Toggle Switch

When people are less knowledgeable in the area of anxiety and clinical depression than I expect, I usually say, “If it were a toggle switch, I would have turned it off a LONG time ago”.

trigger pic.jpg

I have incessant worry.  I get so excited when I don’t have something to worry about – I realize it and say to myself, “Oh my word, I’m happy right now!”  (But I’m usually pretty good at cooking up some type of worry.)  Thankfully, I have a handful of friends who realize this, and I call/email each of them with my worry. They all say, “screw that” in one way or the other, and my worry will usually slowly fade away.  Incessant. Toggle Switch.

Pay it Forward

Sarah

 

High Anxiety

High anxiety = perseveration.  Sometimes, ok, a lot of the time, I spend perseverating.  It’s not a word most people know at the tip of their fingers.

per·sev·er·ate
pərˈsevəˌrāt/

verb

PSYCHOLOGY
  1. repeat or prolong an action, thought, or utterance after the stimulus that prompted it has ceased.
ORIGIN:  early 20th century: from Latin perseverat- strictly abided by, from the verb perseverare (see persevere) .  Note this word persevere – it’s how we go into survival mode when we have anxiety.
It’s not a pleasant part of anxiety (yes, there are good parts to anxiety).  It’s a part of anxiety we wear on our sleeve – people recognized it and get aggravated by it.  I don’t blame them for getting aggravated when I perseverate.  I’m like a broken record and cannot move on.  I roll things back in my mind over and over and over, thinking, “if I had only said this”, or “if I had only said that”.  Seinfeld has an episode with George perservating on what his comeback reply could have been and spends the whole episode trying to come up with a “good enough” one in his mind.  In the end, his comeback was silly, which goes to show you it doesn’t serve you well. (George and the shrimp store episode). Sometimes I get caught on a memory from years ago that I go over and over in my mind. My poor husband.  (He hears it, over and over and over).
My therapist is the kindest person around, and she helps me to work on coping mechanisms for it.  Mindfulness, mostly, and this little image she had me draw in my calendar that I picture each time my mind is stuck.  And Xanax. Xanax, of course.
Pay it Forward
Sarah
PS: Where are the paragraphs I formatted?

Ready to Move (locally, that is)

Years ago I blogged about how I did not want to move from our house…we built our house almost 30 years ago.  It’s been through a lot of different phases.  Marty (my husband) has had our kitchen remodelled three or four times (no, he’s not a cook nor am I).  We’ve finished our basement to make an additional bedroom, gym, bathroom, and family room down there.  (There’s a lock on the door, so overnight guest were sometimes “inadvertently” locked down there – I crack myself up.)  We’ve added a bigger dining room.  We’ve changed the siding, the color, etc.  But I’m ready to move on.

We live so far from everything.  When Marty was working, his drive was five minutes to his office.  And I always said I’d be keeping this house because of my hill in my backyard for my grandkids to sled down as I had with our own kids.  Now I am tired.  I’m tired of the long commutes.  All my doctors (a lot!), my hair appointments (there is a lot of upkeep on these greys), my grandson, good food, are all at least 30 minutes away.

Not only the commute, but my knees are asking for a one-story home.  And the only room I’m ever in, is my bedroom.  And I’ve come to realize I can bring my bed to wherever I choose.  I could not have made this decision three months ago! After this last year of deep depression, I am ready for a new outlook.

The memories which have held me tight to this house have faded (probably medication induced, but it’s fine – and necessary).  I will not rush, since I know I’m still prone to ups and downs.  But if that right house or lot (preferably a lot) comes along, I’m taking it!

Pay it Forward

Sarah

 

 

 

High-Functioning Anxiety

I had never heard of this term before.  My friend, Bonnie, sent me an article with this title asking me, “sound familiar?”.  It was me.  Totally me.  Google “high-functioning anxiety” or “high-functioning depression” – that’s been me my whole life, until a year ago, when I hit the brick wall and became nonfunctioning!   But now I’m back to, well, “functioning”.

The perfect description of having high functioning anxiety/depression is that commercial  for Rexulti (which I take).  rexulti image

You present this persona of someone who is OK, but you’re not. I wasn’t “just sad”, I wasn’t “just nervous”.   The ones who knew I was not OK were my husband, my kids, my doctor, and my closest of friends (well, and my poor therapist).  Most of my friends saw my ubiquitous smiley face I presented but thought I was just a little cooky and worried a lot.  I am both of those latter two!

Interestingly enough, if you followed my blog/book from years ago, I had intractable migraines.  My internist and neurologist both said, “which came first, the migraine or the depression? ” After talking with my new psychiatrist, the depression and anxiety have been there all along.  So the migraines are part of my depression, I guess.

The migraines are good now! I only get them about, five, six times a month now, and my “rescue drugs” help, along with my two preventative drugs I take daily for them.  It’s all so weird – don’t you think I should donate my brain to science when I’m finally gone? What a hey day those scientists would have in their lab!

My friend told me May is Mental Health Awareness Month. So here ya go. I’m educating you.

Pay it Forward,

Sarah

 

 

The Start of this Episode!

Ok, here we go from the beginning.  For those of you who are following because of the tag of “depression”,  you’ll get it.  For those of  you following because you know me, you’ve lived it with me!

A little over a year ago, my tongue started to flicker in my mouth.  Turns out it was a rare side effect (Tardive Dyskinesia) from one of my antidepressants I had been on.  (Of course, I get the rare side effects, I’m a “sensitive” person, lol.)   So I had to go off the medication that had worked wonderfully for me straight away.  It put me in worse than a “blue funk” I normally get into.  My wonderful internist tried a different drug to no avail, and he finally said, “time for a psychiatrist”, which I had been fighting like crazy, (not a pun) as I have so much respect and trust and feelings of safeness with him.  Meanwhile, I had been bumped up on one drug to try to compensate for the loss of the one I had to be taken off. (For those of you who aren’t familiar, many of us with depression take more than one drug for it.)

I became ultra hyper, to say the least.  We were moving our daughter from Colorado to Buffalo for a few months before her wedding, and all I could do was pace, or, take a Xanax, and then collapse from anxiety.  Andrea’s caption of this pic, “Moving broke Mom” .moving broke mom

So I got into a psychiatrist asap. (If you can get into a psychiatrist soon, it’s a red flag.)  She was Russian, which provided an ethnic flair to her handling of me.  Andrea (our daughter) came with me.  The psychiatrist was not for me. She would throw her arms up in the air and say, “What I do with you????” Her morals and standards on life were way different than mine.   She wanted me to start ECT ( electroconvulsive therapy), “electric shock” from the olden days!  She claimed it was no big deal – out patient now!  Yipee!  I refused, as it would require me to get out of bed for many weeks every day of the week to complete it.  Plus, I would probably have memory loss of my daughter’s wedding and my grandson’s precious last six months.  And plus again, I was petrified about it as my mother had it twice, and it did NOT help her.  You’re conjuring up “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, aren’t you?  Apparently it’s easier and nicer (?) now, they claim.

Long story short, after nine months of trying different SNRIs, SSRIs, mood stabilizers, off-label use pills, I had lost 35 lbs, and still could not stop crying 24/7 or get out of bed.  I was sick (the barfs, nausea, etc.) all the time (the depression itself caused this as there are serotonin receptors in your stomach, and the medication side effects contributed). I carried a barf bag with me at all times. Again, I can’t explain the nonstop crying I couldn’t control.  Marty (my husband) would find me in the fetal position in the kitchen crying, take me upstairs, feed me my xanax, and I’d sleep.  But only to wake up to do the whole thing over again.  Depression is so debilitating.

I was in therapy with a psychologist every other week, where I sat there for 50 minutes and cried.  She was so worried about me.   The therapy itself didn’t really help me other than it got me out of the house and from the safety of my bed to the safety of her couch, where nobody could say something stupid to me.  She could soothe me.

I had to take a leave of absence from my volunteer position at the local cancer hospital, but my husband, Marty, still made me still babysit twice a week for my grandson, which saved my life….he kept me going, as did my family.  He is my little blessing.

More to come….

So Much to Say

OK, It’s going to take me a while to figure out how to blog again.  So much has changed since I was last on that I can’t even figure out the year I last blogged.  So much has happened.

Long-story short, I guess you can say I went off the grid – in the olden days – they’d call it a “nervous breakdown”, I think.  Whatever.  It happened.  I’m not embarrassed nor ashamed by it.   It wasn’t pretty.   I couldn’t help it.

I had to find a psychiatrist fast, and the ones you get into fast are stinky cheese, man.  It took me months and months , nine months to a year, to get straightened out and to get into a great psychiatrist.  My friends stayed near, except for one, for whom I became a millstone around her neck.  That’s ok.  My family was the best.  I’m still a work in progress, but I’m excited to fill you all in on my goings on each week or so.  I missed you and your feedback.

Pay it Forward!

Sarah

FRIENDS CAN WARM YOUR HEART

No, I’m not “back”.  Just had sort of a good day.

Good days always have something to do with friends, right?   Met up with Dave and Meg at my kids’ “old” school they attended from grades 5-12.  It was the holiday concert, which I’ve loved and attended for 14 years now I think.  And there was my Mr. Max, with all his Russian ethnicity pouring out that I love.  You keep laughing, Chris and Andrea, I’m hiring him to play at your weddings, if/when that ever happens.  (Chris, remember, you are not allowed to spawn.)

Soon after I gave a few hugs to some parents and teachers I haven’t seen in a while, I settled in next to Dave.  A tap on my shoulder from behind brought my attention from the program to the mop-headed 5th grader behind me.  “Could you move over because I can’t see, Big Head/Elaine?”

Actually, Dave said he didn’t say that last part, “Big Head” or “Elaine.” But I swear I heard it (for you Seinfeld fans).  Thank goodness there were no pigeons flying loose in the room.

I replied, “Oh, I’m so sorry, are you telling me I have a big head?”

He said, “Maybe.”

As far as this adorable kid being disrespectful, he really wasn’t.  I needed his little grin he had on his face.  He was bantering with me.  So I just went with it, stuck my tongue out at him and said, “FINE.”  I moved over a seat, now sitting alone, not next to anyone.

Every now and then, I turned back to mop-head boy and asked if he could see OK, to which he always replied, “yup”.

Then it came time for him to go up for his performance with the middle school group to sing.  I mocked him a bit (boys rarely like chorus), and he complained that he was even in the front row.  I told him I’d be watching him.  And so I did.  I caught my new-found friend’s eye from afar, waved at him, and got the cutest smile out of him during his singing that made my day.  Never got his name.  But loved him for warming my heart for the first time in two months or so.

It was downhill after that, unfortunately.  I went to pick up my leather purse from the shoe repair and proudly slapped down my repair ticket on the counter (I rarely still have any ticket for pickup when required).  The woman behind the counter said, “that’s not our ticket stub, this is a parking stub for Pearl Street in the city.”

Need a drink.  Still riding this wave.



Still Riding (as Anne says),
P. Sarah

Someone please come help me pick up my house, put away my dry cleaning, do my overflowing laundry, vacuum the rug where I wrapped, pick up my catering, buy me more vodka (for our very little parteeee tomorrow, go through my week’s worth of mail, read my three weeks of beloved magazines,  fix my incorrect insurance bills and get four hours of sleep a night for me?  It would help a little.  If you were my real friends, you would, you know.  How did I get so far behind?  I used to be called “Patty Perfect”.  I’m out of control!!  But I did talk to the Libsters tonight.  That was nice.