Daily Archives: May 22, 2018

Don’t Have The Heart

to write today.  Or maybe ever again.  I feel like I’ve run out of useful things to say, like this whole endeavor is pointless.  Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow

Have a good week!

 

Ninja Anxiety Pounces

A friend (? she pretty much ignores me these days, so former friend? Meh, she’s got her own mental shit going on, I won’t make it all about me) would often nod off while we chatted on line and she’d called it ninja sleep. Comes from out of nowhere and launches an attack, you’re down before you know what hit you.

THAT. That’s my anxiety.

After a very rough night trying to sleep in spite of physical pain and irritating cats either trying to lay on my head or murder me, I got about 4 hours of sleep, interrupted into about 6 seperate pieces. Needless to say, start of the curse, exhaustion, and the humidity suddenly rising after a few cool rainy days…my discomfort is palpable. Still, after 4 days trapped here in Armpit, I thought a chance to go to town (thank you to those who donated, I paid car insurance on time for the first time in 3 months, you guys are amazing!!!) would be a welcome change.

Instead…I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach on my way out the door. I figured it’d go away once I was out and about. Instead, like a gang of ninjas it swept in, and metastasized like a cancer. Bad juju, I call it, when I get those gut feelings that something bad is going to happen in the absence of any proof. Needing to make multiple stops, including Hellmart (for cat food and litter, and oh, a cheap new litter box cos I cracked the old one when I was trying to chisel and clean it out), just made it worse. Like I was racing a ticking clock. The one saving grace was the self check out at Hellmart didn’t fuck up on me for once and I was out of there pretty fast. Onto the next and next stop.

Gas is up to $2.99 a gallon. I balked at $2.69. It was a moderate issue living in town but out of town…egad, I am literally stranded by dollar signs, considering one trip to town to the necessary stores is 28 miles round trip. Only 16 of that is highway, so I’m looking at about $5-$6 a trip. (Broken gas gauge, iffy other gauges, not sure what kind of mileage I am actually getting.) And the place where I usually get gas has had a cash only sign for a week and frankly, I am too lazy to drive 6 miles to the ATM that doesn’t charge me for withdrawals, so I just get it wherever now and that contributes to my anxiety. I have this thing about using the same place, the same gas pump, every time. If this routine is disrupted, well, more bad juju.

It’s ridiculous, I know.

I was supposed to get something for my kid at the dollar store, but…it was all I could do to make the necessary stops then flee town like flames were chasing my bumper. The inner voice just kept telling me I needed to get home NOW. Back to my safe space. In my crypt. Which these days isn’t so peaceful or safe thanks to my interloping fraternal family faction but it’s still better than being out in the open feeling like I have a target on me. I got done what had to be done-pay insurance, get milk and cat stuff, gas, and I was supposed to get my med refills but I said fuck that, I NEED out of this bad mental space, I need my crypt. (That’s what my dad has always called my homes cos my light sensitivity dictates dark curtains to soothe me from screeching sunlight during my high anxiety periods.)

Now I am in my safe(ish) space, praying my brother doesn’t barge in to use the internet (seriously, people, is a call or text first too fucking much to ask????), everything’s out of the car, insurance is paid for another month and we have milk for our cereal and stuff. I can breathe. I took 2mg Xanax, to my chagrin, but once the anxiety ninjas attack…Bad Thoughts aren’t far behind and if Xanax wards them off…So be it. Though I am must admit to being curious about the use of beta blockers for the physical symptoms of anxiety attacks. My insurance wouldn’t pay, no doubt, and whatever quacktor I am forced to see at the center for psych health wouldn’t be on board, but if anyone who reads this has tried beta blockers or knows someone who has for anxiety, I’d be interested in hearing about it.

It’s old hat, knowing full well I am not going to die from panic attacks and generalized anxiety, even though it’s terrifying, crippling, and miserable.

It’s the physical symptoms that hinder my ability to cope. Today alone resulted in foul smelling sweat, churning stomach necessatating urgent trips to the bathroom, trembling, paranoia, feeling my heart pounding in my head and throat…Xanax has been my wonder drug for calming my mind from the anxiety and panic, but the physical stuff is immune to it, no matter what the doctors say. There’s how a med should work, how it works for millions, and then there’s how it actually works for some of us. I’ve tried all the benzos and non benzos and only Xanax calms my mind, quiets the paranoia and fear, and doesn’t render me a drooling half comatose simpleton. (Which reminds me of a draft, well, a title I saved, wanting to explore why so many people experience cognitive impairment from benzos like Klonopin, Xanax, etcs, because honestly, it makes my mental clarity sharpen. Another post.)

So, yeah, panic and anxiety attacks aren’t going to kill me, this I know, I accept it.

But when you’re looking for work or trying to make friends, or god forbid, meet someone and try to date and form a relationship…the random trips running to the bathroom doubled over with gastric distress, the stinky body drenching sweat, the paranoia- not attractive. Definitely does not make people want to be around you, let alone hire you for a job. I’ve tried excessive bathing, layering on body washes, lotions, sprays, prescription anti perspirants, absorbent powders, deep breathing, the STOP sign method to slow my mind….I’ve tried EVERYTHING and still the physical symptoms come. I’d had high hopes, based on what others had told me about good experiences with gabapentin, that that might have been my magic drug for anxiety. Instead, it was an epic fail that even jacked up my blood pressure all the while heightening anxiety and decreasing my cognitive function and lucidity.

So, anyone? Information on the efficacy of beta blockers to treat anxiety? I understand its primary use is for social anxiety, with the end goal of being able to face that anxiety without the beta blockers, I am desperate here. Feedback is always appreciated, I don’t ask for it incessantly. Chime in if you have any info, firsthand or secondhand or whatever.

I am calming down. Safe space and Xanax, my heroes.

The most important thing is that in spite of my gut instinct and bad juju on my way out the door…I didn’t flake out and decide to stay home. I faced the fear…until it manifested as icky physical stuff and impacted my clarity, which are not things that work out well in traffic or public places. I didn’t avoid, I faced it. I just did so like the devil was hot on my heels and rushed back to my safe space.

Oh…For anyone not familiar with the above mentioned stop sign method for anxiety attacks…I can’t remember which therapist taught me that one, but basically you picture a big red stop sign in your mind and focus on that. Because anxiety disorders totally respect therapeutic tricks and obey. NOT. But I try it. And sometimes at night when the racing thoughts set in and the anxiety rises, I utilize the stop sign method, only I tweaked it to suit my own needs. I picture that big red sign, I picture those big STOP letters, but I repeat a mantra I concocted from the letters. S.T.O.P Serenity Tranquilty Offer Peace. STOP. And some nights it helps soothe the savage beast that is my spinning mind and it’s just a first step toward calming down enough to sleep but I think sometimes it helps. Then comes the counting. I count backwards from 1000, in odd numbers. 999, 997,995, all the way down to the number one. If I am still awake, I start back over at 999 and just keep doing it.

The flustering part of that is that my mind wanders so I’ll find myself counting the same sequence two or three times before realizing, hey, I already did all the odd numbers from 699 to 601….But I’ve been using this method for about 15 years and it helps, if not to sleep but to at least keep my mind focused on counting instead of worrying about, well, every tiny thing. I also picture an old school thermometer that’s red from the top to the bottom and red is my anxiety and stress, so I have to picture the red slowly lowering to the bottom, then I work my way up filling it in with blue, because, well, for whatever reason, blue is a soothing color for me.

I am aware how nutty I sound, but it’s just a hodgepodge of things learned in therapy that while not a cure, they can be of help sometimes. Mostly, though, safe space, dim lighting, low noise, and people free zones are what help the most.

I think the anxiety ninjas have left the building at least for now. I can’t help but feel like an epic failure, though. It would have taken all of five minutes to grab my refills at the pharmacy but…that inner voice was unrelenting, telling me to get the fuck out of dodge and back to my safe space.

I had enough trouble in town being outside my safe space for more than an hour. My escape hatch was always that I was rarely more than 15 minutes from being able to flee back to my crypt. Now I don’t have that quick escape hatch option and it’s terrifying. Living outside of town is feeding my anxiety disorder. If leaving my safe space is the trigger, and not being able to quickly return to it amplifies it…living in Armpit may render me unable to cope with trips to town very often. With gas so expensive, this might be a good thing, but then being further crippled by my disorder and turned into an uber hermit here isn’t healthy, at all.

I’m hoping today was a fluke, stemming from hormonal and physical agony, lack of restful sleep, financial strain, the fact I’ve had my family faction in my face 9 days straight…This cannot be the new norm. Up til today, the trips to town felt like jail breaks or being paroled. Except ya know for driving a car with a broken gas gauge and the other gauges are either broken or possessed by an automotive demon that makes me them go all over the place even when the car is in park. I don’t want to be an uber hermit. It feeds the anxiety and depression, fills me with guilt and self loathing, makes me feel weak.

The one constant that is very real and inescapable are the nasty physical symptoms that accompany my anxiety. They’re embarrassing, they hinder me in so many ways, and while it’s easy for the professionals and peanut gallery to tell me it’s not that big of a deal…I am pretty sure someone wanting to work showing up drenched in sweat and reeking in spite of a carefully designed hygiene routine to not smell bad, and the abupt bathroom trips…doesn’t instill confidence or scream stability, hire this woman! No excuses, just facts. I’ve been ditched by friends and dates because my physical symptoms embarrassed them and dealing with me was too much trouble for them.

Employers have to be even more discriminating.

At least the depressive cloud isn’t enveloping me today. Just the anxiety ninjas.

Final note…My kid has a freaky phobia book (I had no idea people could be fearful of long words!) but a show I watched said the DSM hasn’t considered these things phobias since the 80’s. What used to be a fearful phobia of snakes or clowns or enclosed spaces…are all now considered anxiety disorders.

Seems like a disservice to those of us with free floating generalized anxiety disorders. We don’t fear simply one thing. We don’t always have triggers.

I know the diagnostic manual has to change and thankfully, it has and continues to do so, because I was not on board with women being called hysterical when depressed or anxious, and being gay as some sort of mental illness, are you off your nut? BUT at the same time, this whole new ‘behavioral health’ slant seems dangerous and unhelpful to many of us. Not doing so well adapating to that one. Mental illness isn’t exactly a glowing description but at least it acknowledges the problem stems from imbalanced chemicals as opposed to poor behavior.

All that venom now spewed…I am going to sit back (lay back, my spine is killing me when the cramps aren’t) and breathe and then try to face some housework. I want a helper monkey. And a therapy goat. And a floor mopping Roomba. Dishwasher. A dryer that doesn’t take 4 hours to dry one load. And most of all…one.good.night’s.sleep.

I am a demanding little snowflake, I know. But really, a therapy pygmy goat and sleep would be awesome.

I am going to update the fundraising page later, with receipts and every cent accounted for-just as I vowed. We’re not out of the woods, but the kind people who cared enough to donate…they made a big difference for me and Spook and we are eternally grateful. Free pegacorn rides for those awesome people!

Our Story.

The Comparison Trap: Self Anhilation Of The Psyche

A commercial sparked something in me. A dad talking about all the things he wanted to teach his kids. And I thought, well, I suppose I should teach my kid to bake and cook at some point…and I got images of boxed cake mix and brownie mix…accompanied by that stupid little voice pointing out, “Your mom and sister make their stuff from scratch most of the time, you’re not teaching your kid anything with box mixes.”

And so the comparison trap continues.

I suppose it’s an inevitable thing we do, as humans, compare ourselves to others. Maybe to gain perspective, maybe to motivate ourselves to do better, to strive for more. More often, I think it’s a form of self anhilation of the psyche. Knowing we can only be who we are and some of us are wired differently so we’re never going to be like so and so. It’s so easy to decide on that basis that you’re simply unworthy to live, or you’re a waste of space. Subpar, subhuman, lesser.

One of the first things you learn in therapy is that it’s unhealthy to make such comparisons. They encourage you to just be the better version of yourself without regard to who is superman or superwoman in whatever way. You can only be you, and you can strive to be a better version of you, but you can’t be someone else no matter how much you may desire it.

Thing is, outside of therapy, life doesn’t work this way.

People are constantly comparing you to others. In my case, my dad is constantly pitting me against my sister. She works, she’s a superb housekeeper, an excellent cook and baker, she’s pretty, she’s friendly. Then against their neighbor, who works full time and has a 4 year old son she is raising alone (except she has a bf who helps out a lot) so I am somehow less than both of them in his eyes.

In my own eyes when my mental state permits…I don’t view myself as competing with others thus needing the comparison. I am doing my own thing. I am focused on being a good mom, trying to teach my kid to be a decent human being and value more than just things with price tags. And in my case, I am doing it all alone. With the constant put downs and no positive reinforcement and battling my mental imbalances and financial struggles. It’s hard, it’s thankless, and occasionally, hell to the yeah, I’d like to hear, “You’re doing a good job.”

From my family, that simply does not happen on either side. Unless I snap and point out their negativity and lack of support then they might grudgingly say, “Yeah, you must be doing something right, Spook adores her mom.” THEN come the put downs about not working, or my anxiety and depression maybe harming my kid, or her not having every luxury is somehow neglectful.Oh, my and dad’s favorite rant, people on disability, because in his world, there’s no such thing, just laziness.

Last night he and stepmonster treated my 8 year old to a lecture about their harsh fathers and upbringing in which they were put to work driving trucks or working in fields detassling corn as soon as school let out from the time they were her age or younger. And yeah, they’re not being dramatic, that was their childhood in the boondocks being raised by men who weren’t their bioligical fathers so they were treated very harshly. (In my dad’s case, it was rural country in the ’50’s, long before it was considered a crime to beat your kids or work them at such a young age, but she’s 3 years younger than me, you gotta wonder where the child protective services were for her back then, it was the fucking 80’s…And yeah, my dad is 71, she’s 42, ewww, but whatever works for them.)

It just hit me that while I definitely want my kid to do some chores and learn not to be an entitled snowflake…them shoving that old world rural bullshit down her throat, like it was ever sane or normal to make 7 year old drive a truck or work in a field, pisses me off. Their abusive childhoods have no role in my kid’s life. I’m sorry they went through that, but terrifying a little kid isn’t what I call stellar grandparenting.

But that brought about more comparisons and dad basically making it like I had this charmed upbringing simply because I wasn’t working the fields when I was in single digits. I had a job at 16, I moved out on my own at 17, and I have fought tooth and nail to be on my own. There was no snowflake entitlement here. That was my sister, who was never forced to work. She got a waterbed, she got guitars and snakes and full breed $300 dogs and igaunas even though she had a record for robbery and car theft before she was 18. And it’s not jealousy,it’s fact. I was out of there and doing my own thing and not living under comparisons so there was nothing to be jealous of. Just, if he wants to illuminate golden childhoods, it wasn’t mine. Not saying mine was awful, but it wasn’t all mommy buying my stuff every time I took some pills cos I was told no. (To my sister’s credit, she eventually got her shit together in a big way, even if she still lives with mom.)

I just fail to see how comparisons do anyone any good. They are harmful, at least for me. I guess I don’t have a very strong psyche on some matters. And yet, here I am, still doing my own thing, so while they may rob me of self esteem constantly, they sure don’t keep me from trying to keep up my battles.

So, counseling, yeah, the whole ‘be the best version of you, no comparisons’ is a good thing to follow.

At the same time, I wish all my counselors had schooled me on 35 years of the world at large forcing their comparisons on me to the point I can’t help but fall victim to doing so myself.

Everyone else is out there, happy to anhilate my psyche. I don’t need to help them.

Sound paranoid?

You just gotta meet my family to get it.

Life under constant criticism with nary a good word spoken about you leads to paranoia, wariness, mistrust, and a great sense of dislike towards those who do more harm than good. Especially when it’s family.

Unconditional love isn’t something I’ve ever known and probably isn’t something I’ll ever know how to give to anyone but my kid and cats.

Damaged though my psyche may be at their hands and my own…

I’m a fighter and I’m going to keep fighting.

If only to spite them all.

No Escape From Mental Chaos

I am feeling especially whiney, but also bitchy and ranty. I’ve been blessed with unusually awesome physical health, for the most part, which means my mental battles generally get all my energy. Yet once a month for ten miserable days, my hormones go bonkers, my body ceases to be a mild annoyance to be ignored, and every.damn.thing hurts and pisses me off or makes me cry.

I am sick of the monthly invasion of the body snatching hormones. The last two days I’ve even taken naps-which I DON’T do, sans the clockwork psychotic orange monthly curse. The pain has had my abdomen feeling like a thousand oompa loompas are punching my ovaries and shredding my organs, driving spears into my spine. Bad enough when your emotions are all over the map, but when your body is in hell, too, it makes it difficult to feel human, let alone behave like one.

I am accustomed to a very quiet life-by choice. Because of my anxiety disorders, too much stimuli overwhelms me and makes my moods and anxiety worse. While most people find socialization a comfort, or even fun and nourishing (wtf?), for me avoidance is as important to my mental health as any medication. Since the move to Armpit and living down the street from my dad and his crew…I can barely go a single day without them all in my business and honestly…they’re loud, they all talk at once, they are overly critical, have zero tact, and on top of that, they’re often racist and offensive. Small doses is the only way to take them.

In town, I had that luxury. They’d go a month without seeing me or Spook and it was blissful. I had control there, because they only came to town once a week or so and they were far too busy to be bothered with us. I liked it that way.

The ‘new normal’ has them stopping in constantly without calling, telling me my house smells bad or this isn’t clean enough or my yard looks shitty or I am lazy and need this job and get over my mental issues. They’re toxic and no amount of speaking up makes them back off in the least. If I let my kid go to their house so I don’t have to endure them ( and she likes it there cos they have dogs and neighbor kids, so she’s not suffering), then stepmonster sends her home with her clothes washed because my laundry soap is cheap and doesn’t smell good so she’s ‘helping’. It’s fucking insulting, pardon me if I don’t have a man also bringing in income so I can blow $22 on laundry soap and booster beads and fabric softener. She’s been doing this for years. Yet if you say one word about the way they live (their shed looks like something out of Sanford and Son, and I mean a junkyard, not anything sinister) they go off.

I cannot stand hypocrites, especially people who can’t admit that’s what they are.

I despise the new normal. They’ve been in my face every day for 9 days now. I am ready to blow up on them.

Throw in that my kid is about to get out of school and she’s already started in on how she’s bored, bored, bored, hates me for moving us here cos she always had plenty of kids to play with at the trailer park but the people here won’t let their kids play with her cos they don’t know me…I feel like a volcano about to erupt all around.

I look forward only to sleep and the occasional ‘golden day’, which happens about twice a month.

I can’t get my feet under me when every 20 days my body and mind riot, resulting in so much cognitive dissonance and physical misery.

Mental chaos has become a nightmare I can’t waken from.

The money stuff just makes it worse. I had to borrow money from my younger brother just to mail a letter. OMG, how humiliating. No doubt he went and told dad and I’ll get a lecture on managing money but you can’t manage what ain’t there. And I HAVE been trying to find alternate sources of income, but I am a stranger in this town so no one wants me babysitting their snowflakes, and gas stations may be hard up for part timers, but if you can’t even pass their basis math test because you have numeric dyslexia…

BUT I keep reminding myself of the three kids between dad, mom, and stepmonster, even if I am disabled and don’t work- I am the ONLY one who has gotten out on my own, and stayed that way. I TRY to make ends meet without living with mommy or daddy and ten other people. And my brother lives rent free with dad and stepmonster, whatever he earns mowing lawns or whatever, he gets to keep and spend as he wants (he bought an X Box last week) so it’s not like he’s budgeting. My sister lives with mom and her mother in law, plus my nephew’s fiance, so they have four incomes in one house.

I am disabled, a single mom, facing all these negative changes, and still-upright and trying to do right by my child, as much as I can for myself. (Trust me, fundraisers bring me no pride, only shame, but when you’re trying to help yourself and people aren’t finding you worthy of earning your way…you’ll do some surprising things to stay afloat.) I am TRYING.

And a week from now once the hormones settle, I should have two good weeks, at least physically. By then I will have seen the shrink for the last time before likely being shunted back to doc nurse (it’s a nightmare, thinking about going back to that noob) and while I’m hardly doing great…hopefully reporting that Cymbalta is making me feel somewhat better will result in a dose increase.

For now…I just want to tuck my daughter in, then curl up in bed and ride out the current wave of cramps and backache. I’ve overdosed on ibuprofen today, hate taking more pills than my psych meds but it was necessary. When I nap and can’t even stream favorite shows because I am hurting so bad…And all I want and need is peace but the very people who love me are the noisy presence pushing me toward the edge…

I’m pretty strong to still be upright and fighting. Even if I feel like a big wuss who should just…Well, I won’t go there because I know it’s hormones and low mood and bad thought bullshit but still…When the negative devours the positive and you’re still sticking it out…

It’s pretty badass, in my opinion.

Yeah, yeah, I’m not patting myself on the back. It makes the backache and cramps worse.