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~

I have no excuses…

Well, I have plenty of excuses but what would be the point? It’s been over a week again. I kept saying, “I’ll write tomorrow.” Tomorrow is a fictional time that never comes.

I have to make a lot of phone calls Monday and it’s scaring me because I don’t do these types of calls well – initial appointments, billing and insurance issues. I’m truly terrified. A lot of us talk about phone-phobia and I don’t have it as bad as I used to, but there are certain times it “flares” up.

I self sabotage. That’s why I’m awake. Bed time is 6:30pm and it’s three hours past and I’m wide awake. This is something my mind does when I fear tomorrow. I don’t have control. I took my ‘as needed’ medication and it’s not enough to calm me for this. This happens so I’m stuck in a state of overtired and barely functional the next day. Even if that happens, these calls are necessary.

Some of you reading this are thinking “Just call them, it’s not that hard.” Some of you know that for many of us, it’s really that hard. It’s paralyzing. It’s “crying on the floor in the kitchen until your sister dials the phone for you” hard sometimes. Love you, sis, more than you know sometimes.

I didn’t do the things I had to do last week, so I am trying to phrase this as “need to do Monday” rather than tomorrow, because tomorrow never came last week, and I can’t afford to let that happen again. I need to hold myself accountable. I want to do this, even though I totally don’t want to do this…

So here’s the deal… I will post again when my calls are finished. If you have something you need to do but are putting off, feel free to comment here, and when we get to the next post, we can congratulate each other on completing our necessary tasks. Things like showering, going to the doctor, cleaning the kitchen, calling your mom… anything counts. Wish me luck, and I wish you luck as well.

~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~

“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~

Life after Neurology, or during it

I may have underestimated how much I have going on in my life currently. I said I would be back after my crash, but then Monday I had my neurology appointment and Tuesday was therapy, so they each came with their own downtime.  We’ll get back to my Sunday and my crashiness another time. Right now my high brain pressure is what’s overtaking my thoughts, so I’m going to go there for a bit. My neurologist, Dr. J., is consulting with another doctor, Dr. M, who I may be seeing as well to get his thoughts on my condition and my treatment issues.

I have to, at least temporarily, restart the medication that kills my sex drive as we don’t want this to worsen while we work on finding a treatment plan. The reality is I may have to continue with that medication the rest of my life. Not something I consider with any sort of happiness, but the reality is that between my vision or my sex drive, I would rather keep (both, but if not…) my vision. So, back on the pills I go, and immediately notice another side effect that I hadn’t realized. Yay. Trading pain for misery and pain isn’t high on my list of things to do, but we do what we have to in life.

Dr. M is a neuro-opthalmologist, so basically brain/eye issues, he works mainly across the river but has office hours on this side. I didn’t know whether or not there were any neuro-ops on this side, honestly, which was why I went to the Dr. J in the first place. He works at the same practice as the man that diagnosed me five years go – the one that retired… If you’re looking for a specialized specialist, it feels prudent to get the referral from someone else in the same field.

Explaining my problem to Dr. J. I broke down crying three times, maybe more… it’s a good thing they keep tissues on the desk. I was trying to explain the difficulties in making it to appointments across the river, the fact that although I have gotten past a lot of my agoraphobic issues, I can’t travel alone to the city yet, the difficulties with the side effects, how terrified i was that this was still happening…

I had to stop myself and just explain that I’ve been having a really rough month, that although IIH was plenty reason to be upset, I’m usually more composed in these situations. He’s a nice doctor, he just nodded and said “Well we get through it, right?” Right. So apparently, for my condition there are medication treatments (the other easy one of which I’d already been on for psych reasons and had an adverse reaction), there is putting in a shunt – which is actual brain surgery, and there is a type of eye surgery that I do not know much about nor do I know if that’s even a possibility for me. These are why I need to see Dr. M. … after I get brain scans and follow up with Dr. J.

I am scared. Often IIH (idiopathic intracranial hypertension) will resolve itself. In many patients, it does. For some of us, it doesn’t and then they try harder to find out why – is it a medication, is it something else? We don’t know. So right now my brain is acting like there is a tumor in it, even though there is not (hence the other name for it – pseudotumor cerebri). I am scared… That kind of scared where you just want to curl up in a ball and cry. But I won’t, not yet. I have too many other things to handle. Medications, finding a psychiatrist, discussing blood tests with my GP, grieving the loss of a friend, trying not to isolate myself even though I want nothing to do with people.

I may be preoccupied with my health lately, and my own life situations, but I feel like I have enough going on that it’s a valid way to react. I am used to putting myself aside for others and right now I can’t. The situations going on could land me in the hospital if I’m not careful so I need to put myself first. If others can’t see how this is a healthy way to cope, that’s just not my problem. Luckily, most of my friends, if I don’t respond to their messages, understand that I see and hear them, I just can’t invest myself right now. I have really good, very supportive friends. I am lucky in that while my health may be a problem, my support network is part of my solution.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Ingress, Anxiety and My Plans

Sometimes even when I really want to go out to do something, it still totally freaks me out. My anxiety kicks up in all the wrong ways, even when my excitement is trying so hard to override it. Later this morning, I’m going to go “people.” I’m going out to play Ingress with some friends, and some complete strangers, in a place I don’t know.

I’ve mentioned Ingress before (How I Got Out), it’s the augmented reality game by the creators of Pokemon Go that was the precursor. If you have anxiety issues, I still highly recommend it. Besides handling my agoraphobia, it’s helped with self confidence, making local friends and creates reasons to socialize in both small and large groups. Today should be a slightly larger group than I’ve been with through the winter. It is a cross-faction event, which means both my team and the other team will be playing together and competing together.

My friend Pretty Bit who has helped bring me to many events now, especially the larger ones, will be bringing me to “First Saturday” (on a Sunday) in PA. I’m glad she’s my ride, being with her makes me feel a bit more comfortable going into a situation where there will be many people I don’t know. There will be some I do, but meeting new people can go one of two ways for me. I could feel fine with it and seem a social butterfly the entire time, or I could withdraw and meet people one at a time, head down staring at my screen. Either way, I am determined to go, to have a good time, and likely will pass out when I get home.

No matter which way I outwardly handle this, I know it will take a lot out of me emotionally. I’m good with that though, it’s worth it. I want you to take note note of that… whether you have anxiety or know someone that does… I want you to hold onto the thought that sometimes no matter what you see from the outside, our emotional selves are being used and drained – that feeling I best explained in I can’t always be there for you.. We will need to recharge, whether that’s some time isolating, passing out, reading a book. That time to reclaim our emotional selves is important, especially if you are expecting to “people” again soon.

I will let you know how everything went soon. We can find out if I was a butterfly or a wallflower, or if I won anything (there are contests and a raffle). I suppose when you find out will be a pretty good indicator of how long I needed to crash for. Anyhow, this is me, checking in with my weekend, please feel free to let us in on your weekend plans as well and how you are coping with them.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Self Care

“Self care” and “functioning” seem to be interchangeable to some people, at least based on memes I see reposted/reblogged. I don’t think they truly understand what self care is. Maybe I am the one that is understanding things wrong. That’s possible and it would be okay but it would take a lot to change my mind.

When people are having trouble with depression or severe anxiety, to me, self care is more about self soothing than anything else. It’s about trying to make life feel livable through those moments. I recommend pleasing each of your senses. I do recommend bubble baths and incense, scented candles, chocolate, your favorite movie or book and a soft blanket. I recommend finding the things that make it feel worth moving forward. I recommend snuggling and sex. I recommend french fries and heavy metal.

I keep seeing posts on social media that say “self care isn’t the cute…” but then go on to list things like showering, washing dishes, paying your bills. If I am capable of doing these things, that means it’s a good day and I am functioning. Some days I can take a shower and I can put my dishes in the dishwasher. If I can’t do those things, then those are the times I actually NEED self care.

Sometimes I’ve already done the showering and it feels like too much. Afterward, I’m sitting here not really able to do anything and I need my soft blanket and a cup of tea. Am I the only one that feels that these are two separate things? That feels that self care is about taking care of your emotions so that you’re able to function later? Or that functioning can lead to needing self care?

I realize this is a somewhat rambling post but I have only slept an hour and quite honestly, putting my thoughts out there for others is a form of self care to me. Later today I have a doctor’s appointment and thus have to “function.” If we’re going by my descriptions which do you feel you can handle right now?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~