I'm a Train Wreck…Waiting to Happen**
If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know I’ve had a lot going on. My summer started with a promotion at work and some crazy long, exhausting days. I am in love with my new job and wouldn’t change it for anything. I feel at home in a way I haven’t with a job in a long time. It’s glorious. But, it has its own stresses just as any job does. Then my social calendar (along with my head it felt like) exploded. Weddings, baptisms, family reunions, birthday parties. Girl’s nights, doctor’s appointments, 5k training, event planning. I’ve even given up on writing events on my calendar because I just know that I have something going on every day. I cherish any sleep or downtime I get. Add to that some financial worries for which the only cure is getting a second job. It just has me wishing there were more hours in a day. It’s so bad that FF and I have planned a date…for hitting the farmer’s market…two Saturdays from now. How sad is that?! I normally thrive on stress. This stress though? Has reached a whole new level.
Very few people know about my anxiety. I haven’t ever really mentioned it here. It’s not something I spend a lot of time discussing with my friends. It’s something I’ve dealt with for a long time. I’ve never been ashamed per se, just something I don’t feel comes up in everyday conversations. Plus, i don’t know a lot about it & it’s totally out of my control (ok, not totally). My diabetes comes up a lot I think just because it’s more of a social disease – I test in public, I bolus in public and obviously, I eat in public. I try, at all costs, to avoid having an anxiety attack in public.
I know it doesn’t make any sense but that’s always how its been. Even BDNF was pretty much unaware of its existence. I hid it. I would take a weekly bath that would be my escape to cry or sing or scream to get the terribleness out of my body. I would watch tv shows knowing they would make me cry because I just had to realease. Immediately following our separation, I sought counseling. I was a massive wreck of proportions I’d rather not discuss. I knew that not only was MY sanity in danger but so was the sanity of anyone that got close. So I made an appointment through Unicare/EAP (the most awesome thing EVER!) and began seeing a wonderful counselor that I loved. I felt very comfortable with her and I felt like time flew during my appointments. Nothing was forced or uncomfortable and I never felt guilty or stupid. It was marvelous. Problem. Because of my health insurance at the time, I only got 4 visits with her. I was far from where I needed to be so she recommended another therapist who my insurance would cover. This woman apparently specialized in people with mental & emotional issues who were also chronically ill. Sounded perfect to me! Well, not as awesome as she sounded. Apparently in her mind diabetes was not a chronic illness until I brought it to her attention. I always felt like she was bored and her notetaking irritated me. She seemed condescending and I lied through my teeth to her. I didn’t tell her about the fact that I was concerned about my alcohol intake. I didn’t tell her I wasn’t eating. I didn’t tell her about the boys. It was terrible. One night Mamacita brought to my attention that I was missing the whole point of seeing a therapist. And she was right. So I stopped going.
It was right about this time that I met Ginger. Well the hormones and feel good heartwarming butterfly stomached emotions came out and my depression & anxiety were pushed aside. I didn’t need those feelings anymore. I wasn’t that girl anymore. I was happy and loved and perfectly insanely on top of the world. And then I wasn’t anymore.
I hit a rough spot in my job and Ginger urged me to quit. I was scared because I had no savings. I was living in his house, driving a car he bought for me and he was paying all the bills. Because I had been divorced it was always in the back of my head that I would need something to fall back on in case this didn’t work out (old habits die hard – I hate that). Not having a job basically equated to me being dependant on him and I was too close for comfort with that as it was. But we loved each other, so I quit. I stayed home all day submitting resumes and online job searching. Cooking, cleaning & laundering. And I loved it. Except I started to have feelings of insecurity. I couldn’t cook enough meals or have the floors clean enough to equal what Ginger had given me. That feeling of being indebted quickly swarmed into a deep depression. I’d been open with feelings for the most part about Ginger. I lost my grandmother from a car accident within the first two months of our dating. He handled that whole situation well and made me feel comfortable to share some of the things in my head. But I started pulling inward. I felt too crazy. I felt like he wouldn’t understand and wouldn’t love me anymore because I was broken, Because I had lied to him about who I really was. So, my crazy thoughts drove a wedge between us until it got to the point that I was absolutely positive he wanted me to leave. So I did stupid little things until I was right…and he asked me to move out.
It was tough but Ginger was honest. He told me that he’d been my band-aid all along and he couldn’t do that anymore. It was true. I had a lot of unresolved issues that were just going to continue to ruin more relationships in the future. So I called Unciare again and got a new therapist. This woman was an old hippie. I met her at her house, with her dogs. No shoes allowed. She was flighty, but I liked her. She seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and it felt like a good fit. After my visits were up I continued seeing her as my insurance did cover her. She even had an office where I moved to when my company relocated (I’ve since stopped seeing her because I felt like I was her soap opera. I honestly think she was getting more out of our sessions than I was.)
For a while I went on meds too. My PCP prescribed Ativan for the acute anxiety (which isn’t really cute at all by the way) and Lexapro for my depression. The Lexapro and I didn’t get along and I ended up in the ER being pumped full of fluids. PCP switched me to Celexa and even that was too strong. We got me down to about half a dose and my body just want having it. So no antidepressants for me. On Thanksgiving night I thought it would be a good idea to show up at Ginger’s house unannounced (he’d recently told me he’d met someone new – didn’t go over well). I went home and sobbed. I was all alone in a town 20 miles from my friends and family. My cat had run away. My roommate was impossible to get along with. So I picked up the phone and called my parents – at 3am. “I’m afraid to take my Ativan because I think I might take more than I’m supposed to. I’m scared & I don’t know what to do.” Within 45 minutes my father was in my driveway taking me to the comfort of family. The next days were hard but I slowly got through. I had met FF a few days before all this went down (I don’t even think he knows about the Ativan incident – til now. Whoops) and being around him made me feel better about myself and about life.
I remained in therapy but went off all meds with the help of my doctor. The Ativan had been hidden from me and the Celexa made me feel worse than I did without it. I spent many many hours talking to FF and I was very clear that I was extremely mentally unstable. I was completely honest about what had happened with my breakup with Ginger. He listened. He never pushed. He never made me feel as crazy as I made myself feel. I again started to fall in love. But this time? Was different. FF wasn’t willing to be my band-aid. If it was meant to be, it would be and he was willing to wait until I became slightly more mentally sound. It was so frustrating at the time but I am so grateful now that he pushed me to get well for me and no other reason. And now, when I have a breakdown, he sees it coming when I do. The way I tense up, or sigh loudly. When I start taking shallow breaths and pacing. He knows how to talk me down and comfort me so I can discuss and move on.
Lately though, it’s becoming too much. I feel like I put too much responsibility on him to help me feel better in those times of desperation and don’t rely on myself and the skills I’ve acquired through therapy. So now, I called Unicare and set up another six appointments (they now cover a minimum of 6 instead of 3!). I’ve discussed trying meds again (I’m scared but with trying to quit smoking on top of this anxiety I am UGLY!) and FF has helped me plan a course of action. I know none of this is a cure – I’m cursed just like with my diabetes that I will live this way forever. However, also like diabetes, it’s up to me to do what I can to manage (not CONTROL) my anxiety. I’m excited to take this step again and most of all, I’m excited to feel like me again. I know change won’t happen overnight but simply making the appointment and laying it all here at your feet, makes me already feel like I’ve made leaps and bounds of progress towards living well with depression, anxiety and diabetes. XOXO
**- lyrics to one of my favoriteSarah McLachlan songs. Listen here