Posted in life, mental health, Uncategorized

On Needing Medication and Current Condition

So obviously, I haven’t posted in a while.

While I’ve managed to keep a tenuous grasp on occasionally posting on social media, I’ve let my blog and (honestly) my entire site flounder. It’s not that I forgot– far from it. I often thought about my blog, my business, about writing or doing some work, followed by giant pangs of guilt and anxiety. I knew that I probably wasn’t going to actually do it. and the longer I went without posting the worse I felt and the harder it was for me to convince myself I should get on and write a little. It wasn’t until I was asked to write a guest blog on my experience with mental illness and the post just came pouring out of me like a broken dam that I realized that not only could I write my blog after all this time, I need to. Even if I never post, getting the words out of the hole inside me that my Depression creates and my Anxiety forcefully holds in is a huge accomplishment.. and it’s restoring, in it’s own small way.

So here I am, with an update about how my Depression and Anxiety took a giant turn for the worse. Even after Captain and I secured new jobs with less stress (and better pay for him) at the beginning of this year,  I was finding that I wasn’t feeling better. By my longtime on-and-off relationships with therapists throughout my life, and the once-a-week online sessions with my therapist at the time, I recognized it as the lovely misfiring synapses of my brain rather than situational. I threw myself into even more research about natural ways to increase my serotonin and I started working out in addition to my yoga. I made myself walk outside more, I listened to music that usually improved my mood in normal circumstances; I did research on healthy food and foods that could naturally raise levels, as well as looking up what deficiencies can cause mood behavioral issues.

As a result I now have a better cardio fitness level, I am starting to lose the weight I want and finally beginning to see the very start of getting into the shape I want to be in. I eat healthy and as a result my toddler loves to eat healthy.

But instead of my mental health improving with it, it kept spiraling down.

I couldn’t figure out why my mental health was deteriorating so bad this time. I had all the tools, from research to what I had taken away from my time with my therapists, but I was sliding backwards anyway. For four months this continued, until Captain lost his job in unfortunate circumstance and then suddenly my chemical disorders had high situational stress dumped right on top. This caused a meltdown which my poor husband had to suffer me through, in which I began bashing myself in the head at one point so loudly he could hear me across the apartment. A meltdown in which I told him in that moment I wanted to die; what was so terrifying to me afterward is that in that one moment I had honestly meant it. And it’s been so long since I’ve truly wanted to die with all my being, even for just a moment. I knew then that I couldn’t keep just trying to survive. I had to talk to my doctor.

Which means that one month later, on July 3rd, I found myself talking in-depth with my family doctor about all of this and finally allowing myself to be open to the other tool: medication; in particular, Zoloft.

Now, I have tried natural medication before. CBD is a non-physchoactive part of marijuana and is legal in all 50 states because it doesn’t get you high. CBD has been proven to help a variety of things, from pain to epilepsy to treating anxiety and other mood disorders. While I have found CBD does help me immensely, it is a little pricier and is still not currently covered by any health insurance– therefore, there is absolutely no way I can afford to use it as my main medication at this point in my life.

What I can’t understand is how I can support people who use prescribed medication because it really truly helps them and yet be so repulsed of the idea of needing it myself. It’s not that I think myself “above” it or anything, but I think I’ve been convinced that I’m just being a sissy and it’s probably not as bad as I feel it is and I don’t really need prescription medication. And guys? It’s not like I’m taking a lot. My doctor is a good one, and she’s starting me out with the lowest dose, and I still feel like I’m somehow being a faker even when I spend too much time out of every day begging myself to not break down right there, to just hold on and keep going, to just keep fighting one more hour. And it wasn’t until I was typing this out that I recognized that “voice” as my mental disorders; it’s so hard to remember that my disorders have a wonderful habit that is typical of them to tell me that I don’t deserve treatment, and that I don’t deserve to feel better and enjoy life again. The ones that tell you to just accept that it will never change and you just need to deal with it and suck it up because it’s as good as you’ll ever get.

But I refuse to let that happen. Because I would be so furious if even one person tried to tell that to my daughter if she was going through this. If someone tried to tell her that it wasn’t that bad, that she needed to get over it or just deal with it because that’s just how it was and always will be. For trying to bring that utter despair to loom so large in her life. And how else will she ever grow up to know and believe that it can get better and you should always fight to improve the quality of your health and life if I don’t show her by relentlessly trying myself?

So tomorrow (or today, rather, because this post took much longer than I imagined.. has gone on for much longer than I intended) I start the first of my Zoloft. And I will do my best to remind myself every time I take that pill, “I deserve to be healthy, and I will get better.”

I will remind myself that if I think it’s okay for others to get treatment, then it’s okay for me to get treatment. So please, wish me luck on the latest leg of my journey with my mental illness. Much love.

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Posted in life, mental health, Uncategorized

Week 2 Progress Report- Mental Exhaustion

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I promised I would write today. I don’t feel like writing today but here it is.

Made it through another week. I started doing okay with my new challenges which is:

  • full-body pictures
  • full stretching every day and full Reiki every day.

 

I managed to stretch every day by finding a good beginner yoga program for stress relief that actually has my back muscles sore. I lost 4 pounds (but I’ve also been dealing with lady time so weight is all over the place anyway) and I have done at least a little Reiki every day.

But I didn’t do it fully, and I need to work on that next week. First half started out okay with photos and with my 3 items:

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The second half is where is started to falter. I managed to take my pictures, do my yoga, do at least a little Reiki.. but it’s getting harder to come up with more things I like about myself. As you can see, I have an entire day with nothing written. total failure. My last day I ramped up my picture again and now I will be taking a full body picture with my hated stomach exposed every day.

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I cried taking the last photo. I wish I could put some positivity in this post guys, but with the realization that I will not be able to afford my wedding ceremony to my husband because of the job issues and looking at that blank day and that last picture.. I can’t today guys. Today I am holding on by a thread. But no cutting and I made my blog post. Everything else right now just.. is..

Posted in life, mental health, Uncategorized

Week 1 Progress Report- Hypocrite

(For those of you who do not know about my December Wellness Challenge I have taken upon myself to find a mentally and physically healthier me, you can find out about it here!)

Yesterday was the last day of of the first week of my personal December Wellness Challenge. (Does this sentence seem like a little bit of a mouthful to anyone else? Oh well.)

Today I awoke knowing I had made it through my first week of my challenge. This thought was immediately followed by a rushing panic because I realized this also means I have THREE WHOLE WEEKS.. and a few days… of doing all of this. I did the math, and finding three things a day doesn’t seem hard.. but for a month, this means I have to come up with a total of 93 different things about myself! Even more difficult, 31 of those things have to be about my physical appearance!

Maybe it’s not that much really. But as someone who struggled for hours on and off every day of this challenge trying to think of three little things I liked about myself, that’s freaking scary. But… that’s the point of this journey, right? To like and love myself more, to be healthier both inside and out. So I will continue, one day at a time, just like I did to make it through the first week. Therefore, without further ado, here is an overview of my first week on my journey to love myself better.

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While I included boxes to shade in indicating how much of my goal for stretching and Reiki I completed each day, I did not include indicators for my drink restrictions and carb intake (partionally because I knew I wouldn’t fill them out, but mostly because those are the easiest parts of my challenge).

So here’s how I did:

Daily pictures: 100% complete. The first six days I took face shots, which was okay but still not the easiest.

However, a friend of mine made a very good point to me: My biggest issue is with my body, not my face. If this is the case, I should be taking pictures of my entire body. Unable to argue with this fact, last night I made myself take a full body shot. I hated it. I still don’t like it. I cried after I took it, I cried when I posted it on my Instagram, and every time I looked at it, it was a struggle. But I did it.

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As someone with body image issues, it’s hard to explain why this picture is so bad. but I can easily pick out ten different flaws that I really dislike about myself. Here’s the funny thing, guys and gals:

Pretty much every flaw I would pick out and tear apart about myself is something I would NEVER do to someone else. 

I’m a backwards hypocrite, I know. I hold myself to much higher standards than I hold anyone else. On someone else that belly fat is nothing, I don’t even notice. On myself it’s a huge red flag and it makes me hideous to myself. It makes no sense, but I’ve found not a whole lot makes sense when it comes to your brain and reactions to these types of chemical imbalances and issues.

So here’s what I got through 100%, albeit with difficulty:

  • Non-edited picture of only self every day
  • No soda or juice, limited amounts of sugar in tea and coffee
  • Limit the amount of carbs I intake

Here is what I need to work on this next week:

  • Stretching for at least 15 minutes daily
  • Reiki on self for at least 15 minutes daily

 

While I managed to do at least a little bit every day, you can clearly see from the shading in the boxes that I very rarely, if ever, managed a full session of each during the week. While I have spent a good portion of my off time being upset with myself for that, I am trying to remind myself that at least I did it. This week I will need to do more, but I had a start. Depression is a very frustrating thing. Last night I told myself “I will do this! Stretching will help my muscles loosen so I’ll hurt less, maybe I’ll even get to sleep at a decent hour!”

I got my water filled as I had killed it for the second time that day. I turned on the tv and searched for free yoga programs. I found a beginner program for stress relief, and made the first selection. Then I sat on the couch staring at my phone crying for the next hour and a half instead, while the program just sat on the screen waiting to be played. I did a few simple stretches and went to bed, instead, hating myself for being a lazy stupid lump. I lay in bed for a while and finally decide to try some Reiki. I begin, laying in bed, but before too long I’m no longer even awake.

 

So here is what I will do differently on my second week:

I will sit down with myself and perform Reiki on myself for a full fifteen minutes before I lay down to sleep.

I will stretch or exercise for at least fifteen minutes every day. Even if it’s just lifting an arm bar for fifteen minutes.

I will try my hardest to not beat myself up too badly for my bad days, for needing to take time and recuperate.

So, one week down… rest of the month to go. But I made it through that and I made it through today. I just have to keep telling myself, “One more day. One more day. One more day.”

….right?

Posted in life, mental health, Uncategorized

My December Wellness Challenge

I know, I know. There’s always a challenge. Whether it’s the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise awareness for a good cause or “No-Shave November” or the lastest “Mannequin Challenge”, there’s always something coming up and raging across social media for everyone to do.

This is different, however. At least, to me this is different. This is not something I am trying to get to sweep across the internet and be a sensation. Instead, this is something that I think will increase my health, both physically and emotionally, without asking too much of myself (even on my bad days). Here is what I have to do for every day of December:

  • Take one picture of JUST ME with no filter or edits, and post it on Instagram. I must try to smile in the picture, but if I can’t, then I can’t, but I must take the picture and post it anyway.
  • I must write down three things I like about myself. At least one has to be about my body and at least one has to be about myself as a mother of wife. If I do not post it on my blog daily, then I must put them all in a post at least once a week.
  • No soda, no juice, and limited sugar in coffee and tea.
  • Replace some of my daily carbs with more veggies and fiber.
  • At least do fifteen minutes of stretching exercises, and ten minutes of self-Reiki.

These five daily requirements of myself are because I have been struggling hard these past few months with anxiety and depression, and with how I look. So I’m taking two important steps with this:

First, I am taking excess sugar out of my diet in a gentle manner. I drink water 80-90% of the time and have since I because pregnant, but I pack sweetness into my coffee and tea. I’m taking it a step further and saying for one month, let’s take out all soda, all juice, and seriously watch what I’m putting in my hot beverages. Even better, stop filling up on carbs like chips and bread and replace them with more veggies and more fiber. This will help my body become more healthy, and that in and of itself should help how I feel about my body. Stretching helps make me limber and the more I do that, the more likely I am to follow it up with a good workout, because, heck, why not? I’m already moving!

Second, I am working to change how I view myself. I don’t like how I look in pictures, I don’t like taking them unless I’m with someone I love in it. I always want to fix it, cut it, improve it because I am never happy with myself. So instead, I’m not allowed to edit the photo in any way, and I am required to post at least one every day. Even better, I have to follow that up with three things I like about myself daily. They say that positive change starts with your thinking. Which is why I must do Reiki (an ancient Japanese healing technique) on myself every day as well.

So there’s to day one, folks. Let’s see if a month of making me be kinder to myself can actually help at all. I know they say it starts with how you think, but chemical imbalances don’t always care how positive you’re trying to think. So here’s to hoping that this makes it easier, and a little better.

Posted in Job, life, mental health, Uncategorized

Why My Bad News Was Good News

Since October 8th of this year, I have been on “Investigatory Leave” from my job. What this means: they suspended me without pay because they were trying to claim I stole from my job, in a nearly-hour long ordeal that sent me into one of the worst anxiety attacks I can remember having right now. It ended with me being told I needed to write a statement saying I took things in order to leave. I cannot describe how frightening that day was, the slow horror of realization that this obviously absurd and proofless accusation may in fact lose me my job. The struggle to reign in the blind panic that was quickly spiraling out of control in me as I was hounded with the same questions and accusations for nearly an hour. I couldn’t understand how this was happening. Every time I attempted to take a few breaths to calm down I was hounded again. I couldn’t breathe. Everything seemed like it was folding in to smother me and I was terrified that I was going to lose my job right there in the room.

I don’t expect anyone to understand why I wrote a statement saying “I guess I must have took things on accident because even though I remember buying them we can’t find record of it” essentially, especially when I did no such thing. All I can say is I was willing to do ANYTHING to get out of that room and done so I could breathe and it would all stop. I couldn’t think straight past my hysteria and I didn’t know how else to make them stop and leave me alone. So I wrote it. I signed it. They told me they should get to me case at the start of next week.

This is when I finally contacted my union representative. And for the next SEVEN weeks it was a serious battle. He warned me at the beginning he had seen it take upwards of two weeks for these sorts of things, and so I waited two full weeks while my insides churned. I worried about the bills immensely, because I get paid weekly and after that first week we were suddenly down to only one income– Captain’s. Two weeks came and went with no word from my job. I contact my rep again, and for the next four weeks we play the same routine of me asking him for info, him asking them for info, and them giving him the runaround. Five weeks in we discover they are concluding the investigation and will be reviewing information. Two weeks later I hear they are going be reaching a decision at the end of that week. The following week comes with no word yet and after I contact my representative yet again, the store manager finally calls.

This was last Wednesday, and the meeting was set for in person Friday morning. My union representative kindly agreed to give me a ride, seeing as while I have been suspended our car has broken down and we can no longer afford to fix it. From that phone call on, I was a complete wreck. I think I managed to get down one meal a day at least starting at the beginning of the week, but that’s all my stomach would take. Wednesday and Thursday, I could hardly sleep, and I spent a few hours in front of the toilet desperately hoping I would  not puke from the stress. I struggled to keep my mind of off it, knowing that worrying over it would not help. I knew it would only hurt me. However, Anxiety and Depression don’t care one little bit about that.

I stared at a book page for 30 minutes. I tried video games but I just wasn’t interested. I knew I should clean but I felt like all of my will had been drained from me. I had a massive headache, I was sick to my stomach, and my head was racing. I tried medicating (even though I really dsidn’t want to) with nothing. I lay in bed staring at my phone and my ceiling while I waited for Captain to come home to me. It was only after he had come in at 3 in the morning and settled down next to me an hour later that I was able to close my eyes and get a few hours of sleep.

This continued through Thanksgiving, with me trying my best to enjoy my time with the people I cared about, trying to enjoy the delicious food, but being unable to even eat half of what I had on my plate. When we got home we threw ourselves into decorating for Winter Solstice/Christmas but through it all my mind raced. Luckily after two a.m. I was able to get a little shut eyes before the big morning.

The ride up there with my rep helped calm some of my nerves. He warned me that this would probably not be the outcome he wanted, and outlined what the steps were going to be after this. This was the first time in two months I had gotten this much information, and just receiving it helped me keep my Anxiety from clobbering me. We walked through the doors and got into the office, and we had the meeting. He was right, it didn’t go the way we wanted, and my job is trying to go for termination. We will have to fight this.

BUT.

Here’s the thing, guys.

Even though I got bad news, during the talk with my rep on the ride home and walking through my front door, I felt BETTER.

Not a whole lot better. Shit still sucks. We now have to fight a termination instead of me getting my job and my back pay now. Holidays are coming and so is rent… and a host of other bills. Nothing has changed except for the fact that my job had decided they don’t want me working for them anymore.

And yet, so much had changed for me. No longer was I floating, helpless, unable to do much but apply for other jobs and wait it out. Now there were actions I could take. Even better, I knew what was actually going on and now I knew where I could go and what actions I was going to take. And the most blessed part of all? Now I can reach out to get help I need (unemployment, government food assistance) to keep my family fed and in a place to live while I find a job while my union fights to restore my rightful job in the first place.

It’s a long uphill battle, it’s still a shit storm, but having that little bit of control is making all the difference between being sucked down into the black hole of Chaos that is my Anxiety and Depression, and being able to tread above it.

It is refreshing to feel positive about ANYTHING again.

Posted in life, mental health, Uncategorized

Today Is Not My Best Day

Even now, I am trying to choose my words with care. Everyone says, “It’s all about attitude, shape your words positively!”

I suppose I should have said “Today Is Not My Worst Day” or “Today Could Be Worse For Me” but seeing as I came from “Today Fucking Sucks and I Just Want To Sink In a Hole” I think I’ve made a considerable jump in positive word structure.

So. Today is not my best day. I woke feeling heavy. And I don’t mean mean my vicious self-deprecating attitude over my issue of losing the last 40 pounds I want to lose. My heart felt heavy. Although, this did not help my body issues and I picked the baggiest clothes I could find on hand so I wouldn’t have to see most of my Problem Areas. I’ve noticed that on my Bad Days this is my go-to dress style, huge t-shirt and sweats/basketball shorts). It’s another way for me to hide.

I go get my lovely daughter from her crib since she is happily humming and banging around. Boogie’s smiles warms my edges, but this stupid Lump in my brain (oh wait, that’s ME) blocks the light of her pure hapiness from reaching my core and now I am mad. I am mad because it’s taking away from my enjoyment of the thing I love most in the world, my daughter. But see, I’m mad at myself guys. How dare I let my Depression affect how I feel about my daughter and all the precious things she does” How dare I just want to go hide and bed and cry and sleep forever instead of spending time with this giggling girl who is asking me to *please* read her a “bukk” while she’s climbing into my lap? How dare I let It pale the richness of emotions I usually feel when spending time with my family? And yet it does so I’m struggling not to let it spiral into a vicious cycle.

I am really struggling to keep a smile on my face. It feels like a battle to simply keep my face from falling apart into the mess I feel. I see Captain keep his phone out to game while we have our TV show time together while Boogie naps, and it stings me more than usual. I feel like he doesn’t want to be in that space with me, and part of me knows this isn’t true but instead I sink into further misery. I’m pretty sure I made some stupid snipe-y comment about it and my already stressed husband now has to deal with my crumbling attitude.

Look, I know I’m under a lot of stress. Something I haven’t revealed to a whole lot of people is I have been suspended from my job. I was falsely accused of theft and (long story short) now my union rep and I are waiting for the investigatory leave I have been placed on to conclude so we can hear the results and know if we have to fight them or not. But here’s the thing, guys. I’ve been suspended for SIX weeks now. I don’t even understand how it can take this long, but two weeks ago my Union Rep called to tell me they had finally concluded the investigation and were now reviewing the information. And yesterday when I called him, he told me they had told him just that day that they should have a “decision” by the end of the week.

Since I did not in fact steal anything, logically this should all go in my favour and I will be reinstated and given pay for the time I was wrongfully suspended. However, I have seen some SHITTY things happen to much better people than I, so I am terrified. Why has it taken them this long? Why haven’t I gotten any written documentation this entire time about what was going on and what they would be doing? I’ve been trying to use Google to find information about federal and state laws about this sort of thing but I guess I must not be looking correctly.

So I’m sitting at home and now we have some seriously monetary stress and at this point I am hoping for one more miracle and let us be able to pay next month’s rent. And right now, while we wait on my job, nearly all of that has fallen on my husband. I keep trying to figure out what I could have done to make someone lie and accuse me of stealing. My Anxiety and my Depression have been pushing themselves back into the closer relationship they used to have in my life and I am fighting to stop it.

I get myself composed (c’mon, Mama, it’s a stupid show and he’s stressed too stop taking everything so damn personally) and then one of my great friends who is graciously helping with my wedding messages me about my wedding celebration and I am promptly reminded that I will be lucky to have the money to buy material to make my dress at this point. So I, a female who prides herself on not being very girly at all, cried quietly in the bathroom while I came to terms with the fact that I will not be able to afford to have a wedding reception, or even the photographer for the day that I found at a phenomenal price. Suggestions of postponing the wedding for a year or even a few months were given, but the date we chose is very dear to Captain and I, and I know that if we let it get postponed, we will just continue to do put it off and it will never happen. I know it’s just a stupid wedding and I know the most special part, the best part, will be the people there and the man I re-marry with our little girl by our side. But today, knowing that I can’t even have a celebration with the people we hold dearest after reciting our vows, that hits worse that usual.

As I struggle through the rest of the day (making comfort food to share with Boogie, playing and reading to her and trying to keep a smile on my face just for her, trying to clean some, and mostly just try not to fall apart in front of my very cheerful one year old that doesn’t understand that Mommy is Losing. Her. Shit.) I try some tactics like exercise and fresh air breathing techniques but instead I find myself crying at every little trigger (hearing Ribon william’s voice as Genie in Aladdin for his entrance, for example) and trying to ignore the little hateful voice attacking me for being such a downer and letting it affect me so.

And now..

Now I’m trying to do what I promised and write it out, share it even though I feel stupid and weak. I’m trying not to bottle, I’m trying to be positive, but today here is the best I can do:

  • I have not cut myself. It has still been 3 years since I have cut myself.
  • I have not hit myself. It has been two weeks since I have hit myself in the head.

But really the only reason I haven’t done that are two of my three biggest reasons for fighting against my illnesses as hard as I do: my amazing husband and my perfect daughter. But whatever it takes, right?

So, positive message for the day/night: I have refrained from physically hurting myself. I have refrained from hiding away from the world and sleeping every chance I get. My husband loves me and cares about me. And I am pretty sure my daughter loves me.

I’ve had better days. but I’ve had worse ones too, I guess.

Source of Image HERE

Posted in Food, Reviews, Uncategorized

Review- YumYum Utensils Silicone Egg Ring Set of 4 Premium Green Egg Rings

Buy this for your own collection on Amazon HERE

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Silicone and the kitchen just go well together. It’s super nonstick so it’s easy to clean and it doesn’t transfer heat well so it’s great as a protector from a hot handle… or to help shape things like eggs and pancakes!

I was very excited to receive these silicone molds in the mail because I like cooking and I have not yet had a chance to play with ring molds like these in the kitchen thus far. So a few days after I received them I took them out and got ready to use them.

Now I will say I noticed as I first washed them with soapy hot water that they weren’t as stiff as I was expecting them to be for ring molds. The metal handle does swivel nicely for storage and angle, though.

Now, the directions say to run oil/shortening not only across the bottom part of the ring, but along the inside as well. THIS IS IMPORTANT, GUYS, because silicone does not conduct heat well and whatever you are cooking will only cook from the bottom instead of the sides too. I used a little coconut oil on a paper towel for mine, and when I was done I placed a few in my skillet and heated the whole shaboodle up. It says to make sure the oil provides a good seal between the silicone and the pan; after it was all preheated I placed the flat of the spatula over each ring with a little pressure applied for a few seconds before lifting the spatula carefully. After confident I had gotten as best of a seal as a could, I cracked an egg and carefully poured it into the mold.

This definitely does not work well if you are trying to rush it. While nice, these aren’t a gorment chef silicone ring and gaps between the ring and pan are easy to have, and well cause your batter or egg to try to escape through it. I managed to get mine working properly for the two rings that would fit in my pan.

(..well, mostly got it to work properly!)

Now I’m not sure if I still had my pan on too high and that’s why my bottom browned so much, but it worked just like the concept. There was a little leakage upon flipping but other than that, perfectly cooked on the inside.

These aren’t the quickest or easiest rings to use, but they do work, and for the price you pay it’s definitely a good product. I’m looking forward to trying these out with pancake batter!

MY RATING: 8/10

*I did receive this product at a discounted price, and wrote this 100% honest review of my own, unbiased volition.*

Buy this for your own collection on Amazon HERE

Posted in life, mental health, Uncategorized

Cali Part 3– Anxiety, Depression, and Going Home

Once we got Boogie down to sleep, Captain, Goo, Auntie, their roommate (who was awesome enough to let us kick him out of his own room for the weekend so we had a place to sleep) and I all settled down to watch part of a movie for the last night we had there. Or rather, they did and I began madly packing everything; see, if anyone had tried to help I know they wouldn’t have done it to the specific standards I wanted, and I wanted it done to my standards more than I wanted help of any kind (although I did receive offers of help, which was gracious). I sit down to watch the hilarity that was Seth Rogan, but part of my brain was whirring away. Did I pack everything? What am I forgetting? What am I going to do about the bills when we get home? What calls do I need to make? What am I forgetting? What am I doing wrong?

A constant cycle in my head. My stomach, which has been fighting off knots of anxiety and bouts of nausea all day, is twisting. I feel a headache starting to develop and I close my eyes, trying to take deep breaths and focus on them as I count. I try to let all the jabbing, pestering thoughts fall away because I knew they wouldn’t help. the best I am able to do, however, is push them further back so I don’t immediately focus on it.

Their roommate was very kind and was able to give us some medication, so Captain and I walked downstairs together to medicate and spend a little time together. We had planned to make the short walk to the beach and collect a little sand to take back with us after, and then get a few hours rest before our very early morning.

Instead, we started talking about our financial issues. This is a topic that looms on our mind and I know he is very stressed as well. But it takes maybe two sentences and we both start getting defensive, and I feel all my pestering questions and stabbing statements rife with self-hate rush straight to the surface and suddenly I hear my voice rising. I am panicking. We are less than half-way through medicating and I can feel the panic attack coming on and I’m unable to breath enough to try to stop it. There’s a small part of me that is watching from behind my eyes with a kind of horror and the way I am reacting but everything is hazed over with a sparking fog of panic.

I don’t know if my experience with Anxiety and panic attacks is similar to most people, but to me it starts as this hard, tight ball at the center of my chest. No bigger than a pea, but dense, packed. And then it starts to grow.

It grows, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, but always inexorably. Without medication, with only the things I have been taught and taught myself in my study to find a non-medicated treatment or cure, it feels like I am trying to stop bamboo from growing with only my hands. Problem is, bamboo doesn’t stop growing for anyone. you can help control it’s growth but you can not stop it with just your hands.

So here it is, this hyper-dense ball of anxiety in the center of my chest that I am struggling to keep from growing with my metaphorical hands. Tendons shaking and we continue to argue about bills that we are in reality on the same side for. I see Anxiety Me get hysterical and struggle to keep her voice down. In less than five minutes, I feel my grip losing on the ball and I hit myself in the head five times in a row, rapid succession.

I am stunned. Not physically by the blows, but by the quick escalation of my reactions and the self-directed viciousness in the midst of a happy family trip. and yet I couldn’t calm down. To be honest, I was scared. I shouldn’t be ANYWHERE this bad and I got even more mad at myself because I knew this was STUPID. So I did the only smart thing I could think of and (to my husband’s dismay and angst) turned around and went right back up the stairs to go lay down and try to sleep. The only good option I could think was to remove myself from the situation before I got the cops called on us in California because I was having a panic attack. I lay in bed next to the most beautiful little bed hog there ever was, and cried into my pillow. I was ruining a great trip because I couldn’t keep a handle on myself, and in a time when my husband needed me to be there to emotionally support him. I fell asleep after some time.

When I woke to our alarms at 3 in the morning, my husband and I hugged after we both smiled down at our stirring daughter. It reminded me that he loved me no matter how crazy I am, and that he forgave me. We turned our attention to packing the final things and getting ready to go.

Boogie did great considering how early it was, and after a bit of a car ride we were back at the airport. It felt like we had just arrived and you could tell we all weren’t ready to separate yet. Captain especially, after so long without seeing his little brother, was already being forced to say goodbye after just two and a half days. I didn’t get the clearest shots, which is unfortunate, because these are some of the sweetest photos of Boogie giving Auntie and Uncle some love before we had to separate to go through security.

Since we did everything on time, we got to our gate early and kept Boogie entertained with making rounds of the floor (which of course including stopping and smiling at some strangers who returned the giggles and grins with warm smiles of their own) and some blueberries. She was starting to show her tiredness from waking so early, but we soon boarded the plane and settled in for takeoff.

The Frontier pilot did a great job at takeoff. He was so smooth that even though Boogie fell asleep before liftoff to me singing her bedtime lullaby, she didn’t wake until 45 minutes into our flight. It wasn’t too hard to keep her entertained and happy the remainder of it, and she only really started fussing for about 5 minutes at the last bit of touchdown. We actually even got compliments on how well she did from a few fellow passengers. So proud of her!

We arrived a few minutes early, which is typically great. However, for some reason the airport employees who were supposed to be taking care of our flight’s luggage mysteriously disappeared with it all after quickly unloading it, and we ended up waiting a full hour after just to get our belongings (but we did get comp’d the cost of the checked baggage fee for our troubles!). My heroic patient mother was waiting for us, trying to keep the airport security running the pick-up area from having an aneurysm about how long she waited for us. she immediate noticed that we were frayed from the frustrating wait and worked to get us back where we could take our medication in a timely manner.

All in all, aside from the monster that is my Anxiety and Depression rearing its ugly head, it was a fantastic trip. I treasure all the moments I got to witness and be included in, and I cannot wait to return. As for my disorders, this reinforces the (frustrating) truth that I need to make sure I am taking my medication properly and in a timely manner. I am grateful that I have an understanding support system, but I can’t let my disorder control me like that and I need to be diligent about my mental health. Not just for me, but for my family. Especially my little one.

Posted in life, mental health, Uncategorized

A Trip in Time– Cali Part 2 (Day 2, Night 3)

At 4 a.m. Cali time our alarm went off, and by 5:30 Captain, Goo, Boogie, and I were all packed in the car and headed on our long journey to go see Grandma! Unfortunately Auntie couldn’t make it with us, though I’m hoping next time around we all can go together! After stopping to snag some coffee at the start to not be zombies and a pit stop for food and our little one halfway, we continued on and I reveled in the beautiful thick fog that blankets the city every early morning and hugs the hills until the sun finally breaks it all up midday.

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While there was a few points where Boogie grew fussy, it was nothing a little attention or food couldn’t fix. She did manage to sleep for the first hour, but the next four were all spent awake and occasionally frustrated that she was stuck in a chair. I was so proud of how well she did for her first longer car trip.

After driving around the little neighborhood for a few minutes trying to find the correct number (it turns out bad memory does in fact run in the family, at least for the men, Goo couldn’t remember exactly where it was and he had been there! Haha) we finally stretched our legs and walked up to the front door to see Grandma and her lovely partner “Cue”!

Cue is actually a really great pool player and I had fun watching her sweep the table with everyone! Loved watching my husband play too, though. I was too busy following my little girl around trying to keep an eye on her and loving her excitement.

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However, as any parent knows, you can’t watch them 110% of the time, and as I took pictures of her eyeballing the steps to the bed while holding one of the dollies, I turned momentarily to answer a question and when I turned back, Boogie was crying because she had slipped trying to climb the steps (without letting go of the doll, of course).

At first I wasn’t too concerned– she had slipped before and fallen harder than that. Then I noticed her mouth was very red and I jumped to her. She bit the inside of her mouth when she slipped, but on close examination she was okay and a little milk was all she needed to calm down. It took some chasing to wipe her mouth off, though!

After some more chatting and watching Goo do part of what he’s going to college for (which, by the way, involves taking some awesome pictures with some seriously outstanding cameras like the nifty little black-and-white he brought with him), we sat and looked through a massive fraction of photos Grandma has and I got to see my Captain when he was just a baby and little kid.

I’ve been badly wanting to see his past like this for some time now, and I was so grateful that I got my wish fulfilled. Captain was transfixed, loving the chance to go down memory lane again. I saw pics of him as a happy chubby baby, photos of him and his siblings playing and smiling together, I saw that he scrunched his face up for a really happy smile exactly the same way now as he did when he was a boy. What’s even better is Grandma gave us the little bit we went through to keep for our own, so I can show Boogie when she’s old enough to understand and hopefully even post a few! That wasn’t all she gave us. She gave me a replacement scarf since Boogie has claimed mine for a security blanket, and she now has a very soft, warm hat, as well as another scarf and a seriously huge stocking for the holidays. Grandma has got to be one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever met and I’m so grateful to to be a part of the same family as her.  We chatted for a while longer while my gorgeous little girl ran around and charmed the pants off of everyone.

However, we couldn’t stay more than a few hours because we did, after all, have a pretty lengthy car ride back. So we gathered everyone together and took some group photos! Next time we’ll have to get some professional ones done together, so that way we can all be in the photo at once!

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Grandma and Cue together!
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Goo and Grandma
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Grandma and Captain
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Brothers no matter the time or distance
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The boys with Grandma
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Goo, Cue, Captain, and Grandma in the front!
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The boys, Boogie, and Grandma!
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Boogie and Grandma! Kisses! xoxo

We were loathe to part, though aBoogie at this time was going on 7 hours with no nap and we had to try to get back before it was too late. It took a very short time in the car before she was zonked hard.

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I even got to experience a California fast food staple– In N’ Out Burger. At Goo’s suggestion, I ordered it “Animal Style” and said hell with it on my no-soda rule (I mean heck, it’s vacation time) and got a 7-Up to go with it.

Yum, guys, seriously yum. I can’t remember the last time before that I had a burger that was still so hot it steamed as I ate it. The Animal sauce and the grilled onions were freaking perfect. I think the only reason people in Cali aren’t fat off eating it all the time yet is (a) the beach and mostly (b) the wait times are usually super crazy!

Getting back to their place was bittersweet. The sweet definitely an emphasis on being out of the dang car and the AWFUL L.A. traffic, the bitter being that we had very little time to celebrate Goo’s birthday (a tad early but nonetheless) before we had to pack our stuff  and get a little rest before getting to the airport very early. However, it was great walking into an apartment festively filled with balloons and I did manage to get a picture of the cake:

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I did insist before we went to sleep for the night that I got a few pictures of the happy couple that we were so blessed to have gotten the chance to visit.

I will leave this part on a good note, guys, because I was definitely struggling all day long and it cracked kind of hard once we got a little downtime. My next post will cover how I struggled with myself throughout the day and night, and our final very early morning in California with our plane ride home.

Posted in life, mental health, Uncategorized

A Trip in Time– Cali Part 1 (Night 1, Day 1)

About a month ago Captain received a surprise phone call. His half-brother “Goo” (whom he hasn’t seen in over fifteen years) and Goo’s wife wanted to fly us all out to California for a few days! Captain was rocked, but we were so excited. He hasn’t seen almost anyone in his family for about that long, and a lot of them live there as well. We gratefully accepted the opportunity for him to not just reconnect but for his family to get to meet one of the newest additions, Boogie! We picked the date for Goo’s birthday weekend and began preparing. As it got closer Captain’s nerves really began showing, and with great reason– being so separated from his family for so long and then only recently getting into contact with his brother again recently. I was so excited! I made sure he knew I am here for everything and anything he needed from me, and that was my priority.

I’m not going to lie to you though, guys, it’s Boogie’s first plane trip ride too and I was both scared of how she would handle it and excited to witness this experience. And of course, the day comes around and after her first nap, she decides sleep is for the weak and she was no weakling! No usual sleep tricks worked (but hey, mommy has been running around doing unusual things and being crazy for the past few days so who can sleep anyway?) so it was with a whole lot of nerves that we waited to board, hoping she wouldn’t be too grumpy. Man, am I glad that I am blessed with such a happy little girl.

We board the plane (just in the nick of time due to lack of updated information!) and very shortly after we are gaining speed on the runway and taking off! Boogie is plainly tired but will have none of this sleeping or sitting still nonsense! The gentleman sitting in front of us has no patience for babies and their various curiosities (such as discovering how to work the folding tray more than once or twice), but even so, she fussed very little (and slept NONE of course!).

We arrived at the airport in California with no eventfulness and much nervousness on Captain’s part. As we made our way to baggage claim to get our luggage and wait for Goo and his lovely wife to meet us, and I had fun watching Boogie grin and run around stramgers. She ran towards the escalators and as I followed her, a couple came down the stairs and the guy leaned over and picked her up! While I knew there was something I was missing so I didn’t freak out, it definitely made me a little alarmed. When she squirmed and he set her down he then gave me a grin and a hug and as I became a little more confused the woman who stepped up next to him said “We’re here!”

My tired brain finally clicked and I realised that the reason they looked vaugely familiar is because they were who we were waiting for! Finally on the same page, it was smiles and hugs and then I pointed over to baggage claim 30 feet away and said, “Will’s getting our luggage over there.”

I cannot describe how beautiful it was to see my husband get to see his little brother for the first time in over 15 years and all I can say is that this picture does not do it justice. But it’s the closest I can get.

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We got back to their apartment and while we settled in, Boogie became acquainted with the place and toddled around. You could definitely tell we were in a Californian’s house!

When we finally got everything ready we got started on the next step– trying to get our over-tired Boogie to sleep in a brand-new place with absolutely no crib, portable or otherwise. This proved to be the much more difficult task and we are still not sure if we got her to sleep at all; at 7:30 a.m. she decided she was all done though and made sure our fitful dosing was good and done. We fed her and started getting ready for the day, but she soon proved that she was beyond tired and became almost completely inconsolable. Daddy and Uncle rushed to the store to find medication for her poor little gums while Boogie clung to mommy until she began passing out. One of the most precious moments ever, I cherish the times when she just needs her mommy. I haven’t gotten her to sleep with me since she was still being swaddled, so I loved every collarbone-killing second!

When our silly girl finally woke up a little over two hours later, we told her it was time for her next first- the beach and the ocean!

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We got our things together and hit a great little cafe spot near the beach and I got to see just how in love Goo had become with his little niece in less than 12 hours.

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The food was great, and I really loved getting to listen to my husband and my brother-in-law talk. About life, about family, catching up with each other and laughing with each other. It was one of the best things and I learned so much; some of it happy, some of it sad– but it was seeing more about the love of my life, finding out things even he had forgotten in the dust of time. It was incredible that even through this, I was included and welcomed in sessions like these. Great food, even better company.

We finished up our food and thanked the waitresses and Boogie and I went to go change into proper wear for playing at the beach! When we came back she charmed some locals and we chatted for a little longer before heading a few blocks to park at the beach. Boogie was very excited when we pointed out the water, although she became upset when she realised it wasn’t possible to immediately be at the water and playing in it! As we walked closer I found structures of carefully balanced rocks that people had painstakingly constructed, a phenomenon I had heard about but hadn’t personally witnessed yet.

Finally though, we were at the water! I led my beautiful little girl through the sand up to the waves splashing in and of course she loved it! She got very exctied until a wave came in whapped her a good one in the face. the combination of that and sleepiness caused her to freak for a minute and then refuse to let me put her back down. However, she was okay to stay in the water as long as Mommy held her, and continued playing with the water as we waded out further. It became clear after only 45 minutes, though, that she was starting to get a little too tired to enjoy much more of the new experience.

We took a few pictures and I enjoyed watching Captain and Goo enjoy the hell out of the water for a few minutes longer before packing it in and starting the walk back to the car.

We finally made it back home and after one more sleep-like-the-dead nap, Boogie was ready for some food and a little more play. She even got Auntie to read to her as Daddy napped waiting for food!

We ate a huge vat of spaghetti (and some AMAZING cheesy garlic bread) special thanks to Goo, and then we got ready to go to sleep so we were ready to get up bright and early to visit Grandma, who lives almost 5 hours north! We relaxed and watched a movie after we got our little one down for the night MUCH easier than the previous night, and then we got into bed and got some rest for the next day ahead.

Oddly enough, it was at this point where I started having emotional difficulties. Shortly before bed I began having panic attacks over things I “knew” was my brain taking things the way they weren’t intended, and I realized that my lack of medication might be an issue on this trip. Because I am a licensed medical patient in my state and not in the visiting state, and my medication can not travel over state lines, I was flying on only my will-power, which frustratingly enough is not enough to properly control most moderate-to-severe emotional disorders like Anxiety or Depression. I found my brain attacking myself, and began becoming very frustrated. This trip was about my husband reconnecting with his family after far too long. My job as his partner was to be there to be there for him, to be his support, and here I was, my own mental health deteriorating for no good reason other than my brain is chemically imbalanced. I felt so bad, and I struggled very hard to force it down. I managed to finally get it mostly in check long enough for me to lay down and get myself to sleep, but it wasn’t without the growing worry that I was just going to get worse.

I can tell myself that logically it is to be expected when I cannot have my medication that helps me maintain myself on a well-functioning basis without constant attacks or breakdowns. I can tell myself that I am only human and that there is only so much I can do. I tell myself that Captain is there for me and doesn’t expect me to be perfect, he knows that I suffer from these disorders and that I need my medication (he knows the latter better than me and the poor man is sometimes tasked with convincing me to take my own meds because DAMN IT I HATE HAVING TO RELY ON MEDICATION OF ANY KIND TO BE ABLE TO FUNCTION LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN!). I can try to logic my brain until I’m metaphorically blue in the head, but my depression tells me “what a loser. The one time he really needs you to have your hist together and here you are falling apart while HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE what the hell is wrong with you! Get the fuck over yourself you damned idiot!” which of course makes it worse. Meanwhile my anxiety is running around in circles like someone gave it speed and it’s like a tight ball made of dense bamboo is trying to grow in the center of my chest and all I have in my hands to try and stop it from growing inevitably bigger. And, inexplicably, the inside of this unstobbale ball is like a great void that is taking over. Those two together unchecked made it interesting to sleep, but eventually I managed it.

The next and last full day in California was wonderful, but that’s a story for my next post!