A great support system..

Everyone needs a great support system. I am very lucky that my parents have always been supportive. Mental illness runs in my family unfortunately for all of us. My Mother suffers from depression. I’m not sure when she started having symptoms, but from things we have talked about it seems like we were around the same age. My Dad thinks she suffered postpartum depression. She disagrees, but that is not important. Because of his concerns he started reading up on depression. In trying to help my Mom he also helped me. When he was reading about depression he started to realize that I was suffering from it as well.

Both of my parents are very supportive, but I have to say I don’t think I would be where I am in life if it wasn’t for my Dad. He never gave up. As hard and time consuming as it was he never stopped trying to help me. The most important thing was he always listened to me. If I didn’t feel comfortable or didn’t like one of the doctors we would find another. I went to a lot of different doctors until I found one that worked best for me. We both loved her.

My Dad made sure I took my medication. We even tried different natural treatments he read about. By the way St. John’s Wart smells like a dirty fish tank and doesn’t help with depression. When one medication didn’t work we were ready to try the next.

There was this one doctor I saw I don’t remember his name, but my Dad I and both thought he looked like Nikita Khrushchev with a beard. (I was homeschooled and we were studying Russia.) I didn’t feel like he listened to me when I was talking. Also he picked his nose during a session (Gross!). I stopped seeing him, but had not found another doctor yet. I was taking Effexor at the time and it ran out. My Dad asked for a refill and he said no. It is a big mistake to tell a parent that you are going to let their child run out of medication which will put their health in jeopardy. Especially my Dad who is super protective and has a brother who is a malpractice attorney. He gave me a refill.

Since I was having a lot of trouble finding a psychologist I liked, when we decided to try the one my psychiatrist recommended my Dad went to the first appointment alone. He wanted to meet her first and get a feel of what she is like. I remember her telling me once she remembers that appointment very well. LOL! My Dad is hard to forget. He was the perfect combination of support. He gave me space to do it my self, but would step in when I needed him. He still does.

In some ways my Dad is my super hero. It is hard to fight alone, but I’m lucky because I know he will always fight with me. Our relationship isn’t perfect, but no parent/child relationship is. One thing I do know is that my Dad loves me. I know that he will always support me and is proud of me. My parents are my biggest support system. I am thankful for them everyday. Even at 35 years old when I feel like having a melt down I know I can call one of them and they will help me get through it.

One of the things I want to accomplish with this blog is to help people that don’t have support system. I want to help people find one. With me or with each other. I don’t want anyone to go through this alone.

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Knowledge is power…

One thing about me is I love to learn. Not really in school even though there were a couple of subjects I liked. I guess you can say I have learned a lot about myself mostly.

When I was 11 and was diagnosed with depression I didn’t know what to do with that information. Back then we lived in a small town in North Carolina. The library was a small building which it shared with the Mayor’s office I think. It was a room really, but my Dad would take me there because I loved to read. I would go the kids section and get a giant stack of books to take home. Even though he didn’t like carrying all those books my Dad encouraged it because even though I loved it I always had trouble reading. It took a long time for me to learn to read. But once I started I never stopped.

It was in that library I started a very important journey. When I was 11 we were in there for our usual trip to the library. At that point I was old enough to venture out of the kids section. I found a section on psychology. I looked at some of the titles and found some on depression. It wasn’t a large section, but I found a couple as a kid I could understand.

Research and knowledge became my new best friends. When I found out at 14 I was really Bipolar I hit the books again. Even though I have not had any new diagnoses in this area since I was 14 I have not stopped researching. I have found some great books. You will see some of these books are dog ear’d and highlighted. A former co-worker was taking a psych class and knowing I am Bipolar she asked if I could recommend one for a paper she had to write. I brought her my favorite. It was highlighted, and had notes in the margins. (The Bipolar Disorder Survival guide by David Miklowitz, Phd.) She said the book was helpful, but my notes helped the most. I didn’t even hesitate to hand over something so personal because this is a person who wants to learn the truth. She wanted to know what people with bipolar disorder really go through. I also trusted her.

These books didn’t just teach about bipolar disorder or depression they also had tools to help me learn to get through it. My favorite of all the doctors I saw Dr. Curry she gave me a book I treasure. When I was a teenager I wanted to become a psychologist, ( I didn’t become one.) but thought I couldn’t because I was Bipolar. She disagreed with me. She said I would make a great psychologist and she being Bipolar had nothing to do with it. She gave me a book written by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. She was a professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins School of Medicine and one of the foremost authorities on Bipolar Disorder (back when it was still called Manic-depression). She is also Bipolar. In the book she writes about her life and struggle with the illness. The first time I ever heard about Lithium was in her book. She talks about not being able to have morning classes when in medical school because Lithium made her throw up so badly. This book (An unquiet mind) taught me my illness is not a weakness unless I let it make me weak. This book and Dr. Curry’s belief in me lit the fire that has kept me going for years. I was able to stay strong and fight after reading about how she did it.

When I was younger the internet was not as good as it is now. Now you can find all this stuff online. I find new articles all the time. Sometimes my Dad will see stuff and email it to me. Strength is what keeps me going, but knowledge makes me strong. If there are any books or articles that have helped you please share them.

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Know your medications…

One very important thing when you take medications for mental illness is to know as much as you can about that medication. The medications prescribed for mental illnesses are normally very dangerous if you mix them with the wrong things. The pharmacy and your doctor will tell you things like no alcohol or caffeine. The problem with these medications is that not all doctors outside of this particular field know a lot about these drugs.

Recently my neurologist gave me Cambia for my migraines. She gave me 3 samples to try, and told me she would prescribe it if they work. It did and she called it in. I went to pick it up and the pharmacist told me it can cause Lithium toxicity in the blood when taken with Lithium. Which I do. She knew what I was taking. Why did she not check that before giving it to me?

My primary care doctor was in a car accident and is out for a while. So, yesterday I went and saw someone else in the practice. I was there for a cough. She asked me if I could take Zyrtec. She asked which antibiotics I can’t take with the Lithium. I’m pretty sure that is her job to look that up.

Once when I was really sick on a weekend I went to the CVS minute clinic. The PA prescribed Z-pack. I went to pick it up from the pharmacy and they told me it interacted badly with the Lithium. They called the PA and told her that. She said it was ok. I took it and had a bad reaction to it. Luckily I was at work that day since I work at a doctors office.

After the Z-pack interaction the doctor at work who helped me told me to follow up with my doctor. I did and she said never take anything anyone other then her gives me with out checking it out first. She had me download an App where I can program my medications and then just type in the one I want to take to see if there is an interaction. I did at first. Then I stopped doing it, because I trusted doctors to check first. That was my mistake. She was right. I am responsible for my own health.

I strongly recommend you download one of these Apps. If you take Lithium like I do there are a lot of things you can’t take. I took Cambia 3 times and it could have killed me. I talked to the doctor and we figured out if I don’t take it often or close to when I take my Lithium I should be okay. I can only take it if my migraines are a 3 or more on the pain scale and at work. This really made me see what my doctor was saying.

The best advice to people who take these kinds of medications is research and check for drug interactions. Because not all doctors are experts in these kinds of drugs. You would hope they would look it up because it’s there job, but you can’t trust that they will.

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High Functioning Anxiety pt 2…

This is the second part about an article I read about 18 consequences of High Functioning Anxiety.

7. It is your fault – We have all felt this. No matter whose fault it was in our heads it is all our fault. ‘I messed up again’ “If I had not done that this wouldn’t have happened’. We blame ourselves for everything even if other people don’t. Honest mistakes happen, but not when you have anxiety.

8. You constantly compare yourself to others – OMG, I do this so much. It feels like I do this all day long. I want to tell my inner voice to shut the hell up. My self-esteem being so low can be blamed on my anxiety. When you constantly compare yourself to others you will always fall short in your own mind.

9. You over think the small things – In my mind there are no small things. I just the other night laid awake worrying about what sleep pants to bring for my sleep lab. I picked the perfect ones if you were wondering. I sat in my car last night thinking my appointment is at 7:30 is it alright if I ring the buzzer at 7:25. The paper said I could bring my own pillow, but are they going to think I weird that I brought a pillow. Now I will say the strange shit running through my mind the past few days did distract me from thinking about someone watching me sleep for a short period.

10. You obsess over every mistake – I don’t know if you do this or not, but I will randomly think of something I did in the past and just pick up where I left off punishing myself. Stuff will just pop up. Even stuff from when I was a kid and will feel as guilty as the day it happened. Sometimes to the point where I feel sick to my stomach.

11. Conversations don’t end when people stop speaking – Perfect example last Tuesday. My coworker and I met with our bosses to talk about working be as a team. That conversation has been going on in my head for 7 days. Every time I look at her or my boss. What I should have said or shouldn’t have said. Did I sound like a bitch? Did I make myself clear on what I was trying to say?

12. You find it hard to interact in person – I will say I am that awkward person in group settings that is standing by herself. That being said I would rather talk to a person to their face then on the phone. For me the phone is way worse and I don’t know why.

13. You find it hard to concentrate – When I was a kid I was told I had learning disabilities. I think they were right, but after reading this article I think some of it was anxiety related. They gave me longer test times and I knew the answers, but I still failed. My Dad never understood why when he asked me the same questions at home I got them all right. I always tried to explain to them that it was the pressure of taking the test. Now I think what I was trying to say was that it was my anxiety about taking the test. Studying didn’t do any good if I was too anxious to absorb the information.

14. Your digestion suffers – I never put 2 and 2 together before reading this. When I go out to eat my stomach gets upset. I end up in the bathroom. But if I eat that same food at home I am just find. I always say restaurant food makes my stomach upset. No eating out and having anxiety makes my stomach upset. I also get really bad heartburn and reflux from foods that shouldn’t cause it.

15. You aches, repetitive habits, and tics – I play with my hair and jewelry. I wear rings just so I can distract my inner worries. I will twist them around my fingers. My hair is up most of the time because I will constantly touch it if I don’t. If I wear my glasses instead of contacts I spend a whole conversation with someone adjusting them.

16.  It may affect your heart health – See the article down below. You will find this interesting.

17. You see the world differently – This has a lot more to do with people who have anxiety from a traumatic experience. Like my fear of driving after I got T-boned in to a light pole. I now overreact to small things while driving. Even causing panic attacks that cause other accidents.

18. You just can’t stop it – No matter how many times people tell to stop worrying about it. Or it’s not that big a deal, I CAN’T STOP IT! That is not how my brain works. I’m so glad your brain doesn’t drive you crazy over stupid shit, but mine does. Telling me not to do it isn’t going to make it stop. I would love to be able to do things with losing sleep over them. Or making myself throw up. In a past blog I talked about the just do it people.

https://self-made.io/18-consequences-of-high-functioning-anxiety/5819/

 

High Functioning Anxiety… Pt 1

I am sorry it has been days since I posted. I live in North Carolina so all this hurricane stuff has gotten in way. Then I had a in lab sleep study Monday night.

I want to talk about an article posted on Facebook that I read about High-Functioning Anxiety. I have been diagnosed as having HFA (to many words to type). The article is called 18 consequences of High-Functioning Anxiety. I will post the link, but I want to talk about these 18 things.

  1. You exhaust your mental power needlessly-  I was working a office job were I was going a lot of interacting with people. I answered phones and had to make a lot of calls as well. One day I saw my psychiatrist and was telling how exhausted I was at the end of the day. I couldn’t figure out why I was so tired. What he said is by far the smartest thing he had ever said to me. Your brain is like a computer. When it is overloaded it will start to shut itself down. My mind was trying to function at 100% and deal with my social anxiety.
  2. Constructive criticism slays you- Now nobody likes criticism, but when you already have anxiety it is way worse. No matter how nicely someone says it I will take it as a knife to the heart. If someone points out I did something wrong my full focus from that point on when doing that task will be to do that one thing right. I will lay awake at night thinking about it for days. Every time I see that person I will like I have let them down when most of the time they don’t even remember the conversation.
  3. The future terrifies you – If I let myself think about the future I will send myself down a labyrinth of fear and self doubt that will give me sleepless nights. People say don’t worry about the future or the past. How? If you know the secret to making these thoughts stop please let me know. Those are the two things that I worry about the most.
  4. You experience debilitating mental exhaustion- They already touched on this one a little. No I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of my off hours “resting”. I told one of the ladies at work when she asked what my plans for the weekend were that since I spend 40 hrs a week dealing with people on the weekends I just don’t want to be around people. I spend so much mental energy at work talking to my coworkers and the patients that come. I am the face of the office sitting at the front desk. That is not easy.
  5. You can’t have a social life – Nope. I hear all the time about how I need to start dating. You are pretty and have a great personality it will be easy to find a husband. I have enough of my own stuff to deal with. Putting all my metal energy into work for 8 hrs I don’t want to come home and have to put more into another person.
  6.   You suffer from sleep disruptions – As I mentioned at the top I just did a sleep lab to find out why I don’t sleep. Well this might be at least one of the reasons. I have trouble falling asleep. I wake up in the middle of the night several times and have trouble falling back to sleep. Sometimes I don’t fall back to sleep. When you lay awake at night it gives you a lot of time to think of all the stuff you are worried about.                                                       To be continued..   https://self-made.io/18-consequences-of-high-functioning-anxiety/5819/

 

Update on getting motivated blog

Yesterday I posted a blog on getting motivated. I told you I had a list of things I needed to get done and really wasn’t feeling it. I just wanted you guys to know after posting the blog I got up and did one of the things on the list. Then later I did another. I didn’t do all of it, but I did do two of those things. That’s two less things I had to do today after work. I am proud of myself. It made me feel good. Did you get motivated to get going? If you didn’t it’s okay. Sometimes just getting out of bed is the biggest challenge. If you did that then be proud.

Is it anxiety or is it real…

One psychiatrist told me I wasn’t being paranoid I was projecting my insecurities on other people. That kind of makes sense. Sometimes I’m not sure if it is my anxiety or if it is real.

I do not treat my social anxiety with medication. That is a personal choice I made a long time ago. (Everyone should make the choice that is best for them.) I have used tools I have learned in therapy instead. I have come a long way. When I was a teenager I couldn’t leave the house with out having a panic attack. Now I can run errands, shop, eat in restaurants, and go the movies alone. I drive places by myself. I took a 2 hr drive to the beach by myself. I work at a doctors office checking people in. I am very proud of myself for all of these accomplishments, but I do struggle with somethings.

I worry a lot about what people think of me. Sometimes so much that it can make me depressed or anxious. Sometimes I work myself up and get mad at people in my head. They have know idea I’m mad because I am non-confrontational. I try to remind myself that some of it is all in my head. But how do I know it’s in my head. Because of my anxiety issues when I was young I was not exposed to the normal social situations most people are when growing up. These situations teach you what to do. I am a socially awkward person sometimes. So, how do I tell the difference? I can’t always tell and I wish I could tell you. All I can do is try to calm myself down and think about what I am doing. Am I doing something that would cause this person not to like me? Am I taking my bad mood out on others? I have to look at myself. I can try to be do my best to get along, but in the end that is all I can do.

What do you guys do when you are having this problem? How do you get out of your head?

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