Ten Things of Thankful, Numero Cinco

Anxiety is so unreasonable, at times.  It didn’t want me to post today, but here I am, with a little help from my first two TToT.  Anxiety doesn’t have to win every time.

So:

1) I am thankful first of all for

Israel ‘IZ’ Kamakawiwo’ole

for providing the world with a little happiness in the form of this video:

RIP IZ.  The beauty and simplicity of music was not lost on you, buddy.

 

2)  I am thankful for finding this Dr. Seuss photo quote while attempting to burn off anxiety, pre-post:

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3) The Dr. Seuss photo quote reminds me of all the books Mom used to read to us growing up, and then, as we grew up, that we read to her.  We were reading fools growing up.  I remember carting huge stacks of books home from the library and devouring each one.  To this day, myself, my sister, and my mom are all voracious readers.  I honestly don’t think there is any greater or more life-changing gift you can give your child than the love of reading.  Thank you for that, Madre.  xoxo

teaching-reading-6-500x333

 

 

4) On a related note, I am thankful to Shel Silverstein for bringing awesome books that were funny and ALSO meant something to young people all over.  The man was a true literary genius, and if you have kids, they should

be reading these books.  A couple of my favorites follow:

 

ev light wherethesidewalk-jpg

 

 

5)  I am thankful for free farm-fresh eggs (thanks Mom and Big Dawg!).  You can do so much with an egg, the possibilities are almost endless.  Check out some great ideas here.  We do a lot of scrambles with sausage or bacon and potatoes for dinner, egg salad, and the ever-popular egg sandwich on toast.  Leave your favorite way to eat an egg in the comments!

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6)  I am thankful for learning (ever so slowly) how to give up control and just let things be.  It is a constant practice, a continual embracing of willingness.

anxiety

 

7)  I am thankful for good health insurance.  Without it, I would be unmedicated and DSB would be mired in severe debt, or dead.  Likely dead, the way he refuses to go to the doctor when he DOES have insurance.  I don’t think Obamacare was the answer for everyone, but I personally know a lot of people it greatly helped.  Clearly, something is still broken when people are sick and can’t afford to go to the doctor, can’t afford the medicine to get well, the treatment to stay alive.  What kind of society, what kind of government casts people off like that?

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8)  I am thankful for the Regina Spektor Pandora Radio station that I created almost five years ago.  It has bloomed into something totally terrific.  There is almost never a repeat and so much more interesting and new music has piled in on the phone.  If you haven’t tried Pandora, I would highly suggest it.  Who could resist songs like this?

 

9)  I am thankful that getting into this post has almost totally resolved my anxiety.  I have been trying to work through it this past week without using Klonopin, as I felt like I was letting my DBT skills get rusty by not using them, and using the Klonopin instead.  So far, the results have been good.  I’m not saying I’m never taking Klonopin again, because I will, I’m sure — I just don’t want to rely on it as my first choice.

Clonazepammacro.preview

 

10) I’m lastly greatful for TToT.  I know it’s going to be there every week, and I look forward to it.  I like writing it and I like reading everyone else’s.  Feeling down and out?  Participate — writing gratitude lists should be part of everyone’s therapy homework.

You can link up to TToT over at Considerings.  She and the gang will be happy to come and give you a hello!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grief Anniversaries Compounding More Grief

I am so glad this weekend is over.  I’m glad DSB’s surgery is over and now everything is on the steady with that.  I’m glad I have the first round of inventory entered into the computer.  I beyond love love love my dishwasher for enabling me to keep a very clean kitchen at all times, although it was constantly being cooked in by a very messy DSB.  I am thankful for Klonopin, even though I get tired of taking it.  But mostly, I am just glad the first five days of 2014 are over, because I don’t think I could take much more.

I have spent more time today crying and boo-hooing and angsting and sobbing and catastrophizing today than I care to spend in about a month.  I mean, the waterworks will just not shut off.  The negative tapes were churning away in my head and I just felt so sad and hopeless.  And I couldn’t figure out why.

And I’m not saying this is the only reason, but it is likely a factor.  My grandmother died two years ago yesterday, and today would have been her birthday.  I wasn’t particularly close to my grandmother, but it was her death two years ago that sent me over the deep end.  I firmly believe that I probably wouldn’t have taken such a nosedive if that terrible timing hadn’t ended up the way it did.

I have a lot of my grandparents’ furniture in my house.  I bought some new silverware yesterday, and I cried when I found some of my grandparents’ old silverware tucked underneath some more current items.  Cheap steak knives is what they are.  Except they don’t look cheap.  And are probably not.  They were Grandpa’s and thinking about him and those steak knives brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Isn’t it awful how grief compounds grief?  I’m over my grandmother being dead, and it’s only been a couple of years.  My grandpa is a whole ‘nother story.  He died in 2004 to be exact.  He died exactly 14 days after my 25th birthday.  I distinctly remember that I was on the Atkins diet at that time, and I heard the call right as I was starting to eat a steak dinner.  I couldn’t ever eat that particular blend of seasonings again.

There was a huge thunderstorm going on and I can remember the Big Dawg picking me up and taking me to the Assisted Living place where my grandparents had been living.  There was a big empty room, and Grandpa was on a stretcher, all wrapped up in white sheets.  And I totally lost it.

And I still do lose it, thinking of him.  I think of all the things I wish he had been able to see, to do.  I wish he had been able to meet DSB, to go fishing again, to make terrible soup, to hold his favorite dog, to see my sister get married and have her little boy.  He has so much to be proud of, and I can’t help but think that he absolutely MUST be up there looking over.  I don’t know how I would or could go on if at least some part of me didn’t believe that.

And maybe that’s strange to not know if there is a God, but to be certain there is a heaven.  I really don’t care.  I pray rarely, but I do talk to Grandpa, and the Bird Lady.  And I really do think sometimes they answer me back.  And I light a little candle and I send a thought, and that’s enough for me.  So that’s what I’m going to go do.  Light a candle.  Take a Klonopin.  Pray for dreamless sleep.

Amen.

Telling it Like it Is: The Big Five

Wowza.  I have not posted anything since Christmas Day, and I wasn’t really planning on taking a break, it just kinda happened.  The tagline on this blog is “telling it like it is.”  I have a few things I need to tell myself, keeping in the spirit of the tradition.

1) Klonopin will erase anxiety, but you’re supposed to use skills, too.

I have been having more than my fair share of anxious moments lately, and, really, I am a bit entitled.  DSB just had major surgery, I’ve been jam-packing my days with this and that, and one month and one week later, quitting smoking is still not the easiest thing that I do.  The smartest thing to do would be to use some self-soothe and sacred self skills, and while I have been trying, I also find myself lacking.  I have been showering a good bit more, and even putting on lotion, but the food I put into my body is disgusting.

2) There is nothing about a messy kitchen that a trash can, dishwasher, pantry, and refrigerator can’t take care of within 15 minutes.

DSB has been doing some cooking lately, and it would be putting it nicely to say he makes a bit of a mess.  Empty cans everywhere, flour, flour, flour all over the place, wet paper towels in the sink.  You get the idea.  Now that I have a dishwasher, I don’t mind so much, because it just GOES AWAY.  And it’s easy.  If you don’t have a dishwasher, you should get one, even if you cook fairly rarely.  They are a treasure and don’t let anyone tell you different.

3)  It’s ok to go to bed at 9:00pm if you are tired.  It doesn’t mean you are old.

No, it means that I require 10 to 11 hours of sleep to function optimally.  I don’t know if it’s the meds or the bipolar itself, but I can’t handle less than 10.  It is really, really not pretty when the number dips below ten.

4)  Ok, so  you didn’t do a New Year’s post.  Whoop-de-friggin-dah.

I read a few New Year’s posts, but to be honest, I mostly checked delete all and then emptied my trash.  I don’t need to hear about someone else’s resolutions so that I can compare them to my personal goals (not resolutions) and feel bad about myself.  I did appreciate a few Top Ten Books of 2013 posts, however.  Keep those coming.  In fact, anytime you read a good book, email me or post it in my comments section.  I got the Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas and am just figuring out how to interface with my local library, and the results have been ahhhh-mazing.

5) No matter how tough it gets, I have a great support system.

I have a few people in my life that I can count on, time and time again, to drag me through the muck and get me up and running again.  Those people know who they are, and hopefully know how much I appreciate them.  DSB was whining on New Year’s Eve that 2013 had been a crap year.  My exact words to him:

“My life is infinitesimally better with you in it.  Every year will be a great year, and it will keep getting more and more so.”

And then I gave him a big wet sloppy kiss.  And cried.

 

Mother Effer and, Ultimately, Classic Frustration

After a string of days blogging, the keyboard has gone silent for too long.  I do this to myself all the time, you know.  Process through things via this blog, then hit some sort of roadblock, stop blogging for some inane reason, and then just sit in silence and curse those issues under my breath.  When I’m in not-blogging mode, I still read all of the blogs I am following religiously.  I generally know I need to get back on the proverbial horse again when I find myself getting jealous or envious of the emotions that people I follow are having.  That’s right.  You’re having an emotion, and I’m jealous.

I am in that spot in bipolar disorder that is marked with a lack of sparkle for everyday activities.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still like going to my little itty-bitty part-time job and dishing up worms.  I still love my boyfriend and family, still play with my dogs, and still can’t wait to get in the swimming pool (DSB gave me one for my birthday!) at the end of the day.  But there are other things going on, and not going on.

I continue to be plagued by severe anxiety.  I am taking Klonopin PRN’s frequently (although not more than they are prescribed by my pdoc) and find myself unable to cope with day-to-day stressors.  When I am not feeling anxious, I am feeling somewhat flat.  I read other people’s blogs and they have this passion for life, about life, even about hating life.  That’s right, I am jealous of you for having a passion for not wanting to live.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  I was telling DSB last night that it seemed like we had a pretty good life.  It’s like I was just struck by it all of a sudden.

I have a pretty good life.  I have a roof over my head, food on the table, great family and boyfriend, loyal dogs.  There is no serious trouble in my life, I am not having to struggle to survive.  But I feel flat.  I feel alternatingly anxious and flat.  And there are times where I feel just fine, too, of course.  Because it wouldn’t be my life if it wasn’t full of contradiction.  Ultimately, I just feel frustrated.

I wonder if I will ever feel “better” or free of some of this anxiety.  I wonder if I will ever be filled with joy and contentment and serenity (as a blogging friend put it).  Is that even possible?  Am I ever going to accomplish more with my life, or should I just be happy with what I have?  I think a lot of the reason my last therapist was so frustrated with me was because she wanted me to make some giant leap into something that would make me “happy” and I just didn’t know what that would be and wasn’t very open, because I feel like I am still working on current issues.

Due to schedules and timing and suckiness, I don’t get to see my new therapist until next Tuesday, even though I have been referred to her for over two weeks now.  I am nervous about doing trauma work, but I know I will never be able to get over insecurities and anxiousness and flashbacks and nightmares without it.  And I SO want to be over those things.  I am also worried about whether or not she will let me address anything besides trauma, or if that is the only thing we can talk about.  Because there is other stuff going on in my life that I need to talk about.  I am very hopeful that I will like this new therapist, and she comes with a good recommendation from Goddess of Mindfulness, so I am even more hopeful.  It would be nice to have a therapist again that I feel understands, empathizes, and acts in my best interest.

Hey Rose…You’re Not Actually Dying Right Now

This is how my anxiety starts.  First, my legs feel a little wobbly in the hip joint.  It quickly moves on to leave me with a feeling of dead weight in my stomach and then a tightness in my chest.  And then my throat closes up and I can’t breathe.  These are all just bodily sensations related to anxiety, and I constantly have to remind myself:  Rose, you’re not dying!

Sure feels like I am though.  I think most anyone with anxiety problems can relate.  And also to the fact that, sometimes, that shit comes out of nowhere.  I mean NOWHERE.  Sometimes I can talk myself through it, sometimes I can seek comfort with DSB or my mom, but a lot of times, I just have to take a PRN Klonopin.

I used to be better at working through my anxiety or panic attacks or whatever you want to label it.  Seems like now, though, the only thing that works is the Klonopin.  Now, mind you, I’m not doing this every day, several times a day.  It probably happens two or three, sometimes four times a week.  But that still seems like a lot.  It hasn’t always been so bad.

The flashbacks, the nightmares, the negative tape in my head, the images that flash through my mind.  They are more severe now than they have ever been and I can’t exactly pinpoint why, although I think it may be that I have stopped working on those things, stopped working on suffering through them, stopped working on the in therapy.

Therapy is a joke with my current therapist.  I leave from a session, not even knowing what we talked about, because it is mostly her talking and me half-listening, and not trusting her enough to actually talk about and work on the things that are bothering me the most.

It is crazy for me to stay in therapy with her, but I have talked with my support system and they say (and  I agree) that I still need therapy, at least to some degree, for now.  Maybe I need something other than DBT therapy, maybe I just need a different DBT therapist.  I know I will not go to group, and I am firm on that.  It doesn’t help me and I don’t like it.  If that means I can’t have a DBT therapist, I am fine with that.

I have been somewhat proactive today, in that I called and left a message for Goddess of Mindfulness to contact me so that I can talk with her about the issue, maybe she can make a recommendation.  I also called a few agencies here in town and found no one that is accepting new Medicaid clients.  I will hold off on making any more calls until I speak with Goddess of Mindfulness, and am hopeful she will have a suggestion or strategy.

I am trying to do something about this before my next therapy appointment on the 9th (next Friday, one week from today).  I really don’t want to go see her and have to fake my way through another session.  I suppose I could be brutally honest and just tell her like it is, but I don’t want to be kicked out of the center and I could really use some advice first.  It is clear to me (and my support system) that I need therapy, and it is clear, to me at the very least, that my current therapist is not cutting it.  I am hopeful that something will change soon.

I’m not a religious person, so I won’t ask you to pray, but light a candle or send good thoughts my way.  I could really use them right now.

Because I Don’t Feel Like it, Ok?

As I have mentioned before, if I don’t get a good night’s sleep and quickly into my morning routine, ugly things happen.  Last night was one of those nights where I couldn’t fall asleep, and then I couldn’t stay asleep.  I had nightmares, which used to occur frequently, but not so much anymore, so I was doubly sucker-punched when I had probably one of the worst nightmares I have had in over a year.

It was one for the record books.  And I was not prepared for it.  How do you really prepare for something that terrifying, anyway?  Well, first of all, you don’t let your guard down.

You don’t fall asleep with your entire collection of “The Wallflowers” playing, because you just wanted to listen to that one song.  You know, the one you played on repeat for years when you were sad and that made you cry uncontrollably, the one you wanted to hear just to “test” to see what would happen?  You stupid fuck.

You don’t drink a Pepsi at 6pm and you don’t start a new, very graphic memoir about a borderline woman and her steps towards recovery (although it is a very good book) at bedtime.  You don’t skip taking that Klonopin PRN when you really needed it after being set off, yet again, about why you will never let yourself have children.

There are all these things you DON’T do in the course of the day to prevent these nightmares from happening, and I DID DO many of them.  I didn’t go through my bedtime routine, I didn’t allow myself enough hugs and kisses from DSB before turning in, and I didn’t deal with the day’s mess like I should have.  That and the aforementioned are why the super-bad nightmare snuck up on me.

And really, I know better.  I know better than to do x, y, and z and I know better than to make sure I do a, b, and c.  This has been a recurring problem (sleep, nightmares, etc) and I am just pissed at myself because I DO know better.

And the lack of sleep created an issue this morning, because DSB told me to go back to bed at 6:00 a.m. because it was clear to him (although not as much to me) that I wouldn’t make it through my day without doing so.  But knowing that DSB sometimes knows me better than I do myself, I went back to bed without a fight and woke up at 10:30 a.m., feeling much more awake, somewhat more positive, and very much more pissed at myself that I had squandered away productive time.

I could have done a lot of things today, and there were a lot of things that needed doing.  Instead, I took a mental health day.  I did a few errands with DSB, did a lot of reading, went through and caught up on all the blogs I follow, and am now blogging.  I didn’t get anything major accomplished, although it’s possible I will throw together dinner and maybe do some dishes.

But really, I just didn’t feel like it, ok?

Blowing Things Out of Proportion, Rose Style

I feel a little funny right now.  Kind of small and unimportant and cluttered and dumb.  And abnormally tired.  Like I could fall asleep, sitting in front of my laptop, in my work clothes and shoes.  I don’t like these feelings, but they don’t come around super often.  At least, they haven’t been recently.

I didn’t get much sleep last night.  Lots of getting up to pee and then, oh whee!, pretzels!  Necessitating more fluid intake.  Vicious cycle.  I thought I’d be ok though, because I didn’t feel tired when I woke up.  I felt wired and super-alive (I can’t explain exactly what that means, sorry).  And then I drank a pot of coffee.  That was not a good idea.

I sat and chatted with DSB this morning (while drinking copious amounts of coffee, and chainsmoking, I might add) for a couple of hours before I went into work.  I faintly recall that I did most of the talking and he did a lot of grunting.  I’m relatively certain it’s not always like that.

I went into work in a good mood and then I ran into a wall of shit, mere moments after I had entered.  I don’t know this person well, as he is one of my parents’ new employees, and about a month ago I thought he was a pretty decent guy.  He doesn’t strike me as such anymore.  It is almost like, at some point in time, I have greatly offended him and he is doing everything he can to avoid being around me or having to talk to me.

I’m sure the one person who reads this blog who also knows this guy (hi, Mom!) is shaking her head and saying, “That Rose.  She’s always been a sensitive one.”  Well I’ll cop to that, but I do think something is going on with this guy.  It’s either that or he’s a total piece of shit and we have all over-estimated his seeming awesomeness.

So, hence the feeling small and unimportant and dumb.  Little things, over the course of the day, gave me enough good feelings that I didn’t have to pull the “I’m crazy” card and bolt out of there.  But I sure wanted to at times.  About the worst thing you can do to me is ignore me.  I hate being ignored.  If I say something to you, respond.  It’s common courtesy.  I see you speaking to other employees, you can show me the same respect.

What the fuck ever.  Enough of all that!  Sometimes I wish I had a thicker skin and could just let things bounce off me, but I take all that shit in, magnify it times a million, and then I end up feeling like I do now.  Oh, and let’s take a little anxiety and throw it in for good measure.

I have gone five days without taking a Klonopin PRN, which is good, especially because the last month or so, I’ve been taking them almost every other, sometimes every day.  I am seriously pondering taking one now, and I know I really should so I don’t continue to ramp up, but I’m really trying to relax and do a little mindfulness and get over this hump without it.

But here we are an hour off work and a negative tape is starting to play in my head and my chest is tight and aching and my brain is spewing sewage at me.  Sometimes a little Klonopin is all right.  At least that’s what I tell myself.