Anxiety

All posts tagged Anxiety

Today we’re going to talk about the…Oh look, Squirrel!

Published January 4, 2019 by Malia

My suspicions started a while ago. One of my friends is a special ed. teacher, and she regularly shares on Facebook different articles she’s found that relates to her work. One day she posted an article about an adult getting diagnosed with ADHD. I was intrigued, and hopped over to read it. As I finished the article, it struck me that it could easily have been written by me, but I didn’t have ADHD.

Did I?

Curious, I began to do a little research, and while I didn’t fit every single symptom of ADHD , I realized I had most of them. It took me a few months to work up the courage, but I finally got myself to the doctor and into therapy.

Last August, I was officially diagnosed with ADHD, and I started taking an antidepressant that is supposed to help with both my depression and my ADHD. I can track the ADHD symptoms and anxiety back to childhood, and the depression has been fairly constant companion since I was sixteen.

Do you have any idea how relieved and angry this diagnosis made me?

The relief comes from finally knowing that I’m not stupid, lazy, or just plain losing my marbles. It comes because I finally am getting a treatment that actually is doing something.

So, if I’m feeling all this relief, why am I feeling anger?

When I was growing up, I was taught that ADHD (and autism, and schizophrenia, and a whole raft of other mental issues) wasn’t real. I was told that ADHD-and pretty much any other mental condition-was one of two things. Either it was bad parenting, or it was demonic.

Now, I do believe in angels and demons, God and Satan, Heaven and Hell. However, I also believe in science and the fact that the brain sometimes doesn’t quite do its job right. To me, the brain not being able to produce enough neurochemicals is no different than the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the heart having a valve that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

What else was I raised to believe? Antidepressants are evil. They will turn the taker into a zombie. People don’t really need antidepressants, they just need to try harder.

I’ve spent years trying hard. And I’ve failed hard. Over and over and over again.

I’m angry because the symptoms were present for so long. I’m angry that those who saw the struggle never brought up the possibility that I might have ADHD. I’m angry because when I’d say, “I don’t get this.” for the twentieth time to my teachers I was told it really wasn’t that hard; I just needed to apply myself more and study harder. I’m angry because when I’d say I was having trouble focusing, or I couldn’t function because of my depression, I was advised to just power through it. I’m angry because when I’d say I was really having trouble with my memory I was advised to just spend less time on my phone (to be fair, I probably should spend less time on my phone, but the memory problems started years before I ever had a smart phone). I’m angry because this last August was the first time since I was a little kid that I genuinely didn’t feel exhausted the second I woke up. While I’m thrilled that I awoke feeling good, I’m angry because I should not have gone 26-ish years without a decent rest.

I could keep listing things, but I think you get the general idea.

This has been a huge adjustment period. I’m still wrapping my head around the diagnosis. Even though I had been suspecting it for months, it’s a whole different thing when it becomes your reality and not just a suspicion.

A few weeks into starting treatment, I told my husband that I had realized just how bad I truly had been doing. It scares me that I was in that terrible of shape for so long. I also told him he’s an amazing man for loving me and hanging in there with me.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been living in a brain fog. Going through the motions of life. Making decisions, most of which I regret. The only thing I don’t regret? Marrying my husband.

I’ve spent so long wandering. Most of the time my goal has been to survive the day.

In the last few months the fog has started to lift. Really, truly, lift and clear. It’s like when I put my contacts in every morning. The fuzzy world around me is suddenly clear.

I feel like me, the real me, is crawling out into the sunlight. I’m meeting this girl that I haven’t seen since childhood. I’m trying to figure out how to balance the childhood me with the adult me.

I looked in the mirror a few months ago, and the woman staring back at me was different. There was happiness, joy, optimism radiating from me. My face didn’t just look like a fat blob with eyes, nose, and a mouth. I looked human. Genuinely human. I feel human. I feel present. I’m suddenly here, on planet Earth.  I’m not just sitting on the sidelines watching my body go through its day. I spent decades being detached, so it’s very strange to suddenly find myself connected to my body. I didn’t realize until the last few months just how long it’s been since I’ve been present and involved.

I’m learning to take ownership of my life.  I’m actually thinking for myself, not just relying on others to tell me how to think.  I’m realizing that it’s okay for me to admit that I love coffee, and make-up, and that I’m a dog person.  These may not seem like big things, but up until December, I never would’ve been able to say these things.  I’ve even started being able to make “simple” decisions (the first time I was able to decide within 15 minutes that I wanted Taco Bell for supper, I wanted to cry due to joy.)  I feel like I’m finding my personality.

This healing process is just that.  It’s a process.  Some weeks it’s really rough, some weeks I’m actually getting normal things done (like laundry and dishes), and it’s not feeling like quite as much of a herculean effort.

I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in decades.

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…