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Stoned

This is long, boring, and unneccessary but I wanted to put the frustrations I’ve been having into words. I mentioned before how I’ve been going through medical issues for the past year and a half and I was going to leave it at that. But, I bitch and whine to my husband about it so much, I thought writing about it would help. I swear, I get the weirdest fucking medical problems. I’ve had an issue of getting salivary stones for years.

I never even knew something like this existed and for seven years, I would get this horrible pain on the right side of my neck when I ate or drank anything. I could feel the submandibular salivary gland get hard as a rock and cause so much pain and itchiness from below my chin, up into my right ear.

It may not seem like a big issue but I couldn’t even take a sip of water without the salivary gland flaring up.

When we moved to Seattle, I was finally able to see civillian doctors instead of military ones and the ENT there diagnosed me. I had surgery to take out the stone within the week. My one request was if she was able to save the stone, I would love to see what was making my life hell for seven years. She was more than happy to oblige and I still have that damn stone in a box somewhere.

After that, I would get frequent infections and flare ups in that gland. I had the option years ago to have that gland taken out but I was really hesitant. To be honest, it was because of the horrible experiences I’ve had with military doctors over the years and the incompetence so, there was no way I wanted one of those doctor’s to cut me open.

Things seemed to simmer down until last August when I had this horrible pain in the gland and it got so bad, I could barely move my tongue. Luckily for my husband, I wasn’t able to talk much for a few days until the antibiotics kicked in and I got some relief.

It cleared up, or so I thought, and then boom, it came back a few weeks later. I was referred to an ENT and he was pretty quick to say the gland really needs to come out. The hesitation came back about having this surgery, especially since I had three others within months of this one.

But, I decided to finally get it over and done with once and for all. The doctor didn’t feel the need to do a CT scan which still pisses me off because he didn’t think I had any stones in there and it was just the salivary gland that was infected. I had the surgery and I thought I was fucking done with all of the medical shit I had been dealing with.

Just when I had celebrated being done with this bullshit forever, the symptoms came back. The itchiness, the pain, and additionally, something that felt like a hot fire poker on the floor of my mouth. This time, a CT scan was done and yes, I was stoned from another stone. The ENT also noticed that a fucking hole was what had developed in the floor of my mouth as a way for my body to try and expel the stone that had been in there for who knows how long.

I know. It’s really fucking gross.

I had surgery for that five months ago and again, thought I was done. done. done.

Nope. Not even close.

I come to find out that the duct to the submandibular salivary gland was still in there because there’s a nerve to the tongue that wraps around the duct and it can be tricky to take out. It can cause permanent paralysis on the right side of the tongue.

Oh joy.

I could also tell at this point that the ENT didn’t know what the fuck to do with me. So, he put me on antibiotics.

The infection went away.

Then it came back and he put me on antibiotics again.

Basically, my whole summer was spent dealing with these gross infections and taking an overload of antibiotics which I absolutely hate. I not only worry about antibiotic resistance but also, if feels like my stomach is being shredded. I’ve been on half a dozen different kinds of antibiotics and also found out by way of another CT scan I had in August is that there are now smaller stones in my sublingual salivary gland.

Fucking fuck.

I was frustrated, my doctor was frustrated, and I was pissed off. I don’t feel like my normal self at all. My body is tired of fighting these infections. My ENT finally waved the white flag and referred me to a doctor in Boston.

I saw him last week and he hasn’t seen my scan results yet but felt at least two stones in the floor of my mouth.

His plan is to take out that fucking duct that’s probably causing these stones, and taking out however many stones are actually in there… besides the two he felt.

It looks like the surgery will take place in the next few months.

So, that’s where I’m at now…. hurry up and wait. That’s what it feels like. This new ENT doctor wants to act fast but there’s that waiting game of making sure this is the best plan of action.

This whole thing has my anxiety so out of whack. I just hope that soon I’ll be feeling healthier again.

Hopefully, more like myself than I’ve felt in the last 18 months.

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To The People Who Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

For the past six months or so, my anxiety attacks have started as early as before I even open my eyes, which is a rather new thing considering most of those attacks were usually happening at night, and I needed to cut out the news. It was making me feel completely suffocated to know of all the harm that was happening not only in the United States, but around the world.

Of course, I don’t live under a rock so the news seeps into my life on a daily basis. I’ll check in on one of my fave gossip sites to see who got married, who broke up, who had a baby, who went to rehab for “exhaustion”, who is losing their shit, etc., except there will also be news on there about the hot mess going on in D.C.

As much as I try to escape it, the real news of the world oozes in. Like the flow of lava. Destroying and burning down my small safe space of comfort.

There aren’t enough adorable puppy photos to cure these blues that are currently happening.

The pleas and desperate help that Puerto Rico needs.

The shootings in Las Vegas.

These events are so shocking and sickening. I just can’t wrap my mind around this kind of devastation.

Besides the daily stresses I go through every night while lying in bed, the happenings of the world also keep me up at night.

For some reason, when I try to be mindful and think happy thoughts, my mind goes to an Andrew Bird concert I went to last October. My mom had been visiting us for the first time in at least six years and it felt like a perfect night.

Towards the end of the show, the lights went down in the concert hall, the disco ball was lowered, stars scattered all across the arena, and there was a woman who was standing to my left. She was dancing in a way that honestly gave me second-hand embarrassment at first. She was moving her body along to the music and didn’t give one flying fuck what anyone thought, including me who quickly saw how judgemental I had been for a few quick seconds.

This woman who danced so freely is someone I hope to be someday.

Going through the rhythm of life and moving in the way that feels natural to me, no matter how ridiculous it may seem at first to those who are watching. I want to be able to drop my guard and be my true self, no matter how much it’s out of my comfort zone.

During these really difficult times, we should all be the kind of people who dance like nobody’s watching and show the kindness and goodness that so many people are very much needing right now.

This is not about politics for me.

This is about decent, human kindness that very few in current high-powered positions just don’t have.

People try to normalize the behavior of someone who is supposed to be the leader of my country and they are failing time and time again, spewing out hatred and insincerity.

So, I’m going to make an effort to go through the present, dancing to life the way that I want no matter what my conservative family members think. That’s including a cousin I adored and looked up to, my sister, and an uncle.

But, unlike them, I don’t take kindly to judge people based on their skin color or religion.

It may seem extreme to cut out family members but the decisions being made by the United States government is absolutely devastating people’s lives and ruining as well as breaking up families.

I no longer care if I’m a “special snowflake” for basic human rights and respect given to all people, no matter what their lot in life is.

Everyone deserves to have a happy life and stability. People should be allowed the freedom to come to the U.S. to make a better life for themselves.

Everyone deserves the chance to dance like nobody’s watching, without limitation or prejudice.

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I’m A Mess

This past year and a half has been very difficult for me. I had five surgeries within 14 months, starting in 2016. It’s why I haven’t really been blogging as often as I’d like. I won’t bore you with the details of the surgeries but they came in such rapid succession and that’s what has made me go from anxiety with occasional panic attacks to my current state which has transformed to severe anxiety with frequent panic attacks, including the dreaded anxiety attacks first thing in the morning.

I didn’t take as good of care of myself as I should have with each recovery from surgery and it’s definitely taken a toll on me. I feel so anxious all the time and my body still feels like it’s in recovery mode. It’s been frustrating for me because I’m still not 100% physically and the frustration leads to anxiety which leads me to have panic attacks.

If you’ve never had a panic attack, you’re very lucky. Mine starts out with feeling a sense of dread. My heart starts pounding. It’s difficult to catch my breath. My mind starts racing. I feel dizzy. My heart gets to where it feels like it’s going to beat out of my chest. I feel like I’m going to give myself a heart attack. The sense of dread increases. My heart’s beating so fast, my mind is racing, I’m feeling dizzier, and there are times I even get so worked up that I throw up from the anxiety and panic. It feels like I’m a prisoner in my own body and want nothing more that to escape myself.

So, for the past 18 months, my anxiety has grown to where it can be debilitating at times. I’m getting more concerned now because this is the time of year that my depression starts rearing its ugly head.

Since I cut out all news out of my life last month, the anxiety has become a little more manageable. I’ve been trying to ride out the panic attacks without reaching for my xanax prescription but that can be really difficult. Hmmm, would I rather feel like I’m in a fight or flight state of panic for half the day or should I take something that I know in 20 or so minutes will have me feeling more in control of my thoughts? But, I don’t want to have to depend on medication every time.

The problem is, I still have an ongoing medical issue and while I’ve had two surgeries for it where I thought both times that I’ll finally be feeling healthy again and won’t have to deal with this problem anymore. Low and behold, once I’m confident it’s finally not an issue anymore. the fucking thing pops back up. I feel like there’s no end in sight and my ENT doctor has been calling this “unusual and rare”.

He seems to be at a total loss about what to do and mentioned sending me to Boston. For now though, he’s waiting to see if medication will help. I know it’s not going to because in the past it never did.

I’m just feeling so frustrated and at a loss.

What I’ve been missing is writing. I know that’s something that will help clear my head and help my anxiety while also giving me an escape from these ongoing medical issues.

I just don’t know if I can still keep up the blogging, not that I’ve really been keeping it up that often. But, I’ve been blogging for over seven years now and I’m not quite sure I can completely let it go. So, for now, I figure what the hell, even if I don’t have much to say, I should just write anyway. It’s such a nice vacation from my anxiety ridden mind and the physical pain I’m still in.

So, now you know what’s been going on since last year. It feels good to clear the air and talk about the terrible time I’ve been having.

I know I’ll get through this rough time but right now it feels like it’s going to last forever. I’ll leave you for now by saying thank you for listening to my issues.

I’ve got issues, you’ve got them too, so give yours to me and I’ll give mine to you.

Your welcome for getting that song stuck in your head.

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Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me

I don’t like my psychiatrist. I’m sure he’s an okay guy but he comes off as really cold. But, I deal with him since I don’t really have any other options.

I usually dread going to his office and leave there more stressed than when I went in. I’ve been having some severe anxiety and frequent panic attacks for months now and it feels like I’m slowly suffocating under the weight of this anxiety.

I was pouring my heart out to this psychiatrist at my last appointment and he started eating a banana. I always laugh at the worst times. Nervous laughter. Seeing him eat a banana combined with me feeling very emotional and in tears combined with the phallic shape of the banana combined with my mind is that of a 12 year-old boy equals laughter.

He gobbled down the banana while I composed myself and the tears started coming. He starts swatting at the air and I try to continue talking to the spastic display in front of me.

He took notice and said “It’s a fruit fly. Go on….”

At this point I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I had been practicing what I wanted to say to him for weeks. And, there he is, swatting with both hands with his arms flailing about.

I’m trying so hard to keep a straight face while he continues swatting at this fruit fly. I went back to being an emotional mess and my head was down. When I was about to tell him something really difficult, he slapped his knee and said “Got it!”

I looked up to see him wiping off the remains of the fruit fly in his hand.

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Anxiety Sucks

The anxiety I have always becomes much worse this time of year. I worry about every little fucking thing that I possibly can. I have major anxiety about driving and it’s become worse than I thought it could when I got into a fender bender in a grocery store parking lot a few weeks ago.

I was waiting for a blue SUV to pull out by me and once I started backing out, bam, the guy in the Dodge Durango pulled out at the same time and we didn’t see each other. His truck didn’t have a scratch on it but my poor Subaru got a dent in the back bumper that looks like the Hulk smashed it with his fist. I also got part of my taillight broken off.

I’m taking it to the body shop on Monday and getting a rental for a few days. But, my anxiety is out of control even more now. I used to panic and stress with driving in general but now when I’m in parking lots, I full on panic. I know it was just an accident and they can happen to anyone but I’ve been overthinking the fender bender, which is what I do best. Overthink.

Now, when I’m in a parking lot, I park far away from the other cars. Leave it to a big ass truck to park right next to me though.

I was also invited to someone’s house where there will be other people and my anxiety is really kicking in over that because yay, not only do I have anxiety but my social anxiety is off the charts. I’m making myself go though because I’m sick of anxiety always taking over my life.

It’s so hard to break through it. I’ve tried to channel my anxiety into positive and creative ways and while some things work, others don’t.

Xanax only does so much for me but without it, I’d be even more stark raving mad. I also have a surgery coming up and guess what? I’m thinking of all the things that can go wrong with it. Nothing like dying but the thought of being in physical pain makes me cringe.

I recently went on a panicky talking streak with my husband about how my anxiety can be really debilitating at times. People who don’t have it will never get it though. It’s not something you can just snap out of. It doesn’t matter how much therapy I’ve had over the years. It’s just the way I’m wired. I try to be more mindful and live in the moment but anxiety and depression rears its ugly head at me.

The panic attacks are so overwhelming. When I have one, it feels like I’m suffocating and I start shaking while my mind feels like I’m in a prison cell. I want to escape my body but I can’t. It can feel like I’m drowning and being chained to all of my dark thoughts.

Anxiety, you suck.

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Inconvenient

The Cycle Of Depression.

~~~~~

Things are fine.

I’ve just been feeling a little tired.

I’m so proud of my daughter and my husband seems to get me.

I’m starting classes in a few months and feeling a little nervous about my age.

I feel so old but who the hell cares.

This is big for me and I’m feeling pretty good.

But there’s a creeping sadness that I can’t seem to shake.

Maybe if I got to the gym an extra day this week, I’ll feel better.

~~~~~

I went to bed early last night but it doesn’t feel like I got much sleep.

There’s a tightness in my chest that seems to last most of the day.

There are a few times a day when I have a feeling of dread and I can’t seem to catch my breath at times because of the panic that has been seeping into me.

I want to talk about it with my husband but I know he won’t understand.

~~~~~

I don’t want to get out of bed.

I was up most of the night reading and watching Friends to take my mind off the anxiety and racing heart every time I tried to go to sleep last night.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the time I was 16 and was doing some really stupid shit.

Why couldn’t I have been a better kid?

And why did I treat my mom like shit and say what I did when I was 23?

I have no idea how I still have people in my life that deal with me.

I can be so selfish and ungrateful.

~~~~~

My classes are coming up soon.

I have no idea what I was thinking when I thought I could go back to school.

I can’t even find enough time to keep the house up and running.

I need to get more sleep but I keep waking up.

Last night I was thinking about how I yelled at my daughter that morning because we were running late for school.

That was so shitty of me.

Tonight when I was kissing her good night, she hugged me tight and told me she loved me in her sweet little voice.

Why can’t I be a better mother?

~~~~~

My husband took my daughter out ice skating Sunday morning and I slept in until 10 am.

Despite that, I’m exhausted.

I’m still not out of bed and it’s noon.

I can’t believe I didn’t go with them to watch my daughter ice skate.

She didn’t seem to mind but I should have gone anyway.

I feel like a burden.

I’m like some inconvenient thing to everyone I know.

My life doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and I shouldn’t even take those classes next month.

Nothing really matters and everything I do seems inconsequential.

~~~~~

I don’t even know why I bother.

~~~~~

My daughter read a little story she wrote this morning.

It felt nice to smile again and mean it.

I wish I could be a better mom to my sweet girl.

My husband deserves a better mother for our child.

But I know I’m doing my best.

~~~~~

I finally got more than a few hours sleep last night.

If this keeps up, maybe I can make it to the gym in a few days.

I talked with my husband about the panic attacks I was having and while he didn’t seem to get it, I feel better that I said something.

~~~~~

I was in the kitchen this afternoon and turned on some music.

It felt good to dance around the kitchen and have a little fun.

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Failure To Thrive

gymnastics11

*I couldn’t read this back so there’s probably mistakes galore. And, sorry it’s so long.

Just typing this first sentence sends me into a panic from thinking about a terrifying moment one morning back in July. It’s been the main reason I had lost any interest in most things, including this blog. But things have been building inside my head and I need to be rid of them.

I’ve talked in the past about the hypoglycemic episodes we’ve had with my 6 year-old. Within 24 hours of her being born, she was rushed to the NICU for low blood sugar which was in its teens.

The hummingbird was taken off of medication within 2 months of being born and we thought that was the last of dealing with hypoglycemia.

Two years later, I went to get her up one morning and she was still sleeping, which was unusual. I woke her and while I was picking her up, she started twitching and crying while having spasms. She has never gone into a full-blown seizure though.

With each hypoglycemic episode she’s had over the years, there have been some where we could still treat her at home with honey and juice, and some where we would need to go to the emergency room. There were times where she would be released from the ER within 6-8 hours and other times when her blood sugar wouldn’t regulate and kept dropping to scary levels so she would have to be admitted for 1-2 weeks.

To this day, I worry 24/7 I worry about the possibility of her having a low blood sugar episode. Several of her episodes have been when she was sick but then there have been some episodes that have just come out of the blue.

The little bird has had so many tests and been to so many doctors but at the time, they didn’t seem to have many answers as to what was causing this. Also, the bird is small for her age so the specialists we’ve seen believed that there was another underlying issue but hadn’t been able to figure it out.

So, to be honest, I can feel like a wreck most days with the worry of whether or not she’s going to eat enough to keep her blood sugar up. She’s also very athletic and since she’s such a picky eater with not much of an appetite, that makes the worry and stress overwhelming at times.

We always make sure to have snacks with us wherever we go in case she may start showing signs of hypoglycemia. There have been times she had been so low upon waking up that we needed something much quicker to get the sugar into her because she can be very dazed and can’t follow simple instructions.

I usually dip my finger in honey and start wiping it on her lips and thankfully she has always responded to that by getting to where she can take it from a spoon. It’s probably only been a few minutes when dealing with these low blood sugar episodes but it feels like time stands still.

The bird didn’t have any severe episodes for a while and after we started seeing her most recent specialist, for the first time I’ve felt like I can ease up on the worry a tiny bit and I welcomed that.

When we go to her specialist, I cringe when I hear him say “failure to thrive”. It’s something we’ve been hearing over the years and I know it’s because of how small she is. She’s 6 but about the size of a 4 year-old. Hearing failure to thrive makes me fell like a failure as a parent even though I know we do our best. She’s just not a big eater.

Over the summer, my husband booked a cabin where we had stayed the previous year. It was really cool for us since living in Maine for the past few years, this was the first place we’ve lived where we’ve been here long enough to start traditions with our daughter.

We were also celebrating our 100th wedding anniversary in July so I was actually more excited than I was the previous year we went camping. And, yes. I think staying in a cabin is camping and that’s as close to “outdoorsy” as I’ll get.

I’m certain my kid was a fish in another life because she can swim for hours, which is what she and the husband did for the first few days.

We were all having a really great time, despite being a human mosquito buffet for 4 days and missing the comfort of my couch. My 6 year-old was eating pretty good and we were reconnecting as a family so I felt like I was finally able to unwind on our little vacation.

I promised her that we could sleep in the same bed the last few nights, which is a treat for her. I think it may have been my husband walking out of the bathroom that woke me up early that morning but within a few seconds, I felt the hummingbird twitching violently in the bed.

I took her in my arms to try and see if she was coherent but right away I saw that she was having a full-blown seizure. I want to throw up after typing that because all of the fear comes flooding back from that moment. I called to my husband to grab some honey but we found we didn’t have any. In fact, we only had things she would be able to drink, like juice, to help her get her blood sugar up but she was way past the point of being capable of drinking anything.

While I still had her in my arms, my husband rushed back with some strawberry jam that I started rubbing around her lips but she couldn’t even take that. That was the moment her eyes went into the back of her head and the hummingbird went limp. I feel terrible for even having this cross my mind at the time but I really thought the worst, I thought this was it. We had never experienced her in such a terrible state and I went in a state of shock, all while calling her name and trying to get her to come to.

She was throwing up before she lost consciousness so the jam I was able to get into her just came back up. The panic set in since she wasn’t responding and during this whole time, my husband was trying to get cell reception which was non-existent. The hummingbird started to show some signs of coming to… after what seemed like ages when in reality this episode was maybe about a few minutes. It’s strange how time seems to go in slow motion in an incident like this.

I was finally able to give her more strawberry jam on her lips and she was able to lick it off her lips but she still wasn’t responding to anything we said and in a daze. Understandably. The jam was all over the bed and the two of us were covered in it.

We knew we had to get her to the ER but since we were in the middle of nowhere and not familiar with the area, it made a very terrifying situation even worse. My husband found that the nearest hospital was over 45 minutes away and we had to rush the decision of what to do and decided it would be faster to take her to the hospital.

The hummingbird was still throwing up and in between, she started to accept the strawberry jam I was feeding her with my fingers. It was the car drive that lasted what felt like forever. We finally made it to the ER and thankfully, the little bird was in a much better state but my adrenaline was pumping like crazy and I still felt like I was going to throw up my heart.

They told us that her blood sugar was still pretty low at that point and we spent the next six hours there. This episode with her low blood sugar and seizure left my husband and I stunned but we had actually handled it more calmly than previous times with her hypoglycemia.

Reality hit me after a few hours while I was sitting beside my 6 year-old’s bedside. Seeing my child in that kind of medical emergency for the first time when it came to her seizure has honestly fucked me up. Feeling completely helpless while she had been lying in my arms and thinking the worst has guaranteed that my heart will never go back into my chest again.

I was asking the ER doctor all sorts of questions about seizures and having confirmation that there is absolutely nothing that you can do while someone has one made me angry. I felt that this is my child that I protect and love more than anything, yet I just have to let her ride it out was bullshit. I was irrationally angry about it for quite a while. It made the every day stress of dealing with her hypoglycemia shoot up with thoughts of not only dealing with her symptoms of low blood sugar but that now seizures were something that she might experience again.

When we went to see her specialist within the week, he told us that the chance of her having another seizure was high for the next two weeks and it was two weeks of hell. I didn’t want her to leave my sight. We are really lucky that she has the doctor she does because he is fantastic and has this soothing way about him. Although, after that visit, I was on edge.

To help the hummingbird’s blood sugar stay stable over the night, her doctor has us add a few tablespoons of uncooked cornstarch in yogurt that we give my daughter as a snack before bed. The cornstarch helps slows the digestion of what she eats and so far, she hasn’t had any episodes of hypoglycemia since. We’ve been back to her doctor for a second time and it seems like she’s doing much better with the addition of cornstarch. She’s even gaining a little more weight.

There have still been times since that we felt the need to check her blood sugar if she’s acting unusually tired and yes, that weird noise you may have heard a few weeks ago was probably my kid screaming at the top of her lungs. She still hates getting it checked and my heart breaks every time.

I’ve been teaching her more about nutrition and how important it is for everyone, especially for her because of these episodes she has. Things are sinking in for her that while candy is a treat, it’s so important to make healthier choices with food, like sliced avocado or cashews with craisans.

Every day I still feel like I’m teetering over the edge with the worry that this day may be the day her blood sugar takes a dive. It’s not easy when my anxiety already eats at me as it is. I just want to hug every parent out there who also has kids who have a health condition. And then sit down with a big glass of wine and a very loud ‘cheers’ because parenting isn’t easy.

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