Eat Me

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TRIGGER WARNING: This post may contain triggers that some people may want to avoid. These triggers relate to anxiety, panic, health anxiety and potential side effects of anti-depressants. If this is something that may trigger your own anxiety or panic or unwell feelings, you may want to skip this post.

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a medical professional. I am simply documenting my experience with anxiety and panic. The tools and/or medications I have tried/used are not recommended for others nor are they endorsements.  You should speak to your family doctor about your own health and the options that are best for you.

I have gone down another rabbit hole.

I am in the land of prescription drugs; anti-depressants. Zoloft to be precise.

It is not a trip I wanted to take. I tried everything to avoid anti-depressants. Yoga, meditation, breathing, therapy, books and a visit to the hormone doctor.

Some of these things helped a bit. Others, not so much. Nothing helped entirely.

I went to my family doctor on Wednesday (last week) which was a feat in and of itself. Leaving my house has become very stressful (almost impossible) and usually involves Ativan. I think I realized a couple of weeks ago that this was not working. It has been five months and I am really no better off than I was in December. My anxiety is debilitating. My panic is off the charts. My mind races with obsessive thoughts thanks to my health anxiety. Fun times.

I received the prescription for Zoloft (25 mg) on Wednesday but I wouldn’t start it until there was someone here with me. I know that sounds completely ridiculous but the last time I was on anti-depressants in December, they made my heart race (you can read about that here).

If there are any doctors or healthcare professionals reading this, do humanity a favour: Do not plant seeds in people’s brains who are susceptible to psychosomatic thoughts and feelings. I told my doctor not to plant seeds in my head. So you know what she did? She planted a forest! I kid you not.

Are you suicidal? Are you seeing or hearing things that other people are not?

Thankfully, no and no.

You may experience diarrhea, upset stomach, insomnia and some other side effects.

Great, thanks for setting me up for failure.

Are you manic?

I don’t know what that is.

She explained that manic is when you don’t sleep for three days and have a ton of energy and might do something dramatic like hop on a plane at the last minute to go on an adventure.

Um, no. I can’t go to the grocery store down the street so I don’t see how I’m going to decide on a last minute plane trip to Portugal. Now that you have planted that seed, I will be sure to obsess over whether I am manic or not. Thanks doc.

I started taking Zoloft on Friday, in the morning. My parents came to babysit me.

Now that I am on the pills, I am waiting to have suicidal thoughts or to hallucinate. Why are doctors so dumb sometimes? Why plant seeds? Especially when I told her not to plant any seeds?! I am thinking my doctor is book smart but is really lacking common sense.

Apart from waiting for the worst to happen, here is what the experience has been like thus far.

Day One/Friday:  I had an upset stomach all day. I didn’t really have an appetite. I was nauseous. On a scale of 1 to 10, the nausea was probably a 4. Not bad. However, I spent a lot of time in the washroom with soft stools (sorry, TMI!). As expected, I spent the day obsessing about whether I was going to have suicidal thoughts and/or hallucinate unicorns and leprechauns (thanks so much doc!).

Day Two/Saturday: Talk about crazy dreams! Wow! I was woken up around 4am with the craziest dreams. I couldn’t get back to sleep until around 5:30am. When I woke up again around 8am, I was hot and my heart rate was a bit fast (around 106 BPM). I got up and showered and sat on my bed to look at Facebook. I was relaxed. I wasn’t anxious or panicky and I hadn’t even had my second pill yet. I stood up from the bed and I felt my heart rate soar!  I took my heart rate and it was 124 BPM. I started to freak out a bit. I laid down in bed, ate some breakfast and took my second pill. The rest of the day, my heart rate was fine. I had two visits to the washroom with loose stool but my stomach was fine the remainder of the day.  I wasn’t nauseous but my stomach was gurgling really loud all day and night. I ate breakfast and snacked throughout the day. I had a full dinner. I spent a lot of the afternoon waiting to hallucinate or have suicidal thoughts (again, thanks doctor!).

Day Three/Sunday (Today):  Thankfully, I didn’t have any crazy dreams but I did wake up at 4am again. Sigh. That sucks, but I guess it could be worse. I fell back to sleep around 5:30am again and slept until 8. I got a total of 8 1/2 hours sleep which is great. When I woke up at 8am, I was really hot and my heart rate was slightly elevated (in the high 90’s). I tried to ignore it. I got up and showered and took my third pill.  It is 11am now here and I am hopeful the rest of the day will be good. I am super scared for tomorrow because I will be home alone. Kids will be at school and my husband will be at work. The perfect storm for high anxiety. I am scared I will spend the day in my bed obsessing over the potential side effects.

As an aside, my eyes have been burning but that could be sinus problems (the weather in Ontario, Canada has been up and down and has caused me to have sinus headaches).

Also, I have a really bad taste in my mouth. I am thinking that is the pill but it isn’t a big deal at all.

As for my anxiety and panic, I have not had a panic attack since starting the pill but I am only on day three. Placebo effect? Maybe. I will take it, thanks very much! I definitely feel more relaxed, my heart rate overall has decreased slightly. I didn’t leave the house this weekend and have no interest in doing so just yet. Hopefully that will come.

So there you have it.

If I could just get a handle on my obsessive thinking, I would say that so far, this drug doesn’t have bad side effects at all (for me and my body).  A little upset stomach is nothing to complain about if it will take away my anxiety and panic. I’m a bit tired but I don’t know if that is the medicine or the anxiety or the stress of starting the new pill. I’m not lethargic so that’s good.

I will continue to update as the week progresses.  If you have a positive Zoloft story, I would love to hear it.  Please do not post any negative comments or experiences about Zoloft as I am too open to suggestion and need only positive support right now.

© The Flip of the Switch, April 2016.

 

 

The Wall of Jealousy & Deceit

 

mysterious brick wall

It is so easy for you to sit there in your house, near or far, and judge me and my circumstances.

You don’t call.

You don’t text.

You don’t write.

You know nothing about me, my family or what is happening in our lives. Yet, you think you can judge me and you think you know what’s best for me.

Why is that?

How can you possibly know what is best for me when you don’t speak with me? You barely make an effort to communicate, to ask me how I am doing, yet you think you know what I need.

On top of this, you advise others they are enabling me.

That makes no sense.

Furthermore, you have given others ultimatums. Advising them they cannot have a relationship with you AND me.

You can’t be serious. There must be some mistake because asking my family and friends to choose between you and me is asinine. On top of this, upon confrontation, you denied your actions.

Your pathetic attempt at deceit is embarrassing.

Telling people they are sitting on the fence and must choose a side.

You are building walls.  Barriers.  You are doing yourself and your family a disservice.

But, you are blind to it.

Sitting upon your high horse thinking you know of what you speak.

You couldn’t be further from the truth.

You are failing beyond measure.

You must be so jealous.

So insecure.

Forcing individuals to choose.

A weak hand instigates such nonsense.

The green eyed monster has a grip on you and your behaviour is embarrassing. I am embarrassed for you. I am ashamed of your behaviour. Such an epic failure. Very disappointing.

It has to be jealousy and insecurity.

There are people here who have relationships with my children. Who are close to me. Who I confide in. We support one another. It is not one sided. There is no enabling going on. It is called a reciprocal friendship. We are there for each other. They have active roles in my life that you don’t.

Oh…and you there, yes you. You are probably thinking this doesn’t apply to you. That it only applies to one person. That is not accurate. This may indeed apply to you. I have heard all of your judgement too. The comments whispered behind closed doors. Careful to ensure I don’t find out.

There are no secrets in this family.

The walls have ears.

I don’t take kindly to ultimatums. Hearing you are forcing others to turn their back on me. How childish. Such nonsense is usually restricted to the playground. You are an epic disappointment. I thought so highly of you. I thought we were friends. I thought I could trust you.

I was wrong.

Upon your return to reality, there will be no fanfare.  No door for you to walk in.  You have built this wall. You can figure out how to tear it down and rebuild the relationships you have squandered out of your jealousy, fear and insecurity.

 

 

© The Flip of the Switch, March 2016.

 

 

Someone Was Here

Inukshuk on the coast in Eastern Passage, Canada

Where were you?

Ah yes, selfishly tucked away somewhere trying to bury the guilt wrestling your soul. Too dependent to leave, not strong enough to stay.

The ultimate battle.

It wasn’t that I asked for help, it wasn’t that I told you I needed you.  That would have been a different story.  In fact, it was you that announced you were coming to help me, wanted to be here for me, support me, love me.  It was you who made phone calls to ensure people knew you were compassionate, caring and ready to take action.

All to save your own face.

The guilt wasn’t that you weren’t here to help me. The guilt was that you were worried people were judging you, questioning your decisions, your loyalty.

The reality, of course, is that you should have been here.

You should have been the one to lead me through the darkness, help me redefine myself and help me to function within the confines of anxiety and panic.

Yes, it should have been you.

But it wasn’t.

It was a select few of my dearest friends and family who guided me through this storm, wiped my tears and gave me the strength to persevere.  It was this small group of warriors who came together to check on me every day, offer their time and calm me in a panic.

Someone was here, but it wasn’t you.

Each day that passes, my mindset improves, my confidence grows.

I should have known you wouldn’t be here. I suppose that’s why I didn’t ask.

Your actions were driven by your need to look good to others; so terribly selfish and yet, not surprising.

Your insecurity is difficult to hide, dependency unparalleled.

As I write this, I can’t help but think what will happen if you read it.

It suddenly occurs to me that I don’t care.

I can sleep at night with the choices I have made.

Can you?

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

1980

Mystic Keyhole

1980.  That was the year of change. That is when you left.  Too self absorbed to fathom the chaotic impact you had on me.  Too taken aback by lust to understand that you had stolen my heart and damaged it beyond repair.  At the time, I was blind to the repercussions your actions would have on my life.  I was naive to think that you would ever be able to put me first, love me as a father should.  As a little girl, control was not something I possessed and my childish thoughts and dreams were in fact, unattainable fantasies.  As I recall my early childhood, I am reminded of what once was.  But I know now, it was all an illusion.  A child learns to repress the negative at an early age, to foster resiliency; emotional survival.  But alas, my attempts at regression have failed. My reality has caught up with me, my childhood illusions have become unravelled.  As I look through the keyhole to my soul, I know that you changed me, your actions caused irreparable damage to my heart and to my mind. Damage that has poisoned my adult life.  Here I sit, reminiscent of all the decisions you made; all of your poor choices.  The ripple effect is unparalleled, you hurt so many people, impacted the destiny of so many lives.  All consciously. You had choices to make and you consistently chose wrong.  You looked into my eyes and lied; filled me with hope and dreams and quashed them like no other. How do I come to peace with that?  As a grown woman, I am angry and furiously disappointed. I must however, realize those were not my choices and I had no control over you.  I must let go of my resentment so that I can thrive and live a happier life.  I am taking control now and I refuse to be dictated by my childhood fears and disenchanted dreams. For while you were once everything, now you are nothing.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

Spinning

To turn as squirrel in wheel

My mind is full of panic. Spinning on the wheel of chaos. The anxiety is suffocating, I can’t breathe. Triggered by the physical sensations occurring throughout my body. My stomach hurts. My thoughts are racing. My heart is beating hard and fast. I’m shaky. Wait, am I starting to sweat? Why is it so hot in here? There must be something very wrong for me to feel shaky, hot and sweaty. It couldn’t be that I just changed over the laundry and walked up a flight of stairs. No, there’s no room for logic here. Only irrational thoughts are allowed to take up residence in my mind. The stomach ache. Oh, it won’t go away. I hate IBS. I’m going to die in the washroom like Elvis Presley. Seriously. These are the thoughts I have. These are the completely irrational, illogical, false thoughts I have all the time. Health anxiety. You bitch. There is no escape. Sigh. Pull yourself together. It is just a stomach ache. Not a big deal. Sit down. Give it a minute. But I’m shaky. Yah, you haven’t eaten breakfast yet. It’s so bloody hot and I’m sweating.It is just from doing laundry and walking up the stairs. My heart. Oh my god, my heart is beating fast. Yes, you just walked up the stairs. You don’t exercise, you are out of shape. Anyone’s heart would beat a little faster walking up the stairs. It is normal. It happens to everyone.

Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4…Exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Oh logic, how I have missed thee. Where the hell were you? Don’t ever leave me again! I’m calming down.  I’m not as hot. My heart is returning to its happy place. Writing it down helps.  It almost forces me to look at the logical side instead of just letting my mind spin on the wheel of chaotic thought! The spinning is hard to stop. How much time has passed? Maybe fifteen minutes, maybe longer. I’m not sure. I lost track of time. The minutes blurred together.

Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4…Exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

The spinning has stopped. Time to move on with my day. Try to forget this happened. Logic, you better stay strong, I have a lot to accomplish today.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

An Afterthought

Wedding Rings

His perception of my needs is grossly erroneous.  Representative of his continued refusal to listen and absorb my words; accept my longing for connection, for emotional depth. We have talked this to the brinks of insanity. I need you.  Your love, your arms wrapped around me, your refuge.  Your confidence, your strength. I need you to look into my eyes and see the depths of my soul.  Provide compassion, without judgement. Love, without obligation. Friendship, without insult. But sadly, I digress.  For this is not our reality.  Our relationship has been reduced to emotional instability, heart wrenching exchanges and magnificent disappointments.  I am ashamed of what our marriage, our friendship, has become.  You and I, we speak different languages.  I am telling you what I need, what I want, but you are not listening. You are absorbed, so deeply, in your own desires that you cannot accurately perceive mine.  Driven by power, money and success, it is illogical to you that I want loving kindness.  Your life dictated by time, clients and checklists, it is irrational to you that I want passion. One must share your worldview to carry legitimacy.  Thus, I am not a priority and our marriage is but an afterthought.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

Announcing the Nominees for the VBA

Vintage studio mic

It is with deep gratitude that I proudly announce that Laura Lecce from Laura Lecce’s Art & Photography has nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you so much Laura.

Laura’s use of colour and technique in exploring her worldview is captivating.  I encourage you to visit Laura’s page to find daily inspiration and colours beyond your imagination.  Of course, if you have never seen a kookaburra, The King of the Aussie Bush, you need to go there straightaway as I had no idea this is what they looked like and I was in awe to discover their regality.  It is one of my favourite posts of Laura’s. Thank you Laura, for your nomination and for your continued contributions to making our world so much brighter with your artistic talent.

The Versatile Blogger Award asks that you tell your nominator seven things about yourself.

  1. I shoot from the hip; I tell it like it is.  Love me or hate me.
  2. My favourite foods are lasagna and chocolate.
  3. I am Canadian.
  4. I love Taylor Swift.
  5. I am currently watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager on Netflix.
  6. I love Game of Thrones and House of Cards.
  7. I was loving Scandal but could no longer tolerate all of Olivia Pope’s crying. #crybaby

There you have it.  The deep, dark secrets of The Flip of the Switch!

Upon acceptance of the Versatile Blogger Award, I must nominate other bloggers whom I follow and love.  Please visit their blogs, you won’t be disappointed.  In no particular order, I nominate:

  1. S.K. Nicholas, A Journal for Damned Lovers
    • S.K. Nicholas takes my breath away.  Go there now.  Trust me.  This is the blog that I look for every day.
  2. No Page Left Blank
    • TraceyLynnTobin recounts her experience with gastrointestinal hell in the heart of the Alberta oil sands.  Her tenacity is inspiring.  You will never look at a bus ride the same.
  3. Life After 50
    • Lynn is the brilliant author behind Life After 50.  Full of her wisdom on aging, parenting, gratitude and life’s ups and downs, I know that I can rely on Lynn to share her deepest compassion and understanding. Thank you Lynn.
  4. Smiling in the Winter
    • A versatile blog about parenting, being a mom, affluence and what to do when your husband gives you a vacuum for Christmas!
  5. In the Big Tall Pines
    • One woman’s journey through marriage, the birth of her daughter and the contemplation of divorce.  Raw, honest, heart breaking, inspiring, hopeful.
  6. The Bag of Nerves Lady
    • Sheilagh is an eighty year old trapped in a twenty three year old’s body!  She is wise beyond her years and eloquently tells her story of life with anxiety, panic and emetophobia.  Thank you for shining the light on mental illness Sheilagh.
  7. Oh My GAD
    • Miss Aligned and I are soul sisters sharing a walk down this bumpy path of anxiety and panic.  If we knew each other in the “real world”, we would share our gut wrenching turmoils while sipping martinis under a big willow tree.
  8. Perfect Panicky
    • All about how our parents influence us and how those influences can lead to anxiety.  Shining a much needed light on how relationships impact our mental health.  Total honesty, shooting from the hip.

There you have it. My nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award.

What are you waiting for?  Get reading! 🙂

 

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.