I’ve been quiet here… and for a good reason. All of these reasons are completely overwhelming, and quite frankly, heartbreaking. Like usual, it’s all come on at once. It’s been non-stop, and a lot of it is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through.
Let’s start at the beginning…
This summer I started trauma therapy. Molli encouraged me to start it so that I can have a life where my past isn’t haunting me, and after talking to my psychiatrist (who insurance isn’t allowing me to see anymore.. long and sad story there), we decided this was the best plan of action in order to face my demons and unpack the past I’ve struggled through for so long.
It hasn’t been easy. It will never be easy.
It’s remembering things I’ve blocked out for so long, it’s learning the countless triggers I have, it’s learning how my issues with food tie into my trauma, it’s the aftermath of dealing with these triggers that lead me to pull my hair out and scratch my skin. It’s facing the nightmares I have and the general exhaustion after a session.
Trauma therapy means opening myself up, finding someone who will listen to me. It’s weekly (or bi-weekly) journal prompts to get me to open up, realize what I need to face and work through. It’s weekly or bi-weekly appointments with my incredible therapist who sits with me, listens to me and guides me through.
It’s hard. It’s terrifying to remember things I’ve blocked out for so long. It’s hard to face the hell I went through growing up when I’ve kept it locked away and buried for years.
My grandmother was diagnosed with both Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. I’ll never forget the day we got the diagnosis. She had been referred to a neurologist after some concerning symptoms (we were also worried about small strokes) and she had failed her short term memory test. I had noticed things here and there that she was losing stuff a lot, not remembering things… but honestly, I think we all thought it was just age related.
Still, the diagnosis was crushing.
Since then, she’s lost a lot of weight. We’ve had to set up a bed in the living room for her, manage her medications, countless doctor appointments. She’s fallen a few times and it’s left her bruised and banged up.
I’ve seen her lose weight because she can’t eat or has no appetite or everything tastes “bad”. I’ve seen her forget how to write things, remember peoples names, remember what she did that day. I’ve seen her forget how to put a coffee maker back together after just putting the first one together.
I’ve seen her shake so bad she can’t even take the wine at communion and barely walk.
It’s devastating. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through and I know it’s only going to get harder as time goes on… and that’s crushing. It’s a crushing reality. It’s terrifying and it breaks my heart.
My mental health has gone downhill. Anyone who knows me, or knows of me, knows that I always put myself last. I always do and I always have. And unfortunately, that’s come at a price.
I haven’t been taking care of myself and stepping up for self care. I’ve been having nightmares and being thrust into being a caregiver. My anxiety has blown up and led me to pulling out my hair (And I haven’t done that since junior high school) and scratching my skin until it’s red.
I can hardly eat, and when the anxiety is real bad I throw it all up anyway.
I’ve lost weight because I have a hard time with food when I’m this sick, and it only makes it harder while working towards a diagnosis of an eating disorder and figuring out my food triggers along the way.
It’s the stress of looking for new jobs as I need something full time and the pain of rejection and frustration with lack of communication from potential employers after follow ups.
It’s spending hours in bed, unable to make myself get up and function, but also unable to sleep because of the exhaustion. It’s not having any energy and coming home and crawling right back into bed. It’s hours and hours of crying – sometimes over something or other, sometimes over nothing.
It’s getting angry at things – things I’ve held in over the years or frustration with people not pulling their weight, shifting things around to place the blame on me and the hurt that comes with people not being around like they should be.
It’s learning to distance myself from those associated with my abuse and assault and the fear and anxiety that comes along with it. It’s learning that I’m hyper vigilant from all of this and watching it sometimes take control where I can’t stop locking and checking doors, closing my bedroom, making sure my window closed.
It’s the depression that creeps in out of nowhere most days and the hours spent crying. It’s telling my girlfriend that I’m down again after a mostly good day and spending hours in my bed crying because I’m so down and it all seems like it’s never going to get better.
I had to get a new psychiatrist. Insurance fucked me over and after working with an incredible psychiatrist for two months who really listened to me, who worked with me, encouraged me, talked to me about everything… insurance said they’d no longer cover her.
I called to make a follow up appointment with her and when the office manager broke the news to me, I sat on the phone and cried. And when I got off the phone with her, I cried at my sisters dining room table while she watched me sob and tried to talk me down from the sheer panic and heartbreak that was happening with that bombshell.
They were able to get me in for the following day with the new psychiatrist once I said I needed to be sooner rather than later because I wasn’t getting better on the medication adjustments and addition we had made.
It’s always hard going in to see any new person and let me tell you, my anxiety was through the roof. It didn’t help that this guy was running behind so I was left waiting in the waiting room for 20-25 minutes until he brought me back in.
He introduced himself to me and we briefly talked before he got dirty. He flat out told me that he’s taking me off of the anti-depressant my former psychiatrist had put me on a month earlier because he “didn’t agree” with it. I told him I wanted to keep trying it, we could adjust the dose… but he refused.
Not only that, but he took me off of it with no tapering. Sure, I was on the lowest dose available for the medication – but I’ve always been sensitive to adjustments… and this I realize, may be contributing to what I feel now.
He didn’t listen to me about a medication he wanted to add back in even as he read over my file right in front of me. He added it back in and just increased the dose despite my file and myself saying we’ve tried it in the past and upped the dose but it never helped.
He also didn’t listen to me when I told him that my anxiety was still really bad and it was affecting me physically. My therapist knew, we had a hard talk about that – but this guy… he just brushed it off and wouldn’t listen.
He didn’t even entertain the thought about increasing the dose of my anxiety medication. Not once.
Needless to say, I walked out frustrated and hurt. It takes a lot to go in and see someone new… and then to be dismissed and quite frankly, disrespected when I spoke up and was honest about how I was doing… it was hard to handle.
I stopped in the office and talked to E who is always so so kind to me and willing to get me in early and quickly if I need it and asked if there was someone else I could see after explaining the situation. It was lucky I did because the director was also in the office at the time and I was able to talk to both of them about what had happened and how I felt.
They both promised they’re looking for another addition to the practice and will call me as soon as they are able to hire someone. Unfortunately, for at least now… I am stuck with this asshole and possibly scrambling to find other services that take my coverage just for psychiatry alone.
Needless to say… things haven’t been that great here. I’m taking it one day at a time at this point and trying to put one foot in front of the other, but with everything happening all at once, it feels impossible some days.
I am hoping to be more vocal about my struggles and my journey, but mostly, I just want to help someone. That’s all I want – to know I’ve helped someone, inspired someone, encouraged someone and that I’ve made a difference.
The next few posts will be heavy and hard to write, but I know it’s good for me to get it out and to share my story. Bear with me as I walk through all of this. Your support, love and encouragement mean the world to me.