Addiction isn’t always the end.

But some days, it is.

There are many types of addiction. Substance, gambling, sex, self harm. You can argue for days about who or what to blame, the addict, mental health, society… The reality is it does not matter who you blame. Addiction ruins lives. Addiction kills.

I am writing this because it claimed another life of someone I knew. I found out yesterday. I didn’t know him extremely well but he was loved by many that I love and this compounds my grief as I feel for them.

I am writing this because if you struggle with addiction, I want you to know that I don’t blame you. I will not shame you. We all have our demons and our crosses to bear. I am writing this to say that you deserve help. I want you to know that there are always people to reach out to. If the ones you’ve reached out to so far have not helped enough, reach out to others. Seek help. It is there.

When you are ready to live a different life, it is waiting for you. If you relapse, all is not lost. You will never lose the time you had clean/safe. No one can ever take that away from you.

You are important. You are loved. There are those of us that want you in this world. Please, when you’re ready, reach out. Find your support circle and USE us. That’s what we’re for.

~In Memory of C.M.~

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Avoidance

I haven’t been myself lately, so I haven’t been writing… but I think that’s part of exactly when I should be writing. When everything’s a mess but still fine but not. That’s a part of our lives too.

I started my new medication last night. I also think I’m getting sick. I also think my lithium level is off because the medication I just came off and the one I’m going on both affect it. Please don’t worry, I know the toxic symptoms and I’m not, I promise. The reality is that it’s just not effective right now at its current level.

My throat is sore and I spent over an hour with tears falling from my eyes for no discernible reason. My hands, my arms, my legs fall asleep for no reason. I have been so irritable that I have picked fights with friends online, but my loneliness from the depression seeping back in keeps me from avoiding my friends, so more fights.

I whine constantly. I bitch about tiny things that don’t matter and I have no ability to focus. As it stands, I’m smoking a cigarette, drinking tea, binge watching charmed, checking my phone games and writing this… so if it’s a little disjointed, it simply wasn’t written all at once and I keep losing my train of thought.

I didn’t write… because I didn’t want to complain… so I avoided this, but if I don’t tell you about the bad days, what can you possibly understand about me?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Medication switches…

I’m SUPER not excited about the upcoming couple of weeks but I am actually a bit excited about the prospect of being on a medication that does not cause widespread chronic pain. Side effects of medications, whether they’re for physical health or mental health, can often suck. Switching medications gives you this window where you’re finishing off the old side effects, no longer getting the benefits of the old medication and starting a new one to get new side effects… Let’s be honest. The process sucks. A lot.

I did finally get to see the new neuro-op for the intracranial hypertension thing I have. If you’ve joined us recently – basically the pressure of my cerebro-spinal fluid is too high and creates a migraine that lasts 24/7 and can actually take your vision away. I temporarily lost a third of the vision in my left eye. The doctor was concerned it might be permanent (but I got it back). I’ve been on one medication for it for most of the last five years, and when I thought it was a temporary thing (which for many people, apparently this “rare” freakin condition resolves itself… ) I was willing to handle the loss of libido, the increased joint pain. Vision’s kinda important to me.

Mine is most likely caused by one of the medications I’m on that I will be on for the rest of my life. That makes this condition life-long for me. All of the sudden having no sex drive and ever increasing chronic widespread pain was not feeling like something I could handle. So I got a new doc…. I got a new prescription…

This means a few weeks where the old medication won’t be high enough to help, and some time to start the new one. This means likely a couple weeks of crippling headache pain. YAY! … no. not yay… but if this new medication doesn’t have the same horrid side effects as the old one, it WILL be YAY.

Unfortunately med changes are trial and error… It’s all risk/reward. The same is true of mental health medications. Yes, some of them may make you sleepy, or even worse… but then you change them and sometimes you’re lucky enough to find the ones that help without making things worse…. The ones that make you start to feel like you can live your life again rather than just survive it. Note: some people are medication resistant and a lot of this won’t apply, but some of us need to be reminded that it can take more than one or two tries to find what we need.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Did I Make Myself Sick?

The last few days have seemed like this never ending eternity of nausea and anxiety. I got sick a couple nights back, threw up, felt nauseous the rest of the day. I started coughing hard in the evening and threw up again… not sure if it was my stomach or if it was my whole body tensing up in coughing fits. Not sure if it was a bug I caught, or if I’m really SO anxious about Monday’s appointment that I’ve made myself ill.

Monday is my first appointment with a new neuro-ophthalmologist for my intracranial hypertension. You’d think with all the doctors I see, all the appointments, all the new ones, I’d be better at initial appointments. I’m not. I’m a mess. For me it’s the interview process on both ends – he needs to know if he can treat me, I need to know that he can understand my needs during treatment.

Any first appointment is like this. What makes this one hard is how long waiting periods are to make initial appointments and this is my brain… I can help a psychiatrist understand that I know my conditions and my body because these are problems I’ve dealt with for years. It’s harder for me to convey my level of self awareness of my symptoms to a doctor that treats the physical side of things.

It’s paralyzing, this particular fear. That’s the only reason I feel that it could even create physical symptoms. The fear grows as the day draws near. I have about 40 more hours freak out about it. I’d been getting painful panic attacks for days even before I got sick. Shortness of breath, pain in my chest, etc… Those ones where you know the pain will go if you can just calm down, but the pain is freaking you out more. I hate those.

I haven’t been around and I make no excuses. This is what the last couple days and even weeks of my life look like. Fear, pain, throwing up, coughing til I cry. Let’s be honest, it sucks, and it drains my motivation.

So, appointment on Monday. Update on my condition or treatment options on Monday night or Tuesday. Stay tuned as we get answers.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

My anxiety is loud.

In a group I belong to someone shared a picture saying “My anxiety is quiet” – it went on to say that others wouldn’t see an outward change. That they are not lazy, just overwhelmed. I understand this. Sometimes, my anxiety is quiet…

However, most times – my anxiety is SCREAMING loud.

My initial reply was, “my anxiety is loud… sometimes in volume and sometimes in action – i cry sometimes. i say ‘i can do this’ repeatedly under my breath until i can really do it, i get overwhelmed and pass out, i get about two minutes warning on that, my eyes start closing, nothing i can do will stop it. i stare off into space… stop talking… words trail off… when i shake my head and see again, it starts over… i organize ideas and shift them, i talk about what i’m going to do and how terrifying it is in hopes that someone else knowing will make it less scary… i have other people dial the phone or even just hit the call button…. i can’t even make myself make coffee some mornings… not because i’m lazy but because i’m afraid i’ll screw it up… my anxiety is so loud.”

But there’s more, isn’t there…

Sometimes i’m doubled over in pain from my chest. Sometimes I overheat until I get nauseous. My anxiety clouds my judgment. It forces me to forget things I am afraid of trying to protect myself instinctively. I lay awake for hours trying to quiet the fear that something horrible is about to happen.

My anxiety is deafening. So much so that I cannot always even hear people speaking to me. I become oblivious to what is around me because I’m so focused I can’t see it… or because I’m so hyper-vigilant in my fear that I see all of it. I fidget endlessly, or I’m stuck unable to move.

I see so many things that say “anxiety is… ” or “depression is” or “having anxiety and depression is…” but let me be really clear a moment. The only completion to any of those is “personal”. They affect us all differently. Knowing one person’s symptoms does not mean you understand everyone’s.

My anxiety is loud. What is yours?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Forced interaction…

Actually this is a topic I could go on for hours about except that right now all interaction is forced. I have been sick again, I don’t know why. I don’t know what to do about any of it and I’ve been neglecting you all and I would apologize if I felt I could control it or change the behavior. Empty apologies won’t help either of us.

I have handled a weekend with my family with relatively no incident, except perhaps how much I drank… I have handled going to therapy. I have not handled making those phone calls. I start trying again in the morning.

If anyone has advice on how to make yourself call places with a level of phone phobic issues, please feel free to offer thoughts and ideas. I’m tired from being ill again and I just have no ideas left.

Hopefully I’ll be posting again soon. Much love.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

So scared it hurts.

Sometimes people use the term ‘panic attack’ when they experience any type of anxiety, even mild anxiety. As someone that gets painful panic attacks, like physically painful, chest hurts, nauseous, having trouble breathing, not sure what to do, feel like hiding under a blanket and never coming out panic attacks… like the one I’m experiencing right now… I just want to say, this is extremely annoying. It’s frustrating. It minimizes what some of us go through.

If you suffer from anxiety but it’s not as severe, even if it is intrusive, please know “anxiety attacks” are a thing and they’re not the same thing. I am writing this to distract myself from the things I believe are causing it because I can’t do anything about them right now. I started all those phone calls last week but I’m a third of the way done, and I can’t do any of them on a Sunday.

The pain makes it hard to write, it makes it hard to remember to take deep breaths because the breaths have to be forced… If not, they’re fast and shallow and could lead to hyperventilation. However, for me, distraction is still my best coping skill, or rather most effective. I took my medication, and now I am sitting here trying to breathe and let my fingers go rather than think, so I’ll apologize now for any grammar and spelling issues. They’re not my main concern today.

Most people that don’t have anxiety don’t even realize how physical it can be. They think fidgeting is the end of it. With all the boxes and spinners in the world, my chest would still hurt. I usually fidget with my bracelet and necklace.

I forgot where I was going with that. Honestly, I’m having a hard time remembering my initial point which, looking back, was simply the difference between ‘anxiety’ and ‘panic’ but no matter which of these cards you’re dealt, remember it sucks, but it passes. My chest hurts a little less than when I started this. My breathing isn’t necessary to force to keep from hyperventilating but I am still focusing on deep breaths.

This too shall pass. Like a kidney stone. But it’ll pass.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Worse than I think I am…

It’s strange when my actions don’t really match what I think my emotions are. I have been off lately and I’ve been trying to figure it out. I haven’t been up for talking to most people, especially not one on one. Conversations about myself are still down to “How are you doing?” “Oh, I’m okay.” We all know I’m not but I’m okay enough to get away with it.

I can’t get away with it at therapy though. I don’t remember if I gave him a “name” or not, but for today, we shall call him Jim. Jim doesn’t let me get away with “I’m okay.” It’s pretty much his job to call me out on that. So, I started going through the fact that hygiene is getting more difficult to handle again and I’m losing interest in most of my games and my shows that I usually love. It hits me. These are signs of depression.

Some of this stems from being so sick as a side effect of my body getting used to a medication again. A lot, actually, because besides ‘feeling sick’ – I’m also isolated right now because leaving the house for more than an hour or two makes me even more sick the following day. I can’t change this. I need the medication for now until we can at least discuss other options. I need tests done for that. I am working on it all the best I can…

However, I’m still more depressed than I thought I was. This doesn’t usually happen to me. I’m usually much more self aware, much more able to gauge my own emotions. Being sick for a month will screw with your perception of everything though, I think, including yourself.  I am safe, I am not in danger of any type of harm to self or others, I’m just not quite emotionally available to people right now. Not as much as usual.

I will drink my peppermint tea (which I am so tired of but it helps), and I will snuggle with the cat. I will find new games to play for now for distraction and new shows to hold my attention until I’m more myself again. There’s just a lot of stress and sadness and grief in my life recently and I need to take time to process it.

I hope if you find yourself in a similar position, see signs of depression in yourself before you really “feel” them, that you give yourself permission for self care. Don’t just wait for it to get worse, do whatever you can to stay even or move forward, so when it passes, you’re ready to keep going in life.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Life gets in the way

I’d been doing this mainly topic based because most things in my life relate to a topic enough that I can expand them so that others can learn more about an issue instead of just about me. For the past few weeks, my depressive and mixed states along with other shit has just completely drained me of the motivation to handle even my own shit, let alone add to it.

This has left me very quiet here and I don’t apologize for it. Self care and reinventing one’s ideas on how to create is necessary sometimes. I have been drinking so much peppermint tea, I can barely stand the smell of it but it’s the only thing that reliably keeps the nausea at bay. I can’t think straight most of the time.

Even on facebook, my statuses are few and far between. Sharing has become frustrating and draining because I feel like a broken record. “My tummy hurts, I’m still grieving, I can barely leave the house…” After a month, people ask how you are and you just say ‘fine’ because it’s easier than explaining that yes, you ARE doing everything you can and yes it’s been a month, and no it doesn’t just ‘go away’.

I’m tired of feeling like I have to explain my inability to function ALL the time. It is frustrating though, because if you say nothing, people assume you’re all better. No, no I can’t go out next weekend. No, I can’t make plans yet. Just because someone stops telling you they’re in pain, never assume the pain is gone.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

“My pain doesn’t matter because…”

Since the bombing in Manchester, I have seen a lot of “but my pain is nothing compared to…” This should stop. Yes, there are people out there grieving and suffering from trauma. This does not mean that your pain does not still exist. This does not mean that your pain does not still matter.

I have had at least three friends in the past few days use this phrase, and even more acquaintances. The truth is that there is always someone grieving. There is always someone experiencing trauma. This does not mean your pain and your trauma are “less.” The only difference right now is that it is a mass tragedy. This means you are more aware of the pain of others because it has been amplified by the number of people currently suffering.

You are no less important. Your pain is no less important. Mine is no less important. I have spent weeks trying to grieve while being ill due to side effects of a medication for my brain pressure. I was no less sick because of world events. In fact, I may have felt more grief in my own losses because I know others are grieving for theirs.

I missed my fiance’s mother’s birthday because of how ill I have been. I missed my grandfather’s memorial because of how ill I have been. Am I to dismiss my own grief because others are grieving? No. We both grieve. We both feel pain. We both feel loss. It is okay to feel and not compare.

There is no real “more pain” or “less” because people each experience pain, both physical and emotional, uniquely. When you say “my pain is nothing compared to” you are minimizing your own worth. You are saying “I don’t matter because they hurt” and this is simply not true. Please know that you can experience what you perceive as ‘minor’ pain while others experience major tragedy and loss, and your pain is still real and it still matters because YOU MATTER.

We’ve talked about others invalidating how we feel, and how hurtful that is. This is you invalidating your own emotions and I hurt when I see this because you deserve to treat yourself better than that. You deserve to treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love. Your pain matters. You matter. You ARE important.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~