one drink won’t hurt, c’mon!

one drink won’t hurt, c’mon!

I get a lot of strange looks when I tell them I don’t drink anymore. They think I’m crazy or I’m pulling their leg. They stare for a few seconds and then launch into an endless array of questions. They’re either curious to know why I quit drinking or they want to convince me to have “just one” because “it won’t hurt”.

To those that are curious, I am honest. I have no issue explaining why I chose to stop drinking and how much better I feel. But those people that think one drink isn’t harmful? Well, they can shove that one drink up their ass and leave me the hell alone.

I’m guessing all of you reading are wondering why the hell I stopped drinking. What could be so bad that this young woman would make such a decision? I will gladly explain.

As soon as I turned 21 the flood gates opened. I could legally buy alcohol and drink all I wanted. And I did. Of course there was underage drinking before that. I got drunk for the first time when I was 17 at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party. I drank Malibu and pineapple juice. Then I found the wonders of Jack and coke and I was hooked.

I was in college when I turned 21. I was a Jack Daniels girl. Most of the time I drank it straight from the bottle. No chaser and no cup. That was for pussies and I wasn’t a pussy. I had a high tolerance and could hold my own with the best of ’em. I wasn’t a sloppy drunk either. I laughed constantly and danced all the time. I was also the drunk that called her ex and talked shit I wouldn’t remember in the morning.

I was also a black out drunk. Drinking slowly became more than just fun. It became my escape. My coping method for the anxiety and depression. I didn’t want to feel so I chose to be numb. I would drink during the week and then get wasted on the weekends. Sometimes alone in my apartment or at a bar with friends. I drank til I fogged out. I drank til someone had to drag me to my house and put me to bed. It was blissful.

Graduating college and moving back how slowed me down. Yes I still drank, but it wasn’t as much. I was going crazy. The chances I did get to go totally ape shit crazy I made sure to chug my Jack and get obliterated. There are some nights that I honestly don’t remember at all. Not one detail. It scared me, but not enough to stop.

What made me stop was what happened one New Year’s Eve and hearing about it the next day. I was mortified. I cried. I hated myself. I wished to go back and not drink that much. I had fucked up and couldn’t take it back. It made me so sick that I threw up.

I stared at myself in the mirror that day and made a promise. No more alcohol. Not one sip. Not one drink. No shots. NOTHING! Completely alcohol free. It was so hard at first. My friends would ask to go to the bar and they’d ask me if I wanted a drink. I wanted to feel that burn. I wanted to taste that fire again. But I refused. I’ve been refusing those drinks for over a year.

I am proud of myself.

I feel so good.

I’ve learned healthier coping methods.

I don’t mind the questions at all. I understand how strange it is for someone my age to say that. I get it. My only sticking point are those people that try to shove a drink at me and get me to drink with them. Why is it so hard to respect someone’s choice? I’m not sure I’ll ever understand that one

I will close with a little PSA. If you’re going to drink, do it for the right reasons. Celebrating something. Let loose with your friends after a tough week. Relax at home with a cold beer. Thirsty Thursday at your fav bar. Don’t use alcohol to self-medicate. It will tear you apart and make things worse. Take it from someone who knows.

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is two really better than one?

I was washing a car the other day at work and got to thinking about my mental illnesses. In my psych classes in college we discussed comorbidity quite a lot. Comorbidity is the presence of two chronic diseases or illnesses in a person at the same time. It is quite common for people who have anxiety to simultaneously have depression or vice versa.

I am one of those people….if you hadn’t already guessed. I have anxiety with depression as my comorbid illness.

Comorbidity sucks fucking balls. If one starts up the other is sure to follow. Those scary little monsters feed off each other and encourage the other to grow bigger. They whisper to each other. They plan and scheme. They poke and prod my mind and heart. They snicker and smile. Anything to try to bring me down.

But I fight. Tooth and nail, I fight.

I was reading an article a while ago on having anxiety and depression. It gave a list of things that happen when someone has this comorbidity. I wanted to share some of these and a few of my own. I will include the link at the bottom so you can view the entire thing.

  1. It’s having to stay in bed because you don’t have the will to move, but unraveling at the thought of what will happen if you miss school or work.
  2. It’s making six million to-do lists just to untangle your thoughts, but knowing you’ll never actually cross anything off.
  3. It’s the constant fear of winding up alone, but accidentally isolating yourself because you sometimes just need to hide from it all.
  4. It’s alternating between feeling paralyzed in the present and scared shitless about the future.
  5. It’s sleeping too much or not at all.
  6. It’s needing a break from your racing thoughts, but not being able to climb out of the pit of yourself.
  7. It’s needing to do everything, but wanting to do nothing at all.
  8. It’s worrying about losing all your friends, but not having to energy or motivation to hang out or talk.
  9. It’s being so depressed that your mind wants to shut off, but your anxiety never allows it.
  10. It’s stressing over a first date, but canceling in the end because you know deep down it won’t work out.

There is so much more that I could list. It’s not fun. It’s a tug of war between two monsters. It’s exhausting and never ends. Fighting against those intrusive thoughts and finding the strength to get up and move are taxing, but necessary. I found myself getting lost in my depression for a long time and took even longer to crawl my way out.

I wish more people could understand this entangled dynamic. This twisted relationship between two painful illnesses. I have to mask the pain and torment because I don’t want pity or questions. How can I possibly explain something that often times doesn’t make sense in my won head? How can I explain something that only exists in my head and is a complete fabrication but feels and seems real?

If you’re interested in the whole list, please follow the link: https://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/20-feelings-that-sum-up-having-both-depression-and-anxiety?utm_term=.ctjN4A2eo#.tq4xOMn0v

crashing along Anxiety Lane

crashing along Anxiety Lane

I’m sure we’ve all experienced anxiety drop. Those moments after the attack when you just free fall into a zombie. It’s scary. Beyond weird. And unexplainable, but I’m going to try and describe it.

Last week I was so frustrated with work bullshit. I was spitting mad and cussing up a storm. My mind buzzed with all the shit that was going on. Blood boiling, I tried to finish my tasks as fast as possible.

I knew I was cruising down Anxiety Lane when I felt all that anger boil inside me. My ears started ringing and then went dead. The world was turning white and closing in around me. Tremors overtook my hands. Tears burned my eyes and cheeks.

All I could do was breathe. Deep and slow. I focused on the things I could feel around me. The music in my ear buds. The soft feel of the rag in my hand. The smell of Windex as I wiped the windows on a car.

I had to keep calm and cool as long as I could. However, that didn’t last long. I was swimming in my pool of anxiety and felt weights clap around my wrists and ankles. I was drowning and my body was shutting down. I felt this black cloud envelope me and I was falling. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t scream. There was this white noise in my head.

I was crashing. Hard and fast.

I found myself moving towards the office to find a space to sit. I talked with a few co-workers, one of whom made me hot chocolate and gave me a bag of cookies. Her kindness and care helped me back to reality. The warmth from the drink slowly ran away the cold of the drop.

I was going in and out of coherence. I could tell they were speaking but not what they were saying. I was floating now. On the surface of reality. Slowly coming back to myself.

It was the most painful experience.

I hate the drop. I’ve only experienced it a handful of times, but that’s too many for my taste.

To be honest, I’ve been feeling a little lost and dead to the world even before this recent anxiety drop. I’m putting on this mask of emotions when I feel absolutely nothing inside. It hurts to talk. Social interaction is exhausting. People are grating on my nerves and I wish I could escape them.

I would love to hole up in a cabin deep in the forest away from everything. Just set up some internet so I could have my Netflix and be able to buy books. I’d have a couple dogs and curl up in a puppy pile every night.

That’d be perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i have a storm inside me

i have a storm inside me

I’ve alluded to this in a few posts, but wanted to give it a little bit more attention because it is extremely important to remember.

Anxiety manifests physically. It’s different for everyone, but I would like to share what happens to my body. It can start so small. Just a minor headache that I might take something for. As the day (or week) goes by it gets bigger. Stronger. A small rain shower that turns to a violent thunderstorm and rages on for hours. The only difference is the storm ends. My anxiety doesn’t.

The first thing I notice is the constant headache. It’s this dull throb in my temples. As my anxiety gets worse the headache moves and gets stronger. The throbbing turns to a white noise in my ears and makes my eyes cross and blur. If it gets bad enough it will turn to a migraine and knock me off my feet. I’ve had to take a few sick days because I literally couldn’t open my eyes or move.

I experience a lot of stomach aches and nausea. If I get a particularly persistent thought or image in my head (more than likely my mind has decided to relive some past mistakes) it might make my tummy roil and it almost feels like I’m going to throw up. My stomach turns to a knotted mess and gets tighter and tighter the deeper I fall into my anxiety. This is almost always accompanied by nausea. Smells, tastes, whatever will make me nauseous. My sense of smell is weirdly heightened when I’m anxious.

The worst thing is the dry heaving. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve woken up and ran to the bathroom. How many times I’ve had to stay home from school or work because I was desperately clinging to the bowl heaving. I’ve also had to make quick escapes to bathrooms while in class and at work. The most difficult thing about it is that I don’t actually throw up. It’s just this constant, painful dry heaving that could last all day or several days. I would rather throw up and get it over with than dry heave for hours.

I have these “episodes”. I thought for a while that they were due to some illness I had or something was legit wrong with me and a doctor could figure out what. However, I am now almost certain it’s just my anxiety finding new ways to fuck with me. These episodes consist of dizziness, lightheadedness, and tremors in my hands. The tremors are mainly in my right arm, but I can feel them slightly in my left as well, just not as bad. When I’m having one of these bouts I literally cannot hold anything in my right hand. I can’t really do anything but lay down and wait it out.

I’ve had people tell me that I need to go to a doctor and get on medication to “fix” my mental illnesses. The thing is you can’t “fix” this. You can manage the symptoms, to a point. But there is no cure. There isn’t a magic pill or shot that can just make it all go away. Personally, I will find ways to cope with my physical symptoms rather than ingest some nasty synthetic material and risk all kinds of really fun side effects. I drug my body enough with the deliciously processed foods I devour every day.

I don’t have these episodes often and I have ways of coping. The other physical representations of my anxiety are easily managed too. Is it strange that I’m glad I don’t have some strange disease that can be cured? Maybe, but I am kind of relieved that all those tests I’ve done came back normal. It’s just me and my anxiety. And my depression. ANNNND the panic attacks. ANNNNNNNNNNND the food issues.

but not at the disco

but not at the disco

Someone tell me they got the joke????

Lovely readers, we’ll be talking about the always fun panic attacks!

It is hard to explain what a panic attack feels like to someone who hasn’t experience one. I will try my best and hope things make sense. If not, at least I tried. I welcome comments or questions if things are confusing or you’d like to know more.

So here we go…

I have two panic attack types: spontaneous and self-induced.

Generally, all panic attacks are spontaneous, and those that have a panic disorder don’t really know when they maybe be coming about. The other side of my attacks are self-induced. Meaning, I literally work myself up into a frenzy and cause my own panic attack. Those tend to be more mild because I realize what I’m doing and can either stop it or shorten it.

My spontaneous attacks are terrifying. It feels like I’ve been side swiped by a Mack truck at 100mph. It is this wave of unreasonable terror dropped on you at once. My heart speeds up but it feels like it’s not beating at all.

I tend to hyperventilate too. I feel like I’m being slowly suffocated as the walls (or objects around me) close in around me. My vision has whited out on occasion or my ears will pop and it’s like I’ve gone deaf. The outside world becomes my biggest nightmare and I’m trapped. During those times I am reduced to sobs and screams.

The longest attack I’ve had was almost an hour. I was alone in my dorm room during college and I was wrecked. It came out of nowhere and there was no trigger or anything. Just blind panic. It rolled in like a storm and destroyed me. It was the middle of the day and I didn’t care what was going on, I went straight to sleep.

Recovering after an attack is different depending on where I’m at. When I worked at Subway, I would usually be led to the back stock room. When I worked at the call-center I tried hard to never have an attack at the office which often left me with severe physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and dry-heaving as the anxiety increased.

Trying to cover up or suppress an attack is like pulling teeth with no pain meds; possible and extremely painful. By suppressing that panic I face physical consequences that are often times worse than just having the damn attack. Vomiting or dry-heaving, dizziness, stomach cramps, headaches, tremors, blurred vision, and a few more. The physical symptoms are sometimes unbearable yet I struggle through it all.

I do make sure I hydrate and eat some type of snack after each episode. I usually keep chocolate around for such instances. Chocolate does help with anxiety and depression, and I’ve also found it good for the after effects of a panic attack. I’ve also have success with fruit, crackers or pretzels, and/or ice cream. The sudden coldness of the ice cream slams you back into reality and kind of evens you out.

An integral part of my coping involves talking to one of my anchors. Anchors are people that I have found completely understand my mind set, thought processes, quirks of my mental illness, and have either seen one of my panic attacks or seen me at my lowest of low points. These people have been carefully chosen and understand their role in my well being. They are my most trusted confidants and incredibly important in my life. They help keep me here on this earth. Talking out an attack or when I’m in a downward spiral help me focus on what’s important.

I want to point out that a panic or anxiety attack doesn’t always have to be the characteristic symptoms: increased heart rate, hyperventilating, intense fear, sweating, or chills or hot flushes. These attacks can also be: unexplained rage or irritability; talking too fast or not at all; sitting rigid or not being able to sit still; and/or staring off in to space, “zoning out”.

Every one experiences panic or anxiety attacks in their own way. Each experience is just as terrifying and horrible, but if we were to speak out about these maybe we can help each other find ways to beat them and cope.