Anxiety

All posts tagged Anxiety

If you can’t make neurotransmitters at home, store bought is fine.

Published June 15, 2021 by Malia

How long does it take a heart and mind to heal?

Since 2001, I have been filled with pain, anger, depression, anxiety, and an overall strong sense of doom.  There have been blips of happy during this time, but overall it’s been 20 long years of misery.

I remember mentioning to someone that I felt as though I was living under a curse.  They thought I was being dramatic.  All I knew was that everytime I came close to finally getting a grip on life my world would fall apart.  And it was always in super strange ways.

About 10 years ago, I added apathetic to the laundry list of things I struggled with.  Everything felt so pointless, and I was so tired of always being in pain.  I think that’s when my dissociating began to get really bad.  I spent my days watching myself making decisions that were typically unhealthy.  It was a bit like watching a movie or a dream.  I felt like I was living my life in 3rd person.  My body and mind were on autopilot.

So much of the last two decades has passed me by, and I just let it. I have been ambivalent, apathetic, and I let my heart grow hard.

My undiagnosed depression, anxiety, and ADHD shredded my brain.  I remember when I started college on 2003, and discovered my memory was deteriorating.  It was frustrating and scary.  Growing up my memory had been ok.  I know that towards the end of high school I sometimes struggled to remember things when I was taking a test.  But I wrote that off as just being a busy teen.  I was heavily involved in extra-curiculars, and being a pastor’s kid came with it’s own set of responsibilities.  Then when I started an actual job my senior year, my plate was beyond full. 

Feeling your memory deteriorate is terrifying.  When you know that you know something, but it’s locked behind so many doors in your brain, and you can’t access it; it’s overwhelming and frustrating and angering.

In 2018, I began getting serious treatment for things.  It’s not been an easy road.  Therapy dredged up so many things that I had locked deep, deep, deep, DEEP inside.  So much anger and pain.  It was hard.  It’s still hard.  The guilt and shame of every mistake, every pain I’d ever caused others, overwhelmed me, drowned me. 

My promise to you, my readers, is that you get the honest, genuine version of me.  I’m still not ready to share with y’all the nightmare that was March 2020 through this past February.  But I will tell you, that I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it was the final straw.  It nearly destroyed me completely.  I spent months having people close to me watch me break apart.  I had my own healthcare providers encourage me to quit my job.  But I was so determined to stay.  I had a bad habit of walking away from jobs when they started to feel a little too hard to handle.  I was adamant I was going to break that cycle.  That, no matter how hard the job got, I was going to stick it out. 

Looking back, I now know that I should’ve left my job in May of 2020.  It wasn’t until the end of this past January, when faced with the reality  of partial hospitalization, that I finally said, “Enough.” I knew that if I went back I was going to find myself in some sort of serious health crisis, maybe a heart attack, maybe a diabetic coma, or just completely and permanently losing all touch with reality. I had this sense that if I went back, I would be dead before the year was out, because I could feel my body telling me it was ready to shut down. No amount of money was worth completely destroying myself.

In April, I was running some errands, and suddenly my brain shifted into autopilot. Before I knew it, I was driving to my old job. I hadn’t been near the building since January. I could feel the panic build as I got near, and when I saw it, I broke down. I was torn between missing my friends, and the rush of memories filled with fear and pain.

When Tom had surgery in May, it was the first time I’d been back in a hospital in months. I briefly wondered if I’d find myself second-guessing my decision to leave my job. The short answer? No, I didn’t. I remember watching the medical professionals doing their jobs, and not even the tiniest part of me missed being a healthcare worker. Instead, all I could feel was relief that I was out of working in the world of medicine.

Last Friday, Tom put on Sweet Tooth. Overall, it was a really awesome show, but it was an incredibly hard watch. The first episode and seventh episode hit especially hard.

MINOR SPOILER ALERT

Watching a fictional hospital deal with a pandemic hit a little too close to home. It was a little too real seeing a disease that progressed fast and overwhelmed all the healthcare workers. I stuck it out, but I also texted and warned my friend who is still working in the lab. Just in case she was going to watch it, I didn’t want her to be caught off guard. That night, I prayed and took the meds I usually avoid, in order to help me sleep, cause I was scared that the nightmares that plagued me throughout last year would be back.

A few weeks back, I wrote about starting a new med that was giving me all the side effects. When I contacted the doctor, she asked that I try to stick it out for two weeks, because she thought it might settle down and the med would start working. Last week, I wrote about how mentally I was feeling loads better than I have in a long time. The side effects are definitely better now, I’m glad I agreed to stick it out the two weeks. My body, once it finally adjusted, has been feeling good and my blood sugar numbers are slowly getting lower and steadier.

I’m a bit of an odd duck, because I believe in Jesus and in science. I firmly believe that God gave us science, and if anything the miracle taking place in my body reaffirms this belief. My body doesn’t make neurochemicals or regulate my sugars like it should, but science has created medications that help with all these things. Over the last several days, I’ve been feeling really good. Everything has been working the way it should in my body. And I’ve made a shocking discovery.

I like myself.

I’ve despised myself for so long. All I could see were the bad parts, the mistakes. Am I perfect? NOPE. But I am silly, smart, kind, funny, generous, and phenomenally gifted (especially in music). The me that has suddenly woken up after decades of slumber, is actually pretty awesome. I would want to hang out and be my friend.

So, am I healed/cured/completely fixed? I can’t really answer that. I know that I’m healthier. I know that it’s likely the dark feelings will be back, maybe tomorrow, maybe 5 years from now, but I’m okay with that. I know I can survive the storms, because I’ve already survived so many of them.

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Huh, therapy and self-care do help. Whoda thunk it?

Published June 10, 2021 by Malia

I had a really odd moment in therapy this morning. I went in with a few things to talk about. Nothing too exciting, just some things I’ve been processing and towards the end of session my therapist asked me, “That’s a lot going on. So, how are you doing with all this?”

I thought about it. I thought about how over the last several years (basically my entire adult life), when faced with similar things, I would’ve been sent in such a deep depressive spiral. About how all I would’ve wanted to do is lock myself up and hide away from everyone and everything.

And you know what? That’s not how I feel right now. Sure, I’ve got things going on that fill me with dread and anxiety but good or bad, these things will eventually be in the past, and I’ll hopefully still be here.

I’m learning to be kind to myself. My entire life, I’ve been my biggest critic, my number one enemy. I’ve been fixated on my flaws. Figured that if I made the joke first, I took the stick away from others and the bullying would be lessened. I’ve always been worried about everything, and torn to shreds with a load of guilt for every single bad thing that has happened my entire life.

I’ve come to the realization, my worry has accomplished nothing. For example, I can spend the next 5 months a ball of nerves, constantly freaking out about whether Tom’s cancer is still with us and spreading. But my worry will solve nothing. In November, he will either get good or bad news. There’s a 50% chance of good news, and if I’m going to fixate on anything, I should fixate on having hope. Instead of being my biggest hater, I need to be my biggest fan!

So, what was the odd moment? It was odd being able to look at him and honestly say, “Y’know, I’m actually doing okay with all of this.” And even odder to leave and not be overwhelmed with self-doubt, questioning if I really am okay or did I unintentionally lie to make myself look better than I am. I feel this sense of lightness. Almost giddiness.

No, I’m not cured. But I am mentally healthier. I’m seeing actual progress, and I want to celebrate that!

P.S. While playing with Snapchat earlier today, I captured this magical moment:

I really miss pizza

Published June 9, 2021 by Malia

I’ve had food issues my whole life. Add in the fact that I’m a super picky eater, and eating is a challenge.

In the last few months I’ve been finding that more and more foods seem to make me sick. It’s not great when the list of foods that don’t make you sick is basically chicken, bone broth, yogurt, and crackers.

I’ve been tested for allergies before and everything has come back normal. I came to the assumption that it must be my anxiety causing food issues.

It has been suggested that maybe tomatoes are part of the problem. Initially, I shrugged this off, because I hate tomatoes. But then I realized that while I hate raw tomato, quite a lot of the things I eat have tomatoes in them.

So, now I’m trying to revamp my diet to avoid tomato. It does seem to be helping a bit. It’s a bit of a challenge, and I have messed up a few times. This past Sunday I decided to make Tika Masala with this kit that came with the sauce already made. It was as I was playing the food that I remembered what one of the ingredients in the sauce is.

That’s right.

Fortunately, I survived without getting too sick. But I do dream of a day when I can eat pizza again without spending the following night in agony.

Today is clearly off to a magical start, right?

Published May 7, 2021 by Malia

I couldn’t sleep last night.  The anxiety was so high the sleeping pill I took did nothing until 4 a.m.  I was awoken a few minutes before 9 a.m. when Groot jumped out of bed.  My body is trained to wake up when Groot gets up, cause I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t, she’ll leave me presents on my closet floor.  And believe me, no one wants those presents.

Let me just state here, I genuinely thought today was Thursday. 

I put on my glasses, cause running on almost 5 hours of sleep, I figured I would probably come back in and go back to bed.  I got Groot outside, and immediately my stomach dropped.

Everyone in the neighborhood had their trash can at the curb and all the lids were open, which means they had all been emptied. I was baffled. It was Thursday! Why did no one tell me our trash day had changed? There had been no notification from the city. Plus, no one had their trash out last night, not even the super dependable neighbors directly across the street. So, when did they all put the cans at the curb, and how did they know the trash day had changed?

I pulled out my phone, intending to look up the trash day schedule on the city’s website. And then I saw it.

It’s Friday.

Our regular trash day.

So, as Groot did her business, I stood there and cried.

I’m clearly doing well at this whole handling life thing.

Welcome to the Second Decade

Published April 26, 2021 by Malia

If you’re new to the blog, or it’s been awhile since you visited, let me catch you up on what life has been like.

Ten years ago, I started this blog when I moved from Nebraska to North Dakota. I was going through a bad time. I was lost and heartbroken, and I needed to get as far away from Nebraska as I could. North Dakota may not sound like the optimal place to run away to, but I fell in love with Grand Forks. By the December of 2012, I found myself moving back to Nebraska. There were a few reasons that prompted the move, but the main ones were a type 2 diabetes diagnosis and running out of money for school (I was working on my bachelor’s for the umpteenth time).

January 2013-January 2016 saw the following happen:

-I worked in a medical lab.

-I began dating, and got married to the boy. That’s how I referred to him on here for the longest time. His name is actually Tom, and to this day I firmly believe that the best choice I ever made was agreeing to go on a date with him.

-Early Term miscarriages 1 & 2.

January 2016-February 2017

-Tried being a homemaker, it was a bit of a disaster.

-We blew up our car engine by throwing a rod. This led to a giant headache trying to replace the engine. Pretty sure by the time we sold the car we had replaced the engine 4 times. Important lesson kids, always stay on top of your car’s oil levels and changes. It’s and expensive problem you don’t want to deal with.

-We were so broke, and I completely lost hope that things would ever get better. It was a really dark time.

February 2017-April 2018

-I went to work in the lab at our local pediatric hospital.

-I was sick all the time, mostly with respiratory infections.

-Was officially diagnosed with PCOS. I’d been fighting to get someone to officially diagnosis it since 2012. It’s awful trying to get female reproductive health issues diagnosed and treated.

-Decided to leave the job mainly due to my rapidly deteriorating health.

-Adopted an 11 year old Puggle. She’s my first dog ever, and she’s my baby.

-Early term miscarriage 3.

April 2018-August 2019

-Attempt #2 of being a homemaker, again was a bit of a disaster.

-Got officially diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, and depression. I already knew I was struggling, but it was really helpful to finally have an actual diagnosis.

-It was a dark time, but also a time where I learned quite a bit about myself.

August 2019-March 2020

-Went back to the hospital lab job as a casual employee.

-My grandmother passed away.

-Early term miscarriage 4.

March 2020-Now (April 2021)

-At the end of February 2020, my job was going really well. I was getting healthy, and was finally losing weight. I was on top of the world, and when a full time position opened up I decided I was ready. Let me just say right now, if I had known what was going to hit by mid-March, I would’ve never gone to being full time.

-Working in a hospital lab, during the first 9 months of Covid was a special level of Hell. Eventually, I may be able to write more about it, but I’m not mentally or emotionally in a place where I can do that yet.

-The last week of December 2020, my mental/physical/emotional health bailed on me. I’d been trying so hard, for months, to hold it together. I kept telling myself if I could just keep going eventually things would better. At 2 a.m. on 12/28 I was sitting in the shower, sobbing, and I knew I was officially at my breaking point. Months of barely sleeping, high stress, panic attacks, crying all the time, and constant nightmares when I would manage to sleep had all taken their toll. I was put on leave through January, with the intention that I would be heading back to work. I had countless doctor appointments, and by the end of January I came to the realization that there was no way I would be ready to go back to work. So, I chose my health and my sanity over my paycheck and benefits. I know I made the right choice, but it wasn’t an easy choice.

-Early term miscarriage 5.

What does the second decade look like?

I’ll be completely honest with you, right now I qualify a good day as one where I get out of bed and put pants on. Overall, I’m not doing very good. I am starting to heal from last year, but it’s slow going. Right now, I can only manage baby steps, but I’ve decided baby steps of progress are better than no progress at all.

I’ve been encouraged in therapy to return to writing, and right now the easiest writing for me to do is this blog. And since it’s important to have goals, I will end this post with a small list of goals I have for the next few years:

Goal 1: Getting healthy so that expanding our family (whether biologically or by adoption) is an actual possibility.

Goal 2: Moving The Banana Gift from being a dream to a reality.

Like I said, it’s a small list. I’ll be back tomorrow!

Good-bye flu. Hello anxiety attack.

Published February 19, 2018 by Malia

(I’ve been having a really bad anxiety attack tonight. The following are all things I’m thinking and feeling.)

The anxiety is bad tonight.

I’m wide awake, but I’m so exhausted.

My heart is pounding.

My chest is tight.

Breathing is taking concentration.

My head is tight and painful.

Why won’t my thoughts stop racing?

I can’t even tell you what’s racing through my mimd, it’s just a jumbled mess.

I feel like I’m shaking, but I’m not.

I’m so nauseous.

I feel like the air is closing in around me.

It’s too hot.

It’s too cold.

My clothes are heavy and it hurts.

I’m very aware of my fingernails.

I’m super thirsty.

There’s too much noise, but the house is quiet.

I can hear the blood rushing past my ears.

Why is it so loud?

Sound hurts.

Light hurts.

I’m scared to turn off the lights.

The anxiety is really bad tonight.

Shhhh.. don’t tell the cats…but I really like the dog.

Published January 4, 2018 by Malia

My dog is scared of popping bubble wrap. She’s also scared of the crinkling sound plastic bottles make. She always looks worried or sad or both. The boy says she gets her anxiety from me. When he’s home she doesn’t seem anxious at all.

Anyway, here’s a bunch of pictures of my precious 11 year old lady puppy; because she’s the best, I love her, and we all need more dog pictures in our lives! (I don’t care that she’s old. I’ll always refer to her as a puppy.)

This is her, “Please, mom, stay home with me and don’t go to work for 9-ish hours.” face.

See, she’s totally at peace when the boy is home. He claims he no longer has a lap.

She looks so precious in her coat, but ahe refuses to leave the hood up.

LOOK AT HER LITTLE PAW PRINTS IN THE SNOW!!!!! She, however, hates the cold and the snow.

She loves sleeping under the covers. This is not an unusual early morning sight.

Puppy-ball and cat-loaf. This is the closest they get to getting along.

I adore her underbite and snaggletooth.

I love her little nerd shirts ❤

My little super hero dog. Her Wonder Woman cape and harness were a bit expensive, but soooooo worth it! She’s so adorable in them!

Bonus: adorable Doctor Mew!

Dear 2018, I refuse to make a pile of resolutions I’m just going to break in a day. So, let’s just promise to be kind to each other. Okay?

Published January 1, 2018 by Malia

I have been standing in my kitchen, washing dishes for the last 20 minutes, thinking about what I could say as we head into 2018.  Did I come up with anything wise?  Well, if you think that, “at least it’s easy to turn a 7 into an 8, so when I write 2017 on everything for the next two weeks and have to change it, it won’t be that difficult,” is wise, then sure, I’m super wise.

Actually, I’m feeling grateful.  Things were bad a year ago.  The boy was working a nightmare job.  His only income was commission based, and he worked 12-14 hours every day, 7 days a week.  To make matters worse, he rarely had sales, so more than once we went an entire month with him not having a paycheck.  Our bank account more frequently had a number that was red with a little minus in front of it, than it had a number in black.  It didn’t help that I had this constant mystery pain on the left side of my abdomen that no one could give me an answer about.  The worse things got, the more frozen in depression and anxiety I got.  I got to the point I was having trouble functioning as a human.    Things were bad, and dark, and I spent most of my time feeling completely and utterly hopeless.

Now, it’s January 1, 2018, and the boy no longer works the job from hell.  Our bank account, while not super healthy, hasn’t had bright red minus numbers in months.  I still have my mystery pain, but hey, two out of three bad things aren’t bad anymore.

So, here’s to 2018.  Here’s to starting a year with a bit of hope and a lot less fear.

Stormy Weather

Published July 7, 2016 by Malia

The clock just chimed four, and I’ve been wide awake since 2:30.  I counted 10 Mississippis between the most recent brilliant flash of lightening & the roll of thunder that followed.

 The boy is sleeping deeply beside me.  He’s completely exhausted.  In a few short hours he’ll be awake and gone; a 14-16 hour work day ahead of him.  These are the times I’m glad I don’t currently have a job, because if I did, I wouldn’t see him at all.  

I’m so tired and anxious.  I hate the Metformin.  I get that it’s supposed to help my health, but it also amplifies all my negative emotions and thoughts.  It makes everything feel so scary and overwhelming.  I hate it.  

More lightening.  7 Mississippis that time.  Storm’s getting closer.  

Totally Doing A Great Job of Writing Regularly…

Published January 17, 2015 by Malia

There’s something about publicly announcing I’m going to blog more regularly that seems to send my brain into rebellion and causes me to blog even less frequently than I was.  Which strikes me as completely ridiculous.  So, just to be safe, I’m done making proclamations regarding how frequently I’m going to write or how much weight I am going to lose. 

So, this is how I’m spending the wee hours of Saturday morning…

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I’m hanging out at the comic book store while the boy participates in the midnight pre-release of the next set of Magic cards.  This is actually a pretty big deal among those who play.  Some of these people will be here until five or six a.m., and then be back in a few hours to play for several more hours.  I’m not playing because I really, really, really, REALLY stink.  I make the worst players look like experts.  After a brain frying day at work I’m just not in any mental state to play a strategy card game.  However, I do enjoy hanging out and supporting the boy and getting lots of reading done.  I love that I can sit in the corner and read for hours on end, and no one cares or tried to bug me. 

Also, I’ll be honest, it’s a nice break from wedding stress.  I’m only 56 days away from the wedding, and my anxiety is through the roof.  I’m really excited about the future and the wedding, please don’t think I’m not.  However, there’s so much new and different that is headed towards me at break-neck speed and it’s a little scary.  I’m moving in with a boy.  That’s a definitely a first.  I’m gaining a whole pile of relatives all at once.  I’m changing my name.  I’m going to have to give up my wild, single girl habits (Translation: I have to start showing some restraint in the Kindle book purchasing).  This is only the short list, there are so many other things I could be listing off, but the goal is to not be stressing at the moment, so the list ends here.

56 days is not a very long amount of time…maybe I should start thinking about packing…