Tuesday, January 19, 2016

WEEK 1

Day One: 1/6/16 I took the new medication before I went to sleep last night and it made me very drowsy. Despite that though, I slept horribly. I finally got out of bed around noon and spent the whole day exhausted. I've been jittery all day and yet tired at the same time. How does that work you ask? I don't know but somehow it's a thing. Even though it was a pretty rough day I decided to go ahead and go to my brother's basketball game. I was okay through most of the game but by the final minutes I was done. I just needed to go home and crawl into my bed. Unfortunately the night wasn't over yet and we continued to go out to dinner. At dinner I was mostly nauseous and jittery all around, I just couldn't wait to get home. Fast forward to now, I'm at home, in my pajamas, and snuggled up in bed. I feel so calm and at peace after a long evening away. I was filled with so much anxiety that I couldn't even enjoy myself. In hindsight spending so much time around people and being out and about was probably not the smartest thing to have done on day one of new medication but I'm glad I did it. I'm proud of myself for getting out there. Now we take on day two.

Day Two: 1/7/16 Still not sleeping well during the night. Finally fell into a deep sleep around 10:30am and woke up around 2pm. It rained all day so I'm sure that wasn't helping anything. I spent all day basically in bed but felt rather productive about the things that I got accomplished. I was able to focus on some things unlike yesterday but it still took me a long time to get anything done. This is frustrating to me but I'm trying to just go with it. I have to remember that I need to take it all one step at a time. I still feel jittery but mostly today I just wanted to sleep forever. So, that's that.

Day Three: 1/8/16 What is sleep? Is that even a thing anymore? I know I'm only on day three but man alive I feel like I haven't slept in a week. I have been for awhile now and continue to take Trazadone to help with my Insomnia but it's not working as it used to. I get really tired and fall asleep for about an hour and then BAM! I'm wide awake again and it's toss and turn toss and turn until I give up and reach for my phone to see what's going on with social media. Spoiler alert: nothing is going on. Later today I decided that maybe I wanted to take a drive to Starbucks and get a drink. I got in the car and stopped to get the mail and already I felt this sense of dread coming over me. I decided to push through it and continue my trip. By the time I was driving home I was in full panic attack and honestly I don't know how I made it home. So, we're not going to do that again for awhile. As soon as I got home I took a Xanax for the first time and while it worked to calm me down I don't really like how it made me feel. So uh, we'll only be taking that when absolutely necessary, which hopefully isn't much.

Day Four: 1/9/16 I feel like static is coursing throughout all of my body. It makes me itchy and makes my head hurt more than usual. Sleep is still not a word that exists in my world and I can't help but feel that maybe if I could sleep good for just one night I might just feel better overall. I am now contemplating ways to make sleep happen for me. I just need it to happen soon. I went over to my dad's house tonight for his birthday and while I didn't feel great I was still okay. Afterwards my mom wanted to go to the store and then to another store and then on the way home I just started crying. There was no reason, I wasn't sad or anything, I just think maybe I was overwhelmed and exhausted. After coming home and taking a bath I'm feeling so much better. I'm just ready for bed and try again tomorrow. That's all I can do.

Day Five: 1/10/16 I think I might have figured out how to fix the sleeping problem but more on that tomorrow when I truly test my theory. So today I took a sleeping pill at 6am and woke up around 2pm feeling somewhat rested. Already today was off to a better start than previous days. I think it might be the new medication that's keeping me up but I'm not sure yet. What little sleep I did manage to get did make me feel so much better though. I could tell a difference and my family could tell a difference as well. I'm not fixed yet but I'm at least not walking around like a zombie unable to focus on anything so...progress, I'll take it!

Day Six: 1/11/16 So here's the day I test my theory. Last night before bed I did not take my new medication and instead took just a sleeping pill. I slept really well last night but had some pretty bad dreams. So it was somewhat restful but at the same time...not. I took my new medication at around 11am today and have been pretty groggy all day but never really went back to sleep. So, not sure if my earlier prediction was right about the medication but I will give it a few days to figure itself out. Another side effect has come up though, dizziness. I cannot stand up or walk without being somewhat dizzy and lightheaded. It makes me just want to stay in bed all day but I made myself go out with a friend tonight. It was fun and I'm glad I did it but by the time I made it home I was ready to crawl into my bed and cry. It sucks not having control over your own body and emotions. I worked so hard to be in control and suddenly I've lost it all.

Day Seven: 1/12/16 Well so much for that sleeping plan, now I think I screwed it up even more. So last night I couldn't sleep at all, I think I finally went to bed around 5am and I woke up at...get this...3:30pm. WHAT. That's too much sleep and at the wrong time. I felt horrible the rest of the day. Just groggy and my headache was still there of course. Despite all that I went to ASU Gammage to see Idina Menzel in If/Then. I bought these tickets months and months ago and I was not going to let anything stop me from going. I was pretty miserable the whole time but I sure am glad that I made myself go. Now it's almost tomorrow and I feel like I've ran a marathon or something. All I did today was sit and watch a musical and yet I'm exhausted and overwhelmed. I hate that I feel like this but I'm still going to try to do the things that make me happy.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

MY MENTAL HEALTH JOURNEY


I honestly don't even know where to start this thing so I guess let's just go back to the beginning of my mental health journey. Sometime in 2009 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depression, and Social Anxiety. It took until 2011 before I finally found any type of medication that made a huge difference. Finally, medication along with years of therapy seemed to be working, I was ecstatic and so ready to start living my life. I've since stopped therapy but have continued taking my medication religiously, which is normal and what was suggested to me by my doctors. For four years I've been living my life and doing exactly what my doctors have suggested and I've felt great, Like I was finally living my life to the fullest. Everything was fine until about a year and a half ago, something changed and I'm not sure I can pin point exactly what it was. I felt like maybe the medication wasn't working as well as it used to and so my doctor upped my dosage and suggested that if it didn't work we should maybe try a new medication. Let's just say...I made it work.

Fast forward to May of 2015 I graduated with my bachelors degree in psychology, and it was time to get a job or apply for grad school. So many life decisions, I was overwhelmed. Then suddenly I was experiencing so much pain on my right side and back and the doctors told me I needed to have my gallbladder removed. For about a month I had to take some pretty heavy pain meds just to survive the day in bed. After that month or so it was finally the day of my surgery. Unfortunately for me that meant that I was unable to walk in my graduation ceremony because my surgery was the same day. I opted to do the surgery because I was tired of being in pain and I wouldn't be able to walk anyway with the way I was feeling. Now fast forward a month or so, I'm basically recovered from surgery and am completely off of pain medication. It is then that I start to realize that my medications aren't working like they should be. I proceed to blame it on the surgery and recovery process and decide to push through. I cancel a doctors appointment because I don't want to be asked how I'm feeling mentally and physically. Clue #1 that something is wrong. I tell myself that if I start eating right (and more because I was hardly eating at this point) and exercising all this will go away. Problem solved. So I do just that and pretend that it's working.

Next comes the fall/winter season. The sun comes up later and sets earlier. This is brutal for anyone with depression as sunlight is a form of therapy for us. Every fall/winter season my depression and anxiety tends to flare up. I've always had to deal with it and somehow I make it through. Until this year. This year it was different but I decided to pretend like it wasn't and everything was fine. I pretended that yeah my "bad days" were just because it was winter and I'd be fine soon. Then my "bad days" became more frequent and now here we are. January 2016. A week into the new year and I feel like I'm drowning. I've pretended for too long, I simply cannot do it anymore. I'm scared out of my mind because I'm feeling these feelings that I haven't felt for years. I'm desperate for help but don't want anyone to know because in my head I will then appear weak to them. I worked so hard to be happy and well, I don't want to go back to being that person who is just trying to live day to day. The person just going through the motions of life. The unhappy person who puts on a smile so that no one will ask what is wrong. The person who pretends everything is fine when it really isn't. Somehow I let myself become that person again. I'm embarrassed, ashamed, I just want to be happy. If I pretend to be happy eventually I will be right? Wrong.

Tuesday January 5, 2016 is the day that I finally admitted to myself and to my doctor that I wasn't okay and probably haven't been okay for a good while now. Now that I've said it out loud I feel so much better but I am also a nervous wreck. I didn't realize just how bad I had let it get until I was no longer pretending. With that mask ripped away I realized just how far I let this go when I shouldn't have. I'm back to where I started four years ago and that scares the heck out of me. My doctor and I decided to change my medication completely. Something I haven't done in four years and something that when done previously had never been a good thing. Changing medications is scary, you're messing with the chemicals in your brain after all. We're talking side effects that range from insomnia to not being able to wake up. From a jittery all around feeling to being numb to everything. From suicidal thoughts/actions to manic episodes. I'VE HAD THEM ALL. That's scary to say and something that I've not previously shared outside of a few people but now it's out there. I preach so much about understanding mental health and taking care of yourself yet here I am...a mess. Lying to everyone saying that I've got this figured out when I really don't.

So this is how I deal with it. I'm sharing my story so that someone else might not feel so alone. So that people see that yes while depression/anxiety/ptsd is manageable it's something that's going to be a life long process. I thought I found my fix four years ago and I did for the time being, but I'm a different person now. I've grown up and changed since then. Because of that I now have to find my new normal, my new happy. It's going to take me awhile to get there and it's probably going to be very challenging but I know I can do it. I've done it before and I'll do it again. There will be bad days and there will be good but all I've ever wanted in life is to be happy. I know that this is what I have to do to achieve that. That this is something that's going to help me grow as a person and be able to help others out there who might not have the amazing support system that I do. I know that I have to go through this to learn something. Whether I learn something that ends up helping me or someone else I'm not sure, but there's a reason for everything. There's a reason for this.

This is my now. This is where I begin 2016. This is where I start to live again.