miss_invisible: (hh: sad alot)
So, obviously that whole updating while I was in Europe thing didn't happen, life was fairly busy. That said, the course went well and I am now certified, and as a bonus my classmates were all awesome. I hope you have all been well while I've been gone.

I'm now on the mildly frantic hunt for a job, which so far is not going great and has been stressing me out far more than the class did. There's been a fair amount of unprompted crying fits and afternoons of total depressive shutdown– it's kiiiiind of a problem. I've managed to get three apps in, but so far no luck. European employers are particularly obnoxious, because they all want EU residents rather than mess with visa paperwork– this is not very helpful when the goal is to move to the EU permanently.

Tdoc Dee thinks I am handling all the pressure and life upheaval very well. I think that is sweet of her, but only true when you compare me to me, not when you compare me to people who can function like normal humans. (I may be a bit frustrated. Just a bit.)
miss_invisible: (garfield: hating the world)
I have been an anxious wreck most of this week. I thought it was the stress/excitement combo of my upcoming trip, since while I like being other places I find travel itself rather nerve-wracking.

Today, however, I got my hair cut and now feel way better. If I was really making myself sick over nerves that my hair wouldn't look good, that is a kind of woeful commentary. (It does, incidentally, look good). Sometimes I feel like the less significant the issue, the more I stress about it. My reactions to my life are wildly disproportionate.

Of course, I could wake up tomorrow and have a total meltdown about what to pack, so who knows. I wish there were an easy way to pinpoint what is making me anxious at any given time.
miss_invisible: (gws: pals)
Sorry for the temporary disappearance. I'm doing better now, and my moods have leveled out once again. I seem to be doing better in terms on energy levels as well, though I still have definite limits– I've been out and about running a variety of errands lately, which has left me very exhausted at the end of the day.

I'm now on an every-other week schedule with my tdoc Dee! Don't get me wrong, I like my tdoc, she's great, but it's a really great feeling of tangible progress to be able to step back the number of visits. She and I seem to be in agreement that I've hit a breakthrough point where I'm now able to, y'know, function like a normal person a good percentage of the time. I'm working part time, I'm doing various projects of my own, I'm not feeling like hell. It's a refreshing change. Hopefully the upward trend continues, though my progress seems to move in steps rather than a continuous curve.

My therapy homework for next time is to give some thought to when my anxiety started. What do you think, should I just print out that entry? Today she posited that, in the chicken-or-egg question of anxiety & depression, in my case the anxiety is the root of the rest of my problems. I found this interesting, since I generally consider them and their co-morbidity in more of a physiological light; anyone know of any research out there that suggests this kind of causal relation? I'm curious, and I know there's a lot of conflicting views and a lot we don't know about mental illness.
miss_invisible: (gws: Erin sadface)
As the savvy among you may have surmised from my absence, I've had a rough patch recently that's gotten in the way of me updating here. I seem to have developed an unexpected nasty side of social anxiety to go with the garden-variety stuff, as well as serious issues with going anywhere outside my 'known territory.' Needless to say, it's inconvenient at best.

However, that's not actually what I want to talk about right now. Read more... )
miss_invisible: (garfield: hating the world)
My therapist has been pushing to medicate me more for anxiety lately. My antidepressant, while doing what it says on the tin, hasn't done much of anything for the anxiety; the trouble is that I'm very sensitive to medication. My pdoc nominally put me on a benzo, but I suspect more to get her off his back than because he felt any particular need.

1/8th mg of lorazepam per day. Is that even a dose? Apparently yes, because my coordination has sucked ever since, and while it doesn't totally knock me out like a whole .5 does, it does make me tired.

It also does not last quite an entire day. Blegh. I hope this all sorts itself out soon. I suspect it will, actually, once the holidays are over, but in the meantime it's either vent about it briefly here or totally lose my cool. This is probably the preferable option, no?
miss_invisible: (garfield: hating the world)
Normally, I love the Christmas season. I even suffer enforced time spent with the Extended Family (who mostly give me headaches) with reasonably good grace, because it's a price I'm okay with paying for a pleasant month or so. I love doing Christmas shopping, I love the lights, I love trimming the tree, I love the breakfast and dinner that I only get once a year, I love guessing what my gifts could be, I love seeing people's faces when they open the ones I got for them. I detest winter, but I love Christmas; I always have.

This year, I'm feeling distinctly Grinch-like. As I've said, my anxiety levels are high, and the busy nature of the holidays seems to just be aggravating it. Anyone who mentions that we're just over two weeks from Christmas risks sending me into fits of panic because I HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING YET. I have no idea what to get my father– I've been fretting over it for weeks and still have no idea. I have plans for other people's gifts, but I've done nothing about it. Plus, there's the looming prospect of a family party, which I'll be avoiding– I don't intend to induce a seizure on purpose, which would be the likely result– but dodging gracefully involves excuses, a cover story, a planned subterfuge. My parents don't care, but everyone else will.

I'm stressed, in short, on top of the fact that my nerves are already a live wire. Also, how to explain away my absence and lack of job/general productivity to the relatives without ever so much as implying depression/anxiety might be at play...? This sort of thing is exactly why awareness is so important; bad enough to cope with the disease without also having to cope with the misinformed.
miss_invisible: (gws: aaaaaaah!)
This month's theme for the blog carnival comes at an apt time for me. For whatever reason, late at night (or technically early in the morning, really) tends to be the most difficult time for me, the time when anxiety or depression or both reach a critical mass. I'm also a terrible insomniac, and lately my schedule has been skewed to the point of my being essentially nocturnal. Night is when I am awake– but no one else is. The isolation doesn't help matters, I'm sure.

I want to talk about a particular long night. Read more... )
miss_invisible: (garfield: hating the world)
My therapist has been making noises of getting my psychiatrist to change up my meds again. I'm really not sure I like that idea, and not just because I'm getting sick of the constant switching– four meds over four months– or because of my general distaste for being super medicated.

Meds and I, we don't get along great. I started out on Cymbalta and (after a period of violently nauseous adjustment) it helped for a while. But only a while. Prozac left me numb and aggravated my seizures to intolerable levels. The lorazepam I take as-needed for anxiety does its job, but knocks me out flat for a good ten hours, so I prefer not to use it unless I have to. My current Pristiq/Deplin cocktail, however, actually seems to be working, and doing so without any adverse side effects (save for my irritation at the idiots who decided that square was a good shape for a pill). My depression has been under control for once; my mood has been stable and in line with my actual experiences. I'm even able to get things done, when I need to.

My anxiety, however, is decidedly not remotely close to being managed at this point, and the recent absence of major depression symptoms and/or episodes has left me fairly at its mercy. Whenever one half of the problem is being dealt with, it seems, the other takes the opportunity to invade my conscious all the more aggressively. The anxiety issues have led my therapist to bring up possibly switching me over to some kind of anti-anxiety drug instead of the antidepressants. The thought of switching is fairly horrifying to me– it's been so long since I haven't been feeling depressed 98% of the time, and I really don't want to go back to that place. But trying to cope with my current levels of anxiety is not exactly a great prospect either.

I always feel so ambivalent about psych meds. This is really not helping.
miss_invisible: (gws: Erin sadface)
I've been living with my anxiety/depression cocktail for a long time. If I had to estimate, I'd say, to be conservative, it's been at least eight years. The beginning, as I've said before, is hard to pinpoint. I knew something was wrong, of course– how could I not have? Yet I resisted seeking medical help for years. In my freshman year of college I had some sessions with one of the campus health center's counselors, a masters student. She was kind, and I liked her, but she wasn't a professional. We talked a lot about "managing stress." That same year, I talked to my GP about my attendant physical symptoms– she ran my blood and proclaimed me perfectly healthy.

I was relieved. I knew what was wrong with me, I'm sure we all did, but no one said those words aloud. Read more... )
miss_invisible: (c&h: eep!)
I had a nasty anxiety day yesterday, the kind of day where I am constantly aware that I'm bordering on a panic attack. The best metaphor I have for it is that it's as if I'm a kettle full of water on the stove– sooner or later, it boils and the steam has to escape in a whistling rush. The only hope is to turn the heat on the burner down.

Except it's really difficult to do that. It's one thing when anxiety is centered on/stems from some identifiable fear, even if it's a ridiculous one– my therapist and I have been working a lot on self-talk, and on calming those fears and letting them go. I still have a lot of work ahead of me to get good at that, but I'm improving, and to some extent I can quell the irrational panicky feeling. Yesterday, however, was the sort of anxiety that is utterly baseless and unfocused, just bouncing around inside me and leaving me restless and tense, a bundle of nerves.

In situations like that, the only thing I've found even remotely helpful is meditation. Sometimes I can calm myself enough, at least, to keep me from spiraling into any of the major physical symptoms I experience– panic attacks, seizures, ect. I felt proud of myself when I managed to remain okay-enough that I didn't have to resort to my anti-anxiety meds (effective, but they knock me right out).

Jittery dreams, though. Does anyone else experience that, I wonder? My dreams themselves become anxious and stressful sometimes during these flare-ups. They're also some of the few dreams I tend to remember.

Origins

Nov. 19th, 2010 10:28 pm
miss_invisible: (gws: coffee sulk)
I often find myself wondering when, exactly, everything started. Have I always been dealing with mental illness? Have I always been, to greater or lesser degrees, disabled? At times the wondering borders on obsession, the inability of my anxious mind to let things go making me turn the thought over and over in my mind. Maybe part of me thinks that if I knew when it started, if I could find some moment and say, “This is when it began,” then maybe I could master it. I could understand it, I could control it, I could fix it. Ridiculous, obviously, but a lot what goes on in my head has fairly little to do with logic.

Read more... )
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