This article pretty much sums up what I’ve been dealing with:

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/02/the-myth-of-everyone-elses-perfect-life/

 

I think that…no one else struggles. I often think that 99% of my issues, imperfections, “undesirable” personality traits, lack of success (so judged by me), lack of stable relationship (more on that coming up….let’s hope it’s more positive than I’m feeling about it now), is because of my depression, my anxiety, and my ADD (attention deficit disorder).

The ADD causes extreme embarrassment on my part. I always thought I was careless, lazy, stupid…I was always getting in trouble for losing things, forgetting things…when, it’s a textbook diagnosis… Last night I was heating up some soup for supper.

Fast forward 45 minutes later and the spare bedroom bed has been changed, the Christmas lights have been hung, another load of laundry was done, and…the soup remained in the microwave. Long gone cold. I don’t mind these kinds of things…but the times where I’m doing more than one task at a time (which I need to “fix”) and end up booking the wrong hotel (Best Western instead of The Westin – big difference), where I drop all my papers, where I leave my cell phone in the rental car, where I forget to bring important items to work (LIKE MY LAPTOP!!)….those are the moments that I’m so embarrassed and ashamed of. But guess what. The more that I accept who I am, the less stressed that I will be, and the less likely the little forgetful things will happen.

And my anxiety/ depression – there are THREE people in my life going through cancer treatment at the moment. One of whom will pass away shortly, one is…doing pretty good but has a long recovery.. and one is probably doing ok…will have an extremely different life going forward.

That’s not counting that my boyfriend and I are having the “are we moving forward or are we ending things” conversations, I’m travelling at least one week per month, I’m struggling to study for an exam (that I failed the first time)…well..is there someone without anxiety and depression that could handle all of this? No.

Perhaps their coping mechanisms would be different….but…no one could handle this and be like, wow, everything is great, please come over for tea!!!

So I have to forget what everyone’s else’s life is like – because I’m not living in. I have to ACCEPT who I am. All of me. ALL OF ME. This tasks seems impossible. I don’t even know where to begin (I bought a workbook recommended to me by my psychologist). But I’ll try.

And I’ll remember that…no one else is me…living my life… Whatever it may appear on the outside….I’ll do me…and you do you..

 

And stay tuned how this self acceptance crap…i mean, urrgghh stuff works itself out.

 

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Quick Update

Wow. I haven’t posted in nearly six months. In that time, so much has happened. My medication dosages have been played with and *I think* that I’m doing ok. I say I think I’m doing ok…because there’s no one in the world that can be in my environment and “be ok”.

Two people in my life…my family have been diagnosed with cancer. Until you know someone with cancer and know their daily life – you’ll never understand cancer. I’m far removed from the details of the cancer life – I’m thousands of kilometers away. But it’s not some simple diagnosis followed by some treatment. It’s ups and downs and changes and adjustments and surgeries and the unknown and in the end….the fear of losing that person.

But the real trouble comes during treatment. Because the treatment is often so intense – that’s where the complications come in.

Add that I’m at a point in my relationship where it’s time to…how shall I say…”shit or get off the pot”…and I’ve put a deadline on it because…I need someone that will be there for me, or I need to be alone. No more in the middle. My guy is a fantastic person – but timing is everything and it might not work out.

And then….there’s my job. So many ups and downs. No real stability. And a ton of travel. A TON of travel. I’m so over hotels, driving in unfamiliar places, changing my routine…

Yesterday I had a…upsetting event happen. Nothing terrible. I was pulled over by the police and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I ended up crying HARD like a 3 year old for nearly an hour.

Let me finish this short post with the good news of all of this. I called my mom. Cried a  lot more.

And then parked where I had planned on parked, and walked my ass into the yoga studio, as I had planned to take a class that night.

I went in, eyes puffy and teary. And yogaed.

Proving that maybe everything is insane around me. But I’m capable of rising above it and living life.

 

 

(I would like to commit to posting more frequently….it’s on a long to-do list. <3)

Update

It’s been nearly a month that I haven’t written in this blog.

 

In part because I’ve been exhausted….but I’m pretty sure that’s related to an increase in medication that I really don’t need….I’ll find out on Sunday.

 

For the most part, my life has taken a huge turn for the better in the last two-ish months.

Yes, medication plays only a SMALL part of mental healthy, but if that small part isn’t in balance….it can be a major part.

 

My doctor has worked hard to get me on the right medication and the right dose. It’s a work in progress….and I don’t feel perfect…. Ok, a lot of days I’m only sort of ok….and I have to work pretty hard to keep things together. I rely a lot on the self-care tools that I’ve learned over the years to get me through the morning, the day, and into the evening…

Although my new psychiatrist is pretty awesome helping me figuring out the medications….he’s not so great in the…speaking area. He often comes up with harsh judgements….and crosses the “psychiatrist” limit…

I’ve spoke to my psychologist about it….and he explained it perfectly. My psychologist is an expert in his area of medicine. He would not prescribe me medication as he could do serious harm. The psychiatrist should follow the same suit. Medication, a bit of analysis to find out what’s going on – but leave the deep stuff to the other shrink, because 50% of the time I leave his office, I’m extremely upset for up to a week…

 

Anyway, he’s still nineteen gazillion percent better than the loser psychiatrist I had, who, by the way, never called me or anything after I missed my appointment with her (I forgot to cancel my appointment)….so things are looking up.

My bed vs The World

I’m going to have to change the title of this blog.

It’s not a weekly dose of mental health to help end the stigma. Sure, that’s what I wanted to do. Highlight topics to show that people dealing with a mental illness are just like the other people out there and ideas like “we’re all crazy” or “we just have to quit thinking so negatively” would start to go away. But they are not going anywhere in the short term. I’m not sure what it will take.

Recently my boss asked me what my health issues were. Without a beat, I told him. I have treatment resistant depression. I told him some of the battles I’ve been through trying to get help. That I get frustrated because I’m in a very factual profession and that I often think that I can “think” my way out of my illness (I can’t). He told me that he respected me more for telling him. And then I missed another day of work. And I feel awkward.

Let me first clarify, that if I miss a day of work – I make up the time in evenings or weekends. But, now he knows that I’m “crazy” and now he knows that my brain doesn’t work like the other 80% of the average population (if the statistics that 1 in 5 people have a mental illness). And I’m ashamed and embarrassed when I can’t remember a word or I am struggling to properly form a thought. I should be proud that I’ve made it out of bed. In the last three years, I’ve gone through countless medication changes/adjustments/etc….that I should be happy that I am functioning at the level that I am. But I’m not. I’m just embarrassed because I know that there is a smart person inside of me….she’s just doped up on medicine that she’s trying to get used to.

Next let me clarify just WHY I miss a day of work. It’s not because I’m lazy. It’s not because I don’t care (greatly) about my job. It’s not because I don’t want to see my co-workers or because I’m stressed about work.

It’s that in that particular morning, leaving my bed feels like the hardest thing that I could possibly do. I’ve conquered some huge obstacles in my life – and none of that matters.

It also happens to occur near the end of the week when I’m pretty exhausted.

There are some mornings where I’ve made it out of bed and started the shower, and then stopped the shower and went back into bed, because the world is just too painful to experience.

Getting dressed can be a thirty minute process because I don’t like the way that I look and “I have no clothes”. (I have clothes). So I decided to put my clothes out the night before.

All of the tricks – making my lunch the night before, deciding that the following day I’m going to hit up Starbucks on my way to work… sometimes all of the planning in the world….can still mean that I’m crashed in my bed. Hiding from the world, until late morning…noon….some days ALL day….like I change out from one set of pjs to another.

Last Friday –  I couldn’t get out of bed.

Tomorrow is Friday. I’m worried that I won’t be able to get out of bed. I really, really, really want to be able to go to work tomorrow. I want to be able to contribute. I want to be able to live….my escape life. Where everything is fine. No one (but my boss) knows that I’m sick. People just think I’m quirky. Or forgetful. Please let tomorrow be a good morning.

Life 2.0

It’s truly amazing what a difference one month can make.

One month ago, I was barely hanging on. I don’t quite know what I was hanging on to….but I knew I had to just keep my shit together…

The smallest tasks seemingly impossible. A to-do list that kept growing. The dog that didn’t get walked. The drive-thru that was visited more than I’d care to admit. I was simply surviving.

Then, I met Dr. New Psychiatrist. Dr. NP wanted to not only help me with my depression, but help me have a quality of life.

The first week, I was simply overjoyed and relieved that he took me as a patient. The intake process, however, was extremely painful. I had to talk about everything in my life that had ever hurt. Or that ever felt like rejection.

The second week, the medication change he had done was feeling ok, but again, more digging deep with the questions.

I completely understand that this is part of the process that he needs to gain a better understanding of what my treatment requires – but it was intense. Since that time, my brain, my soul, my….being have been in turmoil. Memories that I didn’t know existed come in waves….or floods sometimes. Sleep, while easy for me now, also comes with dreams driven by my unsettled psyche.

I continue to process them as gently as I can, but it is difficult.

However, the medication is making a difference. The dog is getting walked more. My to-do list – some items dating back six months – is getting shorter and shorter. I am able to do more using less energy. I have goals. Meals are getting made in advance. Groceries are in the fridge. The house….is slowly getting cleaner and cleaner. The pile of laundry gets folded.

Life isn’t perfect, but it feels like I’ve been living a slower, duller, life that was much, much harder, and now I’ve been upgraded. Now, life is the lighter, faster, easier version. Still heavy with glitches and requiring an update….that’s currently in process. Release date unknown.

 

 

Ascending a new mountain

The intent of this blog was to bring awareness to mental health topics in an informative way…light (well, considering the topic), neutral, and the very beginnings of something that I see for myself…one day at one time where I start to make a difference, like REALLY make a difference in the field of mental health awareness. Well into the future.

I have a feeling, that this blog, for the time being, is rather going to be about MY journey through mental illness, with the informative post scattered here and there…

If by chance you follow this blog, I need to tell you what happened this weekend. I met my new psychiatrist. Who cares. Who wants to make a difference. Who wants to really examine my disease and figure out what medications I need today. Our appointment was one hour and forty five minutes long…and it was intense. I was nervous (I hadn’t yet received the okay that he was taking me “officially” as a patient), I was putting on a front (I’m really ok, I won’t be too much of a bother, just please take me as your patient), and then we started to talk.

Why was I there? When did I start therapy? What do I remember as a child?

I won’t go into all of the specifics…but from an extremely early age (between 5 and 7), I knew myself to be fat, ugly, stupid, and lazy. As an adult, I can recognize that I’m in the “generally attractive” category – and I was a good looking kid. I remember looking at every single photo and being disgusted. I would do push ups and sit ups in my room at night…and hoping that it would make a difference (this was at a very young age where I didn’t understand the concept of how weight loss actually works). I knew I was stupid because I didn’t achieve very high marks, and I knew I was lazy because I didn’t clean my room or pick up after myself. I knew that I had low self-esteem, because after complaining A LOT about having to attend an art class, I asked my parents WHY DID I HAVE TO GO THIS ART CLASS, and they told me it was because I had low self-esteem and that this would help (I’m sure some general practitioner told them the same thing….).

I need to skip a few chapters, because at the end of our appointment, I left feeling extremely emotional but overwhelmed. For all of the worry, anxiety, panic, and fear that I had that he wouldn’t accept me – I had those feelings – but in the positive sense… I still haven’t totally processed it….

I posted candidly on Facebook, I see my video has over 120 views… I explain my journey (short form) and that I now have a psychiatrist.

I went to bed….thinking that life couldn’t get any better.

And then woke up Monday morning anxious, exhausted, depressed, lethargic, nervous, and scared. I spoke about myself and my fears, my past, my path in this long journey for an hour and forty five minutes…and it opened some doors that I didn’t want to think about. Yes, I’m in therapy and we talk A LOT….but remembering the child-me….wasn’t fun.

I have barely made it through the last two days. My anxiety has sky rocketed, I am unable to focus, and I am….exhausted (partly brought on by a medication change…).

The news of my new psychiatrist is such an incredible blessing. But it’s the start of a new mountain to climb. A mountain that I now have assistance with. And the proper support…but a mountain none the less.

For many reasons, I haven’t been able to be at work for the last two days. This makes my head spin…because:

  1. I need a job
  2. I need the money that comes with a job
  3. I REALLY like this job
  4. I like my boss and coworkers at this job
  5. I’m not sure what I would do if I didn’t have a job.

But I’m not exactly proving that I’m Miss Reliable. Sure, I’m coming in on the weekend….and I hope after a day of rest I’ll be able to function over the weekend to get what needs to be done…but I’m petrified.

I have my *potential* new psychiatrist’s appointment on Sunday at noon. If he accepts me as a patient, I am still in for a long road….but I will have stable help. I will have a doctor that cares about me and my progression, not a doctor that refuses to see me or help me when I’m in need.

I still very so upset when I think how my (hopefully soon to be ex) psychiatrist has treated me, how the medical system has treated me, and all of the people that love me that I make worry every single day.

I haven’t been able to even take care of myself this week. I am pretty functional at work….I even laugh….but at home…there’s no juice in the tank. I can’t cook/eat/prepare anything. One night I ate dry granola.

I still don’t understand the logistics of why this makes me so incredibly tired. But it’s so exhausted that it makes me anxious. Figure that one out. I feel all alone…..even when I’m not. I want to reach out to a friend here, but I know she’ll just disappoint me and bail (like last weekend) and I don’t even know if I want her as a friend anymore.

I don’t know what I’ll do if the doctor doesn’t accept me as a new patient. Send me positive vibes for Sunday.

36 hour long ride to Starbucks

It took me from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon around 3pm before I could leave the house.

I was tired from a long week at work (while dealing with my depression monster), and I just couldn’t get up. I was supposed to get my hair done in the Saturday morning….but I just couldn’t get out of bed.

I thought I’d recover during the day on Saturday….and be ok for Saturday night. I was supposed to go to a concert, but when my friend totally bailed on me (which was predictable), I used that as an excuse.

I had a scheduled yoga event on Sunday at noon…I even got showered, then went back to bed, cried, and slept. I woke up, cried some more, eventually called a friend…. While talking to her, I decided at least I could run an errand that I needed to do.

I knew the entire time if I just did ONE thing, it would make me feel better and that I’d probably do the next thing and so forth. But I couldn’t do the one thing. I couldn’t even walk the dog.

After I ran the errand on Sunday…I decided I would rent a bike and go to Starbucks with the dog. I wasn’t 100 m from my starting point when a cyclist, on the other side of the road, at an intersection on the cycling path, with a hidden corner, smashed into me. By some miracle I had chosen thick-ish leggings (mainly because I’m so self-conscience these days of my weight gain that’s been there….for a good 2 years now…), otherwise my legs would have been destroyed.

He didn’t apologize once. People stopped and helped us….at one point I thought it was my fault and apologized…I was pretty shaken up. I didn’t feel any real pain….I turned around and started to walk the bike back….and then decided that no matter what, I was getting to Starbucks. Fall down, dust yourself off, get back up, and go. This is what I’ve been doing for the last three years.

I continued to ride, slowly, and then the tears came.

Tears for the fun that I miss because of the depression.
Tears for the friendships that I stress because of the depression.
Tears for the loneliness that I feel deep within me….even if I was with a hundred people. Tears for…the person that I once was….
Tears for the people that love me….that don’t know what to do around me or feel helpless.

Tears for the physical pain that I was really starting to feel in my hand and elbows…I took a look and they were full of dirt, dust, rocks, and blood.

I could have turned around, but instead, I decided to continue to ride my bike, slowly, and cry.

Eventually I stopped crying….and decided that I needed to get to Starbucks no matter what. I needed to accomplish something this weekend.

But I needed to return the bike and take a taxi home….cause there was no way that I could continue biking much longer.

I got a little lost, I turned around a few times, found where I could return the bike, returned it, and continued to walk to a different Starbucks. I limped in, ordered an iced (decaf) coffee, a bar, and of course some water for the dog.

We sat on the patio….the dog put on a bit of a show for me…making me smile…

I sat feeling the sun. Proud of myself, for this baby accomplishment. And then called a taxi.

I’m freshly showered, my wounds clean and less painful, and happy that at least I accomplished one thing this weekend. It was harder than I had imagined. But I fought back. Because I’m brave.

 

Thanks again, doc

Here’s the email chain this week from the private doctor that I paid to see last week. I assume I will be billed for this exchange. I’ve left in all of the typos.

___________________________________________
From: The private doctor
Sent: May 25, 2017 6:27 AM
To: my email address
Subject: The private doctor’s name

Hi
I am writing to ask if you re tolerating the medication and if you feel less anxious
Thank you

______________________________________________________
From: Me
Sent: Yesterday, 8:55 AM
To: The private doctor
Subject: The private doctor’s name

Hello.

While I understand that this medication you gave me for anxiety is completely temporary, it has helped me a lot. The first few days that I took the increased dose, I felt a lot better and was able to address issues at work and ensure that all aspects of my self-care was in place.

However, I noticed that I had 10 days of medication, when I don’t see my new psychiatrist until the 3rd (which is 17 days away, and not 10) 

Once I saw that I didn’t have the prescription until June 3rd. I have tried not to take the full dosage, so I am no longer receiving the benefits of this temporary prescription and am not great. I am trying to decide what to do….if I can see you to fill the prescription for the additional 7 days or if I just have to suffer through those additional 10 days.

 By the way, after you prescribed me the medication to help me, my psychiatrist later called and prescribed Ativan over the telephone, but once I told her (nurse) that I saw another doctor because I wasn’t sure when she would get back to me, she told me that the Ativan prescription would be removed and she would not prescribe me any medication as I had sought care elsewhere and we would discuss this at my next appointment (in July). I’m totally confused as I was asking for help….this was not a situation that I am playing with lightly.

 So I pray and am hopeful that the new psychiatrist will accept me as a patient, and once I have secured him as my doctor, I will request for all of my files to be transferred.

 I am maintaining my support network with check-ins and working out and meditating (using an guided meditation app) as often as possible.

If you are comfortable in prescribing me the additional medication for the 7 days, this would be appreciated. If you are not, please advise because I need to find a solution for that time. 

If you would like to speak to me in person, please let me know and I can arrange a time.

Thank you and please advise,

Me

________________________________________________
From: The private doctor
Sent: May 26, 2017 6:27 AM
To: my email address
Subject: The private doctor’s name

I understand your frustration and confusion
Unfortunately I would have to recommend you to wait until you see the psychiatrist as previously discussed
I gave you additionnal medication to help you in a punctual manner  but for the follow up and
adjustement of the medication I want you to be followed by a psychiatrist as done before

Let me know what happens at your visit with the psychiatrist
Thank you

________________________________________

I admit, I cried when I saw this.

“follow up and adjustment”? um…, I asked for help until my new psychiatrist’s appointment – because….things had gone on too long. She understands my frustration…but prescribing me a low dose anti-anxiety medication for 10 days (she has my *hopefully* new psychiatrist’s name/number and permission to contact)…. instead of 17 days…well, I obviously, I’m not a doctor….but….I thought that was the entire point. To help me bridge the gap. In the email I mention several times that I see her prescription as a temporary solution….I’m not out seeking random prescriptions for anything….but whatever.

It’s seven days. Seven freaking days. After all the conversations with the shitty psych’s nurse and my “suspicious behavior”….honestly, I don’t even know anymore. Maybe I am trying to find some kind of drugs for a magical solution. Maybe I am behaving like an addict. I am so freaking confused.

I’ve had to get through tough weeks before. It was brutal. But I got through them. My employer knows I am having some health issues….so if I look like a bag of shit next week….so be it.

Thanks again, doctors. For looking out for my general health.

Day 4

A great big ol’ thank you to anyone that left me a comment on Facebook, where I shared my previous post link. I was kind of scared to share that I had…THAT much difficulty….but the entire point of the post was to share that I was having THAT much difficulty….because I know there are many people like me.

I’m still a bit discouraged. I realized that I screwed up with my medication a bit – it turns out that the private doctor only gave me my “please help me calm down” for weekdays, since I had said, “Just help me with something to help me at work”. Essentially, she increased a medication I was already taking, but once the shitty psychologist found that out, she removed the original medication as well – until I see her. I’m so confused about everything….

This weekend I went to fill another prescription (remember….I’m on a “cocktail”..) and I found out that it wasn’t to be re-filled. Odd….since I had been taking that medication for…well over two years… The pharmacist told me that she would give me one month’s dose anyway….because she could see that I was taking it.

I started to actually shake at that point. Just a few days earlier I had been accused of “suspcious behaviour” and been reprimanded over the phone….

I asked to speak to the pharmacist privately. Tears were barely held back. I explained to her what had happened and then asked her more than once: Are you sure if you refill this medication that you are not breaking any rules and that I am not engaging in “suspicious behaviour”?

She was shocked at the question….and said it’s standard practice…and that probably the shitty psychiatrist just counted the months to refill the prescription incorrectly… Still….today I was waiting for a phone call from her office chewing me out…

Sometimes I think I’m a complete disaster….a complete failure or a fuckup… I’m starting (very slowly) to realize that I’m a survivor….and far more patient or brave than I could ever imagine.

Hope to have better news next week. ❤