Monday, March 29, 2010

Retreat Weekend

This weekend I went away on a retreat.  I was on the leadership team for the reteat and we've been meeting for about three months now, and every time we met I had a mini panic attack.  Then, this weekend, I actually went on the retreat.  I made sure that I had extra Ativan on hand.  I was panicking the whole drive there.  I knew there would be a slew of hand-holding as this was a religious retreat and I have a sweaty hand problem that accompanies my general anxiety disorder.  Plus I was afraid that at any moment I would break into a full-on panic attack. 

The good news is that because I was on the kitchen team I was so busy that the hand-holding was at a minimum and I was kept so busy that I barely had a chance to catch my breath, let alone lose it in a panic attack.  The only time I actually had a panic attack was when I couldn't fall asleep on the first night and thankfully everyone else in the dorm was already asleep so no one else witnessed it.

I think that the Adderall is slowly working which is good news since my mom just reminded me that the doc said there is little else they can do for me medicinally by way of anxiety.  I have to try and conquer it on my own.  I hope that my therapy can help.  I really need it now.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Trying to relax

I'm trying to relax and let the Adderall work, but I'm afraid I'm not having much luck.  Today I had a massage and I tried to just shut my mind off and listen to the music and not ruminate, but it was impossible!  I kept going over and over things in my head, things that were meaningless and only caused me greater anxiety!  I don't know why I do this and it's not just during the massage-it's all day long.  I ruminate all day long and I simply can't figure it out.  I was supposed to go to yoga today but I couldn't summon the motivation to do it.  It wasn't like I was busy, I was just too caught up in my thoughts to get the courage to do it.  Isn't the Adderall supposed to be taking care of this?   I read that it starts working right away and doesn't have to build up in your system.  I have my church retreat this weekend and am worried to death about the possible panic attacks that could occur.  I hope that that doesn't happen.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I hope I can sleep

Today was an odd day.  I volunteered at the hospital and it wasn't the experience I was hoping for.  I was so anxious the whole time-it was a panic attack and a disaster waiting to happen.  When I meet with my "boss" next week I'm going to ask for a new assignment.  I just won't be able to handle dreading my volunteer assignment week after week. I'm supposed to enjoy it, right? 

The rest of the day, I've just spent piddling around on the computer and writing affirmations for my upcoming retreat.  I also finished my self-help book.  So now I'm sitting, waiting for time to pass, and hoping that I'll get sleepy.  I think this Adderall is keeping me awake (and not quite working yet-I still have that skin crawling feeling). I hope I'll feel tired soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Today was a good day

Today was rare.  It was a good day.  I got the Adderall-finally.  I'm not sure if it could possibly work already, but I felt a little calmer today.  I did try and stay busy, which I think helped, but I was coming off a very anxiety-ridden day yesterday.  I'm going on a retreat next weekend and yesterday was the final preparation meeting.  I was terribly anxious all day long-to the point of almost feeling sick!  But, I got to the meeting and some of the anxiety dissipated-until we had to do the handholding thing!  Ugh!  Then of course the sweaty palms came into play.  Afterwards, we went to dinner, and I felt so socially awkward.  It felt like there were all of these conversations going on around me and all I wanted to do was jump in and feel at ease, but I couldn't.  I felt stuck!  I want to make friends and have this network of support around me, but it feels like it is impossible to build that.  I hope that I am able to build some relationships next weekend on the retreat. 

Tomorrow I volunteer at the hospital again.  It hasn't been the most positive experience for me.  In a way I feel like I help some of the patients by giving them some joy in visiting with them, but with some of them, I walk away feeling even more depressed and like total crap because their stories are so awful.  I actually think it's worse for me.  So, I'll give it one more try tomorrow and if it doesn't work I'll ask for a new assignment in the hospital.  I just try to live by the quote "be the change you want to see in the world" (Mahatma Gandhi).  I hope I can do that.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"My hopes are not always realized but I always hope". -Ovid

Today I tried to stay busy.  I went to a swap meet to try and sell some of my misbegotten items, but no luck-not a single thing sold!  The borderline personality part of me (which is all of me) took it totally personally, and I came home feeling dejected.  The only bright spots in the day were some cds I picked up at the swap meet, and new cd that came from Amazon (yes, I did not stick to my rule to stop ordering from Amazon-in fact I ordered something else tonight)!  Then another materialistic bright spot was the purchase of the New Moon DVD-which like an almost 30 loser, I've been awaiting for months. 

I also hoped the my prescription and my self-proclaimed savior-the Adderall-would come in today, but no such luck.  Tomorrow I have a meeting for a retreat that is coming up next weekend and I'm so nervous.  They're going to want to do a skit that involves hugging and holding hands and the first way my panic manifests is through sweaty hands.  What do I do?  Tell them I can't do the skit?  I don't know what to do other than jack myself up on Ativan and wish for the best.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"The Sun Still Shines"

"The Sun Still Shines"
Even in winter, even in the midst of the storm, the sun is still there.
Somewhere, up above the clouds, it still shines and warms and pulls
at the life buried deep inside the brown branches and frozen earth.
The sun is there! Spring will come! The clouds cannot stay forever!
-Gloria Gaither

This poem is my wish for myself today.  I went to the pharmacy in the hope that my miracle drug-the Adderall-would be ready, but it wasn't there yet.  So, I have to endure the entire weekend still feeling this skin-crawling feeling.  I don't know how I'll endure it, but I guess I'll just have to find a way.  I'm already taking more Ativan than I'm supposed to, even though I can hardly feel its effects anymore.  I guess I've been on it too long.  Hopefully the sun shines for me this weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Today I went to yoga, and then did something I haven't done in years-went swimming.  Not just paddling around in the pool, I've done that in the last few years, I mean like actual swimming of laps.  I haven't done that since high school, when my swim teacher pushed me in the deep end off the diving board in order to prove a point (still traumatized by the way).  The whole experience felt relaxing and my head didn't even hurt that badly.  I felt a little less anxious when I emerged from the gym.  What a change!  Now I'm just awaiting my Adderall from the pharmacy and then hopefully I'll be on the road to better health.

I started reading a book recco. by my secondary therapist yesterday called "Embracing the Fear" (that's not the entire title, but it's about anxiety and fear) and it made me feel a little better-like I wasn't totally alone in how I feel and that it's best not to ignore the feelings of anxiety but to recognize them and try and deal with them.  I hope I can start to do that. 

For now, namaste.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mindfulness-can i get to wise mind?

Today was a tough day.  I had DBT, which I dread now-we have added new group members, and I hate it, since it now feels like a support group and less like a class.  We hear about everyone's problems, which is fine, until we come to the part where we have to listen to my homework for the week and I have to talk about my problems, then I start to freak a little.  I try to be mindful of the class and be in the moment and not think about where I'm going to have lunch, and how much longer it will be before I can take another Ativan, but today that was just impossible.  I was certainly thinking with my reasonable mind and not my wise mind.

Then, a few hours went by and I had an appt with my psychiatrist who I see over a tv screen which is so impersonal.  I started hyperventilating in the office, my hands were dripping with sweat and my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest.  I tried to make him understand the nature of my anxiety and how crippling it is to my daily life and I think he finally got it.  He changed my dosage of Lamictal so that I'm less up and down, and put me on something for the anxiety-back to the Adderall, but a lesser dosage, so hopefully this time, I don't get sick.  I won't get the meds until Friday, so two more days of this nonsense and then on to better tomorrows!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Going out of my mind...

I feel like I'm going to crawl out of my skin.  Literally, or actually, figuratively.  I can hardly sit still.  My heart is beating fast in my chest, and the nervousness is washing over me like a wave.  I'm listening to my favorite music, which is supposed to be soothing, but no dice.  I tried to do house chores to stay busy and active but that only amped me up more.  I tried to take a nap to shut my mind up, but that only made my mind race more.  I don't know what to do.  I took an extra Ativan, but I know that it won't work.  I'm just anxiously awaiting my doc appt on Wednesday and hoping he has some words of wisdom for me.  The last time I felt like this I got put on Adderall, but I'll never take that again-it made me too sick (but did fix the anxiety problem, sadly).  I wish there were some cure for all of this!


The movie I saw was actually titled "Remember Me".  Sorry about that.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Remember When"-PTSD

Today I went out to see "Remember When" with a new friend from my retreat group.  I, of course, had to take an extra Ativan before I left because I was frantic with anxiety, as it's been so long since I've gone out with a new friend.  So we went to the movie and were having a good time until **SPOILER ALERT**the movie ends with the characters being ungulfed in the events of 9-11.  I have PTSD regarding 9-11, and I started to desperately hide my increasing anxiety from my new friend so as she would not think I was crazy ( or crazier-I have already admitted to her that I am bipolar).  We went about the rest of our afternoon seemingly fine, until I blurted out that I am also a recovering alcoholic (stupid, stupid, stupid!), and then we went our separate ways.

So, to recover from my gaffe, and my terrible anxiety over a new experience and the feelings of PTSD, I went out and spent money I don't have on makeup that I don't really need.  I mean, I guess I could make an argument for needing the MAC oil control powder, but really-do I need the Lancome Bolole' lipgloss that doesn't really show up on my lips anyway?  I only bought it because I had the same shade a long time ago and I have good memories associated with it.  So, I was buying good memories today instead of wallowing in bad ones.  Ugh, not good.

Now, I'm sitting at the computer, waiting for my evening Ativan to kick in (anytime now, really-I'm just waiting), and my hands are just shaking and dripping with sweat.  My heart is pounding and I feel like my breath is getting caught in my chest.  I need to get over this and move on.  Nothing bad happened to me today (only to my bank account), and tomorrow is another chance to make it a better day.  I know I can do it, and with any luck hopefully my new "friend" will want to hang out again and not think I'm too much of a mess to have fun with.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough." Emily Dickinson

Today I saw my primary therapist.  My therapist for anxiety (secondary therapist) told me that I had to be honest with her and tell her about the unfortunate incident that happened with my sister on Friday, as well as the subsequent breakdown and cutting.  So, I did.  I told her all of it, and cried in her office-which I have never done.  I am proud to say I have never cried in her presence, mostly because I am intimidated by her.  She is a tough love sort of therapist.  But it felt good to get it all out and tell her how depressed I have been feeling and up and down, and crying a lot.  She gave good advice, and I did come away feeling better.

It comes down to using my DBT skills I guess.  She says that I have to stop in the moment and think about what I am doing and use my "wise mind" and not my "emotional mind".  I am REALLY going to have to work on that.  Plus, I'm going to have to find more joy in the activities that I enjoy, like the quote above implies.  I think I can do it.  I know I can (with the help of meds-of course).  :)

Monday, March 8, 2010


I have many obsessions.  All of which I have been told are part of my OCD (another label I hate).  Here I go:

Lipgloss; going to movies; buying books; anything Twilight; buying makeup; pens; stamps (the rubber kind); and basically anything that involves spending money on Amazon. 

I have now resolved that I will not spend any more money on Amazon-that I am cutting myself off.  We shall see how long this lasts. I need to save money!  Soon my disability checks will stop and I really will be in the poor house.  I need to save as much money as I can.  So, no more money on these little obsessions.  I hope I can stick to my guns!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Set back

I had a complete set back on Friday night.  I thought everything was fine.  I was still flying high from my great day on Wednesday and feeling ok, and then my evil sister stepped into the picture.  I try to avoid her at all costs.  I am learning in therapy that avoidance is really my best ally, since I have such an anger issue when it comes to her.  She just really sets me off!!!

So, my family and I went out to dinner and she and I rode home in one car and the rest of them rode home in another.  We got home first and had a heated exchange that involved kicking and name-calling (both of which I started).  I do regret both, as they were juvenile forms of behavior, but I just couldn't help it.  She was bossing me around in my own house, telling me what I couldn't and couldn't do and it just ignited a fire in me!  From there, I went on a downward spiral and cut myself-for the first time in over a year.  I wanted to cut so deep I would see blood, but that didn't happen, and I guess I am grateful.  Now, I am on a higher dosage of one of my meds-the effects of which are supposed to help lessen anger and rage.  I am a nice, kind-hearted person, why do I have rage!???????????????

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Can this be?

Can this be?  Am I starting to feel a little better?  I can hardly believe it, and wonder if it is my involvement in more activities, or the combination of meds that is finally starting to do the trick.  I am now volunteering at the hospital, writing stories about new mothers and their babies-a happy process, but so nerve-wracking.  Yesterday was my first day, and as I was taking notes, the paper was dripping wet from my sweaty palms (disgusting, I know).  But, I made it through, and even had a good feeling in my heart once I was finished. 

Today I went to yoga in an attempt to use my un-used gym membership and try and get in some relaxing, meditation excercise.  It worked too!  My shoulders felt less tense, and although I felt a pounding in my head at the time of the workout, once we were finished, I felt good.  My brother would even be happy-at the end, we bowed and said "namaste".

More good things are happening too!  Yesterday I sold my ex's bike.  The one he saddled me with in "le divorce".  I am going to put the money in a fund labled "30th bday fund".  I hope to take a trip with that money.  Maybe back to MI, or to CA to see one of my good friends.  I haven't been out to see her in a while.  And this week I continued to feed my addiction-I got two new (actually used) cd's.  The "Fantasticks" soundtrack which reminds me of my favorite musical/play and a simpler time, and another Franz Ferdinand cd.  Plus, tonight we have company over and I've had to sit still for a really long time listening to stories about people I don't know, so I rushed into the den and ordered another soundtrack from my 2nd favorite musical-"Cabaret"-the one with Alan Cummings, because you just know that every other version doesn't compare!  Now, I secretly vow to myself to buy NO MORE things on Amazon and NO MORE lipgloss.  I bought another tube yesterday and today-both of which I hate.  I have become a gloss snob.  Unless I can try on a million tubes in the department store and find the perfect color, it just doesn't work for me.

So, that's all for now.  I am so happy that life is going better and pray that nothing breaks this spell.

Poem fitting for today

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they

Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;

A poet could not be but gay,

In such a jocund company!

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.