Monday, December 23, 2013

Things are better

I was just looking up some info on this blog and realized that my last posts kind of left loose ends.

I did get into my dr. on Monday and she said the increase to 10 mg is absolutely fine.  She told me that I can leave it there for a month or so and go back down to 5 mg every day when I feel more stable.  She also gave me a small prescription for Ativan just in case things get as bad as they were again.  I haven't taken any yet, but it is nice to have it on hand.

I don't think there were any noticeable side effects for me jumping from 5 mg to 10 mg (not that I had time to notice any).

I am now about 97% sure that that huge panic attack was a combination of stress and the flu.  BAD timing!  Any digestive distress definitely is a huge anxiety trigger for me (IBS and anxiety are very often connected), as well as not getting enough sleep, and...well...I had no appetite and couldn't sleep, so there it is, right there.

So, I'm feeling back to normal.  My whole family is all together.  My mom is slowly working back up to her normal activities, and my grandpa has good days and bad days, but he is making sure to fill his time with his favourite things as much as he can.

Having my kids and hubby around to cuddle whenever I need to cuddle is something I've realized that I need more than I thought I did, and while one of my constant wishes used to be for a weekend alone in a hotel, it's not something I think about so much anymore.

There's my update.  If I don't post before, have a Merry Christmas, everyone!  :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Logging again

This morning I started logging my food again.  I'm down 3 lbs from 3 days ago, and am weak and shaky.  I remember this place...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Longest and worst panic attack ever

I am struggling something awful with my anxiety right now.

Last Friday, my mom had a heart attack and I flew to her city and was there with her and family for seven days.  She is okay, and went home on the sixth(?) day.  My grandpa lives with my parents and is also unwell right now, suffering with terminal brain and lung cancer. 

Since I had been anxiety-free for so long, I was very surprised when around day three of my visit, I started feeling symptoms of anxiety.  They have actually not gone away since then and I am perplexed.  I have wondered if I perhaps have some kind of flu - fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, so much phlegm, but ridiculously dry mouth at the same time.  My chest and back and arms and legs hurt, I'm cold and tingly and my feet are sweating but nothing else. My heart pounds constantly, and it seems to be worse when I am laying down.  I'm barely sleeping. 

I hate this.  Deep breathing does not calm me.  I've upped my medication and it has made no difference whatsoever.  Even on 5 mg I was still getting the flashy light things behind my eyelids when I woke up in the mornings, now, at 10 mg, nothing.  I joked to my mom that I think they gave me a placebo with my latest prescription refill...I went to a new place to have it filled.  I think I will also share that joke with my dr. on Monday. 

I have read the start of this blog a little, and I am considering starting all over with everything that I did to help myself the first time.  I'm a little concerned that it won't work though, and I don't know how I will handle that.  I'm really quite disappointed in myself that I am feeling this way now.  For it to be so so bad now after I thought I had everything figured out and I was doing so well...it is really hard on the morale of this perfectionist.  How can it be worse than ever?

Stupid anxiety.  GO AWAY! 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

10 mg

Well, I'm making the jump from 5 mg to 10 mg of Cipralex, starting tonight.  

I'm pretty disappointed that I need to do this, but my body is clearly calling the shots and right now is not a time I can just tough it out.  

I am not able to get in to see my doctor tomorrow, like I was hoping to, so in the interest of not having horrible side effects over Christmas, I'm bumping up my dose tonight, telling my doctor on Monday, and praying that all goes well and smoothly.

Boo.  :(

Saturday, November 9, 2013

One Year

Today marks one year since I started this blog.  One year since I started taking my first ever long-term prescription medication.  One year since I decided that the side effects were worth an attempt to get out of the deep hole I was finding myself stuck in, unable to escape on my own despite my desperate attempts to do so.

One year since Cipralex changed my life.

It has been an up and down year for me.  The side effects at the beginning were nasty.  It was hard to keep going through those first months, but I felt like I didn't have any other choice.  I had to give it an honest try.  I had to do it for my kids, for my hubby.  And it was hard.  One of the hardest things I have ever done.  But it ended up being worth it in the end, as hard things often are, and I've come to realize that likely, I will take Cipralex for the rest of my life.  As I look back over my entire life and think of all the thousands of times I had nervous butterflies over trivial things, and all the times that I teared up over things that didn't deserve tears...well, I realize that my anxiety started a lot earlier than I was willing to acknowledge.  I've had it my whole life; I just called it "shy" and "embarrassed" for over 30 years.

Something that I want to point out here, because I know it comes up in anxiety conversations, is that my panic and then anxiety came out of nowhere; not from worrying or stress or tough times.  While I am a perfectionist, and I do have high expectations for myself and my family, my anxiety and panic has never come from worry.  I'm not a worrier.  I do think that the start of my panic attacks was my body's response to starvation; something to get my attention, and get it good, and let me know that I had to do something.  Right. Now.

And I did do something, and it worked.  I unfortunately had a bit of a relapse recently and I know that it is because I'm not taking the best care of myself anymore.  In the paraphrased words of my seven year old son, "my brain knows there is nothing to be anxious about, but my body remembers the fear".  First my supplements slipped, then my water consumption, next the rigid schedule of protein intake, the adequate calories, the exercise...  Yesterday as I was sitting in the gym at the kids' school, waiting for the Remembrance Day assembly to start, I felt the start of cold tingling extremities and intestinal unhappiness.  I actually thought to myself, "Are you kidding me?!??"  My first panic attack ever took place in that gymnasium, three and a half years ago.

Anyway, here I am again, a year from my rock bottom, starting over at a better place than my first starting point, but starting again nonetheless.  I'm proud of how far I've come, all that I've learned about panic, anxiety and myself, and I'm super proud that when doctors gave up on me, I didn't give up on myself.  I fought.

My intention for this blog was (and is) to bring light to mental illness.  I want to reassure people that they aren't alone, and to encourage them to seek help if they need it, and to try medication if they have tried everything else to no avail.  Don't lose hope!  I don't think anxiety needs to be hidden nor do I think it is something to be ashamed of.  Talking about it brings a special bit of relief, and lightens the load a lot.  If anyone needs to chat, I'm here.  xo

Friday, November 1, 2013

My first panic attack ER visit.

I've heard and read that lots of people who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks find themselves in the local emergency room at some point, usually at the start of their illness; most often with the first panic attack.  They go, believing they are having a heart attack and need help immediately, only to find out that it was "just" a panic attack and they are perfectly fine.

Well, since I had my first panic attack over 4 years ago now, and then suffered my intense panic and anxiety starting a year ago, I figured I was well past the 'go to the hospital thinking you are having a heart attack' stage.

Wrong.

The day after my last post, I did, indeed, go to emergency fearing that my heart was failing.  I went early in the morning, let them know about my back/chest pain that was sharp, then dull and lingering.  I let them know about the racing heart and shallow breathing that woke me up the night before I went.  I let them know that I had experienced panic attacks in the past and that this was nothing like them.  I let them know I am taking anti-anxiety medication. 

My feelings were hurt a little when I noticed the nurse wrote in my file that I over exerted myself at my gym class two days before.  I told her that my chest hurt a little then, but that I routinely go to the gym and get my heart rate way up almost every single day.

I had the ECG.  I had the bloodwork and chest x-ray.  I sat for two hours waiting for test results.  I was at the hospital for a total of five hours.

Everything came back looking fine and dandy. 

I know I should be thankful.  I AM thankful.  But part of me is disappointed.  Disappointed because I wasted time sitting there.  Disappointed because I misjudged my body.  Disappointed because this happens EVERY time I think my life is in jeopardy.  Nothing really is.  I mean, I lost 25 lbs very very quickly and as a result I got really sick - mentally and physically.  And my bloodwork did not show a thing.  My gastroscopy, breathing tests, chest x-rays...nothing.  How does this happen?

I am a week and a day past the ER visit and just today my chest pain is finally slowly subsiding.  I've taken this time off working out, and that makes me sad too.  I just don't feel like myself anymore.  Three weeks ago I felt fabulous!  Healthy, energetic, strong and proud of my body and mind and recovery.  Excited about leading a busy and full life again without feeling sick and tired and anxious.  Today not so much.  I just feel...disappointed.

Monday I plan to start back at the gym, and I hope that it will be a new season of health, energy, and strength for me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Update

Well, it has been over a year since the whole anxiety thing started up for me.  I've been doing quite well; have resolved my IBS issues, my weight issues (I am now 27 lbs above my lowest point of 93 near the start of this year), and up until today, I thought the anxiety was well under control and not really an issue for me anymore.

Today something happened.  I was driving to my church to help out with some children's ministry prep and all of a sudden I got a sharp pain in the left side of my back.  :(  Then my entire body felt ice cold and mildly tingly.  I tried to take relaxing breaths and talk myself through it - "No, you are not having a heart attack.  This is anxiety, remember?  With each breath, you are feeling more and more relaxed..."  That didn't work so well and I found myself sweating and hot, and debated if I should just keep driving to the hospital.  I decided to tell the ladies at the church what happened so if anything happened, they could call an ambulance for me.  Sigh. 

I'm so disappointed.  It has been so much better for SO long that I didn't remember that feeling.  I didn't trust my brain telling me that it was not a heart attack because the sharp pain spread across my chest and became a dull ache and indigestion and a weird feeling that didn't really go away.

I have slowly been phasing out the supplement and other stuff routine that I created to help myself get better.  I think I need to get back on it.  Heading into winter, and busy-ness and stress and a time of possible spiritual attack is not a time for me to be lax about keeping my body strong.

All that said, I took 10 days off of my gym routine, then barely made it through my first exercise class back yesterday.  A friend mentioned there is a flu going around, and another friend we hung out with on the weekend has had a bad case of pneumonia this week.  I guess we are back into that season and I need to remember not to push myself too hard.  This afternoon instead of rushing about trying to cram many errands into one hour, I called it off and took a nap.  It may be time to start scheduling those into my days.  :P

Anyway, long story short, I'm mostly doing well.  I'm still taking my 5mg of Cipralex every second day, and every now and then I consider going back up to 5 per day.  I never take the plunge though, because I feel like I have to have a really really good reason, and that has not really happened until today.  Hopefully this was a warning, and my renewed diligence in taking care of me will ensure that it doesn't happen again!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Long awaited.

Well, yesterday was finally Eli's long-awaited next appointment with his psychologist.

And you know what?

It was less-than-impressive.

I'm kind of disappointed.

At the beginning of the appointment we revisited all of the fears he had put into his worry box on the first appointment.  He took out five worries.  The psychologist checked him on all those and put one back in the box.

For the rest of the appointment, my boy was distracted, didn't really focus or concentrate on the activity at hand.  At one point, he said that he isn't anxious about going to school anymore in his brain, but sometimes his body tells him that he needs to be.

The next appointment is on Monday, and since we've zapped the fear of being sick at school worry, we are now moving on to something else that came up:  the fear of others looking at him and judging him.

I feel really let-down over this today, like it is a huge waste of money that we just don't have right now.  The difference in Eli in his first two appointments with her was HUGE, and now he just doesn't seem to need the help anymore, especially at his realization that he really isn't afraid anymore.  :/

Happy for the progress we've made over the past two months, but we did it all on our own.  I should be thrilled, but I really just feel ho hum about the whole situation.  Blah.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Community Education Service

In my city, there is an organization called The Family and Community Resource Centre that runs out of the Alberta Children's Hospital.  One of the things that the FCRC offers to Calgarians is the Community Education Service.  The following is taken from their website:

The Community Education Service (CES) provides parents/caregivers and other community members with opportunities to access free, evidence-informed education sessions and resource materials to address child, youth, and family health and mental health needs.

I have taken a couple of the sessions they have presented and I have been really impressed with the amount of information they pass on to the public in an easy-to-understand way. 

Last night, I attended a session entitled "
Supporting Anxious Children and Teens: From Recognition to Response".  The presenter was thorough and her presentation was informative.  Unfortunately, all of the reading I have done about anxiety and child anxiety in the past year had me over-knowledged (yes, I know that's not a word) for this session and I didn't really learn anything (I should have believed the statement on the registration page that this would be a beginner level session for people with little to no knowledge of anxiety in children and teens).  That said, it was nice to know that I have been on the right track and I haven't wasted time straying from the way I "should" be understanding and coaching Eli through his anxiety.

If you are in the Calgary area, I totally recommend you sign up to receive emails from the Community Education Service.  They let you know about sessions that are available and coming up on a regular basis so that you can choose to attend those that interest you.  You must register to attend the sessions, but they are free of charge, and available to anyone. 


Visit their website here:  http://fcrc.albertahealthservices.ca/ces.php for more information.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tonight he prayed

Eli prayed at dinner today.  He thanked God for all the regular stuff he always thanks God for, but then he added on a couple more things.  He thanked God "for my brothers, even though they hurt me" and "for my anxiety because I know a lot more things now because of it."

I'm still fighting tears over his sweet grown up prayer. 

I am so proud of that boy.  So.  freaking.  PROUD.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Push

Twice today I had to push Eli into the school and close the door behind him.

Once this morning, once after lunch.

Both times, I had my hubby encouraging me to not go into the school with my boy; to just walk away and not look back.

This is tearing me up inside.  But I think it is becoming an act.

Eli has this special ability to pretend things.  He starts out pretending or playing around and before you know it, his pretending turns into real life.  Joking around about being angry very quickly turns into a full blown raging temper tantrum.  Hesitation about going to school turns into a meltdown.

He used to have stomachaches, headaches, random worries about gurgles and grumbles from his belly. 

He doesn't have those anymore.

He used to be pale, depressed, withdrawn from ALL areas of his life.

Now he chooses which days he wants to be anxious.  The first day of gymnastics, yes.  Sunday school this week, no.  Sunday school last week, yes.  Returning to school after lunch, almost always no.  Returning to school after lunch today,  yes.  Going to school in the mornings, almost always yes, but occasionally, no.

We make plans to help him, and he insists that he wants to do those things.  Then he decides that he is fine and he doesn't need to do those things.  Then minutes later, he changes his mind again.

It is exhausting me.

I want him to know that I care and that I am here for him.  But I don't want to be used.  I don't want to be played.  I feel like I am being played by my son.

I don't want my other children to suffer for attention.  I think my daughter might be suffering.  She has declared she doesn't like school "because it's too long," and when I asked her how her morning went, she said, incredulously, "me??" 

My oldest son mentioned that he is nervous at school and has brought up a few times that he doesn't want to go, but he knows he has to go anyway because he has responsibilities (he is a patroller).  Today he is on a field trip but still this morning asked if he could just stay home.

What is happening to my family?  I feel like we are crumbling.  I always thought that we were a smart, strong, bold, talented, organized, creative family.  But right now it is chaos around here.  I feel like I am scrambling to hold everyone and everything together.  I know I am strong enough, but I don't know about everyone else.  If only I could inject strength, faith and courage into each of them... 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Note to the teacher

On top of his difficulties actually getting to school, Eli has been having issues being at school.  Yesterday he told me that there is a boy in his class who has been tormenting him.  According to Eli, this boy tries to make him cry by kicking him and calling him names and accusing him of being a bully.  He steals the erasers and sharpeners from Eli's table group, and he refuses to give them back.

I asked my boy why he doesn't let the teacher know.

"Because then the teacher will just tell me to stop tattling," he says, with tears threatening to fall.

I could not convince him to tell the teacher or to let me write her an email, but he did agree to writing her a note about what has been going on.  In the end, he asked me to write the note, but I had him dictate it to me, and we added at the end that the reason Eli is letting her know this in a note and not just telling her is because he doesn't want the other student to overhear him talking about him to the teacher.

So, hopefully this will be cleared up soon.  Eli had trouble with this boy and his twin brother last school year, where the twins ganged up on him and when Eli's big bro said something to them about it, the twins' mom yelled at Eli and my other son for hurting her children.  Sooooo...I think he's a little sensitive to anything from either of these kids now.  It would be so wonderful if kids never lost their need to blurt out the absolute truth at all times, wouldn't it?

Anxiety Conversations with Eli

Up until this point, I have not named my anxious child.  I have decided to call him Eli for the purposes of this blog.  It is much easier to type a name than to continually try to find a grammatically correct way to indicate who I am talking about.

Here is a conversation we had today when I was sitting in his classroom this morning.

Eli:  So, are you going to the gym after this?

Me:  Yes.  I feel so much better when I exercise; not so tense and frustrated with you guys when you fight.  I bet you feel less anxious when you get lots of exercise too, right?

Eli:  Yeah, it makes my tummy hurt, but then it goes away.

We have had so many conversations about anxiety.  I know how it makes him feel, because he tells me flat-out.  No sugar-coating it from him.  The most memorable statements he has made more than once through this journey include, "I wish I was never born,"  "I wish I was dead," and "Why can't I just be normal?"

These statements scare me a little as we inch closer to the teenage years.  They scare me a lot.

Please, God, help us find some way to get past this before the teenage years hit. 

Books for anxious children

I did a bunch of searching online and in stores to find some books that I could share with my little guy about anxiety, especially separation and school anxiety.  I really wanted him to know that he isn't the only one in the world who feels this way, and that other people (characters) have felt the same way and been able to still do the things they were afraid of.  Yes, they are characters in books, but at the very least, I figured he would get some ideas of how to manage through the tougher times.

I thought I'd compile a list of books here; these are the ones that were available at my local library, and my son quite enjoyed them all.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Silly Billy by Anthony Brown

David and the Worry Beast:  Helping Children Cope with Anxiety by Anne Marie Guanci

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg (this one is a favourite!)

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

I Love You All Day Long by Fracesca Rusackas

I feel like there were more, but I can't find my list right now.  If anyone knows of any other great children's books to help kids understand their anxiety, please share the title with me and I will update this list.

Edited to include the following (thanks Meg!):


Worried Arthur by Joan Stimson

What makes me Happy? by Catherine Anholt

The Great Big Book of Feelings by Mary Hoffman

The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside

Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett

I'm Worried - Your Emotions Series by Brian Moses

Why Do I feel Scared by Pat Thomas

Don't Panic Annika by Juliet Clare Bell

But Martin by June Counsel

Fly, Chick, Fly by Jeanne Willis

The Worry Monster by Emma Brownjohn

All kinds of Fears - When My Worries Get Too Big by Emma Brownjohn

Please Explain Anxiety to Me by Laurie Zelinger

What to Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hiding in my bed

My family is a disaster. 

I wish I could find something/someone to help us.

The constant fighting and negativity and mean words exhaust me.

That is all.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School Anxiety: The First Week

Last Thursday was the first day of school for my kids.  My anxious little man turned out to be NOT anxious about the first day.  I had taken him in to meet his new teacher and see his classroom the day before.  We also chatted with the principal and both of my boy's teachers from last year. 

On the first day, he went in just fine.  I had to put a little pressure on his back to make him keep walking, but nothing major.  He did great!  Same with Friday.

Monday morning sucked.  My boy cried.  I dragged him across the field.  He clung on to my arm so tightly he actually hurt me, and I was concerned there would be bruises.  We left in plenty of time to get there by the bell, but by the time it rang, we were still only halfway across the field.  By the time I got him into the building, through the office's late procedure, and to his class, he was quite late.  As we stood in the hallway outside of his classroom, him hiding in his hoodie and me, pleading with him to go in, the principal walked toward us.  She offered him many options; she could ask his teacher to come out and meet him in the hallway or he could hang out with her for awhile or he could go hang out with his teacher from last year (who now teaches kindergarten).  No, no, no was his answer, and the principal told me that at his level, he is fine to miss some school, and to take him home, calm down and come back at 12:30 to meet with her and his teacher to make a plan.

We did that, and now my boy enters the classroom every day before his classmates, in the morning and at lunch.

Tuesday morning we went early and his teacher was on supervision duty, so she set us up to hang out in the neighbouring teacher's classroom until the bell.  Smooth and easy.

Tuesday at lunch my boy had to go to the bathroom 5 minutes before it was time to go back to school.  He went.  He took his time.  The school bell rang at 12:45 and he was still in our bathroom, at home.  My daughter and her friend are starting school at 1:00 this week, so I took the three of them to school for 1:00.  After the girls went inside, I took my boy to the office, got him a late stamp and escorted him to his class.  In he went, without a fuss.

This morning he freaked out before he left home.  His oldest brother aggravated the issue.  Lots of crying and freaking out happened.  I got my boy to school and to his class before the bell rang.  We sat on a huge pillow in his classroom and he read to me, as is now the routine.  When it was time to sit on the carpet with the other students, he wouldn't go.  I eventually coerced him over to the carpet, with the conditions that while he is at school this morning, I go out to purchase him a watch so he can count down the minutes until he will be with me again, while he is at school; and also that I leave my water bottle with him, so he has "something to remember" me by.

Today the anxiety is worse than yesterday; yesterday worse than the day before. 

Monday morning was the first time ever that I actually seriously considered homeschooling him.  It seems like a simple solution, but the truth is, I don't want to save him from this.  I want him to triumph over it.  Running away is not a solution; I figured that out in my own journey.  Running away makes things get really bad really fast.

Also, selfishly, I really just want some time to myself.  Four kids in school during the day and me at home alone for a few hours in the morning and a couple hours in the afternoon is a heavenly treat to me.  It's been over 11 years since I have had this, and my whole being craves it.  Time that is just my own, to do what I want to and see my friends and try new things.  To make solid plans for myself.  I want to be a person again. 

My child needs me, my children need me, my husband needs me...but I need me too.  The emotional battle is draining.

Please Lord, let us find solutions soon.  Lasting solutions that are not dictated by someone else's schedule and availability.  Solutions that will not lead us into financial ruin.  I know that You will provide the strength I need to get through this, but I am growing weary in the fight.  Help me to endure with patience and cheerfulness.  Please.



Monday, August 12, 2013

Brokenhearted

I think my heart actually broke today.  My chest hurts.  My throat hurts.  I cried harder than I have in longer than I can remember.  I couldn't hold it in and I couldn't suck it up.  It was so bad that I had to go bug my hubby in his (home) office.  Normally I cry completely alone - I don't ever want anyone to see me.

But I am hurt.  I am weary.  I am emotionally exhausted.  My spirit is beaten down.  I don't feel like I can be strong any longer.  Not for one more step.

The psychologist that I got my son in to see turned out to be a fabulous match.  After my boy's first session with her, he was already so much better.  He didn't cry all day every day about everything anymore.  He stopped clinging to me. 

In his second session with her, she asked him to choose a worry to "zap" and he chose the biggest one - his fear of school and getting sick at school.  We worked on that for an hour.  I am so ridiculously proud of him.  My boy is amazing.  Since that session, he has been even better.  In five days I have seen him express anxiety ONE time.  ONE. 

We are doing our homework.  We are believing this is going to work.

Well, I was until today.

Today I called the psychologist's scheduling office to book more appointments because the scheduler had not yet replied to my email that I sent awhile ago, asking to book our remaining eight appointments.

It turns out that there are no openings until October.  Two months from now.

School starts in three days.

I feel like I was punched.  Hard.

Finally, FINALLY I had some hope.  I was so excited about this, and knew that it was the key for my boy.  He is excited to go to the appointments.  He is smiling and happy again.  He is wonderful.  How am I supposed to break this news to him?  I know that he will be crushed.

I hate thinking, "Why can't this be easy?" but my brain keeps going there.  I feel like I've been fighting for this so long.  I'm so tired of trying to get help and being shot down just as we get off the ground.  It has happened over and over to our family.  I don't understand what we are doing wrong.  I'm starting to take it personally.

I can't even think clearly to try to figure out our next step, which is a big thing for my 'doer' self.  We could just take the wait and see approach, but what if things get horrible over the next two months?  There is a chance we won't be able to afford the sessions at all by October.  Then we'll be back at square one.  Again.  With another few months wasted.

I'm just so done with trusting professionals.  Why can't I just fix things myself??  Why can't I protect my family from being hurt? 

So very frustrated.  :(

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mini Anxiety

Well, it has been a long while since I posted here, and as my own anxiety problem wanes, my son's is picking up, getting more and more...just more.

The last while of school was difficult.

The doctor appointment I referred to in my last post was a worthless waste of time.  Even as my boy sat curled up in a chair, refusing to answer the doctor's questions or meet her gaze, she only half granted half of my request for specific help for my son.  You see, one of my family members is friends with someone quite well-known in the children's mental health world.  That family member got me some valuable advice, including specific places to be referred to.  I brought that information to my doctor and not only did she not give me both referrals like I asked, the one that she did set up for me, she referred to the wrong service.

That service called me a few days later, and my heart sank as her assessment of the situation had her advising me to find a psychologist myself; use my husband's benefits if he has any, or if we are too poor, to try to get in with the low-income subsidized counsellors in the city, which could take awhile.

Forgive my crass-ness, but FUCK.

I am ASKING for help for my child.  WHY must this be so difficult???

I was frustrated, but decided to wait on the family member's friend's assistance.  She's a super busy person though (understandably!), and after our two-week vacation, I decided I could wait no longer.  I really need something started before school starts up again.  After making this decision and getting the ball rolling on it, I was told that the provincial mental health people always say NO to taking children on as patients.  The ones with parents who call back, contest it, push, fight, yell, won't take no for an answer...those are the kids who get help.  You know what?  I'm all for a good fight over something that my child is entitled to by being a citizen of this city, province and country, but right now I just don't have the time for it.  So, the $$$$$ route we will go.

SO...over the weekend I filled in pages and pages of paperwork about my boy.  I photocopied all relevant documents supporting my claim, and gathered recent pictures of him to make up his file.  Monday my hubby dropped all the info off to our psychologist, and this morning I went, alone, to meet with her, discuss the paperwork and answer any questions she had about what she has read.

Today cost me $335.

It makes me feel a little sick to my stomach.

But I have to just keep telling myself it is worth it.  It will be worth it.  Seeing my boy run into school happily, rather than being dragged there will be worth it.  Watching him not fighting himself to get into the water for his swimming lesson will be worth it.  Having him excitedly bound outside to play with a friend instead of me having to convince him that he should go will be worth it.  It will be worth it if I can go through the day without feeling helpless as he freaks out; and if my husband doesn't have to try his hardest to barely hold in his frustration at a kid who is terrified of the unknown.

Please let it be worth it.

We start on Thursday.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Anxiety Bug

It seems that my boy has been bitten by the anxiety bug.  :(  He is seven.

My heart breaks to see him go through the "stages" that I went through.  I can feel what he is feeling.  It wasn't that long ago that I felt them myself.

Last night before his bath, I got him to step on the scale.  He was showing the signs and I was curious.  Down six pounds.  He has barely been eating.  He says it hurts his stomach.  He has always been my best eater.  He will try anything, and usually likes it.  Six pounds is more than ten percent of his body weight.  

I wanted to cry.  I wanted to cry, but I didn't.  I am strong for him.  I did my best to hide my anxiety from my kids.  As I went through it, I told them I was sick; that my body didn't like certain foods (my five year old daughter still tells me that dairy makes me sick, even though it doesn't anymore), but that I went to the doctor and I was getting myself better.  I think I did a good job keeping it from the kids.

But last night I had to tell him.  I laid on my bed with my boy tucked in next to me, and I told him.  

"I had these feelings that you are having.  I know that they are horrible.  It wasn't very long ago that I felt them too.  But you know what?  I got better, and so will you.  We are strong people.  We have people who love us and people who want to help us get better.  And I know how to help you.  You just have to trust me."

I told him that lots of people struggle with anxiety.  Lots of adults and lots of kids.  And people want to help them get better.

My boy slept for 12 hours last night.  I was a little worried when I got up at 7:45 and he was still not awake. He is a 6:00am sort of kid.  

Unfortunately it was a rushrushrush morning for our household.  Hubby had to work at 7:00.  Our oldest had science materials to prepare and bring to school.  Our middle boy was headed out on a field trip at a provincial (?) park, in the rain and mosquitoes and needed to be prepared for the unstable and unreliable weather that our city provides, and needed to bring a lunch and snacks.  Our daughter's morning was double-booked but we committed to do half of the first thing (preschool) and then rush off to her last swimming lesson.  I was committed to washing preschool toys while I waited for her.

My sweet boy did not go to school.  I didn't have the time to spend to get him there in a calm and relaxed manner and I didn't have the heart to rush him through his breathlessness, dizziness and queasy tummy.  He spent the morning in his bed, breathing deep and trying to read since he was not tired, while his daddy worked in the next room.

When I arrived home, I convinced my boy to get out of bed even though he didn't want to.  I convinced him to finish eating his breakfast despite his tummy ache, reminding him that he needs to trust me, and that he is okay.  I made him a banana-avocado-fruit n veggie juice smoothie.  I told him that he could choose to go to school this afternoon, or go to the doctor.

He heard me on the phone with the doctor's office (he has an appointment on Thursday), and made the choice to go to school.  He told me he was afraid he would be hungry at school.  I filled his pocket with two different snacks and told him I'd let his teacher know they were there for him to eat whenever he was ready. He told me that he had to go to the bathroom, and came downstairs and asked me if I knew what he did in the bathroom.  I asked if he'd pooped (which is what he went up for).  He said no, but he DID tell his 'worry brain' to SHUT UP and stop bugging him.

Shut up is not a phrase we use in our house.  If someone says it, they are sternly reminded it is not okay to say that.  However, I have been encouraging my boy to use this phrase to quiet the part of his brain that keeps telling him lies; that he will not be okay.  I think he likes that he has the privilege to say 'shut up' without getting into trouble.

When he came downstairs and told me this, I was SO PROUD of him!  He also said that he could leave his bowl on the couch because now he didn't need it.  He said his worry brain is the one that needed it.  I told him that he should just put his worry brain in the bowl and walk away from it forever.  He laughed at that.  Oh so good to see him smile and see him laugh.

Right now my boy is at school.  His oh-so-very-understanding-angel teacher was at the door to meet us and she smiled and welcomed him in and I told her that he brought snacks in his pocket for just in case he gets hungry and she smiled and said that is perfect.  I am so thankful for her.

And I am so thankful that I got to go through this before my boy so I can understand.  I know I can love him through it.  I know how to answer his questions.  I know that I need to be patient.  And I am thankful that soon school will be done, and that our vacation will bring many more adults around to help with my other three children, that they will get the fun attention they need too, and I can give a little more attention to the one that needs a little more.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Heartache

My heart is consumed tonight by an ache so strong that my whole being yearns for relief from it.

My sweet third-born also suffers from anxiety, at the young age of 7 years.

He and I have always had some sort of special connection that I don't share with my other children, and as the years go by, more and more things happen that reinforce this.

Tonight as I sat with him in the bathroom, he - exhaustedly hanging his head in the toilet, just in case, and me - sitting on the floor beside him just being there, he asked me the question.  My question.

"Why do I always have to feel not good?"

Then, through tears:

"I just wanted to go to bed tonight.  And feel better.  So I could go to school tomorrow.  Like a normal day."

I know.  

I know.

:(

And now he is fast asleep on my bedroom floor, hugging a bowl, just in case.

Looking way too big for the boy we know him to be, and at the same time, too small.

Way too small to be feeling such big feelings.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Upheld



The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in Him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

Psalm 37:23-24

Today marks twenty days since I reduced my dose of Cipralex from 5mg/day to 5mg every second day, and things are going very well.  There were a few days at the beginning that I almost changed my mind.  Moments of anxiety.  But they always ended up being mere moments that passed quickly, and by the time it would be time to take the med the next night, I didn't want to.

I have come so far.  I remember thinking that I might need to up my dose to the regular therapeutic dose instead of staying at the starter dose.  I remember how bad it was.  I remember thinking that I would never again live without Cipralex because of the enormous change it helped me make.    And maybe I still will be taking Cipralex forever.  But as of right now, I can imagine that one day I won't need it.  

My outlook lately has been happy and light.  I have felt so great, and it is such a wonderful feeling.  All of the work I have put into myself has paid off, and the results make it so easy to keep going.  I have slipped a little on my vitamin and mineral supplements, but I never miss a day of my fibre supplement or probiotics.  I believe these are the keys to managing my IBS issues.  I make sure to drink 2-3 litres of water per day.  I have relapsed into my Froster a day habit.  I am challenging myself with workouts and exercise challenges.  In fact, today I will do my last P90X workout.  I made it through the whole ninety days (even though it took 97).  I plan to take a small break (if you can call still doing the last week of an ab challenge a break), then will start Jillan Michaels' DVD, Ripped in 30, on June 1.  I will also follow the meal plan that accompanies that, which is something I did not do with P90X.  And the best part - my hubby will be joining me!  He has been struggling with depression himself lately, and now that I have a bit of a foundation in taking care of myself, I am feeling more ready to be a little more supportive to him in his eating and weightloss journeys.

As much as I have been feeling well on the inside, I feel my outsides have been suffering.  I look at my face in the mirror and say, "Ugh."  I just don't like what I see there.  Perhaps it is an aging face.  All of a sudden I am struggling with acne.  I do not like my hair at all.  My face is not pleasing to me, and I can't make it look better with makeup.  In fact, when I put makeup on, it looks even worse.  I sure do like looking at my newly strong and flexible body in the mirror though.  Hopefully my face will get the memo soon, and catch up.

I have more to write, but this is long already so I will save it for my next post (which will hopefully come sooner than later).  I just wanted to say that things are good.  I am recovering from my stumble; feeling secure on my feet again.  And it feels wonderful to be strong enough to lend a hand again to others who might need it.  If this is you, I'm here.  Send me a message.  Let's go for coffee.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Trying something new

Last night I forgot to take my Cipralex pill. I took it tonight and I just might forget to take it again tomorrow night. We'll see.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cipralex: 5 Months and lots of other randomness

I have been taking 5 mg of Cipralex for five months now, and all is well with it.

Recently (while on a spring break vacay with the kids), I went to take my pill in the van before meeting up with some friends.  I could not break that thing in half for the life of me.  I bit it in half.  Bleh.  When I returned home, as soon as I was out purchasing groceries, I bought myself a pill splitter.  Seriously, one of the best inventions ever.  I should have gotten one in November when this all started.

And all the other stuff...

Counseling...meh.  I have been taking the kids weekly for family counseling.  Of course once we get there, they are perfect and the counselor is impressed by their brightness, their ideas and their ability to interact following the rules that they are taught during the session.  Seriously, the second we step out to the van, they are hurting each other, bickering and screaming.  I think the counselor is great, and he is teaching wonderful strategies to the kids and I, but most of them are things I've done for years, and the stuff the kids get from the session, they take it home and turn it into a new way to attack each other.  So draining.  I am holding on to hope that with us following through with what we learn and making it a regular part of our home, it will eventually click in for the kids and everything will be better.  Best to be positive about it, right?

I am still doing P90X.  Tomorrow I begin week 8.  The truth is I am tired of it and it has been a huge struggle to get the workouts in lately.  BUT, I do love the flexibility I have gained, and I love that my thighs are pure muscle.  If I had to pick two areas that I'd really really like to firm up, it would be my butt and my abs.  I think this explains my loss of interest in P90X lately.  I am just not into all that biceps/triceps/chest/back/legs stuff.  I really just want to do cardio.  But I will finish the program.

Moving onto weight gain...it seems to no longer be a problem.  This morning I weighed in at 112.4 pounds.  Perfect.  Even if it does bum me out a little that my "fat" jeans are the ones that fit me better.

There have been some negatives lately.  I had given up Coke and Frosters for awhile but now I am finding that I really need one or the other to get through the day.  These hits of sugar and caffeine give me stress relief, as long as I stay within a certain limit.  Too much sugar and I am easily agitated.  As a result, my water consumption has gone down.  I was up to 3L per day for awhile.

I have not been rigidly following my eating rules (protein snacks or meals five times per day) for the past while or taking all of my supplements.  Laziness makes me more lazy.  Tired.  Dragging.  I have found that I need a nap to get through the afternoon, and I usually rest on the couch for 30 minutes to an hour after I send the boys back to school after lunch.  Also, I've been trying to spend time with my husband by staying up to watch his shows with him at night and have been missing my 10:00 bedtime.  If I am not in bed by 10, I get hungry, nauseous, and it gets harder for me to fall asleep.

I am a little frustrated that after all this time that I have been working to make myself better and "normal", I still have to follow such a rigid schedule of food, sleep and exercise.  It gets boring after awhile.  I have noticed lately that I've become bored with the routine of my life and I have decided I want to do stuff, even if I have to do it on my own.  I so enjoyed doing stuff while I was on vacation.  I loved going to the spa with my mom and a friend.  I loved going to the gym with my mom and another friend.  I went out for lunches, dinners, to the theatre, mini golfing, out for appetizers.  There was a huge family dinner with about 20 people and everyone brought something and the socializing time was great.  I learned that I need people.  I remembered that I love people.  I got to do adult stuff with other adults.  I did not have kids in tow.  And it was fabulous.  I have been so lonely.

While I was away, my hubby sent me links to listings of homes in our neighbourhood that are comparable in size to ours.  We have been watching the real estate listings for years now.  It seems that things are coming up in price enough that if we sold our home now, we would not end up buried in monstrous debt.  If we sold, we could relocate to a place with all that fun that I had.  So many women that I could 'hang' with.  My parents, my brother, my family.  It's funny, we've been planning this for years.  My parents suggested that we move with them when they left here almost four years ago.  My hubby was on board immediately (surprised me!) while I was not really interested.

But now that it is a real possibility, and having just been there with the kids for two weeks...well, I am torn.  The support is like gold to me.  But how could I tear my kids away from the life they know and love here?  The church, their school, the family they have?  Why would I give up my position in "Canada's best-ranked city"?  We are right on the cusp of a new life stage now.  Our youngest will start full day kindergarten in August.  I will return to work after 11 years.  My hubby is itching for a career change.  It makes sense to move, in terms of starting fresh and new.

But it would take so much effort.  So much emotion.  And remember, I am stuck on lazy lately.  LOL

The 'place' we are in right now as a family is painful, aching, that transition place, trying to make decisions, everything changing, growing out of our home and out of our jobs and the responsibilities that have been assigned to us for years.  It's a new place where we are looking outward at our surroundings and to the future, instead of focusing on getting through one day at a time as a young family.  We are growing up.  Such a strange feeling.

Anyway, my point is, through all of this loneliness and unsure-ness and busy-ness (did I mention life has never been as busy as it is right now??) and stress and everything else coming along with it all, I have not been anxious.  I've been able to make it through without my body freaking out on me.  And I am so grateful for that.  :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It finally happened.

For the first time ever, I forgot to take my Cipralex last night. The only side effect I noticed today was that I was a little weepy at church this morning, the way that I used to be before this whole panic thing started. Nothing horrible from missing one day, yay!

Also, today's weigh in...108 lbs. I have not been eating enough lately and I have felt so hungry sometimes, which I try to avoid.

Awhile ago, I tried switching to a less expensive probiotic. It has not seemed to be a good idea, so I will be switching back to Tuzen this week.

I have cut back on my Froster consumption. I used to have one per day, but this week I just stopped going out every day to buy one. Fewer calories, less sugar.

And, that's all folks!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Probably time for an update.

Well, I've been meaning to keep this up, but blogging has been one of those things that has just gotten put on the back burner for awhile.

I don't know what changed, but for awhile I was having trouble keeping up with everything.  I seem to be on the upswing now, though my dirty laundry pile is still out of control!!

I have now been on 5 mg of Cipralex for four months.  It seems like it should be longer for some reason.  It is still going well, and I have no desire to up my dose or try life without it yet.

I am doing well at maintaining my weight, and it usually fluctuates between 109 and 111 lbs.  However, I no longer feel well all the time anymore.  I think that I am slacking on eating enough, and it could be due to my new exercise routine.  I am struggling to fix this, but I hope that with all the knowledge I've gained from this whole process, I will figure out what my body needs very soon and I can be back to amazement at going through a day with no ailments!

Counseling is going well.  We have met with the counselor four times and he has worked with the family to sort out our (the kids') issues, which seem to be boundary related.  The first time I went by myself, the second and third times all six of us went and today I went with our two oldest (who I think need to work on their relationship the most) while my hubby worked from home and kept an eye on the two youngest.

I am currently in my fourth week of P90X.  I have a great support group going through it with me, and many other friends who are cheering me on and offering helpful tips and encouragement.  I love P90X (except the Yoga - that DVD is way. too. long.), and have started seeing changes already to my flexibility, stamina and strength.  My favourite workouts are XStretch (feels so good!) and KenpoX (because who doesn't like punching and kicking??).

It is the height of tax season and I am feeling pretty isolated socially.  I am SO THANKFUL for facebook, which I believe is a huge factor in keeping me sane.  I love that I have almost 300 people right there who I can strike up a conversation with when I feel the need to have adult interaction but can't leave the house.  Thank you to all my friends who enlighten me.  :D

New developments - I have created a new playlist!  I mentioned here that I made one awhile ago to bring me strength in the hard moments.  Well, now I have a happy one, and it makes my heart beat faster and makes me wiggle my booty while I do the more mundane household chores.  

My kids and I are going on vacation without my hubby soon.  We did it once before and it was pretty fun, but it is also the time that my IBS issues took a turn for the worse and became super serious.  I am hoping that this time will not produce the same results.  I am trusting that things will be more easygoing and laidback for me, and that we will all have a fabulous time (the kids and I with family and hubby getting some alone time).  :)

I have decided that I want to be more social.  Going out for "coffee" (well, a beverage that doesn't have to be coffee since I don't actually drink it) with friends, meeting people at parks to hang out or skate or toboggan or walk.  Stuff like that.  I want the friends that keep me sane on facebook to be IRL friends that I can really hug instead of just writing it, and I want to be a support to them like they have been to me.  This is a desire/goal I have had for so so long, and I have never made it happen.  Going into spring and summer, I want now to be the time.

I also hope to start running at some point in the next year.  It would  be nice if hubby and I could do it together...or anything together.  Our kids are getting older now, and I am looking forward to hubby and I getting to work on our relationship more as they become more independent.  Right now, we are as ships passing in the night...

 Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.   Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth

Dramatic, hey?  :P  Just about two months to go.

I think that is about all for an update.  I am making it through this.  :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Another Negative Post

Ugh.  I hate that I am posting negative news twice in a row here, but I'm trying to keep a record, and I guess stuff like this happens.

I have had a really tough week.  I feel like the goodness of last week pushed this one down even farther.  My husband has been sick with some sort of respiratory garbage.  My youngest son was home from Monday to Thursday with influenza.  My daughter did not go to the Wednesday night activities my children all attend.  All of these combined meant that I did not get one second of alone time for almost an entire week.  Even after bedtime I had children coming downstairs to pester me for things until as late as 9:30pm.

Last night I could not take a full breath.  I coached myself using the techniques I have come to know so well, and it did not help.  I could not relax my muscles.  Despite being exhausted, I could not stay asleep...I would fall asleep for awhile only to wake up because I was clenching my jaw so tightly it hurt.

And this morning I woke up with respiratory garbage too.  Thanks dear hubby.  :P  I tried to ignore it.  I tried to pretend I was fine and I used my two hours that all four kids were in school this morning to do all of the errands I haven't gotten to this week, and I went to the grocery store and the drug store and spent way too much money on herbal remedies for chest congestion and on super foods to try to boost up all of our immunities.

And right now I am sitting in my dim, quiet living room with that huge lump in my throat that yells, "PANIC!!"  and feeling tired and dehydrated and a little bit afraid.  I know that I am sick.  But this sick feels a heck of a lot like a panic attack.  And as much as I try to tell myself that I am fine, my tired brain says, "but what if it is serious and you aren't fine?"

I am afraid that my dose of Cipralex isn't working anymore.  That my good days would be good whether I took it or not.  I am afraid to up my dose to 10 mg because that is double what I am taking now, and I would have to deal with all the start up side effects again.  I don't want to do that.  But I kind of want to try going higher.  Just to see.  It is a conundrum.

I did not do much in the way of P90X this week, and I hate that.  I was on such a great roll last week.  Monday I got down on the floor to do pushups and I hurt my wrist bad enough that I couldn't use it for the rest of the day.  I decided to give it another day to heal.  The day after that I hurt it again, wiping the table.  Do you know how much of P90X you can do without using your wrist?  Not a whole lot.  I tried the first two days to workout and just skip past the parts that included weight on my wrist.  I tried to do Yoga with only a bit of pressure on my index finger/thumb area.  It was frustrating and difficult, and eventually painful.  The next day my thumb hurt as well.  Tomorrow is Kenpo and I know I can do that one.  I am looking forward to it.

This week we finally got started on family counseling!  The idea was that my hubby and I would go in without the kids so we could discuss freely the issues and all get on the same page of what our plan of action would be.  Well, finding a babysitter was impossible, so I changed the appointment and it ended up that all six of us went in together.  It was very squishy in the little office, but it went really well.  The counselor was great with the kids and when they got distracted and bored, he was able to pull them right back into what we were discussing by taking notice of what they were doing and joining in.  He even had our oldest lead us in song, and he joined right in.

So I am struggling but putting in the effort to incorporate the suggestions that came out of our counseling session this week into our lives.  With the illness, it has been really hard.  And instead of doing my workout for today I am sitting here typing this update so that I can hopefully sleep well tonight and let go of whatever it is that is messing with my body.

I will do some stretches and settle into my warm bed and hopefully sleep well tonight.  Tomorrow is a busy day - I have a meeting in the morning and my youngest son has two parties to be at in the afternoon.  My hubby will work his usual 13+ hour day and come home exhausted, and hopefully not sicker than he has been.  It has been over two weeks now since he has been well, and he has taken one half day off of his jobs.

In addition to the workload, he has his accounting studies to keep up with.  In the past, he has taken time off from studying through tax season so that he doesn't have to try to memorize facts through exhaustion.  However, everything is changing with the accounting certification and he no longer has the option to take time off from his studies. And this sucks.

We are just two too tired parents.  Working hard and hoping for something good to come of it all.  LOL  Like most parents, right?

I have also fallen off the "eating enough calories" wagon, and I can really feel it.  The problem is, when I eat, I feel too full to take a breath.  That makes me panic...and around it goes.

I never imagined that I would have a problem holding everything together.  I used to be good at this doing everything, cheerfully, and making it look easy (or so I thought) thing.  But I can feel the 'fine balance' becoming evident to myself and others, and I am at the point where, as much as I want to, I wonder if it would be wise to push it.  I used to be game for pushing the limits (I WANT to be game for pushing the limits), but I haven't been my old self for quite awhile, and my new self that I don't really know (or trust) yet asks, "is it really the right time?"

I just don't know.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bad Day

Today is not a good day.  There are just too many things piling, piling, piling and it is getting to be too much for me.

It's funny, I have never felt more alone than I do right in this very second, but at the same time all I want is to be alone.  All by myself, making choices for myself.  Doing what I want to be doing without feeling guilty about what I am not doing.  I want to be with people that I want to be with and not people that I have to be with.

I have never felt so close to getting help and answers and so so far away at the same time.

I hate that I need other people.  I don't want to need anyone.  It would be so much easier then, wouldn't it?

My heart is breaking for a friend whose son was diagnosed with lymphoma yesterday.  Out of the blue, out of nowhere.  He is the same age as my youngest son.  His mom a single mom.  He has two brothers too, like my boy.

I hate that I don't want to hug my kids today because they are making me so angry.  I hate that I want a break from them.  So so badly.  I hate that I can't get it.

My husband is sick and working his butt off anyway.  And still trying to make sure that the kids do something other than fight and turn the house into a disaster area in ten seconds flat.  All my hard work.  For naught.  When my husband can see it happening, then I know it has gotten bad.  I wish he and I could run away together.  We 'get' each other so well.

I wish I had boxes and bags to carry through the house and fill with stuff to get out of here.  Today my house feels way too small.  Too cluttered.  Too garbagey.  I wish I could just get rid of almost everything and leave it empty and silent.

I have finally reached the weight goal I set for myself.  Yay.  I feel happy that I can eat without feeling sick.  Yesterday I couldn't button my only clean pair of jeans.  I know I should be okay with it, but I am not.  I feel like a fat blob now.  Why can't I just be happy about this?  I thought I set myself up to be okay with it.

I am sitting here paralyzed in sadness and confusion.  I think I'm going to order pizza for dinner tonight because I don't have it in me to cook.  I hate that I have to share it with the kids and that it will be a reward for them...rewarding their bad behaviour.  But I can't not feed them.  I know the laws.  :P

I'm sure it doesn't help that I didn't sleep last night and my period is due tomorrow.  But today I am low, and I am struggling and I wish that my kids would just do things my way for once, to keep the peace, to keep my plans, to keep my schedule.

They have lost their electronics privileges and guess who is punished by that?!?  I'll give you a clue - it is not them.

Just four hours until bedtime!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

P90 X

Yesterday I officially started the P90X workouts. I am joining a group of women who are doing the workouts as well, and we are offering support to each other.

So far I'm feeling the burn but it's not too bad. This morning even though it hurt for me to put my arms above my head I still managed to get groceries, change the water jug on our water cooler, and do everything else I had to do on this crazy busy day.

I still have to take my before pictures. I must remember to do that tomorrow when it's sunny. I am really excited to compare them to the end pictures after 90 days.

Today was also that magical day that I finally got to see a counselor. After a search of almost 5 years, I think that I finally found someone who will work with our family. Next week he will see my husband and I together, and after that we will start to bring the children in. I am also looking forward to seeing benefits from this.

Today I did experience some anxiety with IBS side effects. It was right before I left to see the counselor (funny right?). I am once again starting to wonder if I am figuring out a way to manage my anxiety on my own, or if the low dose of Cipralex is helping. I don't think I'm ready to cut back quite yet.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cipralex 3 months, 1 week

I wanted to update monthly about how I was doing on Cipralex, but I missed the 3 month anniversary of starting it.

Last week I had a LOT of anxiety.  I have to say that my new lifestyle (and Cipralex, likely) has really cut out my panic attacks.  I do still have anxiety on a regular basis, but I very very rarely get to the point that I am sure I am going to die any second.  I got to that point once last week, but it was short and passed quickly (before Cipralex, it sometimes lasted up to an entire day).  And other than that one time, I can't remember the last time it happened since my body has grown accustomed to Cipralex.

I went for my annual (though not really annual) physical last Thursday and I checked out all fine.  The doctor gave me a prescription for a Cipralex refill and told me that my BMI is a healthy 21, but she'd like to see me gain five more pounds.  I am hovering right now in the 109-110 lbs range, and I am so proud of myself for making it here!  That is a gain of 17-18 lbs since I decided to really work on it in November.  Yay me!

This week has been totally different from last week, and on two occasions I have forgotten to take my pill at the general time I take it.  One night I almost went to bed (at midnight!) without it.  I know I am getting better.

My husband is fully into his season of working two jobs and while I am proud of and supportive of him, I am feeling the transition and the shift in schedules and life tension.  He is exhausted already, as he is still getting used to the long days, and this year will be a touch harder for him (and therefore me) as he has committed to working out as many mornings per week as possible, and has made the decision to hammer through his accounting (degree?) starting now until it is done.  And keep up with his shows.  ;)

I often think of February to May as my alone time, because I feel the kids and Jon relying on me heavily for things and there is no one to share this responsibility with.  It isn't necessarily a bad thing in my mind because I enjoy my quiet evenings in the silence of my house, and the rest of the time, I am so overcome with busyness, I don't FEEL alone.  However, if I take myself out of the situation and look into it at myself, it makes me sad for some reason.  I see that my friendships do suffer during this time.  My social life.  My hobbies.  For the rest of the year, I can pass things off to my partner.  But other than him, I have no one to share the responsibilities, no one to confide in, no one to hang out with and watch TV.  No one else to cook dinner.  LOL

Today I had a nice morning visiting with friends, but when they left, I found myself irritated by my children asking me for this, that and the other thing.  They are off school for Teachers' Convention today and tomorrow and for Family Day on Monday.  I am thankful that I am well enough to take them out of the house tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and hopefully keep them busy enough that they won't be bored (and irritating).  Thanks to Cipralex, thanks to the library and internet for helping me research what I needed to know to get better, and thanks to my mom for getting me through those first couple of awful weeks.  :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Update and Weigh In

I haven't been here in awhile, and I guess there hasn't been a lot to report.

I've had some mild anxiety that I've tried to not really pay attention to - throat lumps, shortness of breath, pounding heart.

My dreams lately have been very family-centered.  I had one a few nights ago that had my grandma (who died in 2008), my grandpa, my parents, my brother, my husband and I and our kids all under one roof, and since then, every dream has had my family in it.  I am realizing that my original core family isn't here.  We aren't close enough, and it's a funny realization because we haven't been all together (on a regular basis) for years.  My mom, my brother and I, though, we were a team for so many years, just the three of us, getting through stuff together.  I miss us.  And the plans now are that I will spend 6 weeks total at my parents' home this year.  I am hopeful that they and my brother will spend time at my home too.

I have been experiencing some IBS symptoms coming back, and I know it's because I am falling away from what I have established to be good for me.  LOL  I really need to be more diligent in taking care of myself (again), but the better I feel, the less I try to stay on track.  It's getting easier to keep up with the supplements because I have been feeding them to my husband for the past few days too.

I am on track, however, with adding socializing back into my life!  In the past two weeks, I have been out of the house or had friends over most days, and I made up tea dates that I had to break all the way back in November due to anxiety.  I have missed my friends so much!  Last Saturday I took one boy to a birthday party at a mall and then hung out around the mall for 1.5 hours with the other three kids until he was done.  I didn't panic.  I didn't get frustrated or angry or exhausted.  Yay!

I've been feeling very blah about cooking lately.  I don't want to cook, and when I do, I don't want to eat it.  It looks yucky, tastes yucky.  I'm trying, but food = yuck.

Probably not surprising that I am not really gaining so quickly anymore and am at 108.5 lbs.

I think that's about it.  I've been trying to write this post for over an hour now, and keep getting distracted by kids and the TV, and now it is bedtime for the four littles.  So I will end it and if I remember what I planned to write in here, I will come back then.  :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bad Dreams and Weigh In

I will start with the weigh in portion...I weighed in this morning at 108 lbs, only two pounds away from my goal of 110. I know that I haven't truly gained 15 lbs, but I've given up on the number of the old scale and am purely going by our new digital scale's report.

 My weight has been going up and down a lot the last couple of weeks, and I have really fallen off my routine. I need to be more diligent as I'm starting to see major regression in the way I've been feeling.

My breasts have really been aching the past while as well; I have a feeling that the weight that I put on is floating straight up to my top.

I had a huge bout of rushy anxiety on Friday morning as I ran around trying to get supplies for my son's birthday party and groceries for my family for the next two weeks. I was very happy to have my hubby to help me out since he didn't start his work shift until 3:00 pm that day. He was able to help me out in the morning, then catch a couple hours of sleep before starting work, while the kids and I cleaned the house.

The day was good anyway, and the party was wonderful. There were a few incidences of rough and wrestling boys and some tears, but since I have three boys of my own, it did not faze me in the least. Seven boys, one girl, one me...great evening!

I was writing about my dreams here for awhile and I don't remember if I typed it on here or said it in real life, but I was thankful that even though my dreams have been crazy, they have not been scary or sad. Until last night. Last night was bad dream after bad dream. In the first one, one of my sons died. I can't even describe the feeling. I felt like part of my body was missing. I hated going anywhere because my friends either were too weepy and huggy or ignored me completely. Taking my daughter to outings and preschool was horrible. This was the longest dream. I kept waiting for him to come back. Heartbreaking, wrenching, sobbing.

My second dream had a couple of friends and I striking up a deal with each other. One night per week, they'd come to my house and make dinner for my family. One night per week, I'd go to their house and make dinner for their family. Well, on my night, I got to their house late, I couldn't find the ingredients I needed. I ended up serving them bread and a tortilla because they had to rush out to an activity. They were SO MAD at me.

I can't remember my third dream clearly as a total story, but I and some or all of my family went to see a movie where you had to lay on the floor and watch it projected on the ceiling. But first you had to drink this strange drug-infused beverage. I refused, and that caused a bit of a stir. After the movie, my hubby and kids and I walked down the mall that we were in to a Tim Horton's type kiosk and asked for donuts. They didn't have the ones we wanted, so we walked a bit further down to the next Timmies kiosk and ordered six jelly donuts. At that point, in my dream, I remember being relieved that my son wasn't dead because we had ordered six donuts. I don't know that all six of us were there though...I don't even know that I was there.

It was hard to open my eyes this morning. I do have to say I had a small tingle of fear go through me when the son of my dream, who rises between 6:30 and 7:00 every morning, was still fast asleep when I woke up at 8:15.

I hope to re-find my routine this week. Please.

Oh, side note...I found a counselor and did the intake phone interview for our family. I am afraid of the cost and stressed about the idea of needing to drag a few family members who don't want to do it, with me. I feel like my family is not "bad" enough to need this but at the same time I know that so many of us could benefit from counseling. However, to spend the money when some aren't on board seems wasteful.

I wish that getting healthy didn't cost so much. Sometimes being a part of a family reminds me of doing group projects in school...I was always great at working with others, but sometimes I just really wanted to do it myself - easier.

Onward and upward we go.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Things I am learning on this journey

1.  I love to be busy.  I crave it.  It makes me happy and energizes me.
2.  Being busy causes me to miss things like meals, snacks, supplements, exercise, sleep and housework.
3.  Missing meals and snacktimes makes me weak, dizzy and nauseous.
4.  Missing supplements makes me gassy and low-energy.
5.  Missing exercise makes me achey.
6.  Missing sleep makes me impatient.
7.  Not doing housework makes me (and other members of my family) VERY grumpy.

So far I have had a pretty great week.  A busy week.  I've done projects for the kids' teachers and visited with friends and baked and played games with my daughter.  I've meal planned, answered emails, made hard phone calls, planned and started to prepare for a birthday party.  I've shopped, banked, dropped off and picked up and chatted.

I have felt phenomenal.

Until this afternoon.

I am beat.  So ridiculously tired.  Irritable.  Annoyed.  And feeling like people are annoyed with me.

My house is a mess.  I have a party happening here in two days.  I need to clean, clean, clean, but I just can't bring myself to clean in the afternoons.  If I don't start in the morning, then it doesn't get done.  I've been out every morning this week and one would be able to tell that just by stepping into my porch.

Dishes overflowing from the sink, clean dishes waiting in the dishwasher.  I just washed the same load of laundry for the third time because I've failed to move it from the washer to the dryer.  My bathroom garbage can is overflowing and there is probably some sort of hair on every surface in there.  I have been sweeping my floor, but only small sections at a time, and the dining room floor never stays clean for longer than 5 minutes.  I don't even know when the last time I washed the floor is.  I cut a bunch of fabric for one of my kids' teachers this week and now my carpet is covered in little red threads and really needs to be vacuumed.

My son wants the basement filled with balloons for his party, but do you think he (or any of the others) will clean the toys up in the basement so I can vacuum and blow up balloons for down there?  Nope, nope nope.  They are all sitting here watching TV as I type.  And the reality is...I don't have the energy do force them to do anything.  I hate the yelling and tempers that fly with anyone other than me doing the cleaning.  So our house gets like this, tensions build, but no one does anything about it until I get some sort of motivation or energy burst to do it myself.  I really need to find that energy tonight.  Maybe it's in a can of Coke.

Where is my husband, you are asking?  Well, he is working out in the mornings.  And then working at job #2, then coming home to eat lunch and put in 8 hours at job #1.  He usually leaves the house at 6:00 am and does some sort of work until at least 10:00 pm.  Tax season is underway, and I am clearly still adjusting to the new normal again.

Onward and upward!

And some awesome words I heard in a song on the radio recently:

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this"?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.  

Oh, so many times, I'm sure. This song is beautiful, please take a listen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Perks

Okay, aside from the obvious that a perk of taking Cipralex is to not have so much anxiety, I have found a new perk of being on the medication.

It helps me deal with my 10 year old.

I know that sounds awful, but he is going through this "I don't need to listen to you / waaaaah I'm hurt / I don't care about anything that you say / boohoo I need a hug / I am the boss of the house and I can punch who I want / Go ahead and make me" moody emotional stage that is a constant challenge to me.  Today he nearly knocked me down the stairs because I was trying to block him from leaving his bedroom.  For the most part, I am a patient person, but this kind of crap really pushes the limits of my sanity.  I HATE drama.  It drives me crazy when people don't just say what they want and what they mean.  And when my children outright defy me, it makes me ANGRY.

But, since taking Cipralex, I am finding that I can stay patient for much longer.  I am able to see clearly through the "battle" to make a decision on what to push on and what to let go of.  I can rationally offer my child choices ("I know you want to come out of your room to get your ______, but I told you that you are in here for the night.  So you can choose to get your _____ now, and lose one day of electronics, or you can stay in your room like you were told and not lose one day of electronics.").  I still get worked up inside, but not as quickly or intensely as I used to.  I am noticing that when my hubby is frustrated and annoyed with things, I want to tell him to just calm down, it's not a big deal (I try not to do this because I know that would not help matters...).

Anyway, taking Cipralex hasn't been helpful to my patience in all areas, but in parenting my children through difficult times, it has been amazing.  When my 6 year old with anger issues is about to lose it, I am able to offer him a choice to come and hug me or to go to his room to calm down.  He usually chooses the hug.  ;)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Doing it

Wow, over 4,000 page views since I started this blog two months ago.  I started it in the hopes that someone could relate and not feel so alone in their panic and anxiety, and also as a record for people who are looking for information about Cipralex/Lexapro side effects.  I searched like crazy for information on all of these things and found a lot of questions but not many answers.  Anyway, I hope that this blog has been a help or a blessing to someone out there, even one person will make every word of it worth it.  :)

I finally took some books out from the library on dealing with anxiety.  I had been putting this off because I figured reading about it would acknowledge its existence in my life and make things way worse.  In other words, as much as I've been trying to "fix" myself lately, I was totally avoiding a whole section of my problem.  The first book I started reading (and am reading still) is called The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, by Edmund J. Bourne, Ph. D..  Turns out that I have more issues than I thought.  Well, I knew about them, but I've never connected them before.  They were kind of a joke to me.  LOL

This book is a great descriptor of the differences between mental disorders that are related but not the same.  I do not have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (which I know surprises some), but I meet the criteria for Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Specific Phobias and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (washing and checking).  It was interesting to see my husband's face as I read out loud some of the descriptions of these disorders.  They fit me.  Almost too well.

So.  Now I am working through the book and trying to modify my daily schedule to include suggestions on coping with and managing my body's reactions to life.  Some of the stuff I read is really scaring me - I read a part of the "reproducing a panic attack in a safe place" section to my hubby and he said that HE was feeling anxious just listening.  I am trying to decide if I am going to continue to make my way through all that or skip over it entirely.

I have had some weird short-term memory loss over the past week that is freaking me out a little.  I used to have it every now and then, but not more than once in a week.  Once this week I forgot that I had purchased all of my supplements and went home and put them away.  I still can't picture myself putting them away, but I know I did it because they are there, in the cupboards where they belong.  I was going shopping one morning this week and started to wonder if it is going to come to the point where I go out shopping and forget where I was going, forget to get my daughter from preschool in time, forget where I am.

Along with that, I have been feeling mild panic in the mornings - kind of like old times before I started the Cipralex - trouble taking a full breath, digestive disruptions, tense muscles, general spacey-ness.  I am trying to keep to a program of everything that has worked for me, but it is hard.  The supplements are expensive, it's hard to take an hour a day to exercise, preparing food is time consuming.  So, there have been stretches I've gone without supplements, exercise or eating enough.  I notice the difference.  I need to make the effort, but sometimes it just seems like too much work.

I found the secret to weight gain this week too - a new scale!  LOL  My hubby got a new digital scale for his birthday.  I stepped on and was miraculously 4 pounds heavier than I was on our old spring scale.  I like it - closer to my goal, and it makes me not feel guilty about doing cardio.  This morning I weighed in at 105.6 lbs.

And speaking of exercise, I've decided to just go with the P90X program.  I was doing the XStretch before, but now I'm going to expand into the other DVDs.  The plan is to do one per day.  Today I did Core Synergistics, and I was pleasantly surprised with how well I kept up.  I did start to feel sore very shortly after the workout was done; it felt like my lungs just didn't want to expand, and that was a bit stressful for me.  But it eventually went away and now I think I'll be normal after-workout sore in the morning.  If I'm too sore, I have a plan to do a Yoga routine that I set up on our Wii a year or so ago.  It leads me through a bunch of poses that are good for digestion.  So, P90X or Yoga, whatever it is, I plan to workout every single day.  I am learning from my book (and from doing it) that aerobic exercise is very important for people who suffer from Panic Disorders, so it becomes one more important step for me to take.  I am excited about feeling good, weighing enough, eating well, and being healthy.  It is happening.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Back to Life and Weigh In

Well, life has been picking up again.  On Saturday I went to Stamp Club.  On Sunday we skipped church and slept in, but then spent the afternoon at our local YMCA swimming, running, tumbling, and playing badminton.

Today my kids went back to school and it was a very busy day.  We started our day nice and early with a trip to the chiropractor for 7:00 am.  After we were all adjusted and got back home, the oldest three kids packed their bags and headed to school, I threw in a load of laundry and hubby started up the dishwasher.

I dropped my hubby off at the gym and dropped my youngest off at preschool and went grocery shopping.  I got the groceries home and half put away, then located my Froster cup and headed to Mac's for my sweet treat.  Picked up my youngest from preschool, picked up my hubby from the gym, drove home and found a phone message from a friend who was coming to visit this afternoon, which pushed me to clean my house super fast while my hubby made lunch and fed the kids and put away some more groceries.

I then had a fabulous afternoon visit with my friend while our girls played and my hubby ran errands.  When our friends went home, I baked cupcakes with my youngest two and made meatballs for dinner, then made the rest of our dinner components while my oldest switched the laundry around and folded a load for everyone to put away.

Dinner was well received by all, then I cleaned up the dishes and kitchen while the rest of the family watched TV and played on the computer.  Three of the kids then helped me ice a few cupcakes, everyone had one, and then it was time for baths, showers and bedtimes!

This is a regular day for us.  Almost.  For much of the year the kids have evening activities and my hubby has a second job, so it is a little more crazy.  But today was wonderful, amazing, energizing and I loved it.  I had a small amount of anxiety at one point while waiting for my friend to arrive that felt more like an IBS issue than anxiety, and I was okay.

Today I felt hope that I can have a normal life again someday.  A normal life like I see everyone else living.

Needless to say I am exhausted now, but still forced myself to stay up until my regular bedtime to try to keep things regular.  Tomorrow I have some errands to run, including registering my youngest for kindergarten!!

I did my weigh-in on Sunday and came in at 101.5 pounds - for a total 8.5 pound gain.  Yay me!  :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Triumphs and Backsteps

This has been a pretty up and down week for me.  Many times I have wanted to come here and write but I never got here, and that made me wonder if what I wanted to write was even worth writing.

Up - I went to the zoo this week.  With the kids.  For three and a half hours.  My mother-in-law sent me an email asking if I wanted to bring the kids and meet her there.  I wanted to say no, but I knew that the kids needed it.  I was anxious and nervous and tense and breathless about it.  But I went.  We went.  And the six of us had a lovely "picnic" lunch and I didn't lose it or break down when my third-born started trying to start fights with his siblings.  And I didn't stress that my four year old whined and complained and kept laying down on the ground all the way back to our van.  It took 30 minutes for us to get to the van from the place that we left my mother-in-law so she could walk home in an opposite direction.  Then third-born threw a huge temper tantrum in the van and tried to pick fights with his siblings half of the way home.  Very stressful, yes, but I did not get a single chest pain from this whole scenario, which is a win.

Down - I haven't been keeping up with eating enough.  Or exercising enough.  I really really need a stretch but I just haven't made time this week.  And last night I had two slices of pizza for dinner when I know my limit is one.  Last night I didn't sleep as a result and today I am exhausted and fighting IBS issues.

Up - I had some good conversations with friends this week.  There are people who I call friends that I don't usually reach out to and this week I did and I was rewarded with good conversation and support.  I love my friends.

Down - I am so tired of dealing with fighting family members.  It is time for the children to return to school.  Two more sleeps until the lovely day arrives.  My house is going to be so clean!

Down/Up - I had some intense anxiety about going to stamp club this afternoon.  But it was important to me and I practiced some of the relaxation and coping techniques I've been learning and I went.  Unfortunately I didn't eat a complete lunch before I left, so I was a little woozy by the end of stamp club.  I'm glad I thought to grab a banana and some almonds that I ate on the way there - those got me through for awhile.

I think I realized my anxiety trigger this week.  It is RUSHRUSHRUSHRUSHRUSH.  The less I'm rushing about, the better I feel.  I don't know how I am going to fix the rushing thing.  I have four children with minds of their own, and one of them is a pre-teen whose current most used phrases are "I'm not going!" and "You can't make me!"

I guess it is time that I add some organization and pre-planning to my life to make things easier.  I wonder if I can be more of a planner than I already am.  Definitely worth a try!