Monday, June 20, 2016

6 weeks

The last 6 weeks or so has been incredibly long.  I've been in a deep depression/anxiety loop.  I'm not really sure where it came from, but it hit me hard.  It started in late April, around the same time as the 1 year anniversary since I lost my job.  I had to have some blood work done to make sure I didn't have an autoimmune disorder (I don't), H is being a typical teenager, changes with school for me, getting out into the dating world again after 2 years....  The list can go on for a while.  I don't do big changes very well so all of this hit me like a ton of bricks.  Thank God I have a good doctor who doesn't hesitate to increase my medication if and when it's needed.  I was thinking of the things that have helped me cope with this terrible "loop" and thought I would write them down.  Maybe it will help someone else at some point.  Maybe it will help me again at some point to go back over this post and remind myself that I will be OK.

Please remember that I'm not a doctor.  These are things that help me.  Please talk with your doctor if you are having problems with depression or anxiety.    


My family is incredibly supportive and always has been and I am incredibly close to most of them.  The unconditional love that comes with (most) families is a tremendous help.  Knowing that you can call a family member that will listen to you yell, scream, repeat yourself over and over makes handling these "loops" a little easier. 


Being a typical Pisces, I don't have a lot of super close friends.  I have a lot of acquaintances, but only a handful of people that I trust enough to open up.  Unfortunately, I don't trust just one person to tell everything.  There are things I talk to Mom about or my cousin or my sister or one of my 3 best friends.  It's something I know that I need to work on.  The love and acceptance between friends is different from what is gotten from family.  These people know about my "issues" and not only accept it, but still want to be seen with me, even on my worst days.


As is fairly typical with a Pisces, music is therapy for me.  I can get lost in listening to a variety of music while I'm sitting on my porch.  Music is an escape.  My downstairs neighbors get a nightly "porch concert", which I'm not sure they particularly enjoy, but it makes me feel grounded and safe.  My go-to is usually pop-opera like Il Divo, good old country music (Tim McGraw/Brad Paisley), and people that nobody has ever really heard of like Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess. 


I don't write as much as I should, but it is very therapeutic to see those words pop up as I type.  It's almost like once I start, the words just seem to flow.  I might be writing for school or even helping H write an essay.  Either way, writing helps more than I even realize sometimes.


Breathing seems like such a simple thing to do.  But when you're in the middle of a panic attack, it makes it hard to breathe.  I can usually feel a panic attack coming on about an hour or so before it starts because my chest feels tight, almost like an asthma attack.  My doctor makes sure that I always have a prescription for a rescue inhaler.  Breathing deeply in and out can sometimes make a panic attack a little shorter.

H and the cats

This one is a very personal and very effective aid in dealing with the "loop".  H is finally old enough to understand that Mama isn't just being weirder than normal.  He might not actually offer words of encouragement, but he will hand a cat to me, reminding me that they are good "tear catchers".  The cats with their antics (particularly Saturn with her constant running) rarely fail to make me at least smile, if not laugh outright.  She is such a little nut and possibly the happiest cat on the planet.

Being alone

I know this seems like the wrong thing to do when you're stuck in this vicious loop, but for me, having my alone time is a requirement.  If I do feel like I need to hide from the world for a while, I also know that I'm not completely alone since I can pick up the phone and have human contact without actually leaving my apartment.

Being crafty

Getting lost in a sea of fabric and thread helps so much.  There are no expectations of talking about what's bothering me with the sewing machine (and if my sewing machine DID actually talk back, I'd be very concerned.  I'm learning a new craft called tatting.  It is very relaxing to follow a pattern and make something.


Medications are not a last resort for me.  I know that I need to be on an antidepressant and an anti-anxiety.  Both have been increased in the last 6 weeks.  The increase has finally started to help.  It's OK to need medications to deal with depression and anxiety.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with admitting you need a little help.  


I'm finishing up a final anatomy class before I will be at Wake Tech full time.  Knowing that I can't miss class regardless of how I feel makes me get my ass out of bed and get going.  

Not fighting the panic attack

It's gonna happen no matter how much you don't want it to happen.  Don't fight it and maybe, just maybe, it won't last as long as you thought it would.

The Best News  

The best news is that I'm finally starting to pull myself out of this.  It's been a long and exhausting 6 weeks.  But I realize that the panic attacks aren't gonna kill me.  I don't feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin at anytime.  I haven't cried over something silly like the top not going on my contact case.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Lots of changes have been happening around here lately.  I can handle little changes and just kinda go with the flow and be just fine with them.  Big changes, however, kinda freak me out a little.  OK, a lot.  Between school for me, H turning 17, H getting his driver's license in the next few days, and me changing schools and following a dream, it's been a roller coaster the last few months.

H turned 17 in November.  It's so hard as his mama to see my baby boy as a young man.  To me, he should still be that little boy who thought Mama knew everything.  As a typical teenager, I'm convinced that he thinks I'm the dumbest human on Earth.  Sometimes, I think it shocks him that I actually have brains and am actually quite intelligent.  But then, 5 minutes later, he's asking me some random question and still believes everything I tell him.  I'm waiting to get my brains back, but since I didn't acknowledge that either of my parents knew anything until I was about 30, I guess I have a pretty long wait.

I just finished my 3rd quarter in my pursuit of my Associate's Degree in Applied Science.  The hardest class was Anatomy/Physiology and I aced it.  Fortunately, for me, the way the human body works (or doesn't) fascinates me.  I've kept my 4.0 GPA and haven't gotten any further gray hair.

The other big change is that I decided to truly follow a dream and go to nursing school.  I have so loved being in the classroom and being a labor/delivery nurse has been my dream since H was about 2.  I do worry that my tender Pisces heart will make it tough to handle some of the heartbreak that comes with delivering babies, but I also know that same tender heart will make being a nurse truly the best decision I could ever make.  I'll graduate in about 2 years and finally have my RN before I turn 45.  Since I'm going in with a 4.0 GPA, I will be at the top of the pack and hopefully won't get wait listed.  

I'm really kinda scared about the medical classes that I'll have to take and learning how to do an OB/GYN exam sort of creeps me out (what if the woman's parts smell awful??), but at the same time, I'm so excited about starting this new phase of my life.  I honestly can't wait to be on the hospital floor helping families celebrate the best moments of their lives.  Strangely enough, I also can't wait to console families in those awful moments when their dream of becoming a parent does not come true.  I know that's when my compassionate, loving and tender personality will truly be able to shine, possibly for the first time in my life.  I've been working toward making this dream of my own come true for a very long time.  I feel at peace and comfortable in my own skin for the first time.

I want to be the kind of nurse that I had when I was in labor with H.  She was maternal, loving, comforting, gentle but she also was tough when she needed to be, like when H's heart rate dropped and didn't come back up.  She looked at me and told me that I either needed to get him OUT or I needed to consent to a C-section.  She didn't give me any other options.  When I was getting my epidural (after literally about 72 hours - he was a stubborn thing...), she told me to just put my head on her chest and rubbed my hair while the anesthesiologist did his thing.  That simple gesture made me relax so it was easier to get the catheter in my spine.  I also want to be the kind of nurse as my OB/GYN.  I don't see the doctor but the nurse practitioner.  That's mostly because the doctor fishes with Daddy and that's a little weird.  But it's also because Pat is just simply fantastic and doesn't take any crap from me.

I hope I don't get overwhelmed with all the changes that have happened the last few months and that are going to keep happening at least in the near future.  The last thing I want is to have my anxiety levels get too high.  I don't want it to get so bad that I have to hide until I figure shit out.  So far, that hasn't happened, but I also know that it is a possibility.  I also know that I have a phenomenal support system with family and friends to help me if and when I need it.