic attacks as I used to, so I guess that’s a good thing. But I don’t really feel as though I am living so I don’t really see the point.

My GP said I shouldn’t drink while on these meds because together it can cause blackouts (and boy does it), but that seems to be the only way I can get my mood up a gear.

I just don’t know ?

Didn’t Take My Meds

Wednesday was the last day I took my Anti Anxiety/Depression medication. Not because I am wanting to stop or that I forgot, but because I have run out.

I am lucky enough to live in a country where we have universal health care so I get them for very cheap but I am dead broke. I had to make the decision yesterday to either spend my last $5 on bread and milk or buy my meds. My son always comes first so bread and milk it was.

I am too proud to ask my family (what little I have) for help, so it looks like I am going to  be off them for a little while.

The side effects while on my meds are pretty bad but what happens when I don’t take them is worse. I don’t mean my mood or anxiety. I mean the physical effects.

I get really tired and very dizzy. When I move my eyes to either side I can hear them move as well as get a feeling like my brain is zapping my entire body. It is a very strange feeling.

I don’t like going off the meds but this time I don’t have a choice. I guess I will see how it goes.

Not Doing Well

The last couple of days have been hard. I have been trying to get on with things and not dwell on the bad thoughts and feelings, but yesterday I could hardly even get out of bed. I got up and started to get on with my day but I was only out of bed for about 15 mins before it was just to hard and I had to go back to bed and stayed there all day.

I tried watching TV but just ended up starring blankly and I couldn’t tell you what was on. I tried to read, but after reading the same page 4 times and still not having a clue what it said I just layed down and closed my eyes.¬†I didn’t sleep. I just lay there and that was fine with me.

Occasionally I would have a mini flashback type deal and I would have to shake that off before I got filled with rage or burst into tears. ( I will touch more on the flashbacks in future posts)

I am still really down today but have forced myself out of bed. I don’t know what, if anything, has bought this on but I wish someone would kill it with fire already.

 

Lets Count the Side Effects.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth taking my medication. There are pro’s and con’s to both sides I suppose, but neither side has enough pull to sway me. So I take the pills everyday and wonder if maybe I shouldn’t.

I am currently on 30mg Lexapro daily. The side effects are a killer.

For the first few months I would take them at around 9am, and at around 11am I would be so tired that I would fall asleep(1). When I told my GP he suggested I start taking them 2 hours before bed because I had been suffering insomnia for about 2 years. So I switched to taking them in the evening in hopes that I might be able to sleep through the night… NOPE! Now I still get tired and fall asleep shortly after taking the medication, but I only sleep for about and hour before I wake up because my mouth is so dry that I am almost choking(2). I am then awake for a few hours before I fall asleep again and the whole pattern plays out 3 or 4 time over the course of an evening.

I have always been a sufferer of headaches and migraines. But thanks to Lexapro my GP informs me that I can no longer take the only combination of drugs that would ease the pain for fear of a bad reaction(3). Not only that but I also experience more migraines than normal (4).

I was never the skinniest girl, but I was far from overweight. My wight usually sat at around 55kg. Since the start of the medication I have slowly stacked on the weight. I am now 76kg(5). I have never been this heavy in my life not even when I was pregnant. I have tried diet and exercise but nothing will help shake the weight.

Diminished sex drive(6). The side effect that, for me, is the worst of them all. Although I have a long time partner who understands, it is still a big problem. The GP calls it “diminished” but it is more like non existent.

So the count stands at 6! And these are just the major side effects. I could probably go on to name at least 5 more minor ones.

Let me know about your side effects and if you have any ways to lessen them or there impact.

Triggers and Ways of Coping

My day yesterday started off just like any other day. I did the same things I always do. Got my son ready for school, let the dogs out, put on some laundry. I had no more or less stress than I have had for a couple of weeks now. (Money problems mostly) But while going through my usual morning routine I was suddenly paralyzed by a severe panic attack.

My heart raced, I started to sweat (on the first day of winter), my whole body shook and then the tears started to flow.

After about 20 minuets I was able to move again. I had been standing in the hallway, just stuck. I don’t know what triggered it or what snapped me out of it.¬†Thinking back, I am at a loss to explain any of it.

I have had many people tell me many different things about MY panic attacks. Here are some of the things I have been told trigger my attacks and why they either make sense or don’t.

My GP says it’s a build up of stress that just needs to be vented… This could be the case. I have always been the type of person that bottles things up and never asks for help.

Current Physiologist says they are caused by a suppressed memory trying to come to the surface and its my minds way of pushing it back down cause I don’t want to know… This also could be it but it does not really help explain what triggers it or how to deal with it when it does happen.

My BF thinks it just that I have been strong for too long and my mind is just to tired to pretend anymore… but he’s just trying to justify having a girlfriend who is bat shit crazy.

My son (11 yrs old) says that it is my dead mother trying to get in touch with me… lol he’s a bit cute. Strange, but cute.

Everything I have read online is different. Some sites say its stress, others say its fear or excitement. And some say its caffeine and horror movies that can cause panic attacks.

So I thought I would ask for your thoughts. Leave me a comment and let me know what triggers your attacks and if you have any special ways of coping with them. I am very interested to see if there is a link or if it is personalized to each individual. Thanks.

The Importance of Being You.

When I was a young child I was happy. I know this not from memories, but from old home movies, photo’s and stories told by my older relatives. “Always smiling” “Such a happy child”. These are the words used to describe how I once was.¬†When I interrupt the story to ask what changed they either gloss over it or just simply don’t know. One such relative told me that she did not know what caused my sudden mood change, but she said there was most likely an event or situation that changed the way I saw the world and my place in it.

When I try to look back and remember the happy times I always come up blank. I cant remember being the happy child in the picture of me at the fair with my pretty pink dress, pigtails and giant smile. And if I try to think of what might have happened to change my outlook, I come up with nothing but darkness.

I do remember I had a teacher, when I was about 9, tell me that if I was not happy that I should pretend to be happy and happiness would then follow. Being that she was an authority figure and meant to be wiser in all aspects of life than me, I tried to pretend to be happy. I don’t know if it helped or hurt my situation. I began remembering to smile at others and talk to the other children when they spoke to me. So on the outside I was just like them. But on the inside I was still sad/angry. Which just confused me more.¬†I kept up the happiness charade until I was in high school. The bad feelings I had on the inside had been festering and growing (I was more unhappy then ever) but to look at me I was just like everyone else.

I had friends, went to sleepovers and did “normal” things a girl my age should have been doing. But I felt like an invader in my own body and mind. Doing these things that I didn’t really care for or enjoy and smiling along making everyone else think that everything was fine.

At some point at around the age of 13 I decided that it was just too much effort, so I reverted back to being moody, depressed and anxious. My “friends” didn’t understand the change in my behavior and we drifted apart.

But this is where we get to the part where it is important to always be yourself.

I started to make new friends. Some who understood the way I was either from personal experience or from watching others go through the same thing, and some who had never been exposed to depression/anxiety but liked me for who I was anyway. Most of these friends I still have to this day. (Almost 20 years later)

By being myself, even though that person was not perfect, I became slightly happier and more comfortable in my own skin. I developed real friendships and was able to become the person I am today. I still have a lot to work on but at least I am no longer lying to myself.

A little about me

I am 33 year old female and about 2 years ago I was diagnosed with G.A.D (General anxiety disorder), Depression and O.C.D (Obsessive compulsive disorder). Although I have had symptoms all my life, it wasn’t until about 6 years ago that they started getting the better of me. I was unable to be in crowds without having a panic attack and simple things like turning on a light switch would cause me great distress.

The reason it took me so long to see my doctor about these symptoms was partially because I was scared he would tell me I was crazy, which I already knew, and partially because I had absolutely no motivation at that time in my life as a result of my depression. Just getting out of bed was enough to make me want to climb right back in and sleep my life away.

Since my diagnosis I have made some improvements to the way I think and behave, but most days I still struggle. I have been prescribed Anti-depressants, but I don’t think they are the cause of my behavior modification. I think just knowing what my problems are and that I am taking steps to better myself has helped to put my head in a slightly better place.

With the help of my doctor and my loved ones, I aim to keep moving forward in my pursuit to conquer my issues.