Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Where do ruffled introverts go when they stay in the hospital?

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

The husband and I are heading up to a friend’s cottage this weekend for most of the coming week.  I like to tentatively lay out to-do lists for the remaining days in situations like these.  I find it reassuring to see that I still have plenty of time to get done what needs to get done before we leave, and know that I’ve got a handle on things.  Ambiguous needs stress me out a little.  Probably because I’m not the type of person who will go into that situation by doing the ambiguous but needful stuff first.  I’m more likely to be doing more entertaining things until the last possible moment.  At any rate, we’re getting close to departure now, which means I’ve entered the stage of revising my to-do lists so as to put as much as possible tomorrow rather than today.  This also is a common feature of this type of time.  My schedules tend to be a little front-loaded on the more enjoyable activities. =)

It should be a good week.  I’m never 100% certain with this particular grouping of people.  They were good friends of my husband’s before we met, and have gradually become better friends of mine, but we’re not quite all the way there yet.  Sometimes I feel liked, and included, and have a lot of fun.  Sometimes I feel a little left out.  They all share some common interests and activities that I share, and some that I can’t really relate to or participate in (online games, etc. that I don’t play).  So it generally depends on what the current topics of discussion are.  It probably doesn’t help that when I was first getting to know them I inadvertently rubbed one of them the wrong way by reminding him of somebody he didn’t like.  And I get totally awkward when I pick up that somebody’s not liking me.  Awk-ward.  I’m not the type of person who can just let that roll off them yet.

But we’re okay now.  …Probably.  I think.

Saw the new therapist again the other day.  She seems quite good.  In addition to the daily walking, and other activities, and goal-setting, and journaling, and independence-building, this week she’s assigned me the task of going into as many different stores or other establishments as I can and asking as many obvious questions as I can, building up to the stupidest questions I can think of.  I’m not a big fan of appearing incompetent, or of asking other people for help, so the combination is probably a good one.  …Even if it does mean that yesterday I had to ask the Starbucks people what I should order if I want a steamed milk (turns out it’s “steamed milk”).  Actually, I believe what I wanted was a tall, no-whip, hazelnut crème, one pump.  But who am I to tell her that.

I think I’m going to have some fun with this while we’re away.  Too much blatant stupidity is rough in a smallish area where people know who I am, but out in the middle of cottage country…  Heh heh heh.  “So…Do you know who drains the lake in the winter?”  The trick is that I’ll have to make them realistic enough that they think that I’m serious.  I know that there’s at least a grocery store.  Suggestions for grocery-themed dumb questions welcome.

Also, do any of you know where they keep the internet when I’m not using it?

Substance

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

I received my first ever blog award badge thingy!  …Or the first that I know of, I guess.  It is possible that somewhere out there a vast grouping of Russian cat-loving stick people have been waiting for my acceptance speech, but I haven’t yet caught on to it.  ????? ??????? ??? ??????, Russian people.  At any rate, many thanks to the lovely IfByYes for the acknowledgment.  It is sincerely appreciated (and if you’re not reading her yet, get over there already!  She is eloquent, and open, and has an uncanny habit of sometimes reading my mind.  And the courtesy not to tell everyone about all the zombie stuff in there).

And, she happens to think this is…

I will admit to feeling somewhat inclined to fill this post with photos of various unidentified substances.  …But I imagine that would somewhat detract from my worthiness to keep the badge.

So my badge comes with rules:

1) Thank the blogger who awarded it to you.

Really?  Are there truly people out there who wouldn’t already have done that by this point?  Clearly the substance in that blog is rather dense.  Anyway, IfByYes, I extend to you a formal thank you, in compliance with rule number one of subsection two of the substance-related-badges act.  Thank you, IfByYes.  Thank you.

2) Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five words.

Um… “Try not to misspell stuff?”

This seems to be asking an awful lot out of five words.  It’s kind of like “sum up your existence with one haiku.”  I will try, though.  I suppose a more comprehensive answer might be:

Transparency

Reflection

Connection

Perseverance

Holy Crap People are Commenting on This Stuff Sometimes

3) Pass it on to 10 other blogs which you feel have real substance.

I freely acknowledge that the whole point of these things is to give a shout-out to people you think are worthy.  Part of me hates having to do this kind of thing, though, because I’m always afraid of having a brain slip and leaving somebody out, or that person number eleven will be secretly crushed they didn’t make it.  Plus, “real substance”?  Rough.  Okay, here goes…

Blogs with Substance:

1.  http://www.spokeit.com/spoke/

Spokeit is often reflecting on and refining her goals, moods, and approach to life, which gives her substance in my book.  And her dog is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  I’m going to call that substance too.  He is substantially cute.

2.  http://annenahm.com/

This is mostly a very humourous mommy blog.  …But every now and then she gets a little bit serious and shares something more personal too.  Substance!

3.   http://itwaddle.blogspot.com/

In amongst the amusing bits, Susan is introspective and reflective, and has a habit of sharing insights into her life that are disturbingly familiar.  She’s also a mom, and has been recently faced with a newly-labeled case of depression.  In addition, she left the second-ever comment here, and it involved coffee in her nasal passages.  Girl’s got style.

4.  http://sonyasworld.com/

This was definitely a blog with substance.  A very candid look at a journey through one woman’s mental illness from her husband’s point of view.  He was always very open about things.  Fortunately, at last account, his wife was doing better and he was spending his time with her rather than blogging for others.

5.http://www.findingoptimism.com/blog/reviews/is-depression-the-new-black/

Do blogs that aren’t really personal-type blogs count for this kind of thing?  There are a lot of observations here about what’s going on when it comes to depression, and resources for people fighting their way through it.  And stuff like this that I found amusing.  …I mean, substantial!

6.www.apparentlyIreadmuchmoreforhumourthanIdoforseriouscontent.com

Um…By “Substance” You Meant “Humorous Stick People” Right?

7.http://steammeupkid.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-i-will-only-draw-your-portrait-if.html

8.  http://www.lefthandedtoons.com/34/

9.  http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

10.  http://xkcd.com/773/

I thought so.

Okay, so this damned list took me hours of agonizing because I like all of you so much but didn’t feel that “substantial” was quite the right word to sum some of you up, and then in the end I just ended up listing people so famous they have no need for my quaint little website badge.  Because they have larger website badges, I presume.  Badges so large they do not even fit on their site.

Also, for all of you that I’ve apparently arbitrarily decided are completely ethereal, I offer the following badges, which I feel apply to many people likely to read these words.  Let me know if you would like to be considered for one, and I will engage in a long deliberation process and then gift it to you.

But I cover well

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

So…I was just reading through a website talking about various anxiety disorders.  I can’t tell for sure whether or not I have issues with anxiety.  I tend to think that I probably do.  Health professionals tend to tell me definitively (without doing any investigation) that I “don’t seem like someone with anxiety” and drop the subject. …Except for my psychiatrist, who (without doing any investigation) is convinced that my anxiety level is off the charts, completely debilitating, and clearly requires sedation.

At any rate, this website listed telltale behaviours like collecting a great deal of information about things, so as to be as well-informed and well-prepared as possible.  And I thought that might sound like me.  So I immediately started collecting all the information I could find about anxiety self-help treatments, strategies, resources, etc. to try just in case.

…Somewhere in there is the answer to my question.

Please tell me that you have that stomach line too…

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Sometimes the fake “words” in those little prove-you’re-human-and-not-a-spam-computer text boxes amuse me.  Got “vichinga” yesterday, which sounds to me so very, very much like a pet name for female body parts that I may start using it.   Or maybe as one of those “Ha – gotcha!” kind of phrases.  Like “Yo mama’s so fat she probably needs medications to assist in managing her cholesterol!  Vichinga!”  or  “Your husband’s so lazy that there appears to be a minor buildup of recyclable products under your sink! Vichinga!”

Also nice guys do sometimes finish last.  Mostly in yo mama battles.

Day two of the Great Wellbutrin Countdown.  I am happy to report that there are no hives yet, though I have become excessively aware of everywhere on my body that is minorly itchy, at all times.  Incidentally, that line at stomach level, where you fold when you sit down with bad posture?   Very itchy.

I filled out the Anxiety and Depression inventories in my “Feeling Good Handbook” by David D. Burns today (the one with the admittedly very famous in the field man on the cover who looks very much like Mr. Rogers’s nicer, more syrupy neighbour).  The depression one is sort of like this.  They say that it can help to do that regularly, since it puts a definitive number on how you’re feeling.  I don’t know how much weight the actual number itself holds, since the test is pretty basic, but it does make it easier to make comparisons.

I haven’t kept track of all of my scores over time.  Don’t remember exactly where I was when I first started (early 30’s, maybe?).  At one point earlyish into the process, not too long after being diagnosed and pulled from work, I was a 42(anxiety) and 28(depression).  Later on after doing a lot of my self-help readings and trying yoga, etc. I was a 28 and 20.  Then 38 and 16 on the Wellbutrin the first time around (it’s known for making people a little tightly wound).  When the Effexor hit, I was too depressed to even think about answering the questions (it would have been off the charts) and on the Prozac I was too anxious to worry about it.  Today I scored a 42 and 40.  The anxiety checklist goes all the way up to 100, but the highest possible score on the depression checklist is 45.  Note that I tend to under-estimate my symptoms if I’m undecided.  Note also the difference between where I was when they officially decided this was bad enough that I could not work anymore, and where I am today.  Note that higher is BAD on this test.  Sigh.

Yo body’s so cracked that you get SADDER on antidepressants!

Vichinga.

Focus on the sensations, the sounds, the smells…

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

It’s an interesting thing to be sitting in a room full of people who last week shared the labels for their personal suffering.  The meditation class I’m enrolled in is a mixture of everything from cancer survivors to insomniacs, and I can’t help but find myself looking at them differently now that I know their label, curious to find the ways they fit with my completely biased impressions.  The anxiety patients all sit cross legged as we wait in our circle for the course to begin.  Their arms are crossed over their chests, and they aren’t talking to their neighbours.  This amuses me.  My legs and arms are crossed as well.  I curl my legs up into the chair and refuse to be typecast.

The mindfulness meditations are much easier in the group setting, I’ll give them that.  Extra import and natural focus, maybe?  I diligently scan my body as we lie on the floor like an overgrown mat garden.  I am now intimately acquainted with my left big toe.  We’re on good terms.

Sitting meditation is introduced near the end of this week’s session.  I give full and undivided attention to the breathing in my abdominal section.  Feel the sensations.  Experience them completely, just as they are.  Open yourself to the subtle movements in this region.  Kid you not, I have now very mindfully discovered that I have gas.  I mindfully feel things begin to shift and move, very diligently aware that something is…um…heading south.  I am mindful of the visions my mind creates in prediction of what will happen if this makes it to the end of its journey before the period of COMPLETE AND TOTAL SILENCE is up.

I ride the subway back after each class.  Less stressful than having to drive the whole way and deal with the idiosyncrasies of downtown traffic.  Another member of the class ends up walking beside me, rolled yoga mat shining like a beacon of mindfulness.  We do that awkward visual acknowledgement followed by the equally awkward side-by-side walk where we now pretend not to see each other.  She doesn’t seem like the small talk type, and I’m much more of a responder than an initiator.  I ride the subway in peace, and try to put to use our instructor’s suggestions about brining moments of mindful attention to everyday activities.  I quickly realize that subway car at rush hour is perhaps not the brightest time to experiment with this.  Also that I’m not the only one who’s had gas today.