Night Pills in the Afternoon

Yesterday, I was dealing with some anxiety. Between cleaning and getting things ready for our kids to come home from vacation, I had a long list of tasks to do above and beyond my normal workday. At some point, I went upstairs to get an anxiety pill. I grabbed some other things, too, then headed back downstairs. When I got downstairs, though, I couldn’t remember actually taking a pill.

At this point, I was berating myself for forgetting why I was going upstairs in the first place. I went upstairs, checked my medicine cabinet, and then it hit me. I had taken my 10 o’clock meds at 1:30 in the afternoon. This included some anxiety medications, but also several medications which make me drowsy. Tough luck for me, I still needed to go to my therapy appointment at 3:00.

I drove there and back again without too much trouble. Once I got home, though, I got some serious sleepy time. I managed to stay up until my actual bedtime, but it was not fun. I played some games and such, and read a little. I know it sounds silly that I fought so hard to stay awake, but if I don’t keep my sleep schedule very regular, I end up waking up at 3am and not sleeping again until the afternoon.

TL;DR: I took my meds at the wrong time, and it kicked my day in the ass. Please remember to take yours on time, too!

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Wil Wheaton on UROK

Wil Wheaton, the most beloved of nerds, opened up to Project UROK about his anxiety and depression. It is a heartbreakingly beautiful video, so I’m sharing with you what I saw:

If you want to see more of these, Project UROK is a great group of people, who you should totally share. Here’s their YouTube Channel.

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I’m Not Okay: Help!

Jenny sent me a link to the article included below, and it made me happy inside. It will forever live on a wall in my house, because I need perspective too. If you have something that helps you, tell us about it! Share in the comments. We are all learning different things that help, and I could use some advice too, you know.

From Eponis.Tumblr.com, this article was originally published and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours?  If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs.  Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day?  If not, take a shower right now.

If daytime: are you dressed?  If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas.  Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?  Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed.  If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?  If not, do so right now.  If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please.  If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day?  Do so, whether online or in person.  Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day?  If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days?  If not, do so.  Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets.  Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Do you feel ineffective?  Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip.  Good job!

Do you feel unattractive?  Take a goddamn selfie.  Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision?  Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day.  If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable.  Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days?  If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you been over-exerting yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually?  That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand?  That may be screwing with your head.  Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

Have you waited a week?  Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause.  It happens.  Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through.  You are stronger than you think.

End quote.

Remember to love yourself. You deserve it, motherfucker. If you want to download a printable version of this for your home, you can download it here.

Posted in Anxiety, Coping Skills, Daily Update, Mental Illness, PTSD, Self Harm, Suicide | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coping Skill: Minecraft

minecraft logo

Image: Mojang

Yesterday was just hell for me. My kids are on vacation, thankfully, so I was allowed to be a pitiful mess all day without worrying them. My migraine lasted well into the morning. When I finally slept, it was up against the shower, near the toilet with a pillow, a teddy bear, and a blanket. (Thanks, Jenny!)

I woke up to cats rubbing me, loving me, and trying to eat my fingers. I hadn’t thrown up, but I had skipped my evening meds because of the nausea. My daily meds can cause nausea on their own, and I knew they wouldn’t have helped me any last night. So I took what I could, and took a shower.

We went shopping, and I went to work.  I bought a tray of danishes, and ate them like the sad, stupid person I felt like. I enjoyed them immensely. Sometimes, I tell you, it is worth feeding your irresponsible side. Especially when it feels validating and safe. It’s also a great way to dodge your diet!

For my downtime, I spent some serious time on Minecraft. It is one of my favorite coping tools. No, seriously. Minecraft lets me kill things when I’m angry. It lets me grow things when I feel nurturing, and it lets me build things when I feel creative. Oh, and if I mess up while building in Minecraft, it’s easy to delete the mistakes. So much better than painting, in that regard.

I’m also taking a server design course, which means I can make a pretty good stab at using Minecraft to learn greater life skills. Yay for entertaining learning!

I spent a large portion of the evening killing monsters, because making things die is a great way to spend your day. Especially if you don’t have to rinse blood off of your lawn. Which reminds me of a story I’ll have to tell another time.

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Razzlefrazzle

This isn’t a real post because migraines can die in a fire. I just wanted to tell you to have a good week, and to love yourself. I’ve spent a pretty good amount of time in the last 12 hours wishing I could die, and not in a suicidal way. Totally in a I-can’t-do-anything-to-feel-better kind of way, which might sound the same, but totally isn’t.

In other news, I took a bunch of quizzes online today, and I’ve learned that my ultimate job in the 16th century is a mercenary, my “secret” twin is Loki the Norse troublemaker, and that I have more migraines that President Obama. All good things to know about oneself, I think.

To feel good this week, I’m staring at pictures of Boggle. He really does help. Here’s one before I go:

Posted in Mental Illness | 2 Comments

Upon Further Reflection Re: Gay Rights

I was born this way, babe. Photo: Rory Bristol

I was born this way, babe. Photo: Rory Bristol

After a full day of love, hate, confusion, and stupid threats, I am happy today, thinking about the SCOTUS decision in ruling it unconstitutional for states to prohibit gay marriage. I’m still laughing, smiling, and enjoying the responses and overwhelming humor flying around the Internet. Here are some of my favorite Tweets:

@SethMacFarlane
Each new civil rights conflict is seen as ‘different than the last’. But bigotry is bigotry. So next time this happens, don’t take so long.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson ‏@jessetyler
Hugely emotional that marriage equality has finally come to the U.S. History! Love ALWAYS wins.

NYT Politics @NYTPolitics
REJOICING AND SMILING AND CHEERING AND YELLING AND DANCING AND CELEBRATING!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!

Dan Savage ‏@fakedansavage
The biggest thanks goes to LGBT people everywhere who came out. You changed the world.

Dan Savage ‏@fakedansavage
Telling my parents I was gay in 1980 didn’t just mean telling them that I was sexually and romantically attracted to other boys. I was also telling them that I would never have children and that I would never be married. That was then. This is now.

Chris Kluwe @ChrisWarcraft
Wake up to SCOTUS doing the right thing. Awesome. It’s about damn time.

Oh yeah, and Chris Kluwe also told the NFL to get on the right side of history. I love that so much.

This is a great day, and a great time to be alive.

If you’re looking to share your pride, support, or joy in this decision, check out my rainbow DNA-style bracelets. #BornThisWay

I was born this way, babe. Photo: Rory Bristol

I was born this way, babe. Photo: Rory Bristol

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Anxiety, Withdrawal, and Schizophrenia

I’m going to start this one off with a disclaimer. I’m sorry, but it’s true, even if you don’t like it, or don’t want to hear it.

-You will never get these right. The symptoms for each of these illnesses overlap so much that you might never sort them all out correctly. That’s not what this post is about.-

Now, down to business. I’ve been spending a lot of time with people diagnosed (or self-diagnosed) with radical disorders, because of a lack of true understanding in their care teams. I’m particularly annoyed with the blanket diagnosis of a friend who is currently labelled as an “Anxious Schizophrenic” which isn’t really a thing. This person’s current care plan doesn’t even address their withdrawal from over-the-counter drug abuse. What we are really dealing with (according to his doctors) is an individual with generalized anxiety, OTC drug withdrawal, and Schizophrenia.

Symptoms that apply to persons with any of these disorders:

  • Depression
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Suspicion
  • Unjustified Fear
  • Inappropriate Reactions (laughing, crying at odd things)
  • Feeling Detached from the World
  • Chest Pain
  • Sense of Impending Doom
  • Restlessness
  • Hostility
  • Deterioration of Personal Hygiene

This is by no means a comprehensive list. It is not meant to be. It is an example of how several unrelated disorders might present themselves in a way consistent with each other. Which one of these draws the line? Which of these is the determining factor of a diagnosis? The answer: None of them.

These are symptoms that indicate a potential need for higher medical care. That’s it. You can’t look someone over, and say, “Oh, a+b+c=abc.” Nor might you be able to say, “1+2+3=6,” because that’s not how these things work.

For each of these diseases, the symptoms are not the disease. They are just the part you see. Medication, therapy, experience, support, and understanding can help these symptoms abate. But each of them is unique, and are, at their core, completely different illnesses.

Anxiety is a neuro-chemical survival skill. It has evolved to be a part of our DNA for eons. We can treat its symptoms, but the genetics can’t be erased. It is very likely to be inherited, to some degree, by your children. That’s what it is meant to do. Elevated Anxiety sucks, but can usually be treated and managed with few life-altering adjustments.

Withdrawal is a neuro-physical reaction to the lack of a substance. It is usually finite. The body adjusts over time, until it is used to the lack of the addictive substance. It is a natural consequence of over-doing it, or radically changing your life. Mild symptoms of withdrawal can be caused by substances such as red food coloring, and extreme symptoms are more common with volatile substances and narcotics.

Schizophrenia is a fairly common disorder (affecting around 1 in 100 persons), which is both very simple and terribly complex. Schizophrenia causes the person to perceive the world in a different way from the normal population. Symptoms can include perception differences, such as hallucinations, and dissociative sensations, like feeling detached from one’s self.

Everything else is open to interpretation. Trust your doctors, but advocate for yourself. Don’t rest until you understand yourself, your illness, and your symptoms, 100%. Know what that means? You will never stop trying. That’s the point. Never stop. Never give up. Every day can be better, but only if you try. So try, okay?

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Mental Illness, Paranoia, Schizophrenia | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment