I killed Mothman. He was blue and glittery.

Despite my husbands insistence that they are just “nighttime butterflies” I’m actually quite terrified of moths. I don’t particularly like butterflies either, they’re more of a “pretty at a distance” kind of crawly winged thing. But moths are like the vampire bunny creature of the night. Um, I should probably explain I’m also terrified of bunnies as I’m fairly certain they are secretly evil geniuses that will take over the world one day (think Pinky and the Brain but with more fluff). But that’s a whole other discussion.

The window in our car stopped working this week, it will roll down but not up. So I was driving and a moth got in the car and I’m trapped between panic that there is a moth and panic that I’ll crash the car if I don’t stop panicking about the moth. Then the moth may or may not have flown out the window and I was trying to convince myself it for sure flew out the window when suddenly I discovered something on my chest. Right in my cleavage! It was small and flat and when I picked it up it made a little crunch in the middle. Holly shit I killed the moth! 😱😭

This gave me all sorts of new panic. First because I touched a moth and will forever be infected by moth cooties, second because I killed the moth and maybe it will haunt me forever, third because it was still in the car with me, and fourth because the moth landed on me. It landed on me! It may as well have asked me to pet a bunny while it was at it!!! 😰 The second I heard the crunch I flung it across the car as my panic continued to grow exponentially, then realized I threw it at the passenger seat rather than out the window. So I pulled into a parking lot and turned the flashlight on on my phone to start looking for the moth.

After an exhaustive search I discovered the flat creature lying still just above the glove compartment. I shined the flashlight on it and discovered something interesting. The moth was blue and sparkly. It was the exact color of my nail polish. Apparently when the moth supposedly flew out the window I must have waved my hand in panic and the full nails worth of polish came off in one chunk and landed on my chest. I found it, crunched it, and flung it across the car. I’m still not convinced I won’t be haunted by the moth that may or may not have flown out the window, but at least I don’t have moth cooties on my cleavage, or a bunny in my car.

A welcome turn

Stepped into the same ER as we did 5 months ago. Got brought back just as quickly as before when the triage nurse saw his level of pain. Had the same ER doctor come in to the room. And as she stepped in she stopped. I’ve treated you before, haven’t I? He looked and said yes, that she was the one who found his cancer. She asked prognosis, current symptoms, and immediately put in orders for pain meds and a CT. I saw the same concern on her face as the last time when she ordered pain meds and a CT. Last time for his colon where she found multiple large masses, this time for his head where he was having the severe pain. It was all so similar, and so frightening.

I vividly remember 5 months ago, sitting in the chair next to hubby’s ER bed while they hook up his IV. Waiting in that chair while they take him for scans. And finally seeing the doctor return with results, closing the door I didn’t know the room had before closing the curtain usually used as a door and turning to us to explain what she found. That time led to a week at the hospital, a cancer diagnosis, explanation of stage 4, massive surgery, and a rollercoaster of pain and emotion that we still face.

Today I sat in that chair next to hubby’s ER bed while they hooked up his IV. Waited in that chair while the took him for scans. And then sat there anxiously staring at the door you wouldn’t know is there unless you’ve seen them use it. Desperately wishing it to remain open. I couldn’t handle going down this road again so soon. Even if I could handle it, I don’t know if he can. His mind is breaking.

Last time we sat through unspoken fear of colon cancer, this time the unspoken fear of it spreading to the brain. The doctor came back but the door remained open. Scans are clean, labs look great (considering). But she still admitted him. She wants another doctor to take a look, and beyond that just to give his body a rest. She is promising pain meds, anti nausea meds, and anti anxiety meds. And as the first batch went in his IV I slowly saw him sink into a gentle sleep. He is calm and resting, his pain managed, and when last I left his room he was keeping down what he has decided is the most delicious cranberry juice. The first thing he’s kept down in days.

It’s likely that the symptoms are just from the chemo, but it hit so hard and wasn’t letting up that we needed to get him in. What has me most concerned is the occasional moments of confusion or lapses in memory. It’s not normal for him, and started before these other symptoms. So they’re looking into it. I’m relieved that the brain scans are clean, and that he will be able to rest pain free even if just for tonight. This trip to the hospital had a much better turn out then last time. But I feel it will continue to loom over us every time we have these ups and downs. But right now I will sleep easy knowing he is safe. And tomorrow I will hopefully be able to take him home.

That is the worst idea you have had

When your therapist of 3 years, the women who has seen you through panic attacks, self harm, suicidal ideation, and lord knows what else says “that is the worst idea you have had.” You should probably listen 😬

So what was this terrible idea? I went off my meds. That may not seem like much, but remember all the lovely things mentioned in the first sentence? That was during a period of time I spent months arguing with her that I didn’t need medication. Followed by a month of trying to stabilize on my new medications, some of that time spent in a psych hospital. She helped me understand that I need meds, helped me find a good psychiatrist after I had had so many bad ones in the past, she helped keep me safe from myself while I worked to find the right blend, and she helped me understand that the meds bring me to a baseline where I can then work on my self care to become healthy and stable beyond that point.

Recently someone at the office started telling everyone that I don’t care about things. Suddenly rumors where flying around that I am heartless, that I don’t care about my work or my team. This started spreading out of control until someone started trying to tell others I should be fired so they can have someone that actually cares. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder I’d never been told I don’t care. I’m told I care too much, I care when I shouldn’t, I am too emotional, that I need to shut it off. My whole world shifted as I began to hear these strange rumors and I panicked.

I knew the “issue” was that I was stable, and that I wear an emotional mask on top of that. I also knew that I wasn’t going to lower that mask, so the only way to show emotions through it was to stop being stable. So for the next two weeks I cut my antidepressant and mood stabilizer dosages in half. When I didn’t end up completely crazy after that I just stopped taking them altogether. I went against my better judgement. I went against the advice I give others to never adjust your meds without first speaking to your doctor. I went against the advice I give myself, to talk over decisions I know are probably wrong with my therapist before doing stupid things. I panicked, so I ignored everything but the rumors at the office and I screwed myself up worse.

So at last Monday’s appointment we discussed the issues I’m going through right now, and eventually got to the dreaded question:

“How are your meds working?”

“I’m not taking them.”

Pause… “When did you last see your Psychiatrist?”

“About 3 or 4 months ago?”

“So she doesn’t know you stopped taking them?”

“No.”

“How long have you been off your meds?”

“A week, I was on half dose for 2 weeks before that.”

Pause…. “Why?”

“They were making me stable so people thought I didn’t care. I needed stronger emotions at work or everyone would hate me!”

Longer pause (probably an effort to regain the peace she had found while meditating that morning before I had come in and ruined it) “That… that is the worst idea you have had.”

“They want to fire me!”

“You can’t just stop your meds.”

“I can’t be stable right now, they hate me at work!”

“Do you hear yourself?”

“Yes. But I don’t care. I need my job.”

“You are more important than just a job. You need to be stable for you and your husband and your kids. You need to be on your meds.”

So I’m back on my meds. I’m feeling better, more clear, more calm. But I still have moments of desperate desire to be off them. To let my crazy take control. I don’t know where this desire is coming from exactly, I don’t think it is just from work though that was certainly a catalyst. But something in me says I shouldn’t be stable. And this is a new fight for me, one I don’t know how to face.

When I was young and refused to acknowledge depression as a medical condition, or that I had anything more than seasonal depression, I would refuse meds or go off of them because I shouldn’t need them. I’ve fought that battle and moved beyond it. I’ve learned to ignore the occasional thoughts my brain throws at me trying to convince me of that lie. But this is a new lie. My mind says the meds are working, and they’re needed, but that I should stop anyway. I recognize the truth of my illness and my treatment, and something is telling me not to be treated. To let the symptoms take over. I don’t know what that is. I don’t know how to fight it. Have any of you fought that before? The idea that you can be stable but shouldn’t?

I need a break from me

I’m trapped in my own mind, stuck with my own company. I live the day picking apart my every action and shoving my own mistakes in my face. I torture myself, I cry, and then I hate myself for the tears. I go to bed at night and the mean part of me takes more control, feeding into my insecurities and stress in dreams. Tearing me apart worse than while awake because now that part of my brain controls all. I want to sleep, but I fear my dreams. I want to cry but fear my response to those tears. I want to scream and push back the part of me that is so filled with hatred, but I’m not strong enough. Or at least that part of me isn’t. I need a break from my own mind. I need to protect that little hurting girl in my mind from the monster currently tearing her apart. But I am that monster. I am both, and so hate both. I’ve been living on energy drinks this week for fear of sleep and for lack of sleep. I need a break. The house is quiet right now, the whole family asleep. My energy drink is wearing off and the TV is no longer blocking out the voices in my head. I need sleep, but it won’t give me the break my mind needs. I refuse to keep sleeping pills in the house specifically for this reason. Because I know I will take too many out of sheer desperation to not dream. So I sit and struggle. I’m safe, but I won’t have a break. I just need a break.

Diagnosed Workaholic

My first session with my current therapist was just over two years ago and after explaining how I had been “coping” for years and what was happening leading up to my pending breakdown she looked at me and paused, and then she simply said “you realize you’ve been self medicating with work for the past nine years, right?” Yes. Yes I did. The fact is I didn’t know how to cope so I worked too much in order to distract myself from myself. When I was forced to slow down, I couldn’t handle it. I was a workaholic. I’m not saying that to downplay actual addictions, but addiction runs in my family so I have always been excessively carefully with the actually addictive things, so I ended up turning to work instead.

The last couple of months at work have been nuts. I’m working crazy overtime and barely keeping shit together for my department. I had to cancel my last therapy appointment cause I can’t take time off work, and I still haven’t been able to schedule a new one. I’m too exhausted for crafts or games or anything that I used to do after work. I’m barely blogging, sleeping is hard, it took me a week to finally sew buttons onto my sons sock for sock puppet eyes. I wake up already exhausted, run on coffee and soda energy all day, and lie down with an exhausted body and overactive mind as soon as I get home.

But I realized today that in the last two weeks I’ve had almost no panic attacks. I have not had the constant urge to self harm. I have not cried myself to sleep or stared at nothing in the overwhelming emptiness of my lack of self. I have not begun screaming at someone out of uncontrollable anger held too long. My emotional extremes aren’t there. Today it occurred to me that I am doing almost no self care at all, so why am I suddenly stable? My meds didn’t change, so it can’t be that. Then my therapists words echoed in my head. “Self medicating with work.” Am I doing it again? Am I so overworked that my disorders have taken a backseat? I don’t know. But two years of practicing self care has at least taught me a couple things.

First, work does not define me. I have to keep reminding myself of that, and I do. No matter how much of my day is stuck on work right now, it does not define me. Second, it is important to not judge. I don’t need to judge my overworking nature at the moment, I simply need to be aware that it is there and that it will not last forever. That I need to keep working to build in more self care while I can. Third, I can’t make this permanent. I need to allow myself to slow back down as work slows back down. I can’t allow myself to get so used to this that I don’t stop.

I choose to be aware of my situation and my past so I can move past this. I choose to be healthy, even if it means that feeling good might not be from feeling good or from healthy practices.

I will not

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not allow a single email to determine my career.

I will not allow this bitch to get to me, even after nearly three years of her hacking away at my mental state at work.

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not be up all night afraid of the dreams that will haunt my sleep.

I will not allow my stress from the day to determine whether or not I will sleep that night.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not hide and cry all day over the devastation in this world.

I will not dwell on my personal experiences of loved once trapped in past shootings and replay the fear in my head while others face this new terror in their own lives.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not give up.

I will not forget that this day is temporary.

I will not allow the insanity of my current life and stress levels to destroy the future I am always fighting towards.

I will not give up.

Mindful Caffeination?

Every night for weeks I’ve been having bad dreams, and they seem to be getting more frequent and vivid. Nights filled with scenes of war, disease, pain. Watching loved ones suffer only to find myself paralyzed and unable to help. So many friends and family members have died in my arms in dreams, I can’t even recall them all. And it’s not some epic story line, but just snippets. Just the moment of dream torture and then it cuts off and starts the next. 

I can’t get away from them and so try to sleep as little as possible. I know it’s not healthy but I can’t seem to become lucid in the dreams so don’t know what else to do. I am coping well outside of sleep though. Meditating a bit, listening to music, spending time doing crafts with the kids, breathing and releasing the pressure when I start to panic. But I can’t bring myself to do these things in my sleep.

Today was a more panicky day and I had some moments of hiding at work. Today I couldn’t bring myself to meditate, my mind just couldn’t for some reason. I was so exhausted so I sat in half lotus and sipped my coffee. I needed the caffeine, I needed the break. It might not help the mind long term like mindful meditation does, but it helped me get through the day. And now I can hide at home where I feel safer and more at ease. Though I am still drinking coffee, cause lord knows I don’t much want to sleep.

I considered making this title just the facepalm emoji

So I had therapy this morning, I thought it was scheduled for 10am, turns out it was for 11am. Good start so far 👍. So I got to the office and there were lizards outside the office door. So I sat on the bench 10 feet away and texted my therapist “there are lizards outside your door and I’m pretty sure they’re going to attack if I walk that far. I may or may not be able to get in.” Then I discovered I was scheduled for 11am and she wasn’t there yet. But she said she’d hurry, and I said I’d keep an eye on the lizards. 

Then the lizards split into a triangle formation around me and one of them started digging rocks. I freaked out and drove off to get coffee while I waited. Hit a Starbucks drive through and was on my way back and got completely lost 🤦‍♀️.  While circling a nearby airport trying to find my way back to the street she texted me that she was here. I was already pulled over seeing if I could find the address to turn on GPS and so texted back “the lizards were gathering rocks so I went for coffee and now I’m lost” I of course followed that with “I’m pretty sure your office is in an alternate universe” 

Needless to say, my therapy session started in a rather interesting way. But at least my parking spot was available for this appointment. 

You stole my tree!

Well, not you specifically. And technically it’s not MY tree. And it wasn’t actually stolen, I mean it’s still where it was. Maybe I should start again….

So I’ve mentioned before that I have to park in the same spot (or row in busier parking lots) every time I go somewhere. So I go to my psychiatrist appointment today, yeah? Well most people park on the other side of the building so I always park on the nearly empty side next to a little tree. I’ve been going there almost two years now and have parked in that spot next to the tree every single appointment. Today I get there and and there are multiple cars on my side including one NEXT TO MY TREE. I’ve already had high anxiety all week, and now I can’t park in my spot which always makes me start to panic when going places. So I go into my psyc appointment anxiously snapping the rubber bands I had on my wrist and trying not to sound crazy. Cause I don’t want my psychiatrist to think I’m crazy, apparently? Anyway, we decided to add a mild dose of a new med I haven’t tried before. Non-addictive per my request. We’ll see what happens.

Like a mime in a box

Most of the week I have felt trapped. Not like trapped at home, but like stuck in the outside world without escape. Coming home each night feels like freedom. Leaving in the morning is near terrifying. At work I feel the walls closing in and I begin to panic as I worry if I still have my escape route, if I can actually get out if I go into full panic mode. 

I was trying to explain this to my husband and the best I could describe is that I’m like a mime in a box. I’m trapped and the box is so close around me. You can’t see the box though, in fact the box doesn’t even exsist outside of my own mind. But you can see my fear and my stress. While I work so hard to hide my panic, some bits creep out and are visible, which makes the fear all the more real and intense. 

I hope to be the mime leaning on the table and eating grapes soon, but for now I will hide in the safety of my home as much as possible until the walls of the outside world stop closing in.