Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Anxiety leaves me in a prison

It all got out of hand in 2008 when I left my job as a medical administrator/lab technician at York Medical in Newmarket. Where it came from I don’t know. (well, actually I do but that’s a whole other blog entry,…) My job was a busy one and I dealt with people directly and enjoyed it. I loved the whole aspect of that job. But after a difficult bout of depression, I ended up in the hospital for the second time since I had been employed with them after taking a drug overdose. The first hospitalization the company gave me time off to re-coupe rate ~ which I only took a few weeks ~ and then jumped back into life head first once again. Obviously not dealing with the depression that landed me in the hospital in the first place. Two years later and another drug overdose (yes, I was obviously quite sick) the company forced me to take 3 months off. Unfortunately it was unpaid as they didn’t have disability. (How ironic is that ~ a medical clinic that didn’t offer disability?) So I was forced to hand in my resignation and apply for disability from the province. So it was good-bye to York Medical. The best job I ever had.

This left me home alone. Not working made my already low self-esteem plummet to an all time low. I fell into a deeper depression. Then, gradually over the next few months I developed paralyzing anxiety that often forced me to remain inside my apartment. This was quite a change for me. I was once a busy mom. I took my kids to parks, visiting with friends and Church every Sunday. Nothing held me back. I was what you would definitely call a “chatty Cathy” I enjoyed being with my friends and family.

Now,…. I was suddenly afraid to walk into a place where there were any people. I would become overwhelmed by a feeling of panic and doom which I simply could not explain. So, I lived quietly inside the walls of my little apartment, afraid to venture out into the world. I was now living 2 hours away from my family and friends and found that to be a built-in excuse not to go to functions. But if there was one I had to go to, I would find any excuse not to go.

I found myself “self-medicating” with all the drugs that were being prescribed to me for my many mental illnesses he had now diagnosed. Depression. Severe anxiety. OCD. Agoraphobia. I did not even have to ask them for more drugs as he was very free in handing them out to me. I took Seroquel like smarties and spent the next 3 years in a drug induced stupor. Now I had “drug addict” to add to my list of ailments although it would be a few years yet that I would admit this one to myself. But if they were prescribed for me by a doctor, how could I be a drug addict?? Boy, did I have a lot to learn on that one.

It wasn’t until my Mom moved into a retirement home in the spring of 2011 (near my brother) that I decided to move so I could be closer to her. I found an apartment right across the road from my brother and 5 minutes from my mother. Unfortunately by the time my moving day came, my Mom had passed away already. Just 3 weeks before. But this brought my brother and I closer together. When I ended up in hospital yet again,… (Do I ever learn???) They realized I needed some serious help and stepped in to get it for me. A new doctor who was very, very careful prescribing my medications,… getting involved with a mental health organization here in town,… and just everyone’s support in general got rid of the addiction problem. No more stumbling around high as a kite to numb myself from life.

But I still have the mental illness itself. Depression ~ severe anxiety ~ OCD ~ and agoraphobia. I honestly don’t think these things will ever go away. I have noticed that they do get worse with each passing year. But at least now I am working to deal with them on a daily basis. But there are still times when my illness affects me to the point where I am angry at myself for not being able to overcome my issues. Angry,… guilty,… embarrassed,…

Today, I was supposed to go to a funeral of a family friend. I really did think I needed to go. I felt it would be rude of me not to show my condolences. So I made plans to attend. But the night before, I had a complete and frightening anxiety meltdown. Anxiety attacks are not fun. They are actually quite scary as you feel like you’re having a heart attack. You can’t catch your breath,… your heart pounds,… you sweat,… you tremble,…. You just want air but can’t seem to get any. High levels of anxiety unfortunately lead to other dangerous behaviours that you want to steer well clear of. (cutting and overdosing) So I know that I have to do something to ease them. Normally I have a medication I take for panic attacks, but after so many drug overdoses my doctor has decided not to prescribe this one to me anymore. So in my (not so smart) wisdom I decided that a good shot of Sambuca would do the trick in calming me down. Turns out, 7 shots later I had to conclude that this probably wasn’t such a good idea after all. Now I was just drunk and having anxiety. But let me tell you,… when you’re in that situation, you will do anything just to make that feeling go away.
This obviously resulted in me not being able to attend the funeral. Just another event I have had to cancel due to my illness. (Which I think of as a weakness) Why… How could I be so weak as not to be able to control this anxiety? It leaves me feeling like a failure. But,… as I always try to do in this blog, I do have to look at the bright side. (and today it was really hard to find one) At least I got through it and I am safe today. (albeit a tad hungover) Tomorrow is another day. And the sun will be shining and I am here to enjoy that.


Kristy said...

I can relate to your crippling anxiety. Once you get there nothing much helps but time.

Rob-bear said...

This sounds so like some of the challenges I have faced. Day to day living can still completely disable me. Fortunately, I'm not afraid to go outside, so that helps, if the weather is anywhere close to reasonable. And I only rarely have panic attacks.

It was 2006 when I started going downhill, fast. I still haven't recovered, and I doubt that I will. All I can do is try to eat well, get some exercise, take my meds, and try to be well rested. Not much of a life in some ways, but at least I can still function.

I hope you will be able to function better, too. In the meantime, be good to yourself! Please.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting