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.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

And so the roller coaster continues,...

What a roller coaster life I have,…

The ups and downs of my moods control my life. After coming out of a bad patch the last month I started to feel a lot better this past week. I was getting out, seeing my family, and even getting some housework done again. But then today I crashed. As anyone who reads this blog knows, my medications play havoc with my sleep pattern. When I take them properly,… I can sleep for 12 to 15 hours and then wake up so groggy I’m pretty useless to do anything. But when I don’t take my Seroquel (Like if I have plans the next day I need to attend to) I don’t sleep at all and I can be up for days at a time. It’s so hard on me. I definitely can’t lead a normal life at all.

Last night, I slept for 18 hours. EIGHTEEN! And when I did finally wake up at 6:30pm I was so groggy I couldn’t do anything but sit and stare at the TV.  And my mood has plummet once again into my horrible “Black Fog”.   It makes me feel so depressed that I have to wonder why I exist. Nothing looks positive,… I don’t see a future,…. and I feel like I’m so useless that I’m no good to anyone. (NOT suicidal folks ~ just trying to explain how the depression feels).

I just don’t understand how my moods can fluctuate so much. Yesterday I got out and did some errands (and for an agoraphobic that’s big stuff) and even dropped by my brothers for dinner. It was a good day. And today I’m the total opposite. Can’t see past the sadness,…. I thought the whole point of taking medication was to regulate my moods better. Hell, one of my medications is a “mood stabilizer”,…. I guess it goes to prove that medications can definitely help but they don’t take away the illness completely.

And who knows,… tomorrow I could wake up and feel like a million bucks. There just doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the moods. It’s just a horrible roller coaster that I can’t get off. But, as always,… I try to stay positive. For every bad day,… there is a good day,… and I live for the good days,…. And so lives on the life of Jacquie and her mental illness,…

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Well here it is 10:45pm and I have finally managed to have a shower. I think it’s safe to say that today has been a totally wasted day. In fact the past few weeks have been totally wasted due to this crippling depression. Most days I manage to do dishes and have a shower. I just don’t have the motivation to do anything else. I feel so drained,… empty,… sad,… exhausted,…  All I can do is sleep or watch TV. And I feel so guilty and embarrassed because of it.

I also have something on my mind that has been some-what troubling. My birth mother has been very ill these past 3 weeks. She is in a hospital in BC with severe pneumonia. She was in a coma for a while but thankfully has now come out of that although still remains quite ill

I’m not sure how I’m suppose to feel about all this. She is not my “Mom” after all. J*** M***** was my Mom and always will be and she’s the one who raised me (which hey, lets admit,… wasn’t easy at the best of times). But Kelly (that’s my birth mother) is still a nice person. It’s not like I dis-like her at all. She’s just not my Mom. I have grown to care very much for the H*****k family over the past 15 years or so that I have been re-acquainted with them all. Kelly and I have written letters over the years and (rarely) spoken on the phone. So I do know her and care for her. But more in a “friend” capacity rather than family. In fact, my Aunt D (Kelly’s sister) and I have become very close over the years and I definitely consider her family. Kelly lives in BC so I never see her. D on the other hand lives here in Ontario and I see her quite frequently. During my rough time where I lost custody of the girls and became estranged from my adoptive family, D was the one who picked up all the pieces. So she’s definitely an important person in my life. But Kelly? Shes more of a pen pal.

And then of course there’s the guilt of even wanting to care about her because I fear I will hurt the M*****s (who are now back in my life in a big way ~ love them to death) So what do I do?

For now, I have decided to just pray for her recovery and hope she comes out of this well. Thinking beyond that is just too over-whelming for me at the moment. I’m obviously not well myself at this point and I don’t want to rock the boat and have any kind of relapse ending up back in hospital. But I can’t deny, This whole situation has been playing on my mind since it all started. And I’m sure it isn’t helping in my depression either. Just when I thought I was getting a handle on my life,… Life went and moved the goalposts,….