BAD (Battling Anxiety & Depression)

I’m always in a battle with anxiety and depression.

Anxiety is what wakes me up in the middle of the night.

Depression is what makes me feel tired all day.

Anxiety is my all.

Depression is my nothing.

Anxiety is gales of nervous laughter.

Depression is a hurricane of endless teardrops.

Anxiety makes me care too much.

Depression makes me not care at all.

Anxiety fears death.

Depression cheers on self-destruction.

Anxiety worries about the future.

Depression agonizes over the past.

Anxiety overthinks.

Depression can’t concentrate at all.

Anxiety overachieves.

Depression labels me worthless.

The battle rages within.

Hopefully someday I will win.

Cycles of life

I’m at the period in my life when I’m feeling the most hormonal.

It’s crazy like the very beginning, without the excitement of what is yet to come.

I’m getting older, midlife.

Hot flashes.

My body aches.

My skin itches.

My stomach bloats.

I feel ugly and fat.

My clothes don’t fit right.

Lights seem glaringly brighter.

Sounds normally tolerated scratch like nails on a chalkboard.

I feel irritated and angry.

Like PMS on steroids.

What sounds like my normal voice to me comes across as an attack to them.

They ask why I’m being so rude.

But I respond in my regular tone.

What do you mean?

I cry at the slightest provocation.

My eyes are red and puffy wrapped in dark circles.

I want to be left alone, yet I don’t.

Mood swings.

Laughter mixed with tears of sorrow.

Anxiety kicks in, marching in double time.

I am exhausted.

I can’t sleep.

I stare at the clock.

Is it too early to get up?

When sleep finally comes, I wake up soaking wet.

He is cold, but the room is on fire.

I feel hot, not in a good way.

I feel stinky, gritty, grimy, and gross.

My body seems to have forgotten how to regulate itself right.

I want to wish time away so this will be over.

But I don’t have extra time to spare.

I know in a few days I’ll feel better.

Then the whole cycle starts again.

 

 

 

 

My psych eval (25 years later) part 5

Alissa described herself in the past as feeling very depressed including having the same nightmare over and over. One of the nightmares involved being kidnapped and another one included drowning and having her feet trapped in weeds which dragged her underwater. She dreams of cats scratching her and a cat would be ‘possessed’ and she fears being bitten and clawed by the cat. Alissa has a nightmare of a bird pecking her and eating her. The morbid content of the dreams would suggest the presence of a depressive disorder.

I remember the repetitive dream that I had as a child. It was dark and I was the last in a line of people walking through a crime ridden large city. There was total silence, no cars, no colors, no other people besides the dark images I was following. Somehow I was walking to my grandma’s house, but every time I was almost ready to make it to her brightly lit front door someone would grab me from behind and kidnap me.

I had dreams about falling and drowning.

Watching my 2 year old brother almost drown was very traumatic for me because I was supposed to be watching him. Granted, I was 6 when I watched my three younger brothers ‘swim’ in the lake. For the longest time after that I felt like a failure. When I was 12, I watched my baby cousin in a swimming pool with other adults around. She fell in and I rescued her. I felt so happy like I redeemed myself.

It was also traumatic for me when my dad held me in the weeds because I was terrified. That could explain nightmares of my feet tangled in weeds. But I don’t remember ever dreaming about Matt or how he hurt me.

At times in my life I went through periods of insomnia and nightmares when I could sleep. It’s not too unusual for me to wake up crying an hour or two before I needed to get up. This is the place where my loved ones die. This is the place where the people and animals I love turn on me. This is where I almost die.

But I remember also having dreams where I would soar and fly above it all. It wasn’t scary. It was exhilarating and free. I didn’t have to be trapped by the things that frightened me.

My 4th marathon

On Thursday night, or I should say in the wee hours of Friday morning, I picked my family of travelers up from their vacation. As I went to bed at 3 AM, I dreaded the thought that I would be getting up in a little over 24 hours around the time I was going to bed that night to run my 4th marathon.

I didn’t get much sleep, but took Friday off to pack and get ready for camping. My husband went into work for a couple hours and was suffering from jet lag. We had to drive three hours to get to the campground.

We set up camp as a storm was blowing in. The torrential downpour started as soon as we had the tent set up. It rained two inches that night. When we went to pick up our race packets, one of the tents collapsed from the rain. We were going to go to my cousin’s camper for a spaghetti supper, but went out to eat instead. It was hot, humid, and stormed most of the night. But our tent stayed dry for the most part.

I woke up at 4:30 AM after a restless night of sleep. I was dead tired and had to scrape up some energy for a marathon. The marathon itself was brutal. My cousin said that it was the most challenging marathon he ever did. There were some very difficult steep inclines. We had to walk across slippery bridges and wet rocks. I didn’t fall, but I saw others fall and almost fell myself several times.

It was a very picturesque course with beautiful views at the top of the bluffs. It seemed surreal like I was on a movie set. I was waiting for the dinosaurs to come out at any minute. Even though it was a rather remote trail run, there were enough bathrooms and aid stations. I even drank some pickle juice which seems to be the new craze.

It was a tough race, but we finished it. Afterwards, we decided to head to the beach to cool our aching legs. I was only in the water for 10 minutes when someone took my beach towel. The beach was absolutely crowded on a hot Saturday afternoon.

Showering was another challenge. I showered in the handicap stall just because I thought that it would provide an area for me to sit. Undressing and dressing was a bit of a challenge. There was nowhere to sit and there was a lot of standing dirty water on the floor. So I decided to dress from the waist up and go into the dryer bathroom portion to get my shorts on.

I wrapped a towel around my waist for the short trip outside to the bathroom. When I walked into the bathroom, there was a man inside. He seemed to be checking on the cleanliness of the bathroom. He put his initials on the paper by the door and exited quickly. The bathroom and shower stalls were absolutely filthy. I struggled to get my pants on without having to take another shower.

That evening, my cousin and his wife made the spaghetti dinner that the storm prevented us from having the previous night. His dad and step-mother came over for a visit and wished me a happy birthday. They brought homemade strawberry shortcake. It was a nice evening.

After that, I spent another restless night trying to sleep in the tent. My body ached and I couldn’t get comfortable…Sunday morning we packed up for the long ride back home. I couldn’t relax. I found myself feeling agitated and depressed. Although my body ached, my mind couldn’t sit still. I took the dog for a walk when I got home and felt a little better…then had another restless night of sleep.

I think I had one good night of sleep in the last month. Staying up until 3 AM and then getting up very early to run a marathon probably pushed me over the edge. I hope I feel like my old self soon. Tomorrow I’m getting a massage. Maybe that will help.

Let’s get a physical

It’s that time of year again..

Time for my annual physical..

It seems like every year the questions get more difficult..

Do you still have your monthly cycle?

Are you experiencing hot flashes?

How are you sleeping? I’m not! 

Is that why I am so tired all of the time?

You might also notice increased moodiness and irritability as your estrogen levels start to drop… Is that even possible??

Are your parents still living?? Have they developed any new health problems?

Have you noticed any changes in your vision?? Do you mean having to purchase reading glasses since someone started to make the print smaller on everything!!?!

How much coffee are you drinking??

Wait…Aren’t you going to ask me about my alcohol consumption and whether or not I use tobacco or take illicit drugs??

She must have forgot.

Are you still running?? Do you have problems with your joints?? Is your carpal tunnel acting up?

Are you feeling anxious or sad?? Why, yes, I am starting to feel that way now…

That’s funny, I was feeling just fine before my physical…

 

Crossed i’s

I had every intention of posting another day on my travel log. Although I have been working on it for a few days, it seems to be lacking something. Emotion, perhaps? Oh, I think I will more than make up for it today.

It has been a rough week. I haven’t been sleeping. For every good night of sleep, there are 9 nights of not sleeping well. Maybe if I felt rested things would be easier for me.

I awoke this morning crying. My MIL visited me in a dream. She looked the way she used to, all full of life before the cancer devastated her body. We hugged and said how much we missed each other. Then her husband Darryl started giving me his belongings in the dream and we feared he would commit suicide. It was all rather horrifying and something that we worry about.

Loss is hard. It hurts sometimes to care about other people.

I found out this week that one of my best friends is moving a couple of hours away. This weekend my daughter will be leaving to go back to college. I feel pretty bummed out. I feel a little lost actually.

To make things worse in my life…while I was updating my travel post for the ninetieth time, I received a phone call from a friend of a friend. It wasn’t a social call. It was a call asking what my son was doing this past weekend.

Apparently, my son was going to pick up his daughter to go to her cabin for a party. Her dad busted her with alcohol and grounded her. She told her friends to go ahead without her. So about 20 teens showed up at her family’s cabin, did some hard core underage drinking, and trashed the place.

It didn’t go well confronting my son. We implemented a no staying overnight at friend’s houses policy for a month, a curfew of 10, and he would have to contact the parent to apologize for his part in the party. He was really upset when we told him he also needed to contact his girlfriend’s parents. He was afraid that her parents would make her break up with him. Thankfully for him his girlfriend told her mom about it.

It’s been really hard to concentrate at work with all of the stress and lack of sleep. Next week we have an auditor coming in. We need to make sure all of our t’s are crossed and our i’s are dotted. I feel like I’m crossing my eyes.

We had employees take off this week due to illness or sick kids. I felt a little jealous. Is that sick or what?? Maybe if I was sick I would be able to sleep and be oblivious to the world around me.

Don’t worry…tomorrow I will post about travel. There will be a lot of nice pictures and a lack of nasty little emotions.

Bracing myself again

Today was a very humid day. I tried to get a run in before work, but was greeted by thunder and torrential downpours so I waited until my lunch break. After the holiday weekend, I spent a long day at work racing around putting out fires. I was able to get in a 6 mile run in though. It was a tough run. It seemed like my whole body hurt. My back, shoulder, wrist, right hip, and left knee were sore today. My knee hurt more than last week. If it doesn’t get better soon, I may make a doctor appointment. I always thought that running was a relatively cheap sport. What do you need really? My husband caused a big stir a couple years back by being a barefoot runner. Talk about cheap! He did spend a lot on bandages until his feet got tough as leather. He now runs with minimalist shoes which oddly enough never seem to wear out. Over the years, I have acquired more running gear. Plus money spent on races. Now if I end up having a running induced injury, I can see it being an expensive sport. 

It wasn’t like I did anything strenuous over the weekend to cause this pain. I watched the men do the heavy lifting. It was pretty nice giving unsolicited advice with my 2 little nieces next to me. It helped prevent unwanted responses. Lol. It is hard for me to stand and watch the men work. Here my dad is pushing 70. He gets winded walking across the room. I feel guilty standing by when I am in great shape. I asked Paul why I can’t help the guys. He said I complain too much. Oh, slow down. It’s too heavy. Sad thing is that he is probably right. So far all I’ve done is complain about everything that hurts. Whaaaaa. 

I haven’t been sleeping well either. Oh, insomnia, my nighttime companion. I recall sleeping well once over the last couple of weeks and it was drug induced. It was after I took meds for my crown. I have become used to being tired. About 2 decades ago I had a sleep test that said that I never go into a deep sleep, so I never feel rested. As a teen it took me forever to fall asleep and I didn’t stay asleep. Now I fall asleep pretty good, I just spend an hour or more awake at night and wake up early. Probably stress and hormones. I am going to try taking some melatonin tonight to see if I can sleep. I come from a long line of poor sleepers. My dad has severe sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. I always thought that my mom couldn’t sleep because of the kicking and snoring. After sleeping in different beds, my mom doesn’t sleep any better than I do. What a wicked bunch indeed. 

Sorry, it is just hard for me to feel physical pain without an exciting story to tell.  I am just getting old. It is hard to watch my body have limitations while watching my teens not motivated to do all that they can while they can. It is hard to focus at work who you have a sleep hangover without the fun the night before. The more sleep deprived I get, the moodier I become. I walk around like a irritable zombie. My IQ drops at least 2 standard deviations. 

Okay, enough with the pissing and moaning. I did decide that I want to do my first triathlon next summer. That is if I can still walk. 

Little to no provocation 

I can feel the gentle, slow downward descent of my mood. My heart in utter despair. I cry with little or no provocation. I haven’t slept for 3 days. It takes forever to fall asleep. I wake in the middle of the night, lying awake for hours. I awake again at the crack of dawn exhausted. I’m not hungry. I can’t eat without acid reflux. I worry about the things I can’t control. I pace the floor. Any attempts to rest or nap leave me frustratingly wide awake. I wouldn’t wish the hormonal fluctuations of a middle aged woman on anyone. 

It was harder this week cleaning out my grandma’s house. The memories some of the items brought back were almost too painful to bear. When I try to reach out to my grandma for comfort, she is not there. What I wouldn’t give to hear her voice again or to even smell the scent of her perfume on her clothes. All I smell is dust and decay. Emptiness. Nothingness. 

It is incredibly stupid to cry over the meaningless little items that I lost. I can mourn over the stupid little stove, but can’t cry over the friends and family that autism cost me and my family? The childhood family vacations with the whole family that never happened? I can’t even remember one time that we went out to eat together as a family. I have to continue to pray for strength to make it through this process of opening myself up to and dealing with unresolved issues. 

I will make it through. I will be ok. 

The morning after the 24 mile run

Good news, I’m still alive and can walk after yesterday’s first 24 mile run. My toenails are all intact. How do I feel? Tired! My body’s alert system is going off. Sirens blaring, something is wrong. Beep, beep, beep. It took me three hours to fall asleep last night equaling about four hours of sleep. I have been struggling with insomnia for over a week now. I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to walk today. I am throwing my son a birthday party sleepover tonight and taking them to the beach this afternoon. I want to swim and play in the water with the kids. My son is 15 though and would probably be happier if I just dropped them off. Not going to happen!

I also haven’t had much of an appetite. Is this normal?? I burned off around 3000 calories, ate about 500 calories yesterday which puts me about 4000 calories in the hole. I can feel the definition of my rib cage, my bones poking me at night. I weighed in at 123 lbs this morning. I am 5’7″. I really don’t want to dip below 120 lbs. With the 4th of July coming up this weekend maybe I am worrying for nothing. I will probably pig out just like everyone else. 

Have a good day! See you tomorrow. 

The cure for autism part 7

Drugs! It took a little while to get back to my cure for autism blog. The reason being that I feel a lot of anxiety about this because it will be the hardest cure to write about so far. In retrospect, I am not sure we could have coped any differently. Back in my day we didn’t have blogs, the Internet, or even many books on how to cope with a violently autistic family member. There certainly were not any books written by siblings for siblings. How does a dysfunctional family cope with almost 2 decades of constant stress and daily episodes of violence? We lived in fight or flight mode for almost twenty years! Twenty years!! Doctors could only offer one basic solution to our constant stress, medications to treat our symptoms. Every single person in our household was medicated at one point or another. 

Besides being autistic, Matt had a myriad of mental and physical health issues. He was given several different anti-psychotic medications. Some made him like a zombie, limp like a rag doll. Mom couldn’t stand that. Others didn’t seem to do much of anything or had side effects that were intolerable. One drug made him stiff as a board and he needed assistance doing simple things like walking up stairs. 

My dad had several ulcers. He was impatient, angry, and seriously depressed. I often worried when I came home to a completely quiet house that I would find that he had killed himself. He was distant, dispondent, or storming around the house angry about something. My mom was was always full of worry, anxiety, and self-doubt. Always afraid to make the wrong decision, perfectionistic. Her teeth were constantly clenched. 

Then there was me. Outwardly, I had it all or so most people thought. I turned down the opportunity to have a career in modeling to go to college which was paid for in full by my family. I always had my pick in men. I drove a red firebird in high school. I can honestly say that I had someone pass a semi in the pouring rain in a no passing zone on a two lane highway just to try to get my phone number. Do you hate me now? Most of the other girls did. 

Inwardly, I was a mess. I couldn’t sleep at night. I would go long periods of time  without eating much. Every time I ate I would feel nauseous and my stomach burned. My grades dropped because I couldn’t concentrate in school. I was put on a high dose of amphetamines which did help my ability to focus but was like drinking 10 cups of coffee. I started scratching my skin, picking at scabs, pulling out my hair. I had issues with anxiety, hyper vigilance, and obsessive compulsive tendencies. I was seriously depressed. I was prescribed the highest doses available of anti-depressants. I felt like a zombie, totally numb to all feelings. Some drugs made me sleep 18 hours a day, weight gain, constipation, diarrhea, but nothing made my environment change. I could tell when the medicines weren’t working for me when I had nightmares. I dreamed that cats were clawing up my body or birds were pecking at my skin, my skin crawled. The worst thing that happened was that I was prescribed the highest dose of Prozac and became downright unconsolable. I grabbed a bottle of pills, locked myself in my room, threatened suicide, and ended up spending a couple of days in the psych ward. But I wasn’t the only one in the house thinking of my own demise. Mark was also very depressed and was having problems focusing in school. He would hang nooses in the tree next to our house for my mother to find in the morning. He was quiet in school and at times was a target for bullies because of it. He really wanted the pain to end, perhaps even more than I did. 

Luke was hyperactive and couldn’t concentrate in school. He was always moving around in his chair, tapping his pencil, and annoying the teachers. He was medicated for ADHD. Luke dealt with the stress by partying hard. Sometimes my parents would find him out in the yard in the morning. That was if he even came home at all. 

Still no cure, not for any of us. 

(We are all living relatively happy lives now. I promise I will write about something light and fluffy tomorrow!)