Where Did The Time Go?

wow..I’ve been quiet. Well, that’s not true. I have been anything but. I’ve taken a step back from my writing though, and I know that is not what I want.

April… What a month! My best friend since birth came to visit for a few days. I hadn’t seen her since before the breakdown. Actually, I was supposed to see her almost 2 years ago after she had her first baby and I was breaking down and didn’t realize it yet. I was in NY, I attended a wedding that I almost couldn’t go to out of fear. Fear of nothing. I cried the whole way to Connecticut, falling apart for all to see and I had no idea what was happening to me. I had planned to see my friend and meet her baby and I couldn’t do it. I was terrified. I had no idea why, and I never got to see her or the baby. Her Daughter will be two years old next month, I still haven’t met her. But, nonetheless, my friend came to visit me. She never saw the breakdown. She didn’t hear much about the breakdown either. Having her here was wonderful. I know she enjoyed the Florida weather! We talked about my anxiety, we talked about how I shut down. But, we didn’t focus on that. We had fun. Fun is what I needed.

A week after she left, back to NY, my best friend since 7th grade came to see me. Again, she never saw the breakdown, We talked during sometimes but it took a long time for me to explain exactly what had happened. I even allowed her to read the blog because I wanted her to know everything. We had a great time as well, no anxiety, just quality time and a wonderful visit.

A week following her visit, the husband and I ventured to Philadelphia for a wedding. I didn’t panic on the plane, I didn’t panic at the wedding. It was a great little weekend and it was wonderful feeling to finally feel “present”.

Meanwhile. I was finishing up 3 classes with 3 major projects. I’ll admit I panicked a few times. I avoided, I slept to make the work go away. But, in the end, it all got done.

So, that’s where I have been the past month, and now here we are in May! I am now steadily working 4 days a week, seeing Dr. DBT every Tuesday, attending DBT group every Wednesday.

I can’t say enough how much DBT has taught me about myself. I am able to notice my patterns quicker, calm myself maybe slightly quicker and major melt downs have been few and far between. I can’t tell you the last time I contacted the psych NP for reassurance. I don’t think I am dying everyday. Maybe a few times a week, but It comes and goes and I don’t latch on too long.

In my individual DBT sessions, we are working on the trauma of losing my Mom. I never considered it “trauma”. I never considered it anything. Devastating and something that I am not over after 5 years, but didn’t think “trauma” was the right word. Dr. DBT had me write out a time line of when mom was first diagnosed with Cancer until the day she died. She lived for 2 years after her diagnosis, my written time line is about 6 pages long. So many details I forgot. So much denial I was in that I can only see now. With it being Mother’s day tomorrow, the topic is hard. I still believe she is with me, I know she’s watching and smiling, I know she puts her arms around me when I feel I am falling apart. I am thankful for every minute we had together, though I may have not shown it when I could.

Okay, I didn’t want to get on a Mom tangent- so I am going to stop there.

I hope everyone is having a safe and panic free night. . If some one told me last April I would have done everything I just did this past April I think I would have had tears in my eyes thinking my life was done for and there would be no way. I probably wouldn’t have had it in me to try. Don’t give up. The real you is in there, you’ll come out when you’re ready ❤

Off Track, Maybe on Track

A month since my last post…where has that month gone?

I think after reading the last post I can say that I am continuing to adjust to my new/former life and starting to live again.

Life is busy, I am working way more hours than I want to, again- it’s not a lot for most, but beyond my comfort zone. But, in reality I am handling it well. I think I am learning that staying busy, having a routine, knowing what I’m doing is the key to my stability. I went to that seminar, I took my midterms, I finished the term paper, I worked the extra hours, I’ve gone out with friends. I am honestly doing ok.

Not everyday is perfect, but I can say I am living. I wake up in the morning, usually anxious but it’s gone by the time I arrive at work. I have finally noticed the trend that when I have a day off and I am home alone, that is when it falls apart. I want to be lazy and nap, I can’t sleep so I lie in bed and think. Then I notice the sensations in my body. Then I get scared.

I don’t want to work full time while I am in school, but maybe that’s how it all went wrong in the first place. I went from 60 hours to 10. I had time, too much time. Maybe time isn’t my friend.

I still have my individual DBT weekly and that helps immensely. DBT group is amazing. We are working on interpersonal effectiveness right now and I am learning a lot about myself. I’m passive, I can’t say no, I hate it when people don’t like me, I hate it when I disappoint. I apologize for everything.

Tonight Dr. DBT asked “what are you actually sorry for?” . She said to really think about that when “I’m sorry” flies out of my mouth. I thought about the past few times I have apologized, usually at work- and I really don’t know why I apologize. A senior coworker of mine was on vacation last week. I saw and assessed 30 patients in 3 days. She returns from vacation asking for me to work more hours, my best friend is coming to visit tomorrow. I have to say no and that kills me. She becomes rude and I am sorry. She’s overwhelmed and I am sorry. She continuously texts with what I didn’t do that I didn’t know I was supposed to do and I’m sorry. She never thanked me for what I did do. And I am still sorry. The texts were harsh. I actually copied and sent them to my boss so she was aware of the situation. She responded that none of that was my fault and not to take it personally. I then reply to her “Thank you, I’m sorry”.

This week’s challenge is to stop being sorry. I have learned (or am trying to learn) that I cannot control how some one else is going to feel or react to any situation. Their emotions and actions are not my responsibility and I can’t be sorry for everything. When “I’m sorry” falls out, I am going to step back and ask myself, what am I really apologizing for?

If you are an “i’m sorry” type, try it. See why your really sorry and if you really have a reason to be. I am thinking we aren’t as sorry as we think we are. Its the submissive, passive, people pleasing personality that has likely gotten us into the anxiety cycle to begin with.

Under Pressure

I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m not sure if that is even fair to say since I really don’t do much.

I’m now working 15 hours a week. I was asked to cover an additional 4 this week. 19 hours. That is nothing. Over a year ago I pulled 60 hour work weeks no problem.

I have 2 exams due. I took the biochem exam tonight and did pretty well.

The week has just seemed busier. Tuesday I left work, came home to feed the dog and had to leave 15 minutes later to get to DBT session.

Same thing yesterday to get to DBT group.

Today I worked and fell asleep when I got home for 2 hours. It’s cold here in Florida today (50’s!) and that nap was much needed. I need my naps daily, I haven’t had one in a few days.

I was anxious at work today for no real reason. My hands started to shake and I couldn’t get them to stop. I tried my DBT skills and went into the restroom to breathe. My head filled up with the “I’m sick” intrusive thoughts. My stomach has been in knots and an overall mess for over a week. I decided I had a GI bleed and I was dying. I challenged the thoughts with facts. I reminded myself that my stomach gets bad when I am stressed, my stomach gets bad when the weather changes, my stomach gets bad during hormonal shifts. I have Crohn’s disease, but have never had a GI bleed. If I did have a GI bleed, being in the medical facility that I was working at was the best place to be. I resisted asking a nurse to check my vitals. I resisted texting the NP to tell me I was ok.

I have one more 4 1/2 hour shift of work left this week. I can get through this. I made a commitment to attend a seminar on Saturday. I agreed to work an extra 6 hours next week…20 hours… My stomach is cramping as I type it out.

I think this should be my answer. Breathe, this is life. This is how I used to live and I am readjusting to having an actual life. Breathe…

You Are Not The Story

I saw the psych NP today for our 3 month follow up. It has actually been 4 months since I had to cancel since work is now a “thing” in my life and I can’t have appointments any time of day anymore.

I apologized for my frantic text a few weeks ago. I told her about going back to the new job and the flashbacks in my mind of all of the fear and terror I experienced there.

She smiled at me and and told me that that girl in the parking garage checking her pulse, calling her sister for reassurance, taking over a half an hour to sometimes never to leave the car and go into the building is just a character in a story. I need to learn to separate myself from that girl, that story, as it’s not who I am anymore.

She had me tell her the story by saying “she” was afraid to leave the car, “she” needed to call for help, “she” left the parking garage without ever leaving the car to never return until a year later.

She explained that I need to distance myself from those memories and give it a fictional sense. Otherwise, as I return to the parking garage I will feel the fear over and over and over again. It’s in my mind she said, it’s not me.

This all took awhile to process, I thought about it a lot. It makes good sense. I am not that girl. I never was that girl. I need to distance myself from that person as much as possible. She said this is the key to peace and serenity. I think this will take practice. A lot of practice. I identify with this past and all that I have been through so closely that it’s hard to change the way I think about it. But, I am going to give it a shot when the memories pop up.

Otherwise, the appointment went well. We decided to keep my meds the same, but I am going to give the xanax taper another try. These past few months I often forget to take my 5pm dose until hours later and then I have to force myself to stay awake so I can take my klonopin before bed without the two interacting. She told me I could just skip it if that happens, but we all know I am too afraid of benzo’s to be skipping doses.

So, tonight, I remembered by 5 pm dose around 6:30pm. I took a quarter off the pill and didn’t think much of it. Maybe I am actually ready this time.

xoxo

The “Antibiotic Theory”

Today I sat in Dr. DBT’s office feeling pretty good and calm finally after a complete meltdown last week. A melt down that I was sure was the beginning of yet another year of fear to leave the house, fear to do school work, fear to to live.

I realize I haven’t posted in a long time, looking back it looks like the last time I had something worth while to say was before Christmas, thinking I had pneumonia and raging that my father was not proud of me. I got through the holiday madness. I carried on with festivities and non-stop get together’s with friends and family. I started a new semester in January. I am taking on BioChem, Food Chemistry, and Community Health. I am finding the classes to be a challenge, but I am doing what I can. I also added 6 hours to my work week. I now work 15 hours. The 6 hours I added, just 2 weeks ago is to consult at the place that I had my final breakdown last January and never returned. I vanished. My company asked me if I was ready to return to take back that account as they wanted to let my replacement go. I had been feeling confident and I told them yes.

My first day back I was scared. Not paralyzed, but scared. I don’t think the staff knew what happened to me, I was there one day and gone the next. And now here I am again. I was warmly welcomed by those that remembered me. I was told how I look so “healthy” and “happy”. Those who did know why I had left commented that they admire my strength and how I had pulled myself back together. All this talk about my “recovery” made me anxious. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to have the flashbacks of hyperventilating in the parking garage, calling my husband from the office as I checked my heart rate repeatedly. I really just wanted to scream that I don’t need to be reminded, it’s burned in my heart. I know I broke down and I am trying to put the pieces back together still. 30 pounds gained and a cute little hair cut and actually doing my make up for a change doesn’t mean I am fixed. It means I am still working…

I’ve been attending DBT group every week and seeing Dr. DBT weekly. I have learned so many skills in such a short time. I just couldn’t understand why last week I fell apart.

I woke up shaking, too early…I didn’t want to get out of bed. I couldn’t look at my schoolwork without wanting to vomit. I even called out of work one day and convinced the husband to stay home with me to keep me safe. I even texted the psych NP for reassurance. Something I hadn’t done in months.

This time was different though. I didn’t think I was dying. It wasn’t my usual hypochondriac self. It was more of an intense fear that I was losing it again. That my medication had quit working, something wasn’t right and pretty soon I would be housebound again.

I gave in to it for a few days. I cried, I panicked. But then I started using my skills. I started to force myself to do what I didn’t want to do. (ie; get out of bed and get dressed). I spoke up when the company asked me to take on another account. I decided not to feel guilty and told my boss I can’t handle more hours right now, I am still coming to terms with the return to the old job. And she understood. And I felt better. Not perfect, but better.

So, today with Dr. DBT, since I was rational this visit talked about my skills and how I practice them. Am I still doing my stretching everyday? No. Am I practicing something from my self-soothe list everyday? nope. Them she asked about my blog, are you still blogging? nope, not doing that either.

She looked at me and said now she understood. It was the “antibiotic theory”. I guess by my face she knew I had no idea what she was talking about. She told me that when people are sick and get antibiotics, they tend to feel better in a few days and stop taking the meds before the bottle is empty. (I can admit I’ve done that)  And then the infection never fully clears and you are sick again in a few weeks.

I had been feeling pretty good these past few months, and stopped my daily skills I know I need to do. She reminded me that emotional regulation needs to be a part of my daily routine. She said that if 2 hours have gone by and I haven’t done 1 thing to reduce my anxiety (even if it’s just one deep breath), it’s been too long.

This blog has been so therapeutic to me. Writing the words, reading all of my fellow bloggers posts (which I still do even though I have been quiet). I can’t stop my coping strategies, not even for a day. Eventually it will catch up.

I am glad I caught myself in time. Posts are getting back into my routine, stretching, drinking tea outside, going for walks, breathing and taking a time out. Anxiety doesn’t stop forever for those that have it. It’s a day to day battle and you have to remember to fight.

xoxo

 

Happier Holidays

I first want to take a minute to thank all of my readers for so much love and support! I love all of your comments, advice, and encouragement. I hope that I have been helpful to some of you at times as well. I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday and hope that 2015 brings us all the peace we have been searching for ❤

Since my last post, things have had their ups and downs. That very night my husband was supposed to come home from his bachelor party he called and told me that the airline was looking for volunteers to take a flight in the morning due to being overbooked, and they are offering a $600 credit for future flights and would put my husband up in a hotel for the night. He’d fly out first thing in the morning. My answer- No. Just no. It would be a difference of 12 hours but I wasn’t having it. Looking back, that was an awesome deal and would really help when we have to buy tickets to fly to Philly in April, but I just couldn’t bear to be alone another second. Selfish…

I saw Dr. DBT on Monday, I told her my woes of the weekend, we agree I have to stop with the negative self judgement, and I need to do more “self soothing” activities. Sleeping is soothing to me, but that doesn’t really count. I have a list I made of things I can do, I just need to get better at practicing them.

My Father arrived last Monday. So far, so good. We took him to the Daytona International Raceway on Saturday- My husbands cousin owns a race team and  his driver was doing some sort of “try out” for NASCAR. I had no interest in this trip but my husband and father were so excited. I actually ended up having a great time. The place is huge, I think they said it seats over 250,000 people and there were only about 100 people allowed inside. I even went and stood on the stage where the Daytona 500 winners stand, got a quick photo and ran before I got in trouble. 🙂

Today I woke with a cold. A yucky headachy, coughing up all sorts of crap, sneezing cold. I slept most of the day. I wouldn’t say I am panicking but I am a little anxious about it. The intrusive thoughts…”what if it’s pneumonia?” My mother died the day after Christmas 5 years ago with pneumonia. (Ok, not entirely true, she had pneumonia but also had lung cancer that she did not tell anyone about- but that will be a later post) Then I start thinking maybe it’s the flu…My husband’s cousin’s wife (that is a stretch!)  got the flu last year and was on a vent for months. So, no- I can’t possibly just have a cold… get a grip Amanda!

I can tell my dad is getting annoyed with me about being upset about this cold. I asked him earlier if he was proud of how far I have come since last year and he responded “well, you’re being all weird about this cold”. So, then I said I wasn’t entirely fixed and I’m still going to have my things…

Aren’t you Proud? Do you have any idea how hard I have been working at this? He replied that I’m the way I was before last year and thats normal. That wasn’t the question. Aren’t you Proud??

 

Leave Me Alone for 2 Days and Hell Breaks Loose

okay, one more week of this terrible semester. I take that back, it hasn’t been terrible, I am just over it. Looking forward to a few weeks off and then some new classes. I’ll also be starting my internship rotations and I am a bit terrified about that. New places, new people… but, I think I am ready. And I am looking forward to the break so I can write more and read more posts…I am so behind and I apologize.

Anxiety has been pretty ok. I have my moments but I am learning how to handle them better. That is until this weekend…

So, husband went to a bachelor party in Ohio on Friday morning. I had to wake up at 5:30 am to take him to the airport. Already anxious. On top of that, my Crohn’s disease has been a little iffy these past few days. I don’t know why or if this is a normal problem, but I tend to get a mini flare up when the temperature drops, and then again when it goes up. So, My flares are usually in May and November.

I got home from the airport and fell back asleep. I woke again around 9, in a lot of pain. I also felt nauseous.  As we all know, I am terrified to puke so I was not handling that well. So, I took my xanax and an anti nausea pill from the NP and tried to go back to sleep. My belly was killing me. I fell back asleep for a few hours and then I decided that maybe I should put myself on a low dose of my steroids. My GI doctor lets me do that. I haven’t had to in awhile, but I know the roids make me anxious. I took a 10mg pill and cut it into quarters. I figured 2.5mg should suffice. I broke plans with my friend and went back to sleep. I woke up a few hours later, still in pain and I remembered I had some Bentyl from the NP and my GI had always told me to take that for cramps. So, I took that- for the first time. I wasn’t even having medication anxiety, I just wanted the pain to stop. The bentyl knocked me out and now it was 6 pm and I had slept the entire day. I tried to do somethings around the house and I talked to husband, I talked to my friends and bitched and complained. I had shopping plans with my mother in law for the next day, I called her and told her about my mini flare and I wasn’t sure if I could make it the next morning.

Then, around 9 pm I started to panic. Seriously panic, I was sweating, I was shaking, and my vision got all smokey. I then panicked more thinking maybe I mixed too many meds and I am going to die. Then I got it in my head that I was having a GI bleed and I was going to bleed to death and this was the end.

I talked to my Dad, who hasn’t seen me since the breakdown this time last year and he was horrified that I was talking like that.  He said that I was finally doing better and now he will be here in 48 hours and I am back the way I was. That killed me. I started to cry.

I still couldn’t calm down. I texted the NP for the first time in 4 weeks in desperation. I never heard back and eventually wore myself out and fell back asleep.

When I woke yesterday, she had texted back assuring me the meds were fine, I was fine and to relax. I ruminate on the GI bleed all day. I cancelled shopping with the mother in law and stayed in bed all day- again.

Today has been better. I know I have a lot to do, Husband lands at 9:30 and I basically wasted 2 days of my life so I had to get homework done, I have to clean, and I need to address these Christmas cards.

I am still anxious, but nowhere near how friday and saturday were. I think it goes to show, I am not ready to be left home alone yet.

As always, thanks for reading ❤