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

We braved the Pride Parade…

I had two anxiety attacks this week, one at work and one right in the middle of our doctor’s office. I came really close to passing out there although, to be fair, if I’m going to pass out his office is probably the best place. Jeremy was so sweet, hugging me on the bus and in the waiting room then sharing zir game maps in an attempt to distract me. The doctor has doubled my EffexorXR and has prescribed Ativan for my anxiety attacks, which hopefully will help (so far so good).

Then there’s Jeremy. Zie had one anxiety attack last week at 3am and one night of complete insomnia, which meant zie missed two days of school. And then zie’s been fine. It helps that I’ve signed the papers withdrawing zir from school at the end of the month. Only two more weeks.

Between the two of us, we’re both fairly fragile emotionally and neither of us are fond of crowds at the best of times… but we went to our local Pride Parade anyways.

Last night I painted my nails the colours of the ace pride flag. Well almost, I didn’t have any white nail polish (or more accurately, Emma didn’t have any) but she had a pale silver which I figured would look good. I painted Jeremy’s nails too but zie picked plain beige so I didn’t bother to take a photo.

ace nails

The best photo I could take with my cellphone

We caught the bus this morning and discovered our local Sunday bus changed, or more accurately turned into another bus route part way through our trip, and we ended up doing the milk run. Almost literally considering at one point we were taking pictures of barns and fields. What should have been a not quite 10 minute trip ended up stretching to just over a half hour. We got off downtown and I went onto my phone to check my email. I knew I’d received an email earlier saying where the pre-parade barbecue was being held, I just needed to find the folder it went to.

“Mom, you don’t need to look. The barbecue’s over there.” Jeremy pointed toward a nearby mall right as I finally realized there was music blaring from nearby. I put away my phone and we followed our ears.

The first person I met was a woman from PFLAG who greeted me with a huge smile and a hug. Then we went to get food and I found out they had vegan burgers this year (which turned out to be very popular). We wandered around for a bit, looking at the floats and trying to see if we knew anyone else.

“Can we go to Dollarama or somewhere more quiet?” Jeremy asked. “I’m getting really anxious.”

“Why don’t we go to the bridge,” I suggested and zie nodded.

Shopping isn’t relaxing for me, meanwhile the bridge was a quiet footbridge over the nearby creek. It’s a great place to take photos, which relaxes both of us.

Jeremy not only took photos with zir camera but also dropped a webcam down to take closeups of the creek.

Jeremy not only took photos with zir camera but also dropped a webcam down to take closeups of the creek.

I also managed to take a great shot of the two of us, which Jeremy agreed could be shared here. Which is nice because zie looks so cute in the photo (I love how amazingly blue zir eyes are)…

Jeremy and I

And then we went to wait for the parade to start…

Talk about relaxed!

Talk about relaxed!

The parade was small, but bigger than the one we attended two years ago, and quite colourful…

balloon rainbow

rainbow whirligig2

parade1

parade2

bracelets

parade3

parade4

I'm pretty sure I've lost these socks to Jeremy.

I’m pretty sure I’ve lost these socks to Jeremy.

It was a good afternoon but Jeremy found it quite overwhelming and wanted to head home before the post-parade party even began. Which is good to know. I’d tentatively thought about going to Toronto’s parade this year but think we’ll pass and give Jeremy another year to work on zir anxiety before braving even bigger crowds. The plus side is, for the first time in ages Jeremy’s looking forward to school tomorrow. It’s the last day of zir work placement and zie’s excited about telling everyone it’s zir birthday on Friday.

Happy Pride everyone!!!

A change…

“Mom? Can we go shopping please?” Jeremy begged. It was Boxing Day and I had no interest in shopping, let alone battling the hordes looking for post-Christmas deals. Jeremy however had $50 burning a hole in zir pocket and a desperate need to look for blue tooth headphones.

“I guess,” I sighed, “but just Target.”

We live two blocks from Target which made it an easy trip. Jeremy was thrilled. Sadly the one blue tooth headset they had was just over a hundred dollars.

“Why don’t we try Giant Tiger next?” Jeremy asked then zie looked more closely at me. “You look tired though. Why don’t you go home instead. I can go on my own and you can heat the oven up for my pizza.”

I agreed and we both headed out; me toward home and Jeremy to Giant Tiger. Zie ended up going to not one but two stores, in the dark, on zir own. And that was just the beginning. I called Jeremy from work on Saturday only to find zie’d gone out for a walk by zirself. Then yesterday we took two buses down to the big regional mall so we could bring in our desktop computer for repairs. I got off the bus and realized I’d left my purse, with both my mall gift cards, at home. Which wouldn’t have mattered except the camera I’d been admiring since June was on sale and they only had one left.

“I can go home and get your wallet,” Jeremy offered. I stared at zir in surprise.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yeah,” zie replied offhandedly. “It’s no problem.”

It would have been a problem before. Going home meant catching one of four different buses downtown and then transferring onto one of two buses. Since it was a Sunday, zie’d have almost an hour’s wait home alone before taking a similar trip back.

Jeremy headed off and called me at the transfer points and at home, where zie happily told me about having to find a superintendent to let zir into our apartment because zie’d forgotten zir keys. No sign of stress or anxiety throughout the whole event. Jeremy might have volunteered before but would have changed zir mind when faced with four different buses to catch just from the mall alone.

I worked today and, once again, Jeremy got bored while I was at work and headed out for a walk. Then zie informed me that zie’d be more willing to go swimming if zie had a new bathing suit. That’s something I’ll have to start looking at over the next few weeks. We have an indoor pool downstairs and I think Jeremy’s used it twice this year.

It’s been 10 days since Jeremy started taking EffexorXR. I have a feeling it’s going to be as helpful for zir as it has been for me.

Jeremy on one of zir walks with zir purple, sparkly car.

Jeremy on one of zir walks with zir purple, sparkly car.

My mind is silent!!!

I started taking Effexor XR two weeks ago tomorrow. It was yesterday that I first noticed the quiet. I went to our Unitarian Universalist congregation and was able to listen to the speaker without my mind wandering off in a million directions. I was on my way home when I looked out the window at scarlet maples pressed against a vivid blue sky and realized how quiet my mind was. There was only one thought running through my mind, not hundreds of them shooting off in all directions. I never knew how loud my mind was until the rest of my thoughts faded.

We went to my parents’ house for dinner last night, which was nerve wracking to begin with. Karen was there with her two children and husband, she hadn’t spoken to Emma since she disowned her this summer. Plus I wasn’t sure how people were going to react to me using the proper pronouns for Jeremy. Emma was fine. I don’t think her and Karen spoke but Karen wasn’t rude and that part of the evening went without a hitch. The family used he/him constantly for Jeremy’s pronouns but said nothing about Emma and I referring to zir as zie/zir. And poor Jeremy came down with a cold yesterday and was much more interested in curling up on the couch than anything the family was saying. Zie’s still asleep.

After dinner the adults gathered at the table to chat. Well, most of the adults. Emma and Mark disappeared into the backyard to smoke while Karen’s husband disappeared somewhere. I sat at the table waiting for the conversation to become overwhelming… and it didn’t. I stayed for the whole conversation.

On a whim, I went online and googled Effexor XR and ADHD and, sure enough, it’s showing promise as an ADHD medication. Note, I’m a child of the 70’s and have not been diagnosed with anything. I was, however, a poster child for inattentive ADHD. I used to forget I was heading off to school and end up playing with children I’d passed on the way (kids a couple of years younger than me who were too young to attend school). I remember a poster of numbers in one of my classroom. The numbers were anthropomorphic and I’d daydream about the adventures they’d get into. I used to get up from my desk to go look out the window forgetting I was supposed to be working quietly at my desk or spend my entire test time drawing clouds and filling in letters. I daydreamed through all of my first year of grade four. I’d been placed in an open concept classroom (something that had been popular in the 70’s) and failed all my spelling tests that year; the class next to ours was doing the same test at the same time so the words sounded like echoes of each other. I was so distracted by the echoes, I didn’t get the words written down before the next words were said. By then I couldn’t remember what the previous word had been.

Right now I’m in my living room. Most people would consider it quiet but I’m listening to the keyboard clatter, the clock ticking on the far wall, the hum of our electric fireplace, the buzz of the fridge in the kitchen, the neighbour’s tap, and the trickle of our cat’s fountain in the dining room. Plus assorted sounds like the elevator doors opening, cars going by a block away, and the occasional person walking down the hallway. Add my own internal thoughts and then have one of my kids want to talk with a video game or song in the background and I’m quickly overwhelmed. Hopefully taking away the internal chatter will help.

Depression, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, anxiety… all these exist co-morbidly, woven together like a tapestry. It’s hard to say which one causes which issue (and even harder when I haven’t been diagnosed with anything). But the medication is definitely making a positive difference.

Also, it’s the Canadian Thankgsiving today. Happy Thanksgiving!!!