Friday, December 28, 2012

Oh what a night

It's unfortunate that it has come to this. Blogging while I'm really drunk. Things suck today. Love isn't real, truth hurts, control is the enemy. But pepperettes, cheese, crackers, beer and wine with good company is the cure for anything that ails the heart. Thank goodness for Apple TV and my music collection tonight,

What's the point of all this, I wonder. Where did I go wrong? Where can I go right? When will I stop seeing double? Oh what a night...

Drunk texting and messaging. Even though I had a friend here. This blows. I want to cry over the love that is in suspension. It hurts to wait. It hurts to want. It hurts to love. It hurts to live somedays. But I'm here, living, breathing, taking it in each day. One day at a time. One step at a time.

One step at a time is difficult. Progress isn't fast and social circles don't move. But I'm working on it. The may be some tears; there may be some frustration; there may be some tantrums. But I'm entitled to that. I've worked hard to get where I am and I won't let anyone take that away from me. I don't need you to help me or be there for me. I would like you to be there for me to support me when I'm having a bad day, when the weather is off, when the fire risk is high. Just as I support you. Sme days I can't do much but I will do all that I can every day to help you. But in return I hope for the same. I have learned not to expect the same.

I hope that you can see me for who I am and what exists inside of me. I only hope for the best for you and everyone around you. No mater who you are or what part you have played in my life.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Home for the Holidays

I'm glad to be home with my parents for a few days over Christmas, as stressful as I find packing and driving with the dog whining in the back seat most of the 4 hour drive. There's always plenty of food and wine and lots of goodies to go back to the city with me!

I had lots of time to think while I was driving to my childhood home. It's been a rough go of things the past month and a bit. My dad came to visit at the end of November, as my grandma had a doctor appointment. This was shortly after I started feeling down, and I thought that would help me feel better. I ended up feeling very homesick after he left which only accelerated my sinking mood. Then my mom came, also for a doctor appointment. My aunt came with her and it's always fun with those two (even more fun when you add my mom's other sister!) but that didn't seem to lift my mood either.

Following this, my partner and I had some problems that we couldn't resolve. We mutually agreed that we can't be the emotionally support that each other needs in a partner at this point in our lives. I have my plateful and he has his plateful. Maybe we can go for dessert after we have cleaned our plates? I had a difficult time getting through the week after that conversation without having some seriously dark thoughts. I scared myself so i wont share them here. I was reminded of my struggle in high school. Yes, over a boy. Why do I allow myself to be so vulnerable and love so easily? Love is free but I don't seem to be getting back what I put out there. But I keep doin' it.

It's hard to leave the emotional attachment behind and to imagine life without someone who, despite the bad times, lifted me up so high in the good times. I don't want to go back to a life without him. The bad times are worth it and the bad times should be happening less and less if he is making progress with clearing his plate. And if I'm making progress clearing my plate also...

I've been thinking hard about the past 2 months and wondering what is changing/has changed to lead me down this slippery slope. A few weeks ago i started yoga. Last week I started running again. My goal is once a week right now. I'm also on an additional medication, Wellbutrin at noon, on top of my Effexor in the morning and Ativan as needed. I'm attending a group session that runs for 12 weeks; we are learning about mindfulness. Meanwhile I've been mindless: losing things, locking myself out of the house, forgetting where my friends live, etc. It was so bad I was actually worried about the 4 hour drive this weekend. I had to tell myself not to read the green signs as those signs made my mind wander. White and yellow signs, you know the road, where you need to turn and all that. No need to read the green signs. I lost my composure a few times and my eyes teared up, on the verge of a meltdown. I made it through, though. Maybe I've been eating too many sugary foods? I don't know...but that box of Whoppers was delicious yesterday.

I also realized it has been almost a year since I started my blog. In the new year I will be reflecting on the past year and sharing those thoughts. I'm glad you have stuck with me this far and I hope I've added something positive to your life. And if you don't know me, maybe one day you will. :) Have a safe and happy holiday season and be grateful for everything and everyone that you have in your life. Today, tomorrow and always. Namaste.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Patience, Love and Kindness

Lately, I have been receiving numerous emails with a common theme: one must love oneself before one can be open to accepting the love of others. I find this concept very interesting as it took me some time to learn this before others were spouting it. Had I just been patient, I'm sure someone could have handed me the answer I was so desperately searching for. But I searched on my own. I found patience, love and kindness from many others. These folks who have been so giving unto me have taught me many things about life. Kindness goes a long way. Patience is not just a virtue, it is a wonderful character trait that kindhearted people filled with love also have.

I love to love. I love to be kind. I like to think I have an insurmountable and never ending supply of patience. But my patience is running out. It is running out because I am being hurt by all the kindness, love and patience that I give. When is it enough? When do I walk away from the love and end my patience? It is two sides to the same coin. I must choose a side. I must choose the side that protects me without hurting the other party. I must live my life within reasonable boundaries. I cannot live my life within someone else's boundaries. I cannot be controlled and still be the same happy, loving, patient, kind person that I naturally am.

Breaking the chains of love is hard. It involves patience, but also courage. It involves kindness but also strength. It involves love: love of oneself and love of others. Be patient but be strong. Be kind but be courageous. Be respectful of your needs and the needs of others. Break the chains of love with care and they can be mended. Move forward and learn from your past successes and failures. These will be the building blocks for a house of love, with paving stones of kindness and patience.

We cannot be immune to heartbreak but we can grow stronger from each interaction. The emotions that heartbreak awakens in us are real and are crying out for attention, to be listened to, to be healed. Heal yourself by cutting out the negativity in your life. This may be negativity in your head, in your heart, in your house, in your relationships. The bright side is never far away but sometimes the journey to get there is long and arduous. Prepare yourself each time so that you will come out stronger than when you went in. It will be ok. It will always be ok. It always has been ok.

My love to all of you

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Greatest Feeling is SUCCESS!!!

The fashion show was a blast! I was so worried about modeling the bra that I was almost ill, couldn't concentrate at work and sweating buckets. Not a good thing to do...sweat buckets in loaned clothing. But I did it. It felt great! I looked good, I felt good, and there were even some hoots and hollers from the crowd! Only one other girl modeled a bra. The others told us we were brave. Maybe brave...but I feel confident. I did take an Ativan an hour before the show and that helped immensely. Deep breathing in the car on the way over...kept fogging up the windshield.

I'm proud of myself for this accomplishment and am going to toot my own horn for a bit. :). I'm looking forward to my next challenge! Now to sleep for a few days...zzz zzz zzz....

Monday, November 12, 2012

Acceptance of Self: Can You Do It?

I learned a good affirmation recently: I accept myself unconditionally right now. I had to do a lot of accepting myself unconditionally this weekend. The volunteer women's group that I belong to is holding a fashion show and the chair of the fashion show committee wanted me to model. She knows about me and my challenges so I think this is her way pushing me outside of my comfort zone (I better make sure i have enough Ativan for the evening of rehearsal and the real show!). The two stores I am modeling for are a lingerie store (a bra under a jacket and pants for one outfit and the second is this comfy pj/beachwear/loungewear item) and a bridal shop. From the bridal shop I will be wearing 2 practically skin tight dresses one of which I will wear my Spanx under.  In my mind a woman should not have to wear Spanx to feel/look good in any outfit but that is how it is these days, it seems. On one hand it is great that the industry has come up with something that slims you down for an evening or for a particular outfit without compromising your physical health.  On the other hand how much damage does this do to your mental health once you remove the Spanx? Never mind that your muscles are confused about what their role is for the next hour or so after the Spanx have left the premises!

I do have to admit that I am guilty of owning Spanx but only wear them on special occasions.  Needless to say spending 2 hours trying on bras this weekend made me repeat my newfound affirmation over and over. I blame my large ribcage from the difficulty in being able to find a bra my size where the wire isn't perforating my ribs and lungs! The important part of my experience this weekend is that I FEEL good in what I'm modeling from both stores...even if I do have to wear Spanx and my 5" black heels from the wedding I was in a couple months ago! Now to find someone to do my hair and makeup...I feel like someone important.  :)  Jeeves, bring the car around would you? I'd like to go for a ride. I don't know where to but I want everyone to know how important I FEEL today!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To Increase Anxiety Click Here

Not much time left until the “big” race I’ve been training for.  Sunday I will be doing my first 5 km run…well I will be walking/jogging, next June I will be running the whole 5 km! : )  This has been a real roller coaster ride training for race day.  My anxiety has kicked into full force considering I thought I didn’t have anxiety issues.  My partner/trainer has had a rough go of it with me also.  He has been patient, if not somewhat discerning, with me throughout the process but he has also been supportive, encouraging and the inspiration for this new endeavour.


My partner wisely indicated to me that this undertaking is more of a mental challenge for me than a physical challenge.  And he is right.  The anxiety begins when I think about running (and by running I mean doing interval training by walking a short distance/time and then jogging a short distance/time, continuously alternating until the end of a pre-determined distance/time).  I don’t know what my anxiety is all about.  Just thinking about it to type about it gives me anxiety!  I think about and I get sweaty and panicky and can’t breathe. Even my forearms sweat during my anxiety attacks.  It often takes 2 hours for me to be coaxed out of wherever it is that I have holed myself up (mentally and/or physically/literally).  My partner knows that if I’m having a bad day (i.e. don’t get out of bed) that he just has to wait it out and I will at least get out and walk, even if I don’t run.  But I manage to make it to the track or wherever it is we are training that day.  When I do run, I complain and swear and bitch and moan almost the whole time.


My first attempt at the whole 5 km last week resulted in a major anxiety attack half way through.  A stitch in my side caused my breathing to get even worse than it was and I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t run, I basically couldn’t function at that moment in time.  I cried and cried and the negative self-talk came out in audible gasps and gulps.  I sobbed into my hoodie and wailed that I wasn’t going to be able to do it this Sunday and what’s the point.  My partner waited patiently, calmly, a gentle hand on my shoulder. “C’mon, let’s walk it off” he said.  And I did.  And I completed the (approximately) 5 km route my first try in less than 45 minutes, including the meltdown time.  “You didn’t stop for very long, 5 minutes at the most” he told me.  It may have felt like forever, he said, and he’s right.  It did feel like forever.  But I survived, I conquered that hurdle.  I’m sure there will be more but for now, I know that I don’t have to do it alone. I have a lot of support behind me, friends that will train with me so I don’t need to do it alone.  On race day my partner/trainer/friend and another friend will be beside me.  I take great comfort in knowing that I am not alone in this.  I really don’t think I would be able to do it alone…yet.  One day I will though!


I will leave you with some inspirational words from a friend of mine as I take my leave to work on where my anxiety is coming from. : )


I always told my son, who struggled with asthma and wanted to compete in public school “If you don’t try you can’t even say ‘I didn’t finish’.  If you don’t try you will never finish, and even if you come in last, lots of kids/people never had the courage to try.”  His first race he finished 43 out of 47.  He and I both felt as good as if he had won first.  I almost cried when I saw him round that last corner, his face grimaced in pain, his arms clutching his chest, but his little legs still pumping.  That picture is on my wall, and I remember it like it was yesterday.  So many kids who didn’t have his challenge didn’t even try.  Seeing you take this on, with everything else you deal with is why I kicked my ass to get back in shape. Believe in yourself, you are way stronger than you think, mentally AND physically….YOU GO GIRL!




PS  In follow up to my last entry on September 5, the switch has not gone off again and my loved one is receiving help.  It was not a struggle or a fight to get them to agree to go for help.  They were glad to do it and even the small changes they have made in their lifestyle have produced an improvement in their demeanour.  We are both living by my credo now:  One day at a time, one thing at a time, one step at a time.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trauma: What Does it Mean?

This is a difficult entry to write.  I'm not sure where to come from as I'm not sure where I am.  Mostly I'm confused.  And hurt.  A lot of hurt, so much hurt I just lay in bed and cry.  I have a lot of questions that may never be answered.  This weekend I had a setback.  Or a hiccup as a friend called it today.  It actually feels more like really bad gas that won't work its way out as opposed to a hiccup.

I understand that we all come with baggage.  We all have a past, a history, issues, whatever you want to call it.  And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that because of this baggage (or whatever you want to call it) we end up with emotional, mental and sometimes even physical deficiencies.  I have it, you have it, she has it, he has it, your mom has it, your dad has it, even my dog has it, believe it or not.  I'm sure you don't believe my dog has it but he does, I swear.  This history, our past, has shaped us into who we are.  But sometimes we become another person because of a traumatic event in our past.  There are rare situations when a person cannot be held accountable for their actions or their words because in theory it was not them that did or said what hurt you.  I'm sure some of you out there (if anyone actually reads this!) are guffawing and wondering what crazy nonsense I've been up to and what new age books I've been reading since my last entry.  Bear with me with an open mind and pause your guffawing.

I'm going to go into some scientific jargon here for a bit (not much though and it's all linked if you want to know more).  According to Wikipedia (and my naturopath, both trusted sources), the prefrontal cortex area of the brain "has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making and moderating social behavior."  Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects this area (and 2 others, the amygdala, and hippocampus).  When adrenaline rushes through the body of a person with PTSD who is in a situation of trauma or stress, the prefrontal cortex figuratively drowns in the adrenaline and shuts down.  So if this is the part of the brain that reasons and makes decisions, guess what?  Any decisions that are made are not made with reason.  Alas, they are not aware that their problem solving skills are absent at that point in time.  In fact, on a day-to-day basis, their problem solving skills are probably quite impressive and allow them to function at a high level and they are valued and appreciated by everyone around them.  When they aren't being paranoid of everything and everyone around them, that is. Yay! another symptom of PTSD. Like temporarily losing your prefrontal cortex isn't enough...

So....when someone with PTSD has an episode, a switch goes off in their brain and the prefrontal cortex says "I am outta here".  A rational conversation turns ugly and unintelligible; they lash out verbally, or even physically, and hurt the ones they love without even knowing that they are doing it.  It happens fast.  In a matter of moments the situation can go from cuddling happily to a police officer banging on your front door.  And you have no idea what is going on because your prefrontal cortex is working fine and trying to rationalize the entire situation.  Your problem solving skills are in high gear, putting pieces together that aren't fitting.  You try to recollect the conversation and at what point exactly things turned ugly.  But you can't.  Because the conversation did not make sense to you.  The person with PTSD was speaking in circles, riddles, single sentences that were formed perfectly but not connected to each other.  The conversation may or may not have had anything to do with what happened that day but the insults and trash talk and drudging up of the past hurts all the same, like a red hot poker to the heart.  What was the trigger?  Why and how did things go so wrong so fast?  I can't answer those questions.  I don't know.  And I can't keep using my problem solving skills to figure it out because it's as futile as a dog chasing his tail.

The only thing I need to understand is that PTSD is a disorder, and like my depression affects my life, PTSD affects their life.  If PTSD is not treated the affected person can continue to go on with this switch in their head ready to flip at any given moment.  I cannot live my life happily with someone while waiting for that switch to go off in their head.  I am a strong woman and have been through rough times in my own head.  I will always love but I cannot be part of the rough times in another person's head if they are not willing to seek help and treatment for what it is that ails them.  I must go on. The hurt will pass, my heart will heal and I will be well again but I will always worry and wonder because I will always remember and love the person that I saw before that switch in their head went off in front of me for the last time.

Namaste to all

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Insert clever title here

Original date: August 12, 2012

It's definitely been an interesting past few weeks.  I've had time to blog but didn't. Nothing really to blog about except the total awesome fun I had visiting my brother on the west coast for two weeks! So now I sit to type, pour my heart out about something that I have never encountered before. You know how you see these mental illness campaigns that beat it into you to focus on the person and not the illness? I never had a problem with anyone focusing on anything other than me before. Until recently that is. And it was someone that is close to my heart. So it hurt even more to hear the words come from this person's mouth. To them, all they could see was my mental illness. And the negative traits that I possess because of my illness. I use the term mental illness and mental disability loosely in this entry, as I do in normal everyday life. I do not feel that I, nor others in any situation similar to me, have an illness nor do I feel that depression, anxiety, etc. are a disability. It is a minor inconvenience in my day to day life, that is all.

I am not my mental illness.
My mental illness is not me.
My positive characteristics outweigh any negative characteristics that I may have.
I am not a quitter; it just takes me longer to accomplish things than it might take you.
I focus on today: one day at a time, one thing at a time. This does not mean that I am unable to commit or that I cannot plan for the future.
I can only give you my best at any time. My best today might not be as good as yesterday but it's always my best.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Dog Days of Summer

Seems I've been slacking on my blogs lately. Difficult to blog using the iPad as I can't find an app for this blog site but I will make due for anyone that's following me out there! Lol! Pardon the lack of paragraphing. Seems that though I am making paragraphs it's not working in the blog! Things have been going well since the introduction of the new medication. I'm now on 250 mg of venlafaxine and have been for some time now. It seems to be doing the trick aside from those moody blue days due to hormonal craziness. I really don't think hormonal craziness should cause me to stay in bed crying for 2 days but I will bring that up with my psychiatrist in August. It also helps that I've found a supportive, loving, caring, sensitive, understanding partner. I'm glad that I was on level ground before he found me so that I can see my progress and also see where he supports and aids in my progress as two separate things. I would not want to rely on someone else for my happiness and this is not th case in this relationship. That in itself makes it different from most of my past relationships. There tended to be a lot of "need" from either myself or my previous partners. There is only desire and want, support and help. Autonomy when desired and team work when needed. It is because of my current partner that I have taken up training to run a 5 km race. The first will be at the end of September but won't be a timed race unfortunately. My friends south of the border have indicated there might be one in their area in October some time. I'm looking forward to these events as difficult as the early training has been. After only a few sessions my knees, shins and ankles are aching. But I must persevere. One day at a time, one thing at a time. I'm also off to BC soon to visit my brother for a few weeks. This is causing some stress for me, as much as I'm looking forward to visiting with him and then stopping at our parents' house on the way back. I need to pack and get the house in order for the 4 different people that will be looking after my fur babies and the house. Find health care providers where I will be visiting in case something goes awry. Keep on my training schedule while I'm stressing out and while I'm away. On top of all the normal everyday things that I stress about. Why do I stress so much? One day at a time, one thing at a time. That being said, it's almost time for me to leave for my Mixed Anxiety group session. These have been interesting also. I've had lots to think about in the past 6-8 weeks while attending these group sessions. That will have to wait for another blog. :) I'm hoping to do some reflecting blogs also, on some things that I missed in past blogs. So lots to do again, of course. Pile it higher on my plate, like I do at the all you can eat buffets! Gotta get my money's worth out of food, life and love, it seems! ;)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Time to Catch Up Because I'm Stuck in my Head Today and it Feels Like a Good Day to Blog

Here I thought it was ages since I last blogged but it really hasn't been that long, I guess.  It feels like ages in my head.  Today is a difficult day in my head.  I'm trying to sort things out but they keep getting all muddled up again once I get some of them plucked out of the way.  Like ants crawling back into the ant hill after you diligently and carefully separate them from their hill and sort them by shades of colour or size or demeanor. Do ants even have demeanor?  Are any of them shy or introverted?  Or are they all social and extroverted?  Hmm...

Anyways, I digress.  I'm good at that today.  I'm supposed to be working on web page design today but I think I have accomplished almost everything but that.  I'm prepared to clean out underneath the kitchen sink today, even.  And now here I am blogging to procrastinate yet some more.  So these ants/thoughts that keep getting back together and messing my head up....yeah.  Why?  Where do I start sorting again?  Am I going about it wrong?  Am I thinking too much?  Am I looking at the wrong ants?  Am I trying to separate ants that should stay together?

I have been offered an amazing gift in my life quite recently and I'm struggling to accept it.  I feel that I am not deserving of it, not worthy of it.  I have found myself questioning the concrete practicality of it, waiting for it to be ripped away by someone or pushed away by me, just like in the past.  It's not meant to last forever, I tell myself, though I hope this time it is forever.  Something like this doesn't come along often and my fear of messing it up and my lack of confidence in who I am may just be the very thing that messes it up.  My ego would like to return the gift on a silver platter adorned with my fear and the comforting solitude I have created for myself.  My ego would like to keep me stuck in my story and my loneliness. I will not allow my ego to jeopardize this gift, to steal this gift from me.  This gift being offered is precious and should be handled with care, with gentle hands and a gentle heart.

In my ever changing emotional state do I accept this gift with grace and humility, protect this gift with my entire being without losing who I am?

I do.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Post-Psychiatrist Me

Friday was the day I finally got in to see a psychiatrist.  Earlier than expected and also earlier than anyone else could do for me.  Funny thing how I found her on my own and saw her before the system could set something up for me.

She was great!  Understanding, patient, listened, explained, asked questioned, let me ask questions.  I am on the first week of new meds right now.  Well, not totally new.  What she did was keep me on my current drug fluoxetine (aka Prozac) but took me down from 40 mg/day to 20 mg/day.  To this she has added 37.5 mg/day of venlafaxine (aka Effexor) for 5 days and then after 5 days take 75 mg of the Effexor until I see her on May 8th. She also prescribed lorazepam (aka Ativan) to help with general anxiety disorder.  It's a teeny tiny pill that I take when I first feel the onset of panic or anxiety symptoms.  It dissolves under the tongue and can be taken as needed in intervals of 3 hours up to 3 pills a day.

I postponed taking my new pills yesterday because I was scared.  I'm scared they will change me, change who I am.  I like me; I just don't like being sad, anxious and/or angry all the time for no apparent reason. (I did take them though, so not to worry!) I wake up with anxiety some mornings, other morning I awake angry, and others yet sad and crying.  How do I control that when these feelings are there before I'm even conscious in the morning?  Someone told me just stop crying.  Stop being sad.  Go back to the person you were a year ago if it was simpler then.  HOW???

To all of you that are reading this and see me or talk to me on a regular basis please let me know about the changes that are happening, if any, to me.  I might not notice them but you probably will.  And thank you to all of you for reading and accompanying me on my journey. Your support and understanding is greatly appreciated in more ways than you could ever know!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me.  I could maybe answer them in a blog for you or help you find some answers somewhere else.  We can all learn from each other and help each other in some way or another and if you are looking for someone to reach out to please use the resources in your community, your friends and your family.  Build a support system that will benefit you, not deter you from becoming able to live with your mental illness or whatever the case may be.

I love you all and I hope that this is the start of a new journey in a positive direction for me.  Stay tuned for updates and maybe some back issues that I never got to post! LOL! Namaste!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Progress Report

Not much to report so far.  My intake assessment was almost a waste of time but I did manage to get into a group that meets weekly for 8 weeks.  We are learning about self-management; appropriate and inappropriate methods of self-care/self-management.  I know most of this stuff already.  It's the DOING part that is difficult.  Change takes time, effort and support.  And TONS of seems to be easier to inappropriately self-manage but easier isn't always better.  Better isn't always easier.

I see a psychiatrist in a couple of weeks so that is good.  Time is slowly creeping by but at the same time flying so fast that I am having a difficult time keeping up.  I have set a few personal goals to accomplish within the next year and in between that I am working on positive everyday living; managing myself and having a life filled with activities and people that I enjoy and love without overwhelming myself.

My dad was in town this weekend for a visit and we had a nice talk.  Ok, I had a meltdown, he let me cry for a bit and then we had a heart-to-heart about life.  So, more than a nice talk. : )  My parents have been supportive even though they are unsure of how or what I need from them.  I have only told them recently about what has been going on and struggled to keep it to myself that long even.  I wanted to wait until I had an official diagnosis but I couldn't.  I felt that I was keeping something secret from them and that is the last thing that I want to do with my family.  They are an important part of my life and offer unconditional love and support.  Even though they don't live here with me I know they think of me often and care about me not only as their daughter but as a person, and adult trying to make it in the world today.  They do what they can to be there for me despite the geographical distance and I appreciate it in ways they will never know.  "Thank you" just doesn't cut it most of the time.  It's so much more and I hope that they know that.  I love you Mom and Dad. : )

Monday, March 26, 2012

Just a Quick Note Today

There are a few things I want to fill in between the last blog and today but I wanted to get on here before I left for my psychiatric assessment this morning with the mental health outpatient program.  Yes it's today. Finally.  But I'm nervous that it's here.  My friend told me last night "Good luck, go crazy!"  I am who I am right now.  Answer the questions and hope they can help me for the better.

I'm anxious, of course.  Paranoid, of course.  The usual.  But multiplied a few times today I think.  I'm actually shaking.  Shivering some times.  Scared.....that's what it is.  I'm too tough to be scared.  if I have made it this far i can make it through today.  I took the whole day off work and even though taking the bus gives me a bit of anxiety, I am busing it today so I don't have to worry about parking, feeding a meter and getting a ticket if I'm too long at my appointment.

Deep breaths.  One day at a time, one thing at a time.  You can do this.  When the day is done, you will feel better because you will have more answers than you started the day with.  Put on your oxygen mask before you help put everyone's oxygen mask on them.  Go get 'em, girl!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just Another Manic Episode

Over a week of good days...must be high time...

What's it like when I'm like this?  During the day I'm happy.  Crazy, talkative, bubbly, social, happy.  One of those people that I stay away from because they are so animated it exhausts me being around them for long periods of time.  At night I don't sleep much, and right now I'm angry.  No real reason.  Just seething, red hot anger that makes me want to walk forever, drive forever not knowing where I'm going or caring where I will end up.  I want to make bad choices because it will make things better for the moment.  But I don't make bad choices.  So I am sober and straight and want to throw things and break things and yell and scream and jump up and down.  Like a little kid having a temper tantrum.  They know how to do it, let it all out and get it over with until you are too tired to do anything more.  Then life goes on as if nothing ever happened in their kid world.  How do I let it out?  How do I release this anger within me when I don't even know where it comes from?  Does it matter where it comes from at this moment in time?

There's no point in talking to anyone I care about during times like this.  I just end up hurting the ones that I love.  Burning bridges, slamming doors, stepping on toes, all that jazz.  Better off alone in this state of mind.  Walk it off, cry it off, get lost in the music.  I remember when I was younger (high school even), I would go out on the back deck of my parents' house and yell at the top of my lungs.  Just shout out a big bellow.  They live in the country so it was okay to do this.  My parents would laugh but it would make me feel so much better...I need a country acre to do that with again.

I will do my best to sleep it off.  Might be enough time to take a pill...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One Step Forward...

I received a letter in the mail on Friday.  I am to call to make arrangements with the mental health centre for assessments and appointments and they will determine what to do with me.  So who knows where I will end up?

On an even better note, I am on 3 good days in a row in my head.  : )  Boundaries, morals, ethics, wants, needs, priorities are all in alignment this weekend.  Well mostly.  100% of my choices aren't the best for me but I'm closer than I was last weekend.  One day at a time, one thing at a time.  I accomplished a few things and made choices this weekend that made me feel good.  I didn't save the world but I saved a piece of myself, a few pieces of myself, even.  I hope this trend feels good to feel good. : )

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trigger Me This

So Saturday night was rough.  I called everyone I could and texted a few peeps but it still didn't help. Those big fat juicy tears that you sometimes get were plopping down my face like a faucet leaking.  A friend came over and we made pasta and ate it and watched a movie and drank until 6:30 in the morning.  Probably not the best choices but I would have been awake anyways so I might as well be awake and doing something fun with people that care about me and that I care about.

So all day Sunday I tried to figure out what triggered the melt down.  What happened Saturday?  What happened Friday?  Did I sleep enough previous to getting no sleep Saturday?  Did I eat something?  Did I not do something I should have?  AAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!  What the f*&% was it that happened that made the thoughts that created the feeling?

Monday and Tuesday fared no better during the day but I managed.  Monday I learned it is a 9 month to 1 year wait for a psychiatrist in this city.  Even if I do admit myself voluntarily to the mental health ward of the hospital there is no guarantee that I will be helped much sooner from what I have heard from others that have experienced similar things.  So I'm still waiting.  Paranoia was at a high today.  Seems to fluctuate between anxiety and paranoia these days.

I'm not making smart choices these days.  What am I doing?  I'm falling off the horse...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What Not to do on a Bad Day

  1. Try to have serious conversations via text
  2. Pour yourself a few drinks to relax
  3. Drunk text your friends
  4. Pretend you are okay but really you aren't
  5. Talk about how big your tears are
  6. Ask direct questions via text to someone who's tired and avoids direct questions on their good day
  7. Blog
  8. Make travel plans with your brother
  9. Call anyone who you think will listen because
  • they might be on a date
  • they might be trying to sleep
  • they might be out on the town for a good time

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Running in Circles, Chasing My Tail

What an uphill battle this month has been.  Since my last post on February 9th I have: called the crisis response service, had the mobile nurse unit at my home, been to emergency to visit with the mental health assessment team, been to a walk in clinic to get a doctor only to discover that a new referral had to be submitted by a primary care giver other than a naturopath, regardless of whether I had a family doctor or not.  And this was over a span of only 6 days.

The crisis response service sent the mobile nurses unit over to my home to talk with me to determine what the best course of action was based on our discussion.  It was decided that I would go to emergency to meet with the Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) that works out of the hospital for cases such as mine and more severe ones.  After waiting for 2 hours to see a nurse, I had to wait 2 hours again to see the MHAT nurse.  It was advised that even though I'm high functioning (getting up, taking care of myself and my pets, going to work, etc) that I should voluntarily admit myself to the mental health ward of the hospital.  I cried when she said this.  Really?  You want me to stop functioning to get the help that I need so that I can start functioning again?  How much sense does that make?

Since then the crisis hotline nurses have called to check on me at least once a week.  I have numerous phone calls to make to be able to find a psychiatrist in order to do an assessment to determine what, if anything, needs to be done with my medication.  Regardless of whether I had a family doctor in the beginning of this process I would still be making the same phone calls, getting the same answers and jumping through the same hoops.

My EAP has provided me with the phone number for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.  Today I called this number and got stuck in an automated loop.  Tomorrow I will try again to reach someone, someone that is not automated hopefully.  I also tried the Canadian Mental Health Association.  After calling the main number and inquiring about one of their programs, I was given another number.  When I called this second number, the nice person that answered the phone directed me back to the main number.  When I explained that's how I got this number to reach her she told me to call the main number again and ask for the Central Intake Worker by name.  Thanks...He's not in.  Leave a message after the tone.  Maybe I will try again tomorrow...

My list of phone numbers and contacts is growing, but my progress in getting the help that I need is painstakingly slow.  My patience is diminishing and my sanity is decreasing.  My friends have been there for me numerous times to support me and keep me afloat when I felt I would drown.  I cannot thank them enough for this.

When the system fails you, don't fail yourself.  Be strong and hold tight.  Have your own support system made up of many people so that you don't tax one person continuously.  Recognize that others have their own lives but that there will always be someone there for you when you need them.  In a pinch I know I who I can call.  And if that fails I know I can call the Crisis Hotline and there will be a soothing, concerned voice on the other end of the phone to talk me down or up or whatever it is that I need a that time.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Today is just a day to vent on here so bear with me.  I called to follow up about my referral and find out which stage of the process it is in.  Well, they can't do anything with my referral until I have a family physician.  How does THAT work?  I need help and I want help and I'm ready to get help but because there are no physicians taking new patients in this city I can't get help?

I had a friend help me find other resources tonight and I will be researching them tomorrow (what with all the spare time I have at my new job...*sarcasm*).  Into the board room to make some private calls so as not to scare off my new co-workers this early in the game.  Or I will just show up at the places on my lists and plead for help.

Or I will just accept this as my life and live with it.  Or die with it.  Today is not a good day in my head.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Putting the Puzzle Together

Wouldn't it be neat if we were made of butterflies?
Ever have a day where your head is a mess?  Full of puzzle pieces but you don't have the picture on the box to know what you are trying to put together.  Or maybe all the pieces aren't there.  Or maybe not all the pieces are yours!  Someone else's puzzle got mixed up with yours and you don't know whose is whose.  Take your freakin' pieces back, you jerk!

I had one of those days last Saturday.  But I didn't blog until now.  I sat alone in the dark and eventually napped but woke up crying and couldn't stop.  Thank goodness for a good friend that sits patiently on the other end of the phone while I blubber on about how my boundaries aren't respected by others, and who knows what else was the crisis of the day.  I honestly don't even remember what I was so upset about.  Something affected me deeply enough to make me cry in my sleep and wake up still crying.  I have a friend that always says "The answer is within yourself.  Look within."  Ok...maybe I need to look deeper and my boundary issues.  No, I don't have a problem with boundaries, it's others in my life that do.  So what's my dealio with boundarinos?  Anyone want to help me out on this one?  I'm drawing a blank.  And have been for some time on this one, over and over again.  But it keeps coming up.

As for the other things in my life, I am still waiting.  I am still waiting for the referral to kick in however I did receive acknowledgement that they received it.  They noted I didn't have a family doctor and gave me several avenues to pursue to find one, all of which I was already in the process of doing.  I received word from the nurse practitioners clinic that they are full up but I am on their list. The nurses registry told me there are no family doctors taking new patients.  I have registered with Health Care Connect, after having to de-register myself with my retired doctor, however registering with Health Care Connect does not guarantee that they will find you a doctor nor should you stop looking for a doctor on your own accord.  Yes I have jumped through hoops only to be in the same position I was prior to my acrobatic act.  But at least I'm a little bit more flexible now. :)  A friend/co-worker of mine suggested I try her doctor.  So I called.  She made me.  While I dialed and talked to the receptionist my co-worker sat there watching and listening and waiting with me. :)  What a trooper she is! LOL!  So I filled out the form and faxed it in.  Now I wait for that, too.  What more can I do?  I guess I carry on. :)

In the meantime I've started a new job and after my first day I feel like I belong there.  Small group of immediate co-workers, focussed tasks, flexible schedule if necessary and summers off.  YAHOO!  Winter is not a good time for people in my condition to be off work.  It's hard enough to get out of the cool sheets on a warm day, it's even harder to get out of a cozy warm bed with all the animals cuddled around you in the dead of winter.  No purpose to my winters hasn't been working out.  Now I have a plan.  And it feels good.  I have a plan for work, I have a plan for education, I have a plan for play (that plan is to play it by ear!).

Life is  Plus it's my birth month so the parties have started!  Maybe my puzzle is slowly working its way together. Maybe I'm riding a euphoric wave.  Whatever it is, it's good right now.  I hope I can handle things with this attitude when things aren't so good...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Boundaries and Control

We all have personal boundaries that we have in place, or would like to be strong enough to put in place.  These are important to our self esteem, mental balance and spiritual wellness.  2012 is my year to reassert my boundaries.  I have spent too much energy, time and resources (financial and otherwise) trying to help others that are not ready to help themselves.  By putting my boundaries in place it seems that I have upset some very dear and close friends.  One friend referred me to a website which stated that "if we worry we tend to fuss. And if we fuss we tend to try to control, even molly-coddle, the person we are so worried about. Doing this can make that person feel they have no independence, or even stop them developing self reliance and confidence."  (This website also stated that "caring about one another makes for healthy families and communities" but I don't think that was what prompted my friend to share this website with me...just a hunch.)

I don't feel that I am trying to control my friends in any way by worrying about them.  Maybe I'm coming across as controlling?  I have simply stated what I am and am not willing to tolerate in our friendship.   For my own safety.  It has moved past general care, concern and worry regarding my friends' safety and into fear for my own safety.  That in itself is not trying to control my friends, that is simply trying to control my life.  Ever choice has consequences.  I have given my friends choices.  They can choose to continue their behavior or stop their behavior.  I can choose to stay or to go.  We are all free in this scenario to choose what we feel is best for ourselves.  I repeat BEST FOR OURSELVES.  My new year is about looking after myself.  And if my friends do not accept my boundaries I cannot be of any help to them.  Sometimes we have to be selfish in that we need to look after ourselves.  Does this make me a bad person?  I hope not...I would do almost anything for those around me and that I love dearly however if I am not at my best and able to help myself, I am not able to help others.  There is a mantra that states "you must fill your cup first or you will have nothing left to give."  Well folks, my cup has run dry; it has been broken into millions of shards of cup.  I must take time to repair my cup, mend the pieces, seal the cracks and then begin the task of filling my cup before I can give again.

I do not judge you for your decisions and choices as I hope you do not judge me for mine.  I love you for who you are and the good that you bring into my life and give to others.  I only wish the best for you in everything you do.  One day I hope that you will see this about yourself and feel the same way about yourself as I feel about you.  Namaste, my friends.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Watching the Line

There is a line that I teeter on the brink of and then come crashing down over.  Think of it as being at the top of a slide.  You can choose to walk down the ladder or slide down the slide.  Once you choose the slide it is difficult to get back to the top without finishing the journey down the slide.  You can scramble, you can claw, you can try your hardest to get your footing and sometimes, lo and behold, it does work and you can climb the slide back to the top.  But more often than not it ends up being a whirlwind ride, scrambling, clawing and panicking to get up but only ending at the bottom flat on your ass in the sand.  And the cycle starts all over again as you climb the ladder to the top of the slide and feel great until your feet slip out from underneath you and you tumble down the slide head first this time.

This line has become more important for me to pay attention to if I want to function in my daily life.  I am learning what my triggers are (so far it's stress and change, can't eliminate those with the snap of my fingers) and I'm hoping with the help of my friends that they will be able to point out some other ones for me.  I have also picked up on the fact that how I feel is relative to my surroundings, be it people, environment, noises, smells.  But mostly people.  This is not healthy.  LOL!


After a recent Life Coaching session, the need to monitor myself has become apparent.  Now that I'm more aware of what is going on inside my head, it's easier to see how things affect me.  The cycle of feelings is the same for everyone:  an event happens to you, this event causes your brain to produce thoughts, the thoughts produce feelings.  For some the cycle is positive, for others it is negative.  For me it is difficult to control, difficult to predict and difficult to stop and change the direction of the thoughts and feelings.  Nothing can change the event.  Only I can change how I perceive the event, what I think about the event and how it reflects on me and ultimately, only I can change how I feel.

One of the best pieces of advice a counselor ever gave me was this:  Others cannot make you feel, but they can influence how you feel.  You tell me I am stupid (that's the event); I think that I am stupid, I can't do anything right, why do I even bother? (Those are the thoughts.) I feel useless, hopeless, like a waste of life, unloved, unlikeable and just plain rotten (and whammo, here come the feelings before I am even finished hearing you call me stupid). But am I really all of those things?  Right no, I'm thinking "probably not".  And if you know me then you are thinking "definitely not"!

Just because I FEEL a certain way doesn't mean that I AM those feelings (as explained to me by a near and dear friend of mine).  I am learning to change my thought process and patterns to avoid running into this situation altogether!  You may think I'm stupid (or ugly, or useless, or imperfect in many other ways) and say that to my face.  That is your issue.  My issue is how I react to your not-so-nice way of expressing yourself and how I choose to take it in.  I can choose to agree and mentally beat myself into submission and decrease my already non-existent self-esteem.  Or I can choose to tell myself (or you!) that it's unfortunate you think that about me.  I need to learn to love myself so that your issue does not become my issue.  On the days when I love myself enough to respect myself and treat myself with compassion and kindness, it's easy to love myself and to let your issues be your issues.  On the days when I am in the black abyss of depression this is not so easy.  Your issue becomes mine and I feel I must help you to help myself.  I must solve your alcoholism; I must solve your infidelity; I must solve your anger; I must solve your unemployment.  Co-dependency anyone?  I've got a small order of it right here.  Hold the fries please, I have enough heart troubles.


So I watch the line.  I pay attention to how I feel and what happened and what I thought in between.  It's easy really, takes no time at all and living a normal life is a snap when you have to pay attention to how everything affects you.  Just kidding.  But one day (soon I hope) it will be easy.  It will be like I've been doing it that way all my life.  I'm sure of it. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Look at a New Year

Bleeding Heart

With the onset of 2012 I've decided to take up blogging.  Maybe someone will stop by and leave a comment, maybe no one will show up.  That's ok either way!  I am here and that's all that matters.  My goal with the creation of my blog is to not only help myself but also to help others.

In the late '90s I was diagnosed with clinical depression and have since been on medication.  It has been a difficult journey since then but I have survived.  I met with several counsellors over the years and, for a brief period of time, I was required to take part in an annual visit to see a psychiatrist.  With careful monitoring of my medication in conjunction with therapy, workshops and my own research I learned to adapt to life with a mental illness.  I was having my good days and my bad days but the close of 2011 brought with it a few turbulent months for me.

Beginning in October my behaviour changed erratically.  Into November and early December a few of my friends commented on this ongoing erratic behaviour.  I decided to look into it.  And within myself.  It turns out that that the problem began earlier than October, probably July or thereabouts.  Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

In July 2011 I didn't know things had changed for me.  Until November 2011 things seemed status quo with me.  I was being a responsible adult, holding down a job, volunteering, looking after my pets and my house and myself.  I was also being social, going out, drinking, having "fun", spending time with people.  What's wrong with all of this you ask?  Nothing, really.  It was the quantity and frequency of these activities that seemed to arise suspicion in those around me.  I was spending less time being a responsible adult and more time being social.  The balance was off.  I had stumbled but thankfully I have friends that care about me and caught me before I fell too far.

While I was in high school I cut myself, I cried way too much, I hurt myself physically instead of hurting others emotionally (to me, speaking my mind was considered to be hurting others).  I balled up my pain and let it fester inside of me until I sliced myself open and it seeped out in the form of bright red blood.  I have scars on the outside that are only minor compared to the scars that I have on the inside.  When I realized these things weren't "normal" I started doing my own research.  Reading voraciously anything I could get my hands on about depression, bipolar, mental illnesses in general.  My initial thought was bipolar but after meeting with counselors and doctors and the psychiatrist that came to town once a month to see patients, I was told it was just situational depression, here take some medication, up your dose in a few weeks and eventually, when you find your niche in life you can come off it and be fine.  Coming from a small town, mental health resources were limited and I took the trusted psychiatrists word for it.  Self-monitoring my medication didn't pan out, so I stopped it altogether and went on my seemingly merry way, still troubled and still hurting inside but not knowing why.

University and college came and went and I still hadn't found my niche, apparently.  I sought help again through the college health centre.  Another round of doctors, counsellors, medication attempts and psychiatrists.  This time I was told I may be on meds for the rest of my life, despite attempts by the doctor to prove to herself and me otherwise, without my knowledge!  She was sneaky (while still being ethical) and she was good.  I appreciated her not jumping to the conclusion that I would be like "this" forever.  But it was an inevitable conclusion.

Since then I have been in and out of the mental health system making use of any and all resources I can find.  Open my file, close my file, open my file, close my file.  Sign up for workshops, sign up for group sessions, sign up for this, attend that, read this, write that.  I have the tools and resources that I need to manage my depression.  But suddenly and for an extended period of time these tools have not been working.  I'm down but I'm not out.  My meds aren't working as well as they used to.  The suicidal thoughts are back and rampant at times. Anger, frustration, procrastination, desperation, sadness, hopelessness and isolation are only a few of the emotions that I feel on a regular basis these days. So again I have turned to my own research.  My research combined with insightful, honest, sometimes heartbreaking conversations with my close friends has led me to wonder if I'm bipolar. I have come full circle in my search for a solution to my problem, in my search for a problem to my solution.

Now I wait.  The referral has been done:  I wait for them to contact me for my next steps.  My family doctor has retired:  I wait for the nurse practitioner clinic to respond to my application.  Until then I read, I write, I go to work, I look after my pets and my house and I do my best to look after myself amidst all of this.  I get lost sometimes in all this waiting and trying to move on at the same time.  But my friends find me.  My friends keep me together when I feel I'm falling apart.

Regardless of the diagnosis, this new year brings about a new shift in me.  I am important.  I matter.  I deserve to be happy.  I am me and I am good at being me.  This must remain in the forefront of my thoughts if I am to survive this part of my journey.  I hope that you will continue to take this journey with me.