Monday, December 29, 2014

Starting at the bottom

On boxing day, we left the place we stayed over Christmas.  We made a quick stop to buy the family shoes that I thought were on sale, but they ended up not being on sale.  Then I gave the wrong directions to get home.  And then I cried.  I couldn't stop it, I couldn't hide it this time.  It's funny what the last straw can be.

My hubby asked what I needed with the intention to drive anywhere it took to get that elusive thing that would make me happy.  I didn't want anything.

I tried to look out the window so noone in the van could see my tears.

Later I found out that my boy, who was sitting behind me, saw.  And he cried too, because he thought that I was crying because of him.

And then I cried some more.

------

Here it is, the end of the year, and I can feel myself going down, down, down.

It is ridiculous that I have let things get this bad when I know better and when I still remember how bad things can get.

I am weary.  I first noticed it a while before Christmas break started.  I sat down in church, in a rare opportunity to be in the service, and I felt in that moment that I was at the end of my every energy, and that I could not take another step.

"Just get to the Christmas break," I whispered to myself.  "You can make it.  You can rest.  Renewal and refreshment will be there."  And that became my mantra for the rest of the month.

Unfortunately I got to the break and those things I'd promised myself were not there.  The break is almost over and I still have not found them.

It hurts my heart to realize that I have had only one day alone with my family members.

As for rest, there was one day that I sat on the couch and did little else (not that I could do much else around dealing with the unwelcome vengeance of my monthly visitor).  Even when a friend and her son came over that evening, I was still sitting on the couch, still in my pajamas.  It seems that just one day was not enough.

I have let my health go.  Let the supplements go, let the vitamins go, let go of keeping balance in meals.  I haven't made time to get to the gym, and my sleeping has been crap - it's the holidays, I can stay up late, right??

Too much sugar, not enough water.  Pain in my back and side that reminds me of this constantly.

Not enough faith.  No desire to seek or serve or read or pray.

No desire for community, but trying to muster energy to reach out to those most important to me because alienating them would be a huge mistake.

Here I am at the bottom, looking at a fresh new year.  Picking and choosing what parts need immediate attention...the minimum that I need to rebuild my floor so I can step up to the next floor.  My heart is greedy, but my brain will keep it in line.  I've been here before, and I know.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ativan take two

I took the other half of that Ativan last night.  Two vodka drinks in a body that I have not been taking care of lately was a little too much, and I spent all of Christmas Eve night awake but exhausted, in and out of the bathroom on the verge of vomit, in a home that is not my own.

By 5:00 am, I was in full-on panic mode and my hubby was stirring.  He asked if I was okay and what he could do for me.  Water and my Ativan.  I am so so glad that I thought to throw it in the suitcase just in case; I don't usually carry it with me anywhere.

I didn't feel like it did a lot for me - not quickly at least - but by the time the kids were up around 7:00, I was feeling well enough to be away from the garbage can I had nearby just in case.  By 2:00 pm I could eat again.

Yay Christmas.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Anxiety Bug Update

My sweet boy, who was plagued by anxiety and then faced it and stomped on it has been so strong and courageous this school year!  When he brought home his report card earlier this month, he ripped open the envelope, not to examine his marks, but to proudly show me his attendance record.

Zero lates, zero absences.

He is so so very proud of himself, and I am proud of him too!  I remember all too well begging and pleading with him to go into the school, to go into his class.  I remember sitting in the corner of his classroom knowing that the second I got up to leave at our pre-agreed upon time, he would come running over with tears, pulling on my arm so I would stay.  I remember trying to be firm with him, and to keep my patience.  I remember fighting tears because I knew all too well how he felt and the pain of knowing that I was making it temporarily worse by walking away.

What an amazing boy I have.  He is so strong, so determined.

I asked him how he did it, and he shrugged and said he just did it.  I know that he still feels anxiety before heading to school every single morning.  I can see it.  But he takes a deep breath and says, "Bye mom!" and runs out the door and across the field to his friends.  He tells those feelings to piss off every morning, and I think they do.  And I'm glad.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Two months

It has been two months and just over a week since I gave up Cipralex. 

For the most part, I am happy with my decision.  Without changing my eating or exercising habits, I have lost almost seven pounds.  I feel better.  The tired fog is wearing off, and the brain zaps are minimal.  I had a faint one yesterday but don't remember the last one before that. I will be getting my cholesterol rechecked soon and I am hoping to see it back to healthy levels.  I read a bit online about a gentleman who was warning people that Cipralex caused his mom a heart attack, and with my mom's recent heart attack, my eyes have been wide open to look for correlations between heart attack risk factors and my time on the drug.

All that said, I must say that I do rethink my decision daily.  My chest always aches.  I've had two full-blown nighttime panic attacks that I could not get myself out of.  My weepiness has returned and most of the time I struggle to get out a sentence without tearing up.  It frustrates me because I'm not actually sad or emotional when the tears choose to just show up, and I am currently researching natural alternatives for mood support.  

I feel like now that my body is physically strong and substantial, I really just need a little something to support my serotonin a bit, and just like the rest of this journey, it's up to me to figure out what that something is.

All in all, I'm doing great.  It hasn't been the easiest time of my life the last couple of months - financial stress, job changes for hubby, preteen struggles with my oldest, a messy end to a long-time friendship, and the choice to return to school myself and to begin my studies immediately - but I've made it through without drug support, and, for the most part, panic attack-free.  

I know I've come a long way and I am proud!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The end

According to my calendar, I took my last 5 mg of Cipralex on September 15.  Because I had already only been taking it every third day, the side effects from stopping were not huge.  I had about 8-10 days of feeling like I was in a dream-like state, and that made me very very tired.

Emotionally, there has been some weepiness, but not in excess and not at inappropriate situations.  There was one day that I cried all day.  It was triggered by the death of my friend's newborn son, which came out of nowhere, three years after the death of her daughter.  It felt good to cry; refreshing and cleansing and the tears felt like they'd been locked away for years.  On Cipralex, the tears won't come.

The moodiness leading up to my period was less intense than on Cipralex, but the cramps, discomfort and crappy feeling during has been intensified. 

I've actually felt really good off of it.  Really healthy, with a clear mind and clear feelings.  It has been awesome and I was feeling I had made the right choice and was looking forward to everything evening out even more as time goes on.

Then last night happened.

I attended a women's event put on by my church.  Just like every month, I invited, invited, invited friends.  I posted the event on my Facebook wall and said everyone is welcome.  A relaxed evening out with a bunch of ladies.  With me...who could say no?  I'm a good friend.  

Well, just like every month for the past nine months, no one came.  Most ignored me.  Some acknowledged the invite and flippantly said they'd try.  Some said next month for sure.  Yup, I've heard that before.  A couple said they'd be there but didn't show up.  How does this all make me feel?  Like shit, frankly.  A piece of shit.

The realization that Facebook friends are not real friends has hit me like a sack of bricks.  Much to the chagrin of many, I've counted my Facebook friends as my nearest and dearest, sharing my life, being open and honest.  I've felt that I've proved wrong the people who tell me to stop sharing so much because Facebook is not an appropriate medium for that.  Apparently they are right, and knowing that now has left me feeling so disappointed, so lonely, and so very angry.  I feel like I care so much for people.  I ask nothing in return but for them to spend a little time with me.  I want real friends.  Touchable, huggable, look-at-able.  Coffee dates.  Visits.  Evenings out together.  I feel like stopping Cipralex has just made all this dysfunction in my friendships so very clear.

Last night I didn't sleep.  I was hurt and angry.  My heart pounded hard as my chest and back hurt and my side throbbed.  I raged about fakebook, I raged that my boys were in the living room partying later and later, past 2:00 am.  I raged at being taken advantage of and at people not sharing their plans that affect me, with me.  I raged that doing things for others (kindly and joyfully, btw) is keeping me from doing things for myself.  I raged that our financial situation is bad and that no one will hire my brilliant hard working husband in what seems to be a job market just hurting for people.  I listened to guided meditation, and music.  I thought happy thoughts.  For the first time ever, I could not intercept the negativity.  

I thought all the raging might give me a heart attack.  I posted a snarky comment on my FB wall, then deleted the whole thread hours later.

I think I finally fell asleep after 4:00 am.

I thought about popping an Ativan, but since I haven't taken them before, I couldn't do it.  A middle of the night rage attack is not the time to try a new drug, in my mind.  If tonight is the same, however, I will not hesitate.

I got about four hours of sleep.  This morning my family asked what I want for my birthday.  I said nothing because we don't have any money, and that is breaking my heart right now.  One because I love my birthday; I feel so pampered every year; and two because I realize how incredibly selfish I am for feeling sad that I have to say I want nothing.  So funny that when we were "poor" before, we were soooo rich compared to now.  I could feel people looking down on us before.  It's probably the same now because they don't know the difference; poor and living in the NE is probably all the same to those who aren't and don't, no matter the "poor ness" of the income.

My family is fighting and yelling at each other as I sit in my bed crying and typing this.  My daughter's friend who slept over has gone home because of the yelling I'm sure.  With just her and her mom at their house, things are much quieter there.

I want to quit everything I've committed to and restart from scratch.  This  includes quitting quitting Cipralex.  It's so much easier to live with rose coloured glasses and no feelings.  I can't live in denial without the drug.  Hopefully I've been off a short enough time that adding it back in will not produce the nasty start up side effects.

Cheers to being fat and indifferent.

Monday, September 15, 2014

September challenge

Funny the difference one month makes.  

Starting this month, despite my earlier decision to not wean, I decided to do a trial of 5mg of Cipralex once every three days.  I think I am finally ready to go off it.  

It has taken a long time for me to get to this point, but I feel like it will be fine.  Funny it comes at a time when my hubby is facing joblessness, I only have been able to find enough work to make half the income I had last year, and my oldest son has jumped into his moody preteen years with two feet!

That said, my anxiety was never about stress.  It came out of nowhere, made me confused and frustrated because even as my body freaked out, my mind was confident and in control.

I've read about the half-life of Cipralex and about how many days it stays in your system before being completely flushed out.  I plan to drop to one 5 mg dose every four days in October, and then every five days in November, as long as everything continues to go well.  After that, I will likely be done with it.

The main motivation to wean myself off is the fat accumulation that has happened around my waist.  I know it's not heart healthy and since I excercise daily and eat well and it is still there, I am quite convinced it is the work of the drug.  I've read online that others have struggled with the same.  I hope that getting it out of my system will take care of losing that visceral fat fairly well.

Until next time...<3

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Feelings

"I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful.  I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful."

Okay, not really.  That is a quote from the movie, "What About Bob".  He repeats it to himself when he just needs that little extra reassurance to get over his anxious feelings to do something that his body just doesn't want to let him do.

I've been repeating it to myself a lot lately.  It doesn't work, by the way. I know I am lying.  And for once, it isn't really anxiety I'm dealing with.  It's depression.  Mind numbing depression.

There are a lot of stressors in my life right now, and their heaviness weighs me down, quite literally.  It feels like my heart is being pulled down into the ground.  I am having trouble remembering things, I'm mixing up words (was looking for a spoon the other day...called it a shoe), I'm even having trouble with balance, and have almost fallen over twice today already.  

I've stopped exercising, doubled up my sugar and caffeine consumption, just stopped caring about the fat accumulating around my waist.  I feel lonely and alone and abandoned by some.  

I don't feel good, great or wonderful.  I feel nauseated.  I feel exhausted.  I feel like I could burst into tears at any second.  

I used to have this blog publish and feed directly to my Facebook wall.  Last night I spent hours trying to figure out how to make that stop.  My hubby figured it out for me because I just could not.

I wonder where the real me has gone.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weaning

In May or June, I cut my Cipralex back to 5 mg every second day again.  It has been going very well.

I had considered weaning myself all the way off of Cipralex, and I did as much internet research as I could to see how others did it and the results.

Unfortunately, my findings were not the news I was looking for.  In almost all of the cases, there were still withdrawl reactions, no matter how slowly the weaning went.  And in many cases, the panic and anxiety returned to the person in question, who then found that Cipralex no longer helped them at any dose and they had to start the search to find some other med that would bring them the peace they once found while taking it.  In addition to that, they had to get through the startup side effects of each drug over and over again as they tried everything to see what would eventually bring relief this time.

So, that research pointed me to the decision that I would remain on my minuscule dose of  5 mg per every second day.  More than one pharmacist has told me that 5 mg per day is pretty much nothing, and that pleases me.  Taking 5 mg every 48 hours seems like an accomplishment to me somehow, and though I don't quite understand why or how it works, it is the perfect amount to keep me from falling into the world of unknown fear, where my body is convinced that it needs to panic, but my brain has absolutely no idea what is going on.

At one point on vacation, I accidentally skipped two nights in a row instead of just one night.  I walked into church and was just so very emotional for the entire service, start to finish.  This is sign number two that affected my decision to stick with the 5 mg every second night, instead of weaning  myself completely.

So, all that said, for the past month I have been experiencing aching and some pain in my chest.  I have had many episodes of my heart racing and my mind immediately going to the "I must be dying" place despite my best efforts to not let it.  These are the times I consider upping my dose of Cipralex; but I always lean more to the belief that upping it will not make anything better, but will give me other, bigger problems.  So I just suffer, knowing that it can't last forever.  And it doesn't. 

Such a frustrating roller coaster anxiety is.  Exhausting.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Diet

I have decided to modify my diet.  I feel like putting so much thought into every bite I eat (again) is a very dangerous line for me to walk, but due to my recent high cholesterol blood results and my rapidly growing amount of visceral fat (thanks for that, Cipralex), I know I need to do something.

I know it is going to mess me up digestively and mentally.

I hate food so much.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lonely moment

It's amazing how alone I feel sometimes.  Most of the time I don't think about it and it doesn't bother me, but some days it just hits me, hard, and knocks the wind out of my sails.


I don't feel that I have much in common with anyone.  Even with those I'd count as my closest friends...I just don't feel like I belong.  When I do start to think I have found something special, whatever I thought I saw fades quickly, and I'm left feeling like a fool.


I have never had that friend I could call up at any hour.  I've never felt safe enough around a person that it is comfortable for me to let them see me cry (other than hubby, which I still struggle with even now).


It seems like everyone has this...except me.


I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  I love people.  Every single person.  No matter what.  I know my values and stick to them.  I am self confident and strong and content with life.  I know what I stand for, and I stand up for it.  Is that what it is?  Do these things alienate me?  Where can I fit if I don't love wine or spending money just because or playing online games or cooking or drinking coffee or cussing or watching TV or drama?  When I have too many or not enough kids, or the 'wrong' genders? Where is my place if I am rich in a poor neighbourhood but too poor for the rich neighbourhoods?  What if I prefer to scrimp and save so that our family can live on one income rather than trying to navigate two jobs and childcare and management of a fancy house in limited time?  What if I love Jesus but love homosexuals too?


Where do I fit?  I accept all, but who accepts all of me?


Most of the time I am fine in my loneliness...I embrace it, it feels good.  But the other times, I just wish I could know what it feels like to have that bosom buddy friend.  Someone to hang out with, have fun with.  Be spontaneous with.  Regular and frequent fun.  Memories.


Someone for whom my change is not necessary.  Someone who loves me, good, bad and ugly, who doesn't attack me or walk away the second I say or do something they don't expect from me.  The second I share too much, by their standards.  I am human.  Unrelatable, perhaps, but still human.


I know lots of great people.  I have lots of Facebook friends.  Lots of acquaintances.  And little in common with anyone.  How can that be?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Weight! I don't love you anymore!!

I am officially 34 lbs over my starting weight of 93 lbs.

I don't like it. 

I feel like a huge slobby blob of goo.

The plan is to cut sugar and return to some extreme form of exercise, starting this week.

I'm really sad.

I hope it works.

I took a blood pressure reading at Safeway this evening while I waited for a child using the facilities.  104/54, pulse 84.  Good, right?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Updating

So many days since I've posted here!

There has been a lot that has happened.  Mainly, I've begun a slow decline back into feeling gastroenterologically horrible at least some of the time and have considered returning to my "just stop eating" ways, especially since the weight is continuing to pile on.  I am now a long way from the 93 lbs that I started at - a robust 124 lbs.  I don't like it.  I have been fighting the food fight, and have tried to focus on going the other way - making sure that I am meeting the daily recommendations for nutrient intake by eating more fruits and veggies.

I have remained on my regular dose of Cipralex (5...mg...right?).  A few nights ago I fell asleep before taking my pill and the next day I felt fine and stable.  I considered attempting the 'one every other day' thing I did for a good chunk of last year, but then I found myself weepy over a song and weepy over a blog post that did not call for weeping in any way, shape or form.  5 per day it will stay.  I think I am kind of coming to terms with the idea that I will likely take Cipralex for my whole life.  Rather than "curing" me of anything, it seems to just give me that extra tiny boost my brain needs to be emotionally normal.

I started a new job a few weeks ago, and since then I have been exhausted.  I could sleep and sleep and sleep, and I do end up spending most of my free time at least sitting in my bed.  I am always tired and always cold, and my house is always cluttered and messy and that depresses me.  My room is my sanctuary.  My bed is comfortable and my electric blanket is warm.

I have cut back on Frosters, from one per day.  I don't have a set goal, other than to drink fewer than seven per week.  The past few weeks, I think I've been averaging about 3/week.  So far this week, I've had one, but it's only Tuesday.

I've been great at keeping up with my morning supplements - I never miss them!

That's about all.  More than anything, I'm just tired.  I wish I could not be so tired.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Not Anxiety

This post is not about anxiety.  It is about rage.  And since this blog has become my venting place, this is where it will be released because it is huge and red and hot and my body is full of it.  Tension in every muscle, my heart breaking and beating fast and hard at the same time.

Anger, tears that I won't release.  Punches that I cannot throw.  Yelling that was stronger than the dam holding it back.

My oldest and third born children do not get along.  Never ever ever ever ever.  There is always one of them walking by the other and throwing a kick, a tap, a shove.  There are always nasty teasing faces and noises meant to annoy the other.  There is always something.

It never stops whether we are getting ready to go out, we are in the van, we are eating dinner or playing video games or board games or walking somewhere or putting on boots to go to school.  It doesn't matter if they have friends over or if it is just our family at home.

It doesn't matter if it is Christmas or someone's birthday or if one of them has given his life to Jesus and dedicated himself to serving God all his days.

These two will never be friends as adults.  I've said it over and over and I still believe it 100%.

Today the older one started it.  He wouldn't let up.  He did something to annoy the third-born, who responded by throwing a box.  The first kicked back, there was tripping and tackling and stealing of boots.  There was complete ignorance to my requests to JUST STOP because they were going to be late for school.

I am very proud to say that not one single Fbomb fell from my lips even though my mouth was full of them.

I had to pull my oldest OFF of my third-born and hold him so he could put his boots and coat on and go to school.

My oldest fought me so I held tighter.  He freaked out and tried to get away.  After all was said and done, I walked away with a hurt knee and no glasses.  I told him to find them for me and pick them up.  That he did - and then threw them at me and they bounced off me onto the floor.  I picked them up...bent nosepad from when he smacked them off my face, so they didn't fit right anymore.

He told me he was not going back to school and I did not care.

I got my kindergarteners to their door, and came back home.  Told him I would call the police if he came near me.  He went out the door "to school" but came back saying all the doors are locked and he can't get in.  I told him to go to his room and I don't want to see him this afternoon.  He can wait to discuss with his father.

I am sharing this for many reasons.  One, as a record that it occurred.  Two, because I want people to see that life is not all lilacs and cherries for us.  Our kids are not angels.  They challenge us every single day.  And I know that in recent years they have finally started to break away from their "perfect angels in public" personas, but people used to discuss with me in amazement at how well-behaved and loving my kids are.  They would look at me in disbelief as I told them stories of fighting, tantrums, and holes punched in walls. 

I was talking with some friends recently and we were sharing our parenting struggles.  A couple of us were discussing how people don't tend to share the parenting times that are not so good.  There is fear out there.  Fear of being judged, fear of the law, fear of losing friends and relationships.  Other people struggle too; there is no reason to have to shove parenting struggles down deep and suffer alone; by bringing it to light, talking about it, hearing other people's struggles...there is relief there. 

Right now we are still in the cooling off period, but I know by tonight everything will be back to normal, and I know this will happen again at some point.  It's not the first time, today.

I really wish that there was some way to end this feud between brothers, but I have not found anything that works even a little bit yet.  It has been going on for years, and in all honesty, their relationship is the one thing that I can say is and has been the very worst thing that I've had to deal with in my entire life.  Nothing makes me feel the way that having to defend one of my children from another one of my children makes me feel.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

5 mg

Tonight is my fourth night of dropping to 5 mg of Cipalex daily.  So far so good, no withdrawal symptoms that I've noticed.

If all continues to be well, I will drop to 5 mg every second evening, starting February 15.  :)  I am hoping that the decrease in dosage will also effect a decrease in weight.  I've read about Cipralex/Lexapro causing weight gain and I actually embraced that side effect when I started taking it.  Now that I am 10 lbs above my goal weight and still climbing, I'd like to not see the weight piling on anymore.  I gained a lot if weight in December and January and I was taking 10 mg daily in those months.  And barely exercising.  I am so glad February has arrived and I can start fresh in many 'categories' of my life.  :)




Monday, January 20, 2014

On my way back down

Well, last night I started the process of weaning myself back down to the 5mg of Cipralex every second day that I had made it down to awhile ago.  I want it to be a very gradual process, so I am taking it nice and slow.

I was still taking the 10mg per day that I had jumped up to between my mother's heart attack and my grandfather's death, but last night, I only took 5mg and today I was fine.

Tonight I took 10mg; my plan for the next two weeks is 15mg over two days (so 5mg one day and 10 the next).  If that goes well for me, I'll start February back at 5 mg per day.

I still have all of the Ativan that my doctor prescribed; I haven't felt a need to use it yet.

Life is good; January is always our busiest month so there is always something fun to look forward to.  Two anniversaries, two birthdays, parties, shopping, and this year we added starting a church with a great group of people and my hubby starting a new job after 8 years at his old one.

My anxious boy has been doing great as well; I was concerned about his return to school after Christmas break, but it was not even a little bit of a struggle getting him there.  He just did it.  No looking back.  That boy is amazing.  :)

So here I go, working my way back down the milligrams.  :)