Walking Through Murky Water

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Sometimes, I feel like I’m walking through murky water when I’m dealing with my anxiety. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is really happening, and what my brain is trying to tell me (negative cognitions/perceptions/interpretations). Too often when you deal with depression and anxiety you are faced with a reality that is misguided by your own mind, because it lies to you and tries to make you believe things that aren’t fact based. It can be a daily battle to learn how to recognize the negative thought process and how to retrain your brain to rethink. I utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy often to deal with my anxiety and panic attacks as well as my negative thoughts. It helps to clear the murky waters a good bit.

Though this week it has been extra murky, I mentioned in my last post that I had begun the process of switching from Mirtazapine to Venlafaxine. I’m on my 5th day of the new med and the same of skipped doses of the old med. As you might imagine this has been an interesting last few days. There hasn’t really been a change in my anxiety or panic attacks, it’s about the same, still there. I’m thankful it hasn’t increased with the change of medication. I have developed a few side effects or maybe they are discontinuation effects of Mirtazapine, I’m not sure which. I’m pretty sure these are side effects of Venlafaxine: Coffee tastes almost metallic right now, nowhere near as bad as what I went through when I first started Topamax a couple of years ago. For the first 3 days I felt like I had electricity prickling just under my skin. I yawn like crazy for the first 2 hours after I take a dose of Venlafaxine. That has proven to be rather annoying. The worst thing is the nausea, hopefully that will eventually subside. I have also noticed a definite decrease in my appetite and the amount I can eat at meals. I’m not sure if the increased sleep issues are because of the discontinuation of Mirtazapine, or the mid afternoon dose of Venlafaxine. I’m also experiencing muscle jerks that are rather annoying at night when I try to sleep. It makes sleeping rather frustrating.

I’m hopeful as things level out and I’m on the new med for a while it will prove to be worth it and the side effects will ease off. Hopefully eventually the murkiness will clear and I’ll find some inner peace. Hope.

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Do You Journal?

“Do you write in a journal before bed?”, he said it will all the seriousness needed yesterday. Several answers screamed through my head before I blurted out “I use a CBT app, (it’s called  Moodnotes, if you have iOS/Apple products)on my phone for when I wake up in the middle of the night having a panic attack.” He simply replied, “Maybe you should journal before you go to bed.”

It seems so simple. I did it for years. I think back over the several paper journals I had, over the LiveJournal I kept in my late teens/early twenties. Then one day I just stopped doing the one thing I enjoyed the most. I stopped writing. I’m not sure why, I’m not even sure if there was a real life reason.

‘No one wants to read this. It’s just a bunch of complaining and rambling’ 

It’s not for them. It’s for me. If it helps me sort through the craziness in my head write it. Simple answer back to the self-doubt monster that resides in my head. 

‘They will all think you are insane if you share all of those thoughts’

That’s what the private button is for. I don’t have to let people see all of me. 

‘Who really wants to know about what life is like with a couple of autoimmune conditions, get over it already?’

Uh shush, there are plenty of people who either have similar conditions or who love someone with similar conditions who want to read stories about people living and making the best out of life while they still can. 

Those are just three of the arguments I have been having with myself during my absence from my blog recently. 

It was resolved yesterday at a doctor’s appointment with my PCP to have my INR check, and to talk about my anxiety medication.  I’m at monthly INR checks now, even though my INR keeps dipping low and we aren’t exactly sure why. Could be the shots I’ve had to get in my hips due to bursitis (fun stories there…uhm no), could be the increased dose of Azathioprine. Or the weather, stress, or who really knows.

The other result of this appointment was a change in my anxiety medication. After two years in a love hate relationship with Mirtazapine I am now beginning a slightly different medication call Venlafaxine, more commonly know as Effexor. He also prescribed Ambien for those nights I can’t get my brain to hush and I need to sleep. I’ve been down the Ambien path before, I know the ins and outs, I’m not too worried about that one. Venlafaxine….I’m just along for the ride for the moment, and hoping it is a better fit than Mirtazpine was in the end.

“Do you journal at bedtime?” No. But I’m going to start attempting to write every day again. Not all the posts will be made public but a lot of them will. It may be me remembering things with mist covered eyes, but I seem to remember being able to cope better during the times when I was keeping some form of journal. So in a month when I check back in… I’ll be able to tell him that I’ve started that process again.

A year of Emotional dealing.

A year ago I started seeing a therapist. A year ago a began the amazing journey to processing what this new life would mean for me. A year ago I was a different person than who I was before I got sick and today I sit here a different person than who I was when I first got sick. It’s been an interesting journey. I have been through some battles that many do not know about. Unless you were there during my struggles you probably do not know what I faced entirely. I’m a strong woman and I knew it was going to be a long process of learning to live with my illnesses.
She has helped me come to terms with the different obstacles that I encounter with being sick. From the daily symptoms, medications, side effects, to the limitations that they put upon me. She has given me the tools to process how they changed my life. She allows me to talk things out, to process and has helped me on the journey of accepting this new life.
In the beginning there was a lot of uncertainty. A lot of unknown, too many questions. I learned quickly that I am rather afraid of the dark abysses of uncertainty. I did not deal well with not knowing what was going on with me. I dealt even worse with the fact that people kept telling me there was nothing wrong, even though I knew there was something going on. People let me down. People hurt me. My trust in the medical community decreased greatly during the first few months of my illness. I was left with a form of PTSD because of some of the things that happened. It has taken many sessions of talking about the details of what transpired to get me where I am today with recovering from those first few months of being sick.
Truth is, I’m a different person. I will never be who I was before I got sick. Life changed, I have adapted, and with that I have changed, mentally, emotionally, physically. I have grown in many ways. I have learned some new skills with dealing with my anxiety. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not affected by my illness in some way. It’s amazing how much of an impact this had, and how much changed, so quickly. I’m also always amazed at how quickly people judge me for changing, before they realize everything that I went and still go through. If anything this whole journey has been a very eye-opening experience.
I’m just now getting to a point where I can voice clearer to the people closer to me what my day-to-day life is like, and realize that even though they spend every day with me, even they didn’t realize what the last 1.5 years has been like entirely for me. Learning how to better communicate what I am going through has helped me deal with things because has lessened the feeling of isolation greatly. It is a work in progress.
Therapy and learning to deal with emotions and anxiety will always be a work in progress. Well worth it and a journey I’m willing to take and invest in.
I’m excited to see where things are in this department in 6 months, and again this time next year. It’s a process and I know it isn’t a linear process. I’ve been all over the place, and there are many aspects still left to process. I’m grateful for the progress I’ve made, for the peace I have been able to receive, and look forward to the healing still to come. It was therapy day again today. There’s a new table in my room. It’s larger and a little intrusive compared to the smaller black one that use to be there. New table aside it was a great session. Cover a lot of things today and I go back in 3 weeks.

Suicide Hotline Information

Tomorrow is the 3 year mark of my dad’s passing. In memory of him I wanted to do something positive. So I decided to gather a few links to help-lines and other information for Suicide prevention. Please if you are considering committing suicide, or know someone who is at risk for committing suicide please reach out to one of these services.

Suicide.org - Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support

Emotional Dealing

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Today was the day I took a step toward a better tomorrow. Today was the day I saw my therapist for the first time. I’ll call her AL. Today I began the process of gaining a better way of coping with everything that is going on. I have the tools, I just need a better way of utilizing them. Somehow during all this craziness I lost my coping abilities. I think it happened about the same time I became so utterly overwhelmed with the medical bullshit that I couldn’t see three feet ahead of me any longer. I gave myself a chance to figure it out on my own. I realized I couldn’t, so I sought out help. Dr. C referred me to the group AL works with. They paired me with her. First impression is that they paired me correctly!  Continue reading “Emotional Dealing”