Category Archives: anxiety

Frozen by fear

Eleven days ago, I shared in a post, about what an amazing opportunity I’ve been given.

I was over-the-moon excited and spent 2-3 days setting up the new blog, profile, an authors Facebook page, twitter and even researched my first six stories. I invited a friend who loves to read, has a big heart and an even bigger personality, to join me in this adventure.

I made these grand plans for creating a Monday, Wednesday and eventually a Thursday series. The details kept flooding me like a waterfall. I invited the teens in my life to be my guest interview hosts.

As soon as the planning was done and it was time to get down to work…(insert screeching tire sound here)…panic-button-1375953_960_720

I had nothing to say, not only on the new blog, but here.

When I have an idea, I take it to an infinite degree in detail. Which, if I were a millionaire with nothing but time on my hands, would be ideal!

Since I’m neither rich, nor lacking in time consuming responsibilities, I eventually (it took less than a week this time) realized the impossibility of accomplishing all I’d dreamt up.

So I reached my perfectionism moment, when I had to decide to either scrap it, or do it knowing it will likely never be what I imagined…

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Today I sent a Facebook message to the first person I hope to interview. Then I told another friend and asked if she would be interested in doing a host interview.

Maybe nothing will come of either, but today I stepped forward.

Addiction Confliction

Addiction has always been my demon. I believe having a mood disorder that went untreated for decades added to a genetic propensity for addiction leaving me vulnerable and willing when the opportunity presented itself.

My dad’s father died from complications of alcoholism and tobacco use. My mothers father died from complications of diabetes and gangrene that was a result of alcoholism.

I started overusing medication at an early age. I would sneak into the medicine cabinet all the time and take anything from baby aspirin to Di-gel tablets repeatedly.  My parents insisted I was a hypochondriac and I believed that as a child.  However as an adult I now can tell you for certain that I took medicine because I was physically uncomfortable, even if the cause was psychological.  Each time my parents would catch me and make me stop for a while. At 13 or 14 I started drinking, but it didn’t become regular until I was 15 or 16 at which time I also started smoking. When I started working at 16, I was introduced to coke, which led to meth. Once on meth, I completely gave up drinking and smoking and I was hooked on meth until I was 19.

The first time I got clean I was 20. The irony was not lost on me when I was the cleanest I’d ever been on my 21st birthday, a time when many are welcomed into adulthood with the ability to legally drink.

Once I finally made it through meth withdrawals and back to some semblance of normalcy, I had to start taking Ibuprofen to sleep each night or otherwise I couldn’t get but a few hours and it wasn’t enough for me to function.

I was also a roller coaster of emotions.  Anger was a common one, but the spectrum was readily available, welcomed or not.

I went to the doctor asking for a sleep aid and she said she would rather I take ibuprofen than risk getting hooked on a sleep aid. In hind sight, I probably should have found another doctor, but I understand her reluctance to give a former addict a potentially addictive drug.

Soon the ibuprofen wasn’t enough and I began drinking again. A little, quickly turned into everyday  complete with hard liquor and many binge drinking episodes over the next decade or so (prior to getting pregnant).  I also smoked off and on.

When I met my ex-husband, we mostly hung out together and drank. It was fun, we didn’t have a child at the time and we always went to work, so I became a high-functioning alcoholic.

I didn’t drink during the day (unless on vacation), I didn’t crave it at all during the day. I got home, made dinner and that’s when the wine started flowing.

When I was pregnant, it was the second time I became clean. I didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs and I have to tell you, that period of time was horrific. Not because I was pregnant but because I couldn’t sleep and there was nothing I could do about it. I would get 5ish hours a night, when I was lucky, and stayed completely miserable all day. My anxiety hit a whole new high. I was so desperate for my son to be born thinking it would surely all subside, but to my surprise things actually got worse. I didn’t realize yet how taking pain medication would throw me into deep depression. Only in hindsight (after looking back at each time I ever had to take it in the past) did I finally make the connection. So after a c-section I spent two days in a morphine haze, which turned into a deep and difficult depression.

By week 4 of baby, since I never (ever!) got milk, I decided there was no harm in drinking a little at night after baby was asleep.

I still maintained that I was not really an alcoholic because I never thought about it during the day, I didn’t miss work, I didn’t drink and drive, I just drank a bottle of wine between dinner and bed. I didn’t get drunk in case baby needed me.

Years later when my marriage hit the rocks, my bottle turned into two. I’m fairly certain I was poisoning myself daily but all I cared about was getting out.

Once I was out, 2 bottles turned back into 1 and about a year into my freedom I actually stopped drinking for 3-4 months. Then the ex’s girlfriend moved from another state, to in with him and life spun out of control once again. My drinking went from none to a bottle and a half a night, in the span of about a week.

Two years ago, the ex & his moved out of state and things settled down again. Down to one bottle I went and I drink it over 3-4 hours, so I’m not even really drunk, I just get super tired and I love that. It something no sleep aid has ever been able to accomplish without severe after affects.

Lately the amount has been creeping up again.  I know that my drinking is a problem. I’ve tried to quit several times as of late. I can no longer hide behind my fantasy that I’m not an alcoholic, despite all my excuses:  I don’t drink during the day or even really think about it. I’m not drinking to get drunk, because I don’t like being out of control, I just drink to slowly relax and eventually induce sleep. I don’t drink and drive. I go to work.

But the truth is that it does affect me.

I want to stop.

It’s good money going out the window. It’s hard on my body. I can’t lose the weight I want to. I sometimes oversleep. I hate feeling trapped by the addiction.

So in recent conversations with my therapist, I told her of my 3 year plan. My son will be out of school. I won’t feel as vulnerable, if I should lose my job. And ever since my first addiction, I desperately wanted to do an in-patient addiction program. I’ve quit “addiction” at least 3 times on my own, it’s hard, painful and I always end up back there. So my plan was to get the kiddo through high school and check myself in.

Now is when the demon rises…whenever I get to the point that I recognize addiction holding me back, I quit. I quit drinking, I quit smoking, I quit meth. So my brain is in a tug of war over the fact that I shouldn’t wait 3 more years. I’ve quit before and I should quit now. Save the money, the fat and the bad influence on my son and just stop. So I go a day without drinking and then the next day I have two bottles. It’s like I’m on a roller coaster and it’s become mostly what I think about.

I know from past experience that by week two of being sober, I’m pretty much home free if I stay away completely, but I can’t see making it to week two in my current life.

I realized last night, after drinking one bottle (all I had at home) and not being able to fall asleep, that in the last 3-4 weeks I’ve had about a dozen hair brained ideas of businesses I could start, but eventually talked myself out of.

I kept thinking it was born out of boredom. It’s not though, it’s my subconscious trying to uproot my life enough to help me quit drinking. But then addiction sweeps in and says, you can’t keep up with a business, go relax and have a glass of wine.

I want to wait and check myself in and do it right this time…with support, with medicine for the withdrawals, with no outside influence from the real world and with the proper support when reintegrating back into the real world. I want real skills to keep it at bay. I want to break the neuro-pathways for good. I want to be really healthy. I also think it would be SO incredibly helpful for them to see what I’m really like not addicted so that they can be sure I’m on the right medicine to control my different brain. I’ve never had a real diagnosis and my meds are always a best guess based on how I am at the time, including addiction. Yes, my doctors are aware I drink wine with my meds. They are not happy about it, but would rather I take meds and keep functioning than possibly slip back into suicidal ideation.

Yet, I feel like I am wasting my life. I have so much to offer, but I can’t truly be stable if I’m drinking. I don’t want to keep throwing good money away. I want to lose weight before I end up with a permanent illness like diabetes or a heart condition. I want to exercise and it not kill me like it does now. I want to get off the asthma inhaler and cure the re flux…both caused by my drinking. I want to stop feeling sore everyday when I wake up. I wan’t to break out of this 9-5 job and live the american dream…be self employed, have a for-profit to fund my non-profit. Do something that really has impact on others (in a good way!)  I want to find love.

There is a tiny part of me that is afraid. I keep hanging my hat on the fact that if I wasn’t drinking I would achieve so much…lose the weight, get healthy, save up for a vacation, start a business, find love…but what if I quit and none of that is true…and I’m really am the same person even without alcohol. Would that reality spawn the next deep depression.

Maybe that’s addiction talking, but maybe not…I have been sober before….

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I’m sure this will be the subject of my life for the next weeks to months, but I probably won’t be posting about it unless it’s that I quit, so don’t worry about having to go through this again anytime soon. 🙂

 

As if on queue

I started writing a post earlier today about the fact that I feel alone and that I’m in my head (not such a kind place) all too often.

I was beating myself up because I am not in a relationship and while I know my passion, I can’t seem to grab a hold of my purpose.

I accidentally closed the browser window before I posted it (lucky you!) and almost wrote it again, but thought maybe that was a sign I shouldn’t post it.

Then it happened.

I got a text from my friend. She was about a half hour away and wanted to get together.

We hung out for a few hours and she confessed to being lonely. She goes out and does things, but inevitably feels alone. I was stunned. I thought she was so busy. I told her I was lonely too. She too was stunned.

We made a plan to get together at least once a week and either cook, or watch a movie or do something.

I felt like I had been tapped on the shoulder by my higher power saying…“get out of your head and you might find you are not so alone after all”

It was surreal.

Then after she dropped me back at my apartment, I ran into a neighbor that I had gotten to know a few years before. He was taking college classes back then too. So the first thing he asked me was how was school. I reluctantly told him that I had dropped out again. He was blown away. We talked and he told me that he was inspired by my dedication and couldn’t believe I gave up.

We chatted for a bit and just like that we were once again connected. I felt like we both walked away inspired.

He makes some mean Korean Ribs and I asked if he would make some for me if I would make one of my dishes in return and he was on board.

I walked in my apartment feeling like a different person. A confident person. A person worthy of friends.

Anxiety is a bitch…but we are innately social beings…so please don’t do what I do and turn away from the one thing that can bring you fulfillment…human interaction.

Robbie the pea sized lump

I have skin tags, which I find really gross. I get them when I have a lot of stress and they don’t go away unless I pinch them until they die, which can be uncomfortable, so unless they are visible outside of clothes, I generally leave them alone. One of the ones in my armpit got uncomfortable, probably rubbed against clothing, so I thought since it’s already uncomfortable, maybe I should just finish the job. So I starting pinching it and discovered a lump behind it. It’s about the size of a pea. It doesn’t feel like it’s connected in anyway to the skin tag, but I decided to leave the skin tag alone to settle down and see if the lump went away.

Not lucky enough I guess, because the skin tag is fine and the lump remains. So I went to my doctor . I mentioned all the things I thought it could be that weren’t bad (thanks internet!)  Like I take care of feral cats, so cat scratch is on the table. I also get little sebaceous cysts on my scalp. I had one removed because it was growing and you could see it out of my hair, but the other one I left alone because you can’t tell it’s there through my hair. I told her that I also have varicose veins in my leg and maybe that was one in my arm.

She took in all my information, felt it and then said that she thinks it’s a swollen lymph node. Sigh. She is putting me on a round of antibiotics, in case it’s an little infection or the gland is just a little backed up. What made me cringe is that she said she isn’t even giving me a whole whole 10 day of antibiotics, just 7 days…which kind of made me feel like that’s not what she thinks it is either.

So after 7 days, if it’s not improved, I have to go back for an ultrasound. I have a feeling this will be the longest 7 days of my life. Considering I struggle with anxiety, I will probably spend it planning my death…lol..even though know I still have too many things in the naughty column to atone for before death is considered by God and the devil rejected me years ago. 🙂

After trying to talk myself off the cliff, I decided I needed to talk about it to someone. I didn’t want to burden my family of anxiety, especially my mom who just spent the last two months out of town dealing with my Grandparents estate and a distant family member dealing with cancer. She just got home two days ago.

With family not a good option (mostly because they would worry more than me), I turned to a dear friend who I knew I could be real with. We got it out of the way in the first 5 minutes of the call, a few tears on my part and a promise of support on hers, but before we went on to talk about other things for an hour or so, we both almost simultaneously decided we should name my lump.  LOL  After much debate, his name became Robbie after a wine I used to love by Robert Mondavi.

Today I have to go pick up my antibiotics and begin day 1. Prayers and good vibes are very much appreciated. 🙂

Talking Tuesday

Yesterday went something like this….

Extreme wave of anger filled with annoyance and resentfulness,

Followed by an anxiety attack that had me googling stroke symptoms,

Ending with feverish like chills,

Then I felt sleepy, so I took a fifteen minute nap and whatever that was passed with the rest of the day being completely uneventful.

 

Today I feel chatty!  My poor child suffered through my random thoughts all the way to school.  I don’t think he has ever gotten out of the car that fast in his life…hmmmm…maybe I should do that more often! Lol

I think I’m mentally gearing up for tomorrow.  I found out there will be meetings going on about the people of tent city while I’m out there protesting.   I just need to find out the time.

Meanwhile, I must get off here and go to work, but I’ll be back later for my last quote!

I forgive you

Last night I attended a special presentation at a friends church.

The message was that “numbing the pain” will not free your heart for feeling happiness. I am completely over simplifying the message, for the record, but I didn’t want to write a book about the whole presentation.

An exercise that we did was to take 10 minutes and try to work through our anger, resentment, hatred, etc, by closing our eyes, feeling that emotion for a bit and then asking for it to be taken away. Rinse. Repeat.

While working through the “anger” feeling, I knew exactly who I was holding on to anger at. As I asked for it to be taken away, my eye’s began to leak. As we continued, the leak turned into an embarrassing flash flood.

When I got home, I sat on the couch wondering why that exercise made me cry instead of feel the anger and then feel relieved.

Then it dawned on me. The anger I felt at this person was because of how they hurt me. I began to look at each person I’d held onto anger with and the answer was the same. I was using anger to protect myself from pain. Letting go of the anger left me feeling hurt and vulnerable instead of freed.

Ironically, many of the hurts were from people who were parent shaming, which I just blogged about. I guess ,as they say, when we are ready, the teacher appears…

So, in an effort to let it go, I’m going to openly forgive them and their ignorance for shaming me.

In no particular order.

To the lady at BlockBuster who felt compelled to question the fact that I was allowing my child to use a binki at his age (3ish). What she didn’t know was that my child was in the thorrows of an anxiety episode and was too young to possess the vocabulary to articulate it. In an effort to help sooth him, we went to BlockBuster to get a video we could watch in our dimly lit living room, with the temperature turned way down low to reduce his anxiety to a survivable level. Going to Blockbuster, while he was already so overstimulated was asking of lot of him and giving him the binki to self sooth, so we could get through it and back home to his safe place, was hardly a crime. It was neither that I didn’t care enough to take it from him nor that I wasn’t strong enough to make him give it up. It was an intentional act to get us to a better place. So I forgive you, because you couldn’t possibly have known that.

To the friend that thought I was being overprotective because I would not allow her to babysit my child. I forgive you for your mean spirited shaming. What you didn’t know was that I was aware of your history of getting into serious car accidents. One’s that were usually because you were distracted and imagined that a crying infant in the back seat, might just be a distraction worthy of getting you both killed. Because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings and tell you why I wouldn’t really let you babysit, I gave you a lame excuse and you shamed me.

To the doctor that told me it was my fault that my child was sick with strep throat. If I were a better parent, I would not have my child in daycare. I would be home with him. Taking care of him myself. I forgive you for your misguided sense of right and wrong. Had you been aware, that I had to work because my husbands business didn’t survive post 9-11 as people were staying home more, you might have shown me compassion and praised me for not living on welfare and food stamps when I was certainly capable of working.

To my father who told my other family members behind my back that I was the reason my child had extreme anxiety. That I was making him scared to walk outside. I forgive your ignorance about my sons medical condition.

To my ex-husband. I forgive you for not being able to accept our sons diagnosis and as a result being unable to be supportive of him. I forgive your ignorance about our sons medical condition.

To my ex-husbands new wife. I forgive you for your attempts to support my ex-husbands ignorance of our sons medical condition, further alienating him from our child. I can understand how you would want to help your husband, but in your misguided way, you have caused both him and our son to suffer a huge vacancy where their closeness used to be. I forgive you for not looking at the bigger picture and encouraging him to connect with his son, right where his son is, instead of trying to change his son. I’m sure you were blinded by your love.

To my mother, who is normally very supportive, but when I discussed putting my son on medicine, cautioned me to be careful putting her grandson on “mind altering drugs”. His mind did need altering and he has been so much happier since we started his meds 5 years ago. I forgive you, as I know your statement came from fear, a fear driven by ignorance.

To the family counselor that made a snap decision that I was like so many patients that came through her office before, causing her to ask me question after question in “answer form”, so instead of just answering a question, I felt like I was defending myself. (“So, your parents are divorced, right?”…no, they are still together; “So you are staying in the waiting room because you are afraid to leave your son, right?”…no, it’s cheaper to work from the waiting room and allows me more time online vs driving from here to the office and in two hours turning around to come back). I forgive you for your complacency, had you known how hurtful it was, I’m sure you would have stopped.

To the director at Apple Creek Preschool, for blaming parents for their preschoolers anxiety. I forgive you for spewing your ignorance.

To myself, I forgive you for the horrible decisions you’ve made throughout your life and the hurtful things you did to yourself and others. Please continue to try to grow yourself and make better decisions.

Let me just add that I do truly believe that most people are good. That they are just carrying their own cross, sometimes making bad decisions and aren’t out to intentionally hurt me.

So with that, I forgive…

Update

I wanted to post a follow up on my rant (previous post) from the other day.

I spoke to my counselor about it and considering she is a professional in the field, I value her opinion much more than the preschools.

Now that I think about it, I spoke to pretty much anyone that would listen to me. 🙂

She was absolutely stunned at the article and the “baseless claims” they made.  She reminded me that people use things like this to build themselves up, by tearing others down.  She couldn’t believe the journalist did not get input from professionals to either confirm or counter the claims made.

It still infuriates me!  

How many parents who are dealing with a preschooler with differences are now going to go home and question everything they do?  Because that’s helpful.  I wish I had a platform to stop this.  When a professional in a caregiver role provides clients with information, they should first have their facts straight, but also understand that this client may consider them an authority on the subject because of their provider role and should be crystal clear when they are offering merely an opinion about the cause of something so dynamic.

I wish I could reach every mom of a preschool aged child with unexplained anxiety and reassure them they didn’t “cause” it.  

I know from personal experience how earth shattering that can feel.