Eeekkkk….

20200125_185107-02There’s ten more days until I move. Ten measly days. I’ve got a wall of boxes in my bedroom and so much more to do.

Colin got told he had to clean up all his belongings before the agency who’s helping him will help him pack and we’re still waiting to hear about a place for him. He has a packing appointment on Tuesday and I’m crossing everything I own that he has a place. He doesn’t have to be out of here until the 29th but I’d much rather him out as soon as possible.

The cats see this as an amazing adventure. They rip the tape off boxes and dive inside and, mostly Smudge, climb to the top like they’re scaling Mount Everest. It’s going to be a huge shock for them when the boxes are all flattened and taken away.

My psychiatrist is worried about my anxiety, visibly worried. Worried enough that he’s stopped tapering me off Effexor and cut it out entirely so he can put me on Zoloft right away. I wake up multiple times a night and can’t sleep because I’m so anxious then I’m anxious all day. Hopefully the move will help. That phrase has become a mantra. Hopefully the move…

And here I sit, rocking every time I stop writing. I think I’ll put that pent up energy to good use and do some more packing. And tomorrow I’m into the single digits.

I went through a year with a move with no date…

livingroom2Now we’re getting to the deadline. At least I’m assuming we’re getting there. Neither Colin or I have an actual date yet. He’s got someone coming in to help sort and pack next week. I’ve got my own two hands and panic to help me through mine.

One nice thing is I’ve got pictures showing me what my living room and kitchen will look like (I’d love to see the bedroom). And I’ve got a layout that gives me a good idea too. I’m still worried about where everything will go but I’ve worked out most of my furniture and am confident I can fit almost everything in, except maybe my electric stove, which is tiny but my room will be a tight squeeze for most furniture.

kitchen1

The hard hat is not included

I’ve been peering at the kitchen photo, trying to figure out where I’ll put things. The cutlery is easy. As for the rest, I’m thinking it’ll be easier to plan once I’ve moved in and start organizing.

My apartment is going to be great once it’s done. All new appliances… all new everything. Laminate flooring and a lot of kitchen space. The counter’s a bit smaller than what we have here but it has three outlets, which will be a help.

There’s three ways this move is anxiety inducing. The main one is simply not having a move in date. I can’t organize the movers, change my address via Canada Post and the government, or request elevator time with no move in date.

The next is comfort. This here is my home and my room is my sanctuary. I have a lot of new pretty things for my new room but will it feel like my room? Where am I going to go to feel safe? I had an anxiety attack the first time I thought of this and it still makes me uneasy.

The final is socialization. Right now I have friends who live in the building behind mine. I can get there in two minutes. We sing karaoke about once a week and chat on Facebook between times. I also was going to two groups a week, which was great. I’d meet friends on the bus there and there was always something interesting going on. I mentioned groups to one of the support workers whose going to the new building and got told, “Oh groups! Maybe we could throw something together”. That does not make me feel comfortable. Hopefully I can meet people around the building.

Time keeps moving me closer and closer to the date, even if I have no idea when said date will occur. So now I will head down to my storage locker to organize my holiday decorations (I have so many bins) and decide what I need and what can be donated. Hopefully I’ll have an actual date before I post again.

New Year… same me…

New Year same meI saw the meme on the left and it really spoke to me. I’m so tired of making goals to lose weight. It’s a never ending goal. I weighed 170lbs and was in a size medium and it still wasn’t good enough. This year I’m focussing on changing things to make life better and easier for me.

I’m joining a gym, not to lose weight but to keep flexibility and sleep better. It’s one of the healthiest choices I can make.

I’m eating better because I want to stay healthy. Diabetes runs in my family and I’d like to skip that. Plus I really don’t think junk food is going to help my depression. That being said, I have no problems with making easy food. I routinely buy boil in a bag rice and chana masala. That’ll be dinner tonight. Two minutes and a piping hot, healthy meal. My depression and anxiety makes eating healthy a challenge but I’m going to do my best to make quick, healthy meals to nourish my body and soul.

And I’m not going to push myself to the point of an anxiety attack. I don’t have to take out the recycling now, it can wait until tomorrow. Same with the dishes. And the world won’t come to a crashing halt if I sit in my swing chair for a half hour to unwind. It also won’t stop because I took a nap, and if that nap ensures I can function for the next few hours, all the better.

We live in a no pain, no gain society. Work hard… no harder! Train hard… where are your six pack abs? Diet to a size zero. We ask whether someone’s on keto or counting their macros but never how they’re doing mentally or emotionally. Where we are is not good enough when there’s someone else doing better. And we’re rapidly burning ourselves out in a futile attempt at being perfect.

None of us are going to make it to perfect. We all have flaws. As Leonard Cohen writes:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

So do what you can… do what you must… but don’t forget about you. The only person you’re going to be with for your whole life is you and don’t you think she deserves a little respect?

me-on-new-years-day

Me taking a walk on New Year’s Day

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

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

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