Road Warrior and Workout Queen

I feel like I have so much to say but I don’t know how to put it into words. I was blogging every day, sometimes twice a day, before I went into the hospital. Now I struggle to blog just once a week. I can only assume that maybe it is because prior to hospitalization my blog was devoted to conversion disorder and my daily battles with the convulsions. Since I do not have to deal with those anymore, perhaps I don’t feel like I have much worthy to blog about. I don’t know what my problem is.

However, there are some positive events taking place in my life this week. After not driving for 10 months (due to the psychogenic seizures and convulsions) and having to be carted around everywhere by my parents and Dustin, I have finally made it back behind the wheel again. It has been almost an entire year since I have driven! I have been practicing every now and then for the past couple months—but the anxiety has been overwhelming! Then something snapped this week. I was able to drive with less and less anxiety each time. And yesterday, I made my first drive alone! So watch out world…I am back on the road again!!

On another positive note, I joined a gym this week and am thrilled to have a place to work. I don’t do much of a variety packed workout—I pretty much stick to the sit-down bike, elliptical and a few machine weights. But, the monthly payment at the gym is only $10. OMG really? You can’t beat that with a stick.

Even better than that, Dustin and I have started walking every night. We started out at just 1.5-2 miles, but the past couple of nights we have walked about 3 miles. And I truly love walking with him. Gives us an amazing chance to just talk and catch up, while spending quality time together. Our walk together has really become the highlight of my day. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Keep your chin up.

Those who are the happiest, never did have everything. But rather, they are thankful for everything they do have.

Happy, Happy, Happy

me and angela

Unfortunately, I’ve lived my life as a mostly negative person. I’ve always had a pessimistic view of things…usually thinking unconstructive thoughts about mostly everything. However, I have recently figured out that outlook on life is contributing to my depression and severe anxiety. , what do I have to do? I have to jump on the positivity bandwagon—and that is so far out of my character that it scares the shit out of me. I am generally a major complainer/whiner about most anything I can think to complain or whine about. That’s going to have to change too. While I was in the hospital, I accepted a challenge to not complain for 24 hours and I actually did quite well at it. The results—now I recognize everyone else complaining and it is so unbecoming!! Moreover, I believe a small part of remaining positive in life is letting go of things that one can’t control. That is a whole other issue in itself—but one I am also trying to work on. So, on that note—I decided to make a gratitude list—in the middle of the day. Just a few things I am grateful for in my life.

• My medications
• My relationships in life, i.e. boyfriend and family
• My best friend Angela and her daughter Kathryne
• The lake and ducks behind my townhome
• Fountain drinks
• Dustin’s willingness to move
• My therapist
• Boo-Bear (my teddy bear of 25 years)
• My cats, Zoe and Lily
• Vacations with Dustin to the beach
• My education
• Incredibly large stockpile of perfume
• My IPAD

Quote of the day—Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

Picture–My best friend Angela and myself this past weekend at her brother’s wedding 🙂

Lions and Tigers and Panic, Oh My

I once found  “release” in writing. But, lately I have not been able to find much of a “release” in anything. I suppose that is the depression in me taking over. I know many people would say I need to take control of my depression through coping skills and maybe by just white knuckling it, but I must say I am just counting the days till the Prozac in my system starts to work. Well, because, this “loss of interest in activities that I once found interesting” is getting old really fast.

Yesterday Dustin and I took a trip to the zoo for Memorial Day. Needless to say, it was packed with tons of excited, but whiny kids. The weather started out pleasant but got a little warm as the day went on. Still, the trip was nice, until I had a small panic attack. I was unable to pinpoint the exact cause of it, but Dustin assumes it was just a culmination of loud noises, warm weather and more exercise than I am accustomed to. So, before we made it to the animals I wanted to see most (elephants and giraffes), we high-tailed it out of there. I was so frustrated at myself for letting it get to that point, but SO happy that once again, this panic attack didn’t escalate into a pseudoseizure. For that—I am very grateful!

On Sunday, I attempted another test drive in my parent’s neighborhood and that was a total bust. I made it pretty much around the corner before I had to quickly wrestle the car to the curb as I started having yet another panic attack while driving. I still don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel in the driving arena. Not only that, but I am developing a fear of even RIDING in the car. Ugh, I don’t know what’s going on here. After describing it to my psychiatrist today, he told me the Prozac should help with that as well. On a brighter note, in light of the panic attacks and anxiety, I have still been able to stay relatively positive—which is not my usual character—but positivity is something I am working more on.

For today—Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.

A Puzzling Adventure

puzzleIt is difficult to live with a mental illness and not have a creative bone in my body. The only creative gene I carry is my writing ability and that, I don’t even consider very creative–considering I very rarely write anything of a creative nature. I mostly write non-fiction, or things that are simply factual. So, when all of my therapy team suggests I do something “creative”, I get frustrated. I just don’t paint, draw, cross-stitch, crochet… or whatever it is they are suggesting I do for therapeutic purposes. They say if I find a creative outlet, I can occupy my thoughts and hands.

Let’s backtrack for a second—around Christmas time I was visiting my sister and her family in Lubbock and we took my nephews to the Texas Tech Art Museum. I was drawn to a rather interesting piece of artwork. It was a collage of puzzle pieces if you will—layers of puzzles pieces placed on top of one another to create a variety of images. I found it very appealing and thought from then on that that would be an entertaining project for me some day.

NOW–one of the new medicines I am on is causing severe restlessness. I constantly feel like I have to be up and moving around doing something or I am going to go mad. Moreover, I am not being medicinally treated for depression for fear that antidepressants will exasperate my manic symptoms. So, I have a couple of crappy things going against me right now. I felt it was time to find a project…to curb the intense restlessness and perhaps diminish the overwhelming depression. I was thinking what project I could begin on when I remembered seeing the puzzle “collage” at the museum.

So last night Dustin and I headed over to Hobby Lobby and bought a few puzzles, a canvas and some puzzle glue. Here’s the kicker—I forgot how much I disliked putting puzzles together. Yep. I remembered that pretty quickly into the beginning of the project as we began putting the first puzzle together, which would serve as the bottom layer. I got frustrated so many times. Not to mention we spent $50 on this project. Oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into? As I was bitching and complaining about being irritated about picking out what was supposed to be a “relaxing” project for me, Dustin totally called me out by asking if I was ever up for a challenge. What what?? Well, I was somewhat up for a challenge…but maybe not up for a puzzle challenge. But, I picked that project so now I must finish it. I really hope it turns out halfway decent. My mom mentioned this morning picking up another project for me to try—crocheting potholders. Ha! Maybe that’s more up my alley.

For today—To believe in something and not live it is dishonest. Mahatma Ghandi.

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A picture’s worth a 1000 words…

A picture's worth a 1000 words...

Good afternoon folks! I have been wanting to blog for a few days now, but for whatever reason—I guess my depression has wrapped itself around me tightly—I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. But, I finally made myself sit down right now to do so.

I will start this blog off with some rather exciting news to me. I was directed to the website of a gentleman named Phil Hanson recently. Phil is an extraordinary artist with unbelievable talent. He is currently working on a project in which he incorporates the stories of people struggling to overcome any and all different hardships in their lives. He actually writes words on print so small, that when you stand back and view them, they actually look like a picture. It is absolutely amazing!! Well, I knew it was a long shot, but I submitted my story about my battle with conversion disorder and today, while I was bored in group, I received a text saying my story was going to be part of his next art project!!! Whoo hoo! If you would like to participate or just check him out, visit philinthecircle.com for more information. Needless to say, I pretty much let out a big hoorah in the middle of group!

Another exciting bit of news for me today is that my doctor added a new medication to my already large cocktail of meds. We added a beta-blocker to help offset the restlessness I get from my Risperdal and hopefully it will also lessen my anxiety. Right now, I feel like I ALWAYS have to be up and moving around and doing something or I am going to go mad!

Last night, the support group that I lead met and thankfully it was a very small one—just me and two other ladies. The week before there was six of us (including me). Although I eventually want the group to grow, last night I really didn’t want there to be a lot of people there. The man up above must have heard my prayers for a small group, seeing as only the original two ladies showed up.

I still feel like I am battling depression. My doctor is hesitant to put me on any meds for depression however, because those meds can sometimes trigger manic episodes. And no one wants me manic. It just sucks so bad to be just numb about everything. Hopefully things will start to look up before they look more down. The photo is just a picture of my sweet girl Lily. I love how she poses for the camera in the most feminine way possible. LOVE HER!!

For today—Don’t pray for life to be easy, but pray for yourself to be strong.

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No Struggle, No Strength

On Monday nights at 6:30 pm, I lead a support group for those dealing with mental health issues. It is slowly but surely growing. That’s a good and a bad thing. Good, in that people are coming to terms with the fact that they need to get help with their illness. Bad, well because that means that there is a growing number of people living with mental health issues. The first rule of my support group is that we don’t discuss our medications. Simply because, what may work for one person might not work for another.  On that note, I’m going to break that rule. HA! I take a medicine called Topamax. It is multi-functional, as are most medicines. It is used to treat migraines, seizures and in my case, annoying tremors. Topamax has also been coined—DOPAMAX. Why? Because, the trade off for steady hands is the loss of words, or rather, having that word you need just right at the tip of your tongue and not being able to reach for it. I used to pride myself on my writing—the only creative bone I had in me. Ugh, but sadly that seems to have gone to shit. Anyways, I just felt like venting a little frustration about my poor writing skills these days.

On a more positive note, I feel like I am adjusting to being out in society more quickly than I had planned. How am I doing all this you ask—the power of positive thinking and determination! And that is absolutely out of character for me, so I am pretty darn proud of myself. Here is my train of thought the past few days—“I HAVE to put myself out there. I HAVE to start going out in public. There is NO TIME BUT NOW.” Because of that willpower and positive frame of mind, I was able to have a quick lunch at Chick-fil-A yesterday with my mom, actually catch a movie with Dustin last night AND stop by Walgreens to pick up a few necessities afterwards. WOW! All in one day! Unbelievable! Looks like I’m on the road to recovery!

For today–Experience is what you get when you don’t stop trying.

The Eye of the Tiger

To begin, I don’t know where to begin. I am slightly disappointed in myself for slacking in my blogging. From the day I began this journey, it was more than just a means for me to become involved with others that share similar issues. It was also for me to vent my frustrations about my mental illness and it seemed to be therapeutic for me to write about my daily struggles with conversion disorder, OCD, depression, stress, anxiety, bipolar disorder and all the other wonderful diagnoses I carry.

However, when I returned from the hospital, all I wanted to do was avoid talking about anything (especially by blogging about it). I thought that if I just steered clear of discussing what I was dealing with in my life it would be easier to handle. Then my boyfriend persuaded me to get back in the groove of what I was doing before I checked in to the hospital. So here I am.

I have been home from the hospital for just over a week now and am actually adjusting alright. I have started an intensive outpatient program in the past couple of days to get me back in a routine, as well as try to gather a few more tools to help me get through all this mental crap.

Right now, my mind seems like a total clusterf*ck. I feel like I have no control of my thoughts and I just want to escape my own head. Sleep is the only diversion I have from my thoughts, but I am no longer on sleep medications after 10 years—so I can’t really sleep. It totally sucks. The fear of having another convulsion is so damn terrifying I can barely stand it. I worry not IF, but WHEN, the next one will happen.

I had my first setback last night. I had a panic attack while lying in bed trying to go to sleep. Thankfully it didn’t escalate into a full-blown convulsion and hopefully when my anxiety does creep up like that, it will continue to only be anxiety and not convulsions. BUT, the fear of convulsions causes suicidal ideations and that is horrifying. Since anxiety is the root of my convulsions, I simply want to avoid any and all situations that cause anxiety, but I know that is unrealistic and not any way to live. Although it may not appear so, I am actually trying to be positive about my recovery. I know I can’t live this way—I HAVE to get better. This life…the one I am living right now–in constant fear–is completely unacceptable.

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
~Rocky Balboa~

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