I have not jumped ship!

I know, I know.  It’s been forever.  I’m sorry.  It’s not that I don’t love you all.  If you want a full explanation, I’ll have to email you the rest of the boring details.  I’ll try to give a brief synopses of event since my last entry.  It’s kind of a depressing story, at least the majority of it, so if you’re not in a place to read that sort of thing right now, it might be best to come back later.

Initially I had technical difficulties.  (I still am, but that will be fixed by tomorrow or the next day for good).  After the technical difficulties were somewhat fixed, I had annie difficulties.  While most of you were very worried about the xanax, I didn’t take too much of it at first.  I was taking the remeron (mirtazapine?  whatever) and turned into a completely different person.

At least as an agoraphobic prior to the remeron, I was a functional at home agoraphobic.  I dressed myself to shoes every day.  I had routines in place.  I could get myself showered, dressed, and at least function throughout the day.  Enter the remeron.

For 9 days I was in a constant state of confusion.  I didn’t sleep.  I wasn’t manic by any means, just completely sleep deprived.  When I took the pill, there was about an hour where I was OK.  After that, and it’s supposed to make you sleep after that, I went into a crazy state of mind where I had no concept of what was real and what was some kind of lucid dream.  And when I tried to sleep, I was physically awake, but mentally dreaming.  I knew I was dreaming at the time.  But I’d wake up and have no idea whether what “happened” the night before was real or part of some weird lucid dream.

Day 8 of taking the remeron, and utter sleep deprivation, it was time to take it again.  I held it in my hand with the water in my other and I started physically dry heaving.  I made a mental note: my body hates this medication.  But I took it anyway.

Day 9 of taking the remeron at the same time every night, my body decided to take charge.  30 minutes before it was time, I was overcome with the need to “just put my head down” where I was sitting.  I woke up the next morning having no idea where I was, what day it was, or whether it was 4am or 4pm.  It was 4am.

Once my head caught up and I realized, “oh crap, i just slept for the first time in days” followed by “… because I didn’t take that poison”.  I felt better already.  I wasn’t sure yet whether I would attempt to take it again that night or not.  Then I got a voicemail from my dear friend Peg.  She was wondering where the heck I had been.  Why hadn’t I been updating my blog?  Why hadn’t I been talking to her or the other people I am so honored to know?

The truth is: I don’t know.  I just wasn’t OK.  I don’t have any other explanation.  I could barely get myself motivated enough to shower, or have interest in my son/playtime, let alone blogging or the accountability I’ve set up here in our little community.  I was able to find my dear friend Peg online and let her know I was still alive, and what was going on with this evil pill (for me, at least).  And I was holding the pill in m hand, deciding whether or not to put myself through it again for the sake of saying “I gave it a fair shot” when I got a message from her.  It stated something to the effect of: “I don’t think you should take that pill again”.  I’m not always one for “signs from the universe” or whatever, but this definitely was one of those things that made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.   How did she know the pill was in my hand?  How did she know anything that was happening in my head at that second?

She didn’t.  She said she’s obviously not a doctor, but that going backward when I’m trying to go forward was never part of the plan.  I had an appointment set for tomorrow (Thursday) and I could just talk to the doctor about it when I went.

Then I got to thinking.  I was SO up front with this woman during our first session.  I explained I’ve done my research.  I know how this is “cured” or overcome, and if she wasn’t willing to work with MY plan, then it wouldn’t work out with us professionally.  She nodded and nodded, said she agreed, and went in the complete opposite direction.

The problem with all of that, though, is that I really like(d?) this woman.  I felt there was a decent connection.  Ultimately, though, we just completely differed in approach.  I can find out why I get triggers all day long.  It’s interesting, and certainly insightful, but fat lot of good it does me now.

Of course, now is the time in any story where something disastrous happens.  It did.  Our family dog was sick, and then in critical condition.  It was going to be up to me whether or not to keep her alive or put her out of her misery, based on the findings of this morning (which was tomorrow when it was going on).  I was quite certain I was going to have to be the one to pull the plug on my parents’ dog, since I was the sanest person about the whole situation.  You can always tell when something is bad, when I’m the most held together person in the room.

Then, on a whim, I tried to call a place here that is much, much closer to where I live than the Knoxville doctor is.  I’d tried to call before, but they had the appointment set out for about a month and a half advance, so I had to pass.  One of the nurse practitioners happened to have a cancellation for the following day (today) and I could come in.  I happily obliged, with much gratitude for my “whim”.

It was a miserable experience, today.  What I thought would be about an hour of feeling uncomfortable turned into 3 hours of all kinds of new anxiety.  I’m about 82% certain I was the only person in that lobby (it was packed, in great contrast to Knoxville doctor) who wasn’t there by court order – if you get my drift.  I had to see about 3 different people before I could even see the nurse practitioner.  By the time I got to her particular waiting area, I was half expecting her to fly out on a broom to greet me.

She was actually a really interesting woman.  I liked her, much as I liked Knoxville doc, but in a different and more professional way.  This Nurse Practitioner works in what I can only describe as a puppy mill for mentally ill people.  In/Out/Next Please.  And just from the things I overheard myself, and the people I saw around me (yes, OK, I’m judgmental, but you all love me anyway) she must see quite a variety of issues.  I thought about this at the time.  There were downsides, sure.  But the upside was, there’s no freaking way I could be something new to her.  Or shocking to her.  I bet it takes a lot to shock that woman.  The upside of the mentally ill mill?  She’s seen it all, probably twice just this morning.  The downside?  I have to go there.

I’ll save what she said for a later post, because I’m actually starting to feel up to posting again.  Or even typing “wordpress.com” into my browser, which was a huge task before today.  But I’m hopeful.  Starting new meds tomorrow, staying on the “as neeeded” xanax (which hasn’t been a WHOLE lot, less the last couple days with the critical condition dog), and have discontinued my relationship with Knoxville doc.  Knoxville doc’s office was closed today, but I left a message to cancel.  I will call tomorrow and tell her the truth.  As I said earlier, I like this woman.  I owe her an explanation, or at least a “this isn’t working out”, but I’d prefer to not go to my appointment tomorrow and have to pay $160 for the pleasure of feeling closure.  A phone call should do it.  Don’t you think?  So long as I own up to it?  What I really don’t want to do, which is a very “me” thing, is to just cancel and stop calling or taking calls from her.  I’m trying to be bigger than that these days.

If you’re curious, I’m still getting prescribed the xanax, though not in large or abundant doses.  It works, so long as I don’t start abusing it (another “me” thing).  And the new medication I’m on, is a VERY low dose of abilify (aripiprazole) at 5mg.  I believe the usual dose is 30mg.

So that, along with a PRN (as needed) xanax is probably going to do the trick for me to take charge of my own recovery and start “practicing” as Dr. Claire Weekes describes in her books and audio.

That’s all I have for now.  I really appreciate your comments and emails, and I am so sorry that a lot of the last emails I sent bounced back to me.  I promise I will be feeling up to catching up soon, but this post alone has taken hours and breaks and more hours to complete.  Also, it’s 3 minutes until midnight here, so it’s at least past time for me to go lay in bed and try to pretend to sleep.

I will get there.  I haven’t given up.  I’m kinda back at square 1.  Maybe 1.5.  But it’s progress nonetheless.  Once I start getting more back to my “old self” (which wasn’t a great starting point) I promise to at least write personally to the people who have taken their time to write me.

Much love and appreciation,

a

An Adjustment Period

I’m starting to think that things here in Tennessee might work out.  Of course I don’t want it as a permanent solution.  I want to go back to my fiance and my home desperately.  I’m starting to think I just might be able to get some of these issues under control before I do, though.

I have been out of the house here every day since I got here.  Of course, I had at least one parent with me, so that’s not a huge deal.  But every day is!  I have been taking klonopin to help me get out.  It’s working.  I still have to leave the stores sometimes and catch my breath.  But I go back in and at least give it one more shot before I call it a good effort.

Attempting to make this place feel like a temporary home is a big emotional.  I keep thinking, “But if I put this here, where will B’s stuff go?”.  Things like that.  It also just plain isn’t our home, so there’s that ever looming feeling of being a fraud.

I’m actually looking forward to my psychiatrist appointment next Thursday.  I wish it were sooner, obviously.  I’m really ready to lift up my sleeves and do the work.  Agoraphobics don’t care for waiting, if you don’t know that.  It causes us tenfold the anxiety.

I’m curious what this doctor will say.  What medications will she put me on, if any?  Will they work?  Does she want me to do combined medication and CBT?  Some other treatment I’m not familiar with.  I need answers!

My son is having the time of his life out here in the country.  Especially with all of the boxes to unpack and moving paper still a bit strewn about.  He is running around outside like a crazy man.  Pushing his plastic lawnmore.  Riding his bigwheel.  Digging up rocks.  And generally just being a little boy.  I am thrilled he is able to do all of this stuff, but still feel quite guilty that I’ve been depriving him of some of these things at home because of my own phobias.

I’m scared.  But I’m armed and ready for battle.  I’m not sure there will be much more to update between now and the doctor’s appointment, but if something comes up I’ll be sure to let you all know.

Cheers,

annie

An AgoraTwist

In yet another turn of  events, it seems that my son and I will be staying here in Tennessee a bit longer.  No, you drama queens, it has nothing to do with my fiance and I.  It’s regrettably in spite of that, even.  Of course it’s not to get away from each other.  No matter how much he picks at his damned feet, I still want him around for the rest of my time.

It is here that I can get the most help in the fastest, most efficient way possible.  I’m ready to go back to that fun chick I was.  She still comes out in me from time to time, but it’s usually not long enough.  I have found a place here just outside the country area my parents’ new home is that offers some pretty serious kick-your-ass therapy.  All at once.  In your face.  It’s like rehab and bootcamp for agoraphobics all mixed in to one.  I’m terrified.  I have my first conversation with them tomorrow.

I’m sad and excited all at once.  If this works, I think it will have been every sacrifice our family had to make.