Posts Tagged: anxiety

Anxiety, Intrusive Thoughts and Insomnia

December 13, 2015 Katie A personal: anxiety 2 Comments

78f0179c0df2db4e539aaaa01f84d8ecI cannot begin to explain how exhausting, draining and rough these last few weeks have been. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of good has happened, too. . . but the rocky days are winning this around.

I tell myself to keep fighting, to stay strong. I tell myself to take it one day at a time, one step at a time and one minute at a time.

It’s been hard. I’m not going to lie about it and I’m not going to sugarcoat it, either.

It’s that time of the year when everything creeps up on me. Finals. The holidays. Every single thing I have to do. Stress about grades, stress about the upcoming semester.

It’s that gut wrenching, guilty feeling of being pulled in too many directions for the holidays. Where do I go, how do we make this all work – who will I end up hurting if I don’t go here but decide to go there? It’s like being a child again, fresh out of my parents divorce.

Overwhelmed. Hurt. Anxious. I hate it.

Then there’s the panic, and the attacks that have been coming along with it.

It’s the early morning panic about not getting enough sleep. It’s the panic about knowing I need to get up and to campus, but being unable to do so. It’s the panic about what everyone is thinking when I’m not there in class.

It’s the panic over what work will hold for me that day. It’s the panic at the end of my shift when I still have this much to do, and feeling like I won’t get it done. It’s the panic as I try and sit down and work on homework, knowing that despite having taken this class three times now – I’ll never learn the material, I’ll never pass.

It’s the relief that I can finally crawl into bed at the end of the day, exhausted, drained and ready to sleep. Until the panic starts in. My brain is like a hurricane, constantly going and impossible to turn off. It’s the thoughts about today, what tomorrow holds, how much I have left to do just this week.

It’s the panic over the holidays, over money, over my health.

It’s like that first panic attack I had. I was in high school, goofing off on a nearby playground with friends when I slipped just a tiny bit. That gut wrenching, terrifying feeling that everything around me was collapsing. I couldn’t catch my breath, I was sweating. My heart was pounding and aching.

It happened two more times within one week.

I had convinced myself my heart was giving out, that there was nothing anyone could do. I went to the doctors and they told me, no, it’s just a panic attack. What’s going on? What triggers them?

Hell if I knew. I’d never had one before, even though I’d felt that panic before. Again and again and again. It was a familiar friend at that point, but it was quickly becoming my enemy and something I was terrified of. That alone would cause more attacks.

It’s the terrifying intrusive thoughts that come on when I am feeling at my worst. It’s the thoughts of what would happen if I did this? What would happen if I walked out and didn’t come back? It’s the thoughts of self harm, something I haven’t done in years, taunting, calling me back. It’s that terrifying urge to go back to those habits and fighting hard not to.

Those thoughts haven’t won the war, but they’re there. They are in the back of my head on the worst days – popping up when I’m at my worst. I fight them as hard as I can. I turn to those I trust the most, confiding in them about these thoughts. Somehow, we’ve managed.

The thoughts are there on the worst of days, but I’m constantly fighting through them. I have to fight them.

These days, it’s the constant anxiety. It’s the late night panic attacks where I can’t catch my breath and I search for a reason why this attack came on. It’s the nightmares some nights, memories or flashbacks on another. . . sometimes I’m not even sure what triggered them. 5f1ff5ca1c081e5f465e27075323a268

It’s not easy.

I feel drained. Exhausted. Even on my good days, the days where I am laughing, calm. . . the anxiety is there. It’s the old friend who wants to stay in your life despite how much has changed. It’s that dreaded feeling when you know you are doing better, but something is still dragging you down.

It’s a daily battle. Anxiety is a bitch. You think you have it under control and something, even the smallest thing will trigger it and it will all come flooding back, drowning you under it’s weight.

I try to stay above the water, to stay grounded, but the anxiety gets the better of me more often than not. It’s hard to push the thoughts away, but I push and I push and I push.

I can’t drown under the weight of anxiety. I refuse to, but these are the days where it seems like it’s pulling me in all directions, settling in and making itself at home. It’s a demon and a ghost, a friend you don’t want.

It’s a part of me.

 

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Positively Katie: New Beginnings, New Meds and New Hopes

November 1, 2015 Katie A personal: anxiety, personal: bipolar disorder, personal: health, personal: highs and lows, personal: mental health, personal: positively katie, personal: pretty girl and honey, personal: psychiatry, personal: that spoonie life, personal: therapy 0 Comments

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YOU GUYS. This week has been kinda crazy, but most of it in good ways. I’ve been fairly busy this week, but still struggling with the endometriosis. I’m surviving, but still pushing through this flare.

highs: CANDY! Seriously. I bought all the best candy for Halloween. I knew we wouldn’t have many kids show up, so I got all the family favorites. Good thing, too. We only had two kids show last night. TWO.

FaceTime dates! Every time we laughed until we cried, we talked about some stuff we are both dealing with, talked about our future… it’s the best way to spend my evenings. I am so so lucky and in love.

Interviews…. what can I say here. It wasn’t a job interview. This summer I applied for a local high school diploma program and completed the qualifying process. I didn’t know when I’d heard more as it’s all state funded and based on grants, so I was surprised to see an e-mail asking me to schedule my IN PERSON INTERVIEW for the program.

I just got home from that and I am just so amazed, so excited and just… it’s overwhelming. It’s a dream come true and I am so thankful for this opportunity. It’s something I have wanted to do for a long, long time. 6cbf532a2c119171d6589ef556030310

I still have a final qualifying course to complete once I get the e-mail telling me to start (next week or two, I was told) and need to complete it (two parts) in a month, from there I am officially ENROLLED to work as a high school student and earn my diploma. 9106387b2fd29a4a2136b332a7a30150

Mental health… I have graduated to every two months for visits with my psychiatrist! She is thrilled with my progress over the last five months, so we are keeping my mood stabilizer at it’s current dose and upped the dose of my sleep meds, but I am thrilled with this progress.

lows: anxiety about that interview… especially last night and just minutes before it. I thought of taking an anxiety pill, but I didn’t and I am feeling much better. Once the interview started and all, I felt so much better and confident.

Endometriosis…. this is the flare that never ends. Let’s just leave it at that.

 

1Overall, a great week with a lot of exciting things ahead! I’ll leave you with a photo I took after my interview today. I got all dressed up for the interview and was (still am) feeling amazing!

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Reaching the Surface

October 31, 2015 Katie A personal: anxiety, personal: bipolar disorder, personal: health, personal: mental health, personal: psychiatry, personal: therapy 2 Comments

09e01f3406b1a67399504f3e6b3022a2When I became a patient at EH this past summer, I stepped into the doors full of anxiety, fear and uncertainty. I didn’t know what treatment would be like, I didn’t know anyone there.

All I knew was that I needed help.

The same afternoon I began therapy, I began seeing a psychiatrist. I started seeing LP once a month and we began the process of finding medications that would work for me.

I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, as well as bipolar disorder. We were already treating my depression through my primary care doctor, but LP kept lines of communication open and said if I needed a different medication, she would help me find it.

She was there to help. She wanted to help me get my feet back on the ground, to begin to feel like myself again.

It was overwhelming. Draining. Scary.

It was a lot all at once.

I trudged through, I adjusted to medication, increased dosages, changed medication and finally. . . after nearly six months, I walked into her office yesterday morning for our monthly meeting.

Seeing the smile on her face when I told her how I was doing, how I was adjusting to the change in dosage of the mood stabilizer made everything come into focus. Even now, I’m smiling.

For so long, I had told myself that I would always feel that way, that I’d always be numb, cold and sinking under the weight of depression. LP and my therapist CY have been amazing. I have a support team, these two cheer me on, listen to my struggles and encourage me.

They ask the hard questions.

They ask how I’m doing, and expect me to answer with exactly how I feel. I have to. If I don’t, I won’t be able to keep taking steps forward. If means changing medications over and over, adjusting to new ones – it’s something I have to do.

When I sat in LP’s office yesterday, I never expected her to tell me this:

“You are doing really, really well. You’ve graduated to the next step, the mood stabilizer is obviously working for you right now at it’s current dose. I think our next step is to graduate you to coming in to see me every two months.”

Wait, what?

Really?

It was not something I expected, and yet, I felt a weight lift off of me. I didn’t feel the anxiety sink in. I knew that if I need to come in sooner, that LP is there. They’ll fit me in and we can take things from there.

For now, I am enjoying this milestone. I’m proud of myself for getting this far, for fighting through the worst days, sinking under depression and losing part of myself.

All these little steps I started to take in July led me to today. Slowly but surely, I am starting to reach the surface – I fight the bad days, I fight when depression rears its head and tries to push me back down under it’s weight.

I’ve come so far already, and reaching the surface just a tiny bit is a breath of fresh air. I’m not sinking anymore.

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Wednesday Words – A Letter to My Younger Self

October 7, 2015 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

(Wednesday Words was originally created by me when I was blogging for The Hunger Games fansite – The Hob. Now I’m hoping to use it here once or twice a month)

Dear younger Katie,
You have already been through so much. You’ve seen your parents divorce, you survived a messy divorce, and moved around a bit. You went through a period of time where there wasn’t enough food, lived in place to place, had some really, really rough times, but you stayed strong (even though you hid the truth from family).

You saw a parent in and out of a psychiatric hospital while you battled your first big bout of depression.

You struggled with an eating disorder (and still do) even after several doctors told you that there’s “nothing wrong”. You survived high school where you were bullied, humiliated by a teacher and began self harming.

You survived a break up that changed your entire life – in good ways and bad. It left you depressed and wondering what went wrong, but you learned that things were better now. It opened up the door to a new relationship – one that is healthy, full of love and with your soulmate.

You came out. As hard as it was, you knew it was something that had to be done. It was hard, and scary. You were publicly humiliated by people you thought were friends. You were called a liar. You were called disgusting. You were told you were going to hell. You were prayed for because it would “heal” you. These same people stalked and harassed you for months.

You survived, again and again.

You don’t know what lies ahead – you don’t know that you’ll be diagnosed as type 2 diabetic just months after your 30th birthday. It’ll come as a huge shock and will leave you wondering WHY. You’ll feel alone and ashamed when others tell you things like “you can’t be diabetic, you’re too young” or “you better get it together and make changes” or “you’re too thin and active to be diabetic”. It’s harmful. It hurts.

You don’t know that you’ll be diagnosed with PCOS just months later, even after the thought of it has lingered in the back of your head for a couple years. While the diagnosis is somewhat of a relief, it brings more hard news – between the diagnosis of PCOS, having endometriosis and being a diabetic… chances of having a pregnancy are slim. It crushes you. You knew there was a chance of this, but you didn’t want to think about. That news from a doctor hit you like a ton of bricks.

You’ll fall in love with an amazing woman, exchange promise rings on the beach in Florida, and make plans for “the big move”. The long distance is hard, but you two are meant to be. She’s your rock, your anchor, your strength when you are weak. She will always love you, for you.

You’ve survived so much already, and you’ll keep surviving. You’ll fight every day, no matter how hard things get. You keep moving – one foot in front of the other. One day at a time, even one second at a time.

Everything you go through now will lead up to where you’ll be later on in life – but don’t forget how strong you are.

One day at a time.

Love,
me.

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