Category Archives: health

Sick

This post contains references to self-harm and suicide. I just wanted to warn readers who may be sensitive to these things.

Last week, an important anniversary passed by. I had a post in mind; I wanted to celebrate with you all. I’d had a huge accomplishment.

One year ago, last Wednesday, I found myself in my doctor’s office, crying so hard I couldn’t breathe, asking for help. I’d fought, and I couldn’t fight anymore, and I knew I couldn’t continue. It was ask for help, or stop fighting. I asked for help. And last Wednesday, October 19, marked one year of fighting this war against my own brain. When I realized my tools weren’t enough. When I asked for that stick, because damn it, I was tired and battle scarred and hurting and I couldn’t fucking do it.

“Fighting bare-handed is great. Until you can’t anymore. Then you ask for a weapon.”

And I’ve put my loved ones through hell. I know it. I still am not sure why they stuck with me. But I’m grateful. And my girls at work have been like another family… checking in and holding on and crying with me. And my partners have held me together. My husband, my boyfriend… these incredible people who’ve been my glue when my bottle has run empty. My kids, who’ve made me hand drawn cards and bought me candy bars with their own allowance on the days when life hurt too much for me to get off the couch. My friends,who’ve sent me mental health check-ins via text and twitter…

I’m sitting here crying while I write, thinking of this incredible amount of love and support. I don’t deserve it. I did nothing to earn it.

And here you all are, anyways. I can’t believe how fortunate I am. And I’m well enough to realize how sick I was, and that I will get sick like that again. 

So, I store up memories and experiences… I live like The Bloggess, Furiously Happy, and build a bank of the happy times so I can get through the sick times and know there will be happy times again.

Last Wednesday, I wanted to write to you all, a post of hope and light. “Look at me!” I wanted to shout, like an addict with a year of sobriety. “I’m winning! I’m fighting!”

But reality has a way of getting awfully real.

And, last Wednesday, I was busy. 

A friend of mine, someone I love dearly, someone who fights her own battle and has given me so much insight into my own, she nearly lost her battle. Her war with her own mind got the better of her and she fell into a black hole.

I learned she’d harmed herself, tried to kill herself. Wanted to die because the pain in her head was too much. She wanted the emptiness to swallow her. This beautiful funny flawed imperfectly perfect friend thought our world was better without her in it.

You know what? Fuck depression. Fuck that bitch with a rusty sawblade. I’m tired of it destroying people I love.

Last Wednesday, I nearly went into a tailspin of my own, because I saw how fragile this thing called sanity really is. And it terrified me to know that, no matter how hard I fight, that Bitch is still gonna be fighting me and trying to take it away.

People ask me what they can do, to help me when the times get dark. Here’s my answer: don’t let the darkness win. Take care of you. See you health care professionals, all of them. Take your medications. Practice self-care. And keep fighting. We all need you here.

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Therapy

As I’ve stated before, this whole getting healthy thing is a lot of damn work.

This month is the month of doctors appointments, also known as the time I have to confront the fact that treating my pain, depression, and anxiety causes pain, depression, and anxiety. The Cymbalta continues to work well, thankfully, and I’m hitting the point where I need to dig in and figure out which pain was caused by depression and what has been caused by physical issues. Today, I started that journey with a visit to a physical therapist to treat the pain I still have in my left leg. I have some exercises to do, and six weeks more of appointments. Tomorrow, I have an appointment with a behaviorist, and I am hoping he can give me some insight into my anxiety and why it has been so much worse the past few weeks. I have a theory that, with the depression finally under some semblance of control, the anxiety is now rearing its head. Next week, I see the dentist, which is something I’m borderline phobic about, and then I have to make an appointment for my one-year post op checkup for my eyes. In May, I have to have my well woman checkup, and all the tests for STIs….

It’s important for me to do this, even as it causes panic attacks and a need for blanket nests and days where I hide. I can’t make my mind better without also treating the body. And the years of untreated depression has caused harm to my body, which it is beyond time to begin healing. 

Speaking of healing, I feel almost like I am in a sort of twelve step program, and right now, I’m making amends for people I have hurt or wronged. As I grow stronger and healthier, I realize the damage I have done to relationships, and I have spent so much time apologizing to people. Also, as I am getting stronger, people have felt more comfortable telling me how my depression has affected them. It’s good to hear, to acknowledge, and to make amends for, but it’s hard. Sometimes, I get really tired of saying I’m sorry. 

I knew this would be a hard journey, and I was right. I also hope it’s worth it.


Affirmation

This whole learning how to be a person thing? It’s really fucking hard.

But, I have to remember that it’s worth it, too.

A month and a half on the Cymbalta. I’ve made it through Thanksgiving, and a crazy Black Friday at work.  I’ve been on my feet for weeks straight, stopping to sleep and occasionally cuddle a loved one, and I’m ready for a day off.

But I don’t feel flattened. I don’t hurt all over. I’m sleeping well and I have energy. I still haven’t started therapy, but it’s on the list.And the positives far outweight the negatives, even still. The medicine is worth it; I’m getting my self back.

It feels much like when I had my Lasik surgery earlier this year. The first few days were tough. Nothing was in focus, and I have flashes of bright clarity that almost hurt. Then, gradually, my vision settled down, and I could see clearly without glasses for the first time in my life.

The first weeks of anti-depressant medication was hard. I felt overwhelmed and fragile, with flashes of bright beauty. A pain-free day, an hour of laughter with my husband, a beautiful morning in the arms of my lover. And slowly, the clarity and beauty is becoming my reality.

I get dizzy. I forget to eat, because the meds kill my appetite. I sleep much more. It’s more difficult to reach orgasm. 

I connect with my loved ones better. I laugh more. I sleep more soundly. I perform better at work I have more focus. I hurt less. I snuggle more. I have more stamina for everyday activities. 

I’ve had many tearful conversations with my husband. This world of feelings? It’s hard and scary. Knowing that I will likely be on meds for the rest of my life? Kinda sucks. Having a bad day terrifies me because I don’t want the darkness to take over again. A sore ankle is frightening because it reminds me of when I hurt all over all of the time. 

The medication isn’t a one-time solution. I merely opened the door, so I could start a long journey toward healing. And I’m worth it. I deserve to laugh. I deserve to feel good. I deserve to connect with my loved ones. And I deserve their love and suppport.

I’m worth taking care of.


Words

I’d spent the whole weekend with my long-distance fella talking about my new meds and how I was feeling and how I wasn’t feeling. I was bubbly and happy and fidgety, something Mr Awesome says he sees and knows I am getting better. When I am in a heealthy place, I move and jitter and sing. And when I’m not well, I withdraw and get snappish and stop moving. “I’m sorry,” I said to Mr LDR at one point. “I know I’m talking about all of this a lot. But… when I’m well, I like to tell the people in my life what I feel when I’m not well. Because when I’m not well, I don’t have the words to tell the people I love how I feel.”

He held me close and said, “So, when you stop talking about it, then I know to ask what’s going on and make sure you’re ok.”

It’s been 2 days shy of a month since I started taking Cymbalta. I have a check-in with my dr on Tuesday, and I’m glad to be able to report good things to her. I’m not sure if she will increase my dose, but that is something we will talk about. I almost hope she doesn’t, because it is the middle of the holidays and I don’t want to be adjusting my brain meds during such a busy and stressful season. But, if she tells me that it’s best, I’ll follow her advice. I haven’t sought out a therapist yet. That is something I still need to do. But I feel a lot of anxiety around it, partly just my usual anxiety about meeting new people and talking about myself, partly just not looking forward to finding someone whois both poly- and queer-friendly. But it’s something I need to do. I’ve given myself a free pass through the holidays about it, but it is something that definitely is a priority after the first of the year. 

I didn’t sleep much, the night I spent with Mr LDR (I want to call him Ziggy, because he used to live on the moon and now he doesn’t. Also, he likes David Bowie a lot). But, I told him the next day, it was the best night I’d ever spent with him. I curled up next to him and felt him pressed against me and I watched the fish chase each other in the bookcase fishtank, and I was completely, 100% happy. It was the first night with him that I had not heard the voice of the Bitch, telling me lies about my relationship and my feelings. Eventually, I was able to drift off to sleep, and we woke up tangled like kittens, and spent a happy day together.

Late in the afternoon, I got the message from Mr Awesome that our daughter was sick. She’d been vomiting all day. I felt bad that he’d gotten sick kid duty while I was having fun with my lover, but I didn’t feel guilty. For the first time, there wasn’t a voice telling me that I’d deserved this illness, as a punishment for the happy times.

This is where I’m at now. And I’m putting it down in words in case the darkness comes back and the bitch wins again, so I can remember what it’s like to feel like a real human and not a cast-off from the Isle of Broken Toys. 

I. Am. Happy.

I feel healthy and whole.

I am laughing again.

I dance and sing along to the music in stores. Lacking that, I do it to the music in my own head.

I don’t hurt as much. Not the soul-searing deep pain in my joints. Not the pain of despair in my midsection, whien life gets so hard I can’t breathe.

I don’t merely crave sex, but physical touch and closeness, too. I want to be held and cuddled. And I am cabable of holding and cuddling in return. I can give back rubs (Mr Awesome is very happy about this).

I no longer feel like a setback is a punishment for some other happiness. I can see them as separate things, and take each one accordingly. 

I’m sleeping between 6 and 8 hours almost every night. In my bed. With my husband. This is huge.

Mr Awesome is thrilled to have me back. He cries when he tells me how much he missed me, and how good it is to have me back again. I feel guilty for not getting help sooner, but I don’t beat myself up over it. I wasn’t in a place where I was ready to get help earlier. And that’s ok. The important thing is I have gotten help, and I’m doing better.

And I’m getting my words back. I didn’t realize how much it had hurt me to have them go missing during this last dark spell. It’s nice to have them back.

It’s nice to have me back.


Help

I’m not sure when things fell apart, this time.

Things have been going well. I’m working full time now. I’m assistant managing, again,  and I really love it. The kids, they are doing well. Mr Awesome and I are doing very well. My mother is doing well, my creative life is decent enough. It’s raining again, which makes me feel almost happy with the world. I have a new relationship, which is a wonderful thing.

But still, She’s there, whispering from the corners of my mind. The Bitch, always there, always wanting to piss on everything.

She pushes herself between my husband and myself, and tells me that there isn’t a connection anymore, that he and I are struggling, creating conflict where there isn’t any.

She makes me tired and makes me hurt, so I can’t enjoy a walk around the city with my new lover.

She makes me feel that everything is my fault, that my friends’ troubles are, somehow, caused by me.

She slips in and makes me say things I regret to my children.

She makes me apathetic and lethargic at work, making me miss my goals and making me wonder if I deserve the position they’ve promoted me to.

She turns my days off into marathons of sleeping and knitting while I watch the housework build up around me, too tired to do anything more than feel bad about it. 

She makes everyday things like doing the dishes or going shopping a painful, exhausting task. 

It’s hard and it’s frustrating. I don’t know when she snuck in this time. I don’t honestly know what happened. It’s was a long and miserably hot summer this year, which is always rough on me. There have been a lot of changes,too. And even if those changes are good things, they take a toll on me, and often trigger my depression. There has been the crazy rush of NRE and the special kind of emotional roller coaster that occurs when a shiny new relationship meets major depressive episode. There’s been my new position, in a new store, with lots of new responsiblity and stress and new people.

And I stopped working out. And I started eating too much junk food and soda. And I got really sick with bronchitis and stopped taking my suppliments. And I started shopping too much and sleeping too little, and I started picking fights with my husband.

And I asked why I felt so terrible. And I asked why I was hurting all over. And I asked why I had two wonderful relationships when I didn’t deserve either. And I asked why my boss always seemed unhappy with me. And I asked why my kids got on my nerves so much, when all I wanted when I was working was to be with them. And I asked why I didn’t want to cook or write or hike anymore.

And I all I wanted was to stop feeling so broken.

Mr Awesome and I took a weekend at the Oregon coast. We walked a lot, and we talked a lot. We watched the sunset, and it was glorious. And I realized, I was tired of fighting. Not with him. We rarely fight. 
I was tired of fighting this battle alone. 

I have this amazing support group of friends and partners. People who will text me and make sure I am ok. A boss who knows what the battlefield of depression looks like from the inside. A husband who always, always is my rock and my solid ground. A partner who is always there when the sadness and the physical pain gets too huge. 

But in  my head, where the Bitch lives, I was alone. Just me and her. And I couldn’t do it alone anymore. 

I’ve never medicated for my depresion. I didn’t want to ask for help again. 

Last time I asked for help, I was body shamed. I was told losing weight and doing yoga would cure me. The time before that, I was accused of being drug-seeking. When I was a kid, I was told by my parents to suck it up. I ignored 30 years of voices telling me that i didn’t need help, and did something very very hard.

I asked my doctor for help.

I cried in her office, and I left with a prescription, and a recommendation for a therapist. I couldn’t look into the pharmasist’s eyes as she went over the three pages of adverse side effects. I saw so much pity there… although looking back, I’m sure it was acutally sympathy. 

It’s been two weeks, and I’m doing ok. I get dizzy, sometimes, and I get a weird taste in my mouth from time to time. But I don’t feel like all my joints are made of ground up glass anymore. It doesn’t hurt to get out of bed. The brain fog is starting to really lift, and I have more energy. I’m sleeping so much better, which is awesome all by itself.

And last night, I heard the best thing ever. I was reading something funny online, and Mr Awesome grinned and said “It’s so good to hear you laugh again.”


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