June 30, 2014

Slowing myself down

Trying to relax, anxiety had really kicked in. I get the shot in my knee tomorrow. If Tracey could make it through what she did, I can do this. Just need to breathe deep, stay in the moment and know it will be fine....
-M

June 27, 2014

Nice Day In The Park..

I sucked it up today and made an appointment for next week. A good friend of mine is going to go with me because I'm already scared. I don't have a fear of needles but the thought of putting a needle in my already sore knee freaks me out. I don't want to have a panic attack during it! Would I be a total wuss if I brought my stuffed lion Siz with me?? 35 and I want to bring it with lol...  I may delay taking my morning dose of gabapentin that morning and take it closer to the noon dose so that I get a little more coverage with my anxiety. Might help a bit? I hate that I have all weekend to think about it, ruminate about it, get freaked out and imagine the worst case scenarios and send myself into a panic by Monday morning...
I went to the park today to do some letters I should have done months ago. It was nice. I got them all finished up and they are ready to send. Also did some of my group homework as well. It gives me a lot to think about and look at myself, my reactions to things, the way I let myself panic, the way my past seems to follow me everywhere I go... It's going to be a really long road to change the behaviors I developed as a kid, as a way to just survive my childhood. Now those same skills are causing me so much trouble. I think I literally learned differently than other kids. I had general anxiety and social anxiety even as a kid. It feels impossible to change habits I've had for almost 30 years. I just have to keep trying and doing a little at a time.
I did do a little photography while in the park. There are sparrows all over the place, I love it. They are adorable and all you hear is little churping and they buzz by you and hop around the picnic tables. Love it!
Hope everyone is doing okay.
Pic of my homework stuff I'm reading through (yes I draw all over it, ADHD at it's finest lol...) and a pic of one of the sparrows. If anyone wants to, I have a photography page on Facebook, just search for Misty Anne's Photography. PS: My Milwaukee Brewers are doing fantastic!! First in the National League, second in MLB! Let's go Brewers :D

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June 26, 2014

Both Doc Appointments Went Well :)

The worrying I did over my appointments (mainly the second one) ended up being a waste of time, as worrying and projecting are.  Turned out just fine. No dramatics or anything.
First appointment I had was with my GP. He was impressed I've kept the weight off over a year now, he said many can't maintain it and gain it back. Everything was in the perfectly healthy range. The healthy eating and exercise changed my blood work dramatically :D  I made sure to mention my knee as well. After looking at it and hearing some of the grinding, he ordered an xray just to make sure it was okay as far as fractures, tendon issues, etc. The one thing I forgot to do was have him feel it while I was flexing it, if I go back in I'll do just that. It's pretty impressive in a gnarly grindy kind of way lol.
He's pretty sure I have arthritis in my knee, at 35. It worries me because the other knee is juuuuust starting to ache and has just a bit of sound to it, nothing like the bad one though. My left hip has it's issues as well, too much walking and things aggravates it to where it aches, pinches and gets a burning kind of feeling. That genetic joint thing that runs on my mother's side...well.... :/  I got the news the xray was okay but he said I should think about a cortisone shot, which I'm not thrilled about. I know it may help quite a bit, I'm just a huge wuss because I've heard how much fun getting it is. Makes no sense when I can sit through a tattoo but run the other way at the idea of having this done!
My other appointment was in the same building, just the other side. I thought I'd have some time to wait but they got me in right away. DK was surprised I didn't have an advocate and I decline to have my therapist come in with me. He was just like, are you sure?? I was feeling pretty good about it and though I was nervous I knew I could handle it. I knew it would be easy since everything is going really nicely and it was. Few minutes in and out, only thing I'm grumpy about is he didn't take me off the Lithium. All my blood work is great, kidneys, liver all good. Lithium level was very low which is great... I think since it's all good he's just not wanting to rock the boat. I just don't like what it's done to my hair and my nails.
We did chat for a minute after I asked what was going on with groups. There's been rumblings that they might go away, which I wouldn't like at all. They already got rid of a great partial program at the hospital because of cuts, I don't want to see the groups go the same way. He understood that some of use depend on the weekly group, as a sort of stability and way to slowly work on things, like dbt. He said he likes it for those reasons and because it's easier to keep tabs on how we are doing so we don't have to come in and see him as often. If a problem comes up, he hears about it quickly and can address it this way.
Anyhow, it's all good. Gotta run, group is in fifty minutes and I'm still dicking around lol,
-M

June 24, 2014

Been Busy Busy

I meant to post more often but the last couple of days I've been extremely busy and motivated. It doesn't happen very often so I've just been rolling with it. I was so depressed last fall and again this spring that everything really built up and I've been so far behind on everything.... photography, blogging and journaling, housework, cooking, exercising, writing/mailing letters and cards, group homework, organizing this place better... you get the idea. Yay for depression and ADHD...
I started with the living room. First I just picked up anything that needed to be thrown away. Then I boxed up anything that belonged in a different room. Then I went through MONTHS of mail. Then dusting the whole room. Then vacuuming... It took two days. Then I moved to the kitchen, which was a hot mess. I have most of that done now, hoping today I can crack the bedroom chaos a bit.
I also have a lot of cooking to do. I get help from a food place here in town. A lot of low income/no income folks go there and you get everything from commodities to frozen meat to fresh breads and produce (from local groceries). Not so many people take the fresh stuff (????) which I don't understand at all. They'd rather have the canned and boxed items. Because of the way I eat now for my health and weight, I go nuts over fresh produce! They know me well enough now that they see me coming lol. I end up with like 13 to 16 grocery BAGS FULL of veggies and fruit. I just love it. They let me take all I want because they end up having to toss stuff if no one takes it and I hate hearing about food going to waste. When I'm in a good space in my head and motivated, I can cook up a storm. Most veggies can be chopped and frozen and last for months. It just takes a lot of time. But time...I have a lot of these days.
So, today is cooking, chopping/freezing and bedroom day. It's so hot and muggy (dewpoint was 73 yesterday and humity was 93% and temp was in the 90's yuck!) again today that I'd rather have an indoor day. My meds make me overheat a lot faster and dry out a lot faster, if I'm not careful it can make me sick...so I'll stay in the A/C today ;)
The last few days I've been just, really grateful for the change to Strattera and Gabapentin, both have made me feel better than I have in a long while. I just hope it lasts, I'm always kinda waiting for the ball to drop, if you know what I mean.
I hope everyone has a good day today. I'll get to the comments and replies and other's blogs later in the day if I can, it just depends on how focused I get on the tasks at hand.
Hugs all,
M

June 22, 2014

Tomorrow: Doctor Appt...And Then Another Doctor Appt...

Hoping tomorrow will be good. I have back to back appointments with both my GP and DK (my psychiatrist).  The appointments are over an hour apart but at least they are in the same complex. I'll take my Ipad and tinker on it between appointments, hell I'll probably post about the first appointment while waiting for the second one (they have free wifi).
I'm a little worried about the first one, only because I want to talk to my GP about my knee issues. I've been putting it off for years and it's to the point where my knee makes sounds reminiscent of driving a car on a gravel road...and it gets stiff and very sore if I do things like trying to ride a bike, go up too many stairs, do anything like squats...basically things where I have to bend that knee while bearing weight on it. My other knee is just starting down the same path as the first, just a tiny bit noisy but gets pretty sore. Other than that, I'm just getting a yearly and seeing about a refill on my inhaler. Even though I quit smoking not long ago (haven't been keeping track...less than two weeks ago??), from a pack and a half a day, I still want it. I've been coughing a lot, not as much as when I was smoking heavy but it's still there, so I'd like to have it on had if I need it.
The other appointment I'm much more nervous about. This will be the first time I see DK on my own. I started seeing him in January and I had an advocate every time, because he is new, young, arrogant as hell and can be a bully. Only reason he's still my doctor is he's brilliant with meds. We had a huge issue in February where he yelled at me, in front of my advocate and talked down to me, bullied me by calling out my issues in a really mean way, called me a liar and a hypochondriac etc. We turned him in to the head of physicians and they made a deal with me...give him another try but if anything happens tell them immediately and they will switch me doctors. They told my advocate they are still trying to pound the attitude and ego out of him and that his job at the clinic depends on it. So...I'm gonna put on my brave big girl pants and go it alone this time.
I really hope it goes well, I shouldn't have to have someone supervise every time I see him. If he could just get himself a better personality.... he'd be a fantastic doc. Can't have it all though eh?
Cross your fingers, gonna cross mine...and my toes...maybe my tits too... ha!!!
-M

June 16, 2014

Are You Kidding Me?

I definitely stayed up too late, I think it was after 3am when I finally laid down. My plan was to sleep in for a change and spend the day doing housework in my pjs.
Instead... 6:45am rolls around and my brain is like... Time to get up!!
Fuck.
I'm not sure if I should try to fall back asleep for a while or just say screw it and stay up.
Damnit.
I just wanted to sleep in.
-M

Being Brave: Fighting Social Phobia By Eating Out By Myself

This post is from 6/5/14, taken from my book of thoughts, worries and therapy homework:
After picking up my meds at the pharmacy, on a whim I decided to get the lunch buffet in the grocery store. By myself. In a huge store. With people.
I have no idea why. I was probably still thinking about the DBT though, maybe that is part of it.
I was so nervous and distracted when I went up to the buffet to get food that I almost dropped my tray. I almost tripped over my own two feet as well. Then I started to panic. My hands got shaky and I couldn't concentrate so I kept dropping the little tongs used to get the food. I was very scared of doing something embarrassing or people staring at me or some kind of danger or a dozen other scenarios. Racing through my head so I couldn't focus. It made me very tense, I clenched my jaw, started to shake, have butterflies in my stomach and I started breathing faster.
I tried to stop and focus on what I was doing. Trying to slow myself down a bit and just concentrate on squeezing the tongs, putting the veggies and meat on my plate, putting one foot in front of the other as I walked back to my booth next to the window. I was so relieved to sit down and set my plate on the table. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a second. I made it!
Now I'm eating my wonderful salad, taking my time, tasting the textures and flavors of the different veggies, the hard boiled eggs, the seasoned chicken, the sharp of the red onions, the sweetness of the firm strawberries. It was very good and healthy too.
I made myself take my sunnies off and not hide behind them like I normally do. I see people walking by and my heart starts racing again, that fear just keeps coming, over and over all day, every day, it's so fucking tiring.... I'm trying hard to keep breathing. Just like my therapist said, stop, feel your feet on the floor, take in a deep breath through my nose and exhale through my mouth.  I know the people are here shopping, probably not even aware that I am here. Just need to teach my brain to understand that.
-M

Not Comfortable With Therapy but I Am Trying

Entry from this last Monday, the 9th:
I had an appointment with my therapist today. I had to rush to get ready. I didn't fall asleep until after 3am because my mind wouldn't shut up. Racing thoughts about everything, hell even racing thoughts about racing thoughts! Just wouldn't stop racing. Worries, more worries, stuff so far in the future it's ridiculous. It's so frustrating, all I wanted was some sleep.
Got up at 7:30 and needed to workout first. It felt good that I can now do air punches with ten pound weights in each hand. It's definitely progress and I'm getting stronger. I'm making myself do it because it's not just good for me physically, but boosts my mood a bit as well. So I do it, even when I don't wanna.
After that, I rushed around like a mad woman. Take meds, throw a protein shake together, get the coffee going, jump in the shower, fuck with my hair, get dressed, grab my crap... got out the door and less than five minutes later my ride was there. I don't like rushing like this at all. I need to mentally prepare myself for the day ahead and going outside, etc. Didn't really have that opportunity this time, so it gets me on edge.
I was kinda hyper when I got to my visit. Working out does that to me for a few hours. So, I went in happy and energized. Instead of talking about things that are bothering me, or things I'm struggling with, I just more or less chatted. Hows the grandbaby, etc.  Then something weird happened. I said how I was in a great mood and I felt that I was wasting the appointment. Then...
I don't know, I just got kinda dark. We started talking about me slowing down. I talk so fast because my brain goes so fast, I feel like I can't keep up with what I want to say. It's definitely an ADHD type issue. It drives me crazy, it really does. I know I do it but can't control it. I get annoyed, with myself. As I kept trying to talk I kept rushing and she kept reminding me to slow down. It was extremely frustrating and I burst into tears.
She asked why I suddenly was getting so emotional and I wasn't sure why. It may have just been frustration. I feel like I'm always fighting myself. It really drains my energy sometimes. I told her how frustrating it all was, how I felt like things were never really going to get any better. How the ball always drops, sometimes it just takes a while. I told her a few things I normally tell no one at all. I told her how there is always this undertone, like a black ribbon beneath the surface in my mind. How I see just a bit of it every day. Every day I have to validate why I'm here. Whether it's even worth the fight or not.
She asked if I was suicidal and I said no, I'm not right now. It's just something that is always kinda there. I remind myself every day that even though sometimes it hurts to even try to face the day, that I have to do it for my family and friends. There is that part of me that says they really wouldn't be fussed but I know they would be so upset. Right now, I'd rather suffer trying to live each day than hurt anyone.
She was really happy I actually opened up and talked a little bit. For me it was a really big deal. The only bummer was that I felt pretty frazzled and just, tired, after the appointment. I went in, in a great mood and came out fairly depressed. It didn't ruin my whole day but my mood was just as stormy as the weather.
-M

June 15, 2014

Writings From One Of Those Days, Where I Have No Hope

After getting out of the shower today, for whatever reason, I started thinking in a direction I try not to go into. I started thinking about my photography and what could have been... I really try not to do that. It only ends up making me sad, angry and get upset. It winds up with me realizing I feel stuck, almost like...trapped. Trapped in my own head and emotions. Thinking of what could have been, if I didn't have all these problems. How I could be working as a nature photographer. Maybe freelance, for a company or magazine or Nat Geo...selling my own work, traveling, having all sorts of amazing experiences... perfecting my craft, being creatively successful. Feeling confident in my abilities. Learning more... just having a real life. Instead, I've gotten nowhere. Stuck on disability, having to rely on programs and having no money. Scared of almost anything and hiding out. I know I'm just feeling sorry for myself but it's hard. I feel like I'm being held back, while everyone else is really living. Missing out on my own potential. It feels...like I've lost something, something important, like I just can't quite reach it...and I feel like it will never really get any better than it is right now, this is my life, this is it.
-M

Doing The Therapy Even When I Hate It

My therapist has some very good ideas at times. Because I worry so much, to the point of paranoia, so constantly... she had me get a small journal and start writing down my worries, fears, anxiety, emotions and triggers. At first I didn't think I could do it. My mind races with worries almost constantly. I also was unsure about writing these things down. I already feel like I'm fucking crazy and now I have to write it down and then let someone else see it? Then I worried about my worries and it made me feel so anxious and like, I was being exposed? Not sure how else to describe it. I'm not good at explaining what I feel, but at least I'm trying right?
As part of the DBT therapy group I've started, I'm in the Observe phase, which I think I'll be in for some time, because I'm not used to paying attention to so many worries all day long. I have to try and really focus and pay attention to it. We finally have the meds in the right spot. I told the doc that if we could get a handle on the physical symptoms of my anxiety and calm it down a bit, maybe it wouldn't be so hard to focus on my thought process. After he added, then upped the Gabapentin I'm on, it did just that. I feel a little more in control of the anxiety and rapid mood swings. It's not great, but it IS a bit more under control.
I'm going to write some of my observations in here. I know it's a public blog and I also know there are many blogs out there about this very thing. I hate the stigma that comes with having mental illness and I figure if one person reads any of this and can relate...and maybe goes and sees a doctor, then it was worth writing this here. This in itself is like therapy, I think trying to express it more and share it, it is a good thing.
From my book of thoughts, worries and therapy homework:
-I can't go across the street, there are just too many cars. It scares me and I panic. Many times I go out of my way to avoid busy intersections. I'll walk extra blocks just to cross in a quieter spot.
-I'm walking down the sidewalk and two people are coming the other way. I feel the fear hit, like an adrenaline rush that flashes up my body. My stomach knots up and I get very tense. Instead of walking past, I turn around or duck into an alleyway. If I have to walk by them, I put my head down, tunnel vision to the sidewalk and zone out as I walk by. I go into my head, which I do a lot, and pretend I'm somewhere else, not worrying at all. Many times it's sitting on Bondi Beach or sitting on the cliffs of Bronte, listening to the waves crashing, the salty breeze hitting my face, etc. If I don't do that, the worries get worse...Are they staring at me? What are they thinking? etc.
-I come home and after Bronte Kitty greets me at the door, I have to walk through the apartment and make sure no ones is there. I get SO paranoid about that. Like, one day I'll come home and some guy with a knife is hiding out in the bedroom.... Not likely eh? Doesn't matter though, I fear it anyhow. Only way to stop it, is to check. Sometimes twice.
-On days where I'm feeling very social phobic and too self conscious (happens probably four days a week at least?) I have a hard time walking down the sidewalk on Main Street where everyone is driving by and walking around, etc. Because I still have to get places and get things done, I take the alleys instead. I can duck into them and walk fast to get where I need to go. It minimizes the fear a little bit for me as goofy as it sounds.
-Do people see my fingers? Do they think it's gross? Are they disgusted by it? Do they think I'm fucking nuts? I hate it, it's one of the clearly visible signs of my OCD/Anxiety tendencies. I'm so embarrassed by it and I don't like people seeing it. I pick at the skin on my fingers, around my nails until they are ripped apart and all sores, etc. I can't seem to stop it and it's like I catch myself doing it. I don't even realize it at times. I wish I could stop it...
-I avoid restaurants that are busy like the plague... especially if I'm alone, but even with others I'm freaking out the entire time and tunnel visioning. I used to drink to ease it, but with my meds I can't really do that anymore. I try to get a booth, preferable in a corner or by a wall. If my back is to a wall, I know there's nothing to worry about behind me and I can scan the room to make sure I know where the bathrooms are and the exits. It makes me that bit calmer. The worst for me is having to get up with all the people around. Buffets are very very hard for me. I try to go places to eat at non busy times. Like after the lunch rush, around 1pm, places aren't as busy. Same goes for stores. I NEVER go to Walmart after 3pm if I can help it.
I'm going to try to do a lot more of this, I think it's really healthy and good for me. Hope anyone reading doesn't think I'm totally bat shit crazy....
-M

My Weight Loss, Exercise And Trying Not To Binge Eat

The one thing I can really say I've done for myself in the last year and a half is my weight loss. I suck at discipline and I'm bad at staying motivated. My ADD symptoms get pretty severe and I start a bunch of things and finish nothing. I get distracted very easily and basically lose hours if I don't watch it.
I honestly didn't think I'd lose any weight when I started in December 2012. I'm 5'1" and I weight 179 pounds at the doctor's office. I felt miserable both physically and mentally. It made me very self conscious and embarrassed and sometimes I just couldn't bear to leave the house. It made my social phobia SO much worse. I really hated myself even more because I looked terrible and I knew it.
So, I started researching on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, looking for exercise ideas and recipes for more of a clean eating/paleo type eating style. I just sort of came up with my own way. I did the same with exercise. I read a lot about the high intensity interval training and applied it to how I use my elliptical. I started printing out different exercises with hand weights as well as calisthenics.
It worked out brilliantly! Right now I am at 125 pounds or so. I've basically lost around 55 pounds in a year and a half. I still have some way to go, my body fat is still quite a bit, but I don't just want to lose the fat, I really am trying to gain muscle. So far it's going well, you should see my shoulders and arms! Once I get rid of the rest of my "spare tire" then I'll be happy. I really don't have a specific weight in mind, just how I feel and look. So far so good.
I'm in the middle of quitting smoking again. I had my last cigarette before bed on the 12th, so it's only been a couple days. I thought it would be harder than it's been so far. I chew gum and puff and gnaw on one of those zero nicotine ecigs. I love the Fantasia line of ehookas, they are great flavors and no nicotine. I'm doing it cold turkey, it's the only way it works for me. I would LOVE if I could stay a non smoker. My lungs are not good and I don't want to end up with COPD. I just have to keep telling myself, I'm stronger than the cigarette, I'm stronger than Phillip Morris, I can do this, for my health and my future.
-M

Finally Heard From My Mother

I got a huge surprise last week, my mother called me... twice.  I hadn't heard from her in months and the last time I did it was only for a couple minutes. It was good to know she was doing okay and that things were getting a bit better for her.
I know she's been diagnosed with BPD, but she's going to see a psychiatrist and get properly diagnosed. I'm assuming OCD and social anxiety will be added but we'll see. I don't think she is Bipolar necessarily, it may just be Borderline causing her mood issues. I find it interesting that I have BPD, she has BPD, her mom has BPD and we are pretty sure her grandmother had it as well, though not diagnosed. I truly believe that BPD isn't just environmental but there is a genetic component as well.
As she usually has done she told her sister and I very little the last few years...about how she has REALLY been doing. She put on a front and acted like everything was going mostly okay. These two phone calls though, she was a lot more honest about things. She admitted her depression got so bad that she was overwhelmed with everything for a long time. She said her home looked like an episode of extreme hoarders. I'm not sure if it's an OCD thing or just a severe depression thing.
Mom has a couple good friends up where she's at that she finally told about her situation. The cabin she was in was leaking for a long time, she hadn't had electricity or water in some time either. She has like eight cats (yes she jokes about being the local cat lady lol) and got very behind on their cat boxes, etc. They helped trash the place pretty well. So it was all just a mess. I'm SO proud of her for saying something finally.
Her friends got her out of there and helped her get a nice two bedroom apartment. They are also helping her file for Medicaid and Disability, for mental illness as well as physical. She has a joint disease where they just keep getting worse. She is having a hard time with pain related to that as she keeps herself moving even though it hurts. It makes me worry a bit because my knee and hip are acting up. My knee sounds like someone driving on a gravel road when I bend it while bearing weight. I can't ride a bike, run or do things like squats without it really hurting. I hope the doctor can help her with it.
This whole thing with Mom, it's made me do a lot of thinking. It's all new territory for her, seeing a psychiatrist and hopefully a therapist, seeing a GP, getting on medication, applying for all these programs. It can be really scary at first and very uncomfortable. I'm glad she has the support as she enters thing better phase of her life. It's so hard to admit all the problems, it can be embarrassing and traumatic itself if the support sucks. I encouraged her as much as I could, that it's something you get less afraid of with time.
Even with all our issues, I do still love my mom. It is hard, because I'm going through therapy myself and it's brought up a lot of unresolved issues and feelings I still need to sort out. I hope she continues to do like she is, so proud of her!!
-M