Pas de deux…

These days I’m caught up in a dance I don’t want and don’t like. Both dance partners, anxiety and agoraphobia, hold me tight in their arms, making me feel like I’m being torn in two.

Last night I put on quiet music and turned the volume down until it was just background noise. I got my chamomile, rose, and white tea pillow spray and misted my pillow. The bathroom nightlight was on, which meant my room was dark but not too dark, and I read a chapter of a previously read book while ensconced in my swing chair.

The kittens were snuggled at the foot of my bed and stayed there while I made myself comfortable.  Then I closed my eyes and panic hit. It clenched my heart and sent my thoughts into an unreadable whirlwind. It was horrible and terrifying and I just wanted to die so it would stop. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even cry.

I knew what I needed to do. I started with my breathing. This was remarkably similar to taking a toddler’s plastic bucket and scooping the water back to stop the tide. Then I grabbed my bottle of Ativan and took one tablet. The time it took between making that decision and getting the pill was probably only a matter of minutes. It felt like hours. The Ativan makes such a huge difference but it’s addictive so I try to keep from using it as much as possible.

I wonder sometimes if people think I’m faking because I manage to get out and do things but, at the same time, have my meds set for delivery (for example). They don’t realize that some days I can go out to a couple of nearby stores and other days I can’t go out at all. Plus, if I know I have to go out to the drug store every week to pick up my meds, I’m more likely to be anxious about it and unable to go out at all. And just because I can make it through a handful of stores doesn’t mean I’m fine. I’m just as likely to go home and make a beeline for my swing chair, unable to do anything else that night. Cereal for dinner and a 7:30pm bedtime. Even the cereal is a struggle.

I went out to Marshalls today and Superstore. I managed the buses and crowds and even made small talk with the cashiers. And I remembered almost everything I needed (except for the green onions). I’ve also eaten nothing but Kettle Brand Dill Pickle Chips and Bixby & Co Crunchy Peanut Butter and Maine Sea Salt Bites today. A chickpea salad with canned chickpeas and cherry tomatoes for lunch was too much. Dinner’s set to be microwave in a bag curry and rice. I’ve used all my energy today. It’s not just managing all the minutiae, it’s managing it all while controlling anxiety and agoraphobia. Meanwhile depression is still kicking around but anxiety’s been stomping it into the ground. It mostly manifests itself as inertia.

I need to get off the computer.

Fifteen minutes later…

I really need to get off this computer.

I believe this is called executive dysfunction and it shows up in my meal prep and, well, everything. Have you ever needed to use the toilet and had to give yourself a pep talk to go?

I’m simultaneously looking forward to my move and outright terrified. Right now, even on my worst days, I can say, “You’re going to Metro for milk. Can you pick me up a bag of English muffins too?” I’ll be alone when I move. Organizing my groceries around meal planning is great if I knew that I could make curry for dinner on Tuesday. That would be a definite maybe. So I wing it and sometimes even winging it is too hard. So I eat Froot Loops or potato chips and hope that tomorrow will be better.

It’s 4pm this afternoon and I’ve only got 4 thousand steps today. Maybe I’ll go downstairs to the gym after dinner. I’m hoping that extra walking will help keep me from another night like last night. Who knows?

Googles exercise and sleep quality

Apparently John Hopkins University knows and a half hour of exercise can be beneficial. So I’ll be on the treadmill tonight hoping to stave of an anxiety attack like last night. I see my psychiatrist on January 20th and hopefully he’ll have more advice for me too. Until then I’ll be doing whatever I can to keep myself calm and in control of my surroundings.

Feeling down…

Inside my stomach feels like a ball of angst… all hard edges and uncomfortable. Otherwise everything else feels flat and bland. I click on a video and am bored with it after two minutes. I didn’t nap today even though I was up for two hours last night. Or more accurately because I was up for two hours last night. I don’t want to have a repeat tonight. But I don’t feel tired, at least I think I don’t. Usually I’m exhausted by now; today I’m just here. And here is a long grey stretch of nothingness.

My psychiatrist was pleased at how my depression was being handled last month but not happy with my anxiety. So he’s been slowly weaning me off Effexor and switching me to Zoloft to deal with both of them. So far it hasn’t. My anxiety feels okay, unless it’s been subsumed by depression. My depression, on the other hand, feels horrible. I’m not at suicidal yet but I wouldn’t be surprised. I mean, how much hopeless can I take before I start looking for a way out?

I know depression isn’t a fun conversation topic but it is a very real one. More than 300 million people world wide struggle with it. A significant amount don’t survive. It’s important for people to know they aren’t alone. There are people like them. There is help. As for me, I’ll be calling my psychiatrist’s office tomorrow to try and get an emergency appointment because the 10th seems so far away.

gentle with yourself

Fading memory…

I had a great introduction to my blog but I’ve forgotten it. Which has got to be the most unfunny joke ever but it’s also so very real. Sometimes I feel like my life is fraying. I’ll think something and then it’s gone. Or I’ll be in the middle of a thought and the beginning disappears, then the end is gone and I’m left wondering what happened.

Depression and anxiety are what happened. One thing I discovered is that permanent memory loss can be caused simply by having a major depressive episode. Depression and anxiety also cause memory loss simply because you can’t focus. If you can’t focus, you can’t remember what’s going on. And, of course, meds cause memory loss too.

Memory loss is so frustrating. I’ll have a conversation with my kids and I feel like I’m right there listening intently. It feels right. Then we get off the phone (or leave the room) and the conversation is gone, or most of it at least. I watch anime shows with Colin and forget the plot completely, making the next episode that much more interesting. And I’m routinely saying, “Wait! I had a thought! Let me see if I can get it back again.” Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. And we all get frustrated, the kids because “Mom’s not listening” and me because I was listening as hard as I could and everything disappeared anyway.

Then there’s the elephant in the room… dementia. When does this switch from depressive memory loss to dementia? I don’t do odd things like put my keys in the sugar bowl and my psychiatrist isn’t worried so I guess I should stop worrying too, although it not quite that easy.

Yesterday I lay down for a short nap. I’d just fallen asleep when my phone rang. It was my psychiatrist’s secretary wanting to know if I could come in for a cancellation appointment an hour after my nap ended. I’d have plenty of time to do both so I changed my calendar and lay down. I dozed for a bit when I woke then spent some time petting our oldest cat. That was when my notification went off saying my appointment was in 15 minutes. What appointment? I didn’t see my psychiatrist for half a week. Then the second notification buzzed and I remembered the call. I don’t think I’ve left the apartment that quickly ever. I was speed walking down the sidewalk, calling and calling his office. They called me back at the bus stop then assured me there was a second cancellation at 3:40pm and I could be booked into that one, which was a relief. But, it shows again how my memory’s shot. I put everything in my phone calendar lately and check it several times a day. I can’t just wing it, if I don’t write it down, it’s gone.

My doctor’s slowly weaning me off clonazepam to see if my memory improves and my brain fog lessens. I’ve been eating well and going for regular walks in the hopes of improving my brain too. Now to see if my memory improves.

Lara sleeping like a people

If having cats improved memory, I’d be a mental wizard

Two steps away from reality…

I had a fairly busy morning yesterday. Colin and I hurried through a downpour, sans umbrellas, to catch our first bus. I spent that entire trip checking the bus app to see how long we had until the connecting bus and silently cursing whenever we stopped. By the time we got off our second bus the rain had stopped. We went to meet my Mom and walked to the restaurant for lunch… and it was closed even though their site said it was open. So onward to our favourite Indian restaurant where I had our worst food from there ever (and they’re usually amazing). I tried something new, which turned out to be tasteless, and our onion bhaji appeared to be onionless. From there we went to the grocery store, which was necessary but was one stop too many for me.

I went to pick up one last item then looked around in bewilderment. This is one of our regular grocery stores, we visit it about twice a month. I felt like I slipped though some sort of mirror. Everything was sort of recognizable but at the same time not. The only way I could describe it was by being two steps away from reality. I tightly gripped the shopping cart handle as if I’d fly away if I let go and slowly made my way to the front of the store, which was a zoo. Thankfully my Mom gave me her car keys so I could sit in quiet. There were police dogs by the exit, a promotion for their calendar, and I couldn’t even stop to pet them, that’s how badly I needed to leave. Thankfully I was okay soon after I got home. I looked it up and it’s called dissociation; just something else to tell my psychiatrist.

There’s been way too much happening. So far my occupancy date is set for January 1st but they have staggered move in dates. I can only hope I’m before January first and not after. Then there’s Colin and his move. He’s been having long meetings with one agency and has another meeting tomorrow that might be talking about a potential place. They’re even talking about a site in Toronto, which would make it hard for family to visit. But it’s urgent and any apartment is better than none. And, finally, there’s Blackie. She’s doing a lot better now with antibiotics and is absolutely ravenous, even with her sore, rotting teeth and mouth ulcers. We haven’t been able to see into her mouth so it was an unpleasant surprise to see her back teeth. I’m feeding her whenever she begs because she was starving and needs the calories. So far she’s had three dinners tonight. I need to drop some paperwork off at the vet clinic on Wednesday for a possible subsidy for her bloodwork and xrays. Then submit them again for dental surgery. But even there there’s a lot of uncertainty.  What if the bloodwork turns up something worse? I can’t picture my home without her.

And then there’s the whole move. I’ve bought beautiful things for my new place but it’s not going to be here. I’ll have a brief panic, like an elevator dropping a bit too fast for a few seconds and then the OMG moment hits. I’m not going to have my room there. Not with my teal and glitter walls. It’s going to be different. Everything’s going to be different. And I’m going to be alone in all that difference. Completely and utterly alone. Then I practice my breathing until I’m not going to pass out from hyperventilating and try to get on with my day.

And my world keeps spinning like a whirligig and I just keep hoping that my psychiatrist is right and this move will be a big help for me. Only 65 days to go.

 

A Hormonal Tilt a Whirl…

There are so many things that could be affecting my mood right now. The medication adjustments (albeit minor ones), the season’s change, “normal” hormonal fluctuations, and so on. What I do know is that my anxiety and depression are not playing together well. Or, more realistically, they’re playing together too well. Anxiety’s screaming, “OMG we’re all going to die!!!” and depression replies with, “Great idea. If we get some momentum going, we could jump the railing before cowardice steps in.”

I’m not going to jump. I’ve got too many friends and family who would miss me plus Blackie and Lara would never understand why I didn’t return. I couldn’t do that to them. People talk about cats being aloof, Blackie and Lara are anything but aloof. And they love me dearly.

I hate this feeling. Everything seems scary but I have no idea why and, at the same time, I don’t really care. Part of me is craving sleep while the rest is dreading it. Last night I drempt I was standing beside a river, watching body parts floating by. The only good thing my mind could come up with was at least they weren’t climbing out of the river after me. I don’t remember what else happened but I was up for an hour afterwards.

And I try to make bedtime comfortable. Calm pillow spray with chamomile, rose, and white tea. My big squishy stuffed carrot. Soothing bedtime music. And my heart still pounds.

It’s not much better when I’m awake. I struggle to get anywhere, breaking each trip into pieces and only focusing on one piece at a time. Sometimes that works, other times it doesn’t. Then I just make do without whatever I was going to get. Going with someone helps… except my someone is Colin which means a monologue on how the conservatives are better and how hard done by men are. I’m hoping this is a phase he’ll grow out of but am losing hope on that one.

And today is the 80th day until I move. It feels like it’s so far away but I have to give notice at the end of this month and then I’m into the final crunch. Another huge chunk of anxiety to deal with.

I’m struggling with posting this. Half of me says that no one wants to hear me whine while the other says there are people who need to know they’re not alone. I can deal with people thinking I’m boring. It’s the people who feel alone that matter to me.

For those of you who feel you’re alone and drowning in pain. There are people out there. They might be hard to find but they are there. You can do it! I believe in you!

keep fighting

Am I binging?

20190914_164447The first one slid down so smoothly and easily, an intoxicating balance of peanut butter and dark chocolate. The second one was almost as good. I lost count as I continued to eat. Taste and enjoyment faded away behind the urge to eat just one more… and another… and another… I couldn’t stop. I’d been planning on having two peanut butter cups a day but I ended up with twelve treats in under ten minutes. Why had I done it again? My mind continued to berate me. I was lazy… lacked self control… fat… ugly… I would never eat healthy… I’m the ugly sister in the family and this overeating just proved it. Obviously I was weak. Who couldn’t stop eating? I just needed to put the food down. It was that simple.

But it wasn’t that simple. Time after time I’d eaten a whole carton of Haagen Daz, a whole bag of chips, a huge bowl of spaghetti, a sleeve of cookies (and maybe one more). I’d eat until my stomach stretched uncomfortably and it felt like my food was kicking the valve to my esophagus.

And I have to stop.

This won’t be easy. I have to stop worrying about dieting and my weight because they seem to cycle into this eating. And I’m going to have to ignore some pretty strong cravings for just about anything unhealthy. Funny how I never crave an orange. Maybe that will change.

I see my psychiatrist this week, which is good. Even though I feel like I have binge eating, he’s the one that went to school for this.

If you struggle with binge eating, could you please share any tips on what made the cravings better? Thank you so much!

Time is sprinting…

Our current building does a home inspection every year and this year’s was done today. When the property manager and superintendent were leaving, I asked who I give the letter of notice to, the management office on the top floor or with the superintendents in the basement. It will be with the superintendents, who were quite surprised we were leaving. Then I realized I’m giving them my notice in three more weeks, the real start of the moving countdown. 83 days (today) seems very long. Two months doesn’t

Colin’s blissfully unconcerned about moving. He knows he’s getting a room… somewhere. Apparently someone in the John Howard Society has one but she was off for the last few days. I need to get Colin to call her tomorrow because I’m not nearly as blase as he is. He’s positive everything will turn out perfectly in the end, like this is some Disney Movie or one of his animes. But we’re not in a show and he needs to be a lot more proactive. Sadly I can’t push him into calling, it’s like moving a mountain. He’s stubborn to say the least.

Next we need to find boxes. It used to be easy. NoFrills, a Canadian grocery store, always had bins of boxes at the front of their store. We’d go in and grab the suitable ones. Now they’re selling yellow shopping bins at the front of the store. I guess free boxes were competition.  I know there’s boxes for sale at Home Depot because my sister got hers there. I’m still hoping for free boxes first.

I should have asked someone at NoFrills today what they do with their cardboard boxes now. No Frills being where Colin asked me to meet him, although honestly, it would have been better if I never went. I knew I was really anxious before I left but my psychiatrist suggested taking an ativan and immediately leaving, which I did. I might as well have taken a skittle considering my anxiety got worse instead of better. The walk to NoFrills  and back were okay seeing as we went through the park instead of down busy roads. And I made a beeline to my swing chair and giant soft carrot as soon as I got home. That helped a lot. Part of me wants to go out for a walk now because it’s gorgeous and being in the woods would be so nice. But the rest of me feels the anxiety squirming around my stomach and knows it would be one miserable struggle.

I’ve bought all sorts of things for my new apartment. Wooden cutlery rack, dishes, beautiful cutlery shaped like tree branches, candles from Bath and Bodyworks. And there’s so much more to buy. I need a new dish rack because mine is falling apart. My garbage can is a cheap one mounted inside a cabinet door and it’s breaking. We need a slim line one for the kitchen. Luckily I get the GST cheque after I move to pay for some of the odds and ends.

And it’s evening here again. The cats are all sleeping, Colin’s watching shows and me? I just don’t know.

And every passing second brings us closer and closer to moving. And then my life will start up anew.

smudge-on-my-packing-boxes