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Archive for the 'Crazy Girl' Category

Dare I Say It?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

It's been quite some time since I've wrote on my personal life here, or taken the time to update my readers on my two great life struggles - my mental and physical health.

The reason I haven't been writing about my life is because...well, to be honest, my life sucked. Nothing particularly awful was happening other than the regular nuances of day-to-day living; it was my mental state that was, quite literally, sucking my will to live.

That's just it, you see? I had no will to live - not much of one at all, and that grew every day. As I, almost mechanically, went through the steps of getting through each day I always felt - just in the background - this omnipresent feeling of the other shoe about to drop. I would wonder how much longer I could go on this way. I didn't really speak to anyone about it, because I couldn't quite a put a finger on why or how it was happening...I just knew it was.

Everything I did was steeped in anxiety, frustration, and apathy. I woke up, forced myself to work, smiled and laughed appropriately at everyone, and came home exhausted from the exertion of pretending everything was okay. It wasn't. Baret saw this more than anyone, naturally, and how negatively this playing at a life I was uninterested in was destroying my very spirit.

The problem was the constant, nagging depression - just enough to not be overwhelming - and the growing anxiety. My anxiety has gotten worse as I've gotten older, and things I used to do with ease and no thought cause me to silently panic often. I don't share this with many because I have always been strong; the person who could do anything and had no fear. My growing fears and anxiety were like a sign of failure and weakness to me and I was terribly ashamed.

I was the one my mother and sister, more reticent and naturally shy, would look to or depend on to do the talking, sort of lead and take over if we were out and about. I liked this aspect of myself - I liked to be strong and dependable; someone that made others feel comfortable while I sort of took the reins. As this ability in me dwindled, I became much more introverted and solitary. I am no longer the social person I used to be. I've always preferred to stay at home, but that has grown into a leaving-home-makes-me-panic scenario. I am ashamed to even have to admit it and furious with myself for being weak.

A lot of it - I am sure - stems from the severe depression I was thrown into after my first surgery failed. I had to re-learn how to be comfortable in my own skin; for almost two years I felt like a prisoner in my body - a being that existed only in the mind looking out from the eyes of the broken shell I inhabited. Though I attended holidays and social functions, I was never truly "there". The ability to walk about and mingle was gone, too, so I often found a place to sit and sat there like a stump silently crying that I could not join in or be part of the activities and gaiety surrounding me. Isolation was my life.

This faded to some degree as I learned to live a now disabled life, and re-learned how to "live" inside my broken body. I learned new ways of coping, of surviving, and getting around. I can say I am never truly "comfortable", but even that is something you get used to. However, I do believe this left a (hopefully not) permanent scar on my psyche...so that now I am not the outgoing, extrovert that I once was.

It doesn't help matters that I have an obvious, severe limp with my "frozen" leg and often have to use a cane or even a wheelchair to get about. People stare. I can say that it doesn't bother me, but it does. I'm not like everyone else anymore, and I may never be.

Add to all of that struggle the fact that my brain is chemically imbalanced; even for a regular person learning to live with a painful disability would be challenging - it is even moreso for someone who is naturally prone to depression, anxiety, and mania.

All of this has accumulated and I - at this point in my life - was going downhill rather quickly. I knew it, I felt it, and I pondered when the end would finally come. At some point, I realized, I was going to totally lose it. A nervous breakdown would have been the least of it; suicide the worst.

This didn't frighten me as much as you might think. In fact, in some ways, I wished for it to come. I was that miserable. I knew I could not continue to live with this warring in my brain for much longer.

Then, suddenly, things changed. I got a new primary doctor - one who cares about his patients. (Why I left my old one is an upcoming post) I got referred to a new pain management specialist, who also cares about her patients. Sadly, since 2002 when all of this began for me, a doctor who gives a crap has been nearly impossible to find. And now, I have two.

I have been put on Lyrica...and it is changing my life. I started it on Friday night (April 25) and by Monday was noticing a difference. My pain management doctor is working me up to 75mg twice a day - but I am already seeing results at 50mg.

Lyrica "tricks" my brain into thinking there is no or less pain (or at least makes me okay to deal with it). Since starting it, my intake of Lortab (I was on Hydrocodone 10mg) has decreased noticeably. Whereas I was having to take upwards of 4-6 pills a day (something I constantly worried about and the consequences to my liver), so far on Lyrica I can get by with 2-4 pills a day. I am hoping even that will lessen as I increase my Lyrica dosage.

Not only has my pain improved, my mind has! It has been nothing short of a miracle. My pain management doctor explained that Lyrica is also a mood stabilizer and will help with my anxiety. And has it ever! By Tuesday morning, I realized, I felt...

It's really hard to say it because I can't believe it myself. I felt HAPPY. I vaguely remembered the feeling and Rose estimated it's probably been close to two years since I've felt that way. Instead of worrying about everything with my mind racing, I was just...ok...and "in the moment". I walked into our breakroom that morning and stopped to enjoy the beautiful sun rays coming in the window and was stunned. I was appreciating the moment, enjoying the sun, and my mind was not worrying or running crazy in the background. I marveled at this, and wondered, "Is this how other people feel?".

It's only the second day of feeling "ok" and I'm scared to be too hopeful, but so far so good. My pain is already less and I think we can make it manageable. My mood has improved in leaps and bounds - Baret is stunned at the difference in me - and I now have two good, caring doctors who are going to help me heal in all the ways I need to. Of course part of me is terrified to be too hopeful - that has blown up in my face so many times in the past - but I can't help but feel this is it, this time I am going to get "fixed".

And so that is that and where I've been and where I am. At this very moment I couldn't be happier - something I haven't been able to say for a very long time. Cheers.

An Apology, Long Overdue

Friday, December 15th, 2006

In high school, we were inseparable - The Terror Twins II, remember? After graduation, our lives went in very different directions - we stayed friends, but eventually we drifted apart, too.

When old demons - demons so dark you obviously couldn't even share them with your best friend - came to haunt you, I failed you. I was angry at past hurts, frustrated with the way you were becoming, so very busy and caught up in my own life and its many problems. Excuses all, and I'm sorry. I was wrong - I wasn't there when you needed me most.

I noticed a change in you; I knew something was wrong. But my own anger kept me from reaching out to you. I never assumed it was something dark, deep, and sinister. I figured you were aggravated with daily life, felt unfulfilled in some way, and would "get over it"; I'd never known you to be truly depressed for any length of time. I was frustrated with you - with the choices I saw you making, too; I can't lie about that. I assumed your problems were brought on by the bad choices you were making - and you know us, Scorpios - I, in turn, felt little sympathy. Forgive me; you know I can be a cold-hearted bitch - it's one of the things you love about me, right?

I really thought you would be okay; that you would snap out of it, that something would spark joy in your heart again - I didn't know how to reach you in the places you were. Still, I should have tried harder. I'm sorry for that. I'm sorry for everything. I'm sorry I never sat down and had "the talk" with you I'd been meaning to - to clear the air between us - to get off my chest the things I was angry at you for, and let you do the same (I know you were angry at me, too, in some ways). I missed "us" - I always have.

Please don't ever think I stopped loving you, that I ever stopped thinking of you as my terror twin; I never did. I was angry, I was frustrated, and yes, I was distant. All I can do is apologize; we're such different people, the Adult us, you know? I should've tried harder; I know that. I'm sorry for letting you down but I love you to pieces and I want so very much for you to be okay.

I can't change the past, but I can work on the future. I'm here for you - I won't let you fall alone like that again. I'm sorry and I love you and I hope we have a second chance...I hope, more than anything, that YOU have a second chance. Because you deserve one; you have a bright and beautiful soul and all of us miss that spark and that special glow. Come back to us, please - and we'll all do everything we can to help you through this.

I love you.

Wiggin’ The Fuck Out

Friday, April 7th, 2006

First, I'd like to thank Rose for my latest crack-like obsession, consumating.com. I'll not soon forget this, Rose, my dear! I.can't.stop.

So the meds...not going so great. All was peachy 'til I upped the Strattera from 50mg to 60mg (as my doc told me to). Now it's Shanna's-a-fucking-whack-job city around here, folks. I'm surprised The Worm hasn't gone running for the hills by now; I sure as hell would have. Who in their right mind wants to put up with a catatonic patient who can't get out of bed that suddenly turns into a hand-wringing, muttering psycho who thinks she's dying of a heart attack? Fun times, folks, fun fucking times.

I read online - and I was told by a friend who would know - and my sister and her boyfriend-who-would-know told me - that docs are bad for putting people on too high a dosage of Stattera to start; that it should start out at 18mg-20mg and slowly work up to a higher dose. What happens to people who get on too high a dose too fast? Some are fine, others - like yours truly - suffer with panic attacks, depression and suicidal thoughts that suddenly appear at the end of the day.

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O.K....WordPress and/or AMHosting decided to just FUCK ME and zap out and lose half of my venting, trying to make myself feel better post, so I'm going to go throw some things around the room and smoke a few cigarettes before I KILL SOMEONE. GGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Mental Update

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

Over the weekend, I was able to talk to a trusted friend who is very familiar with the world of mental problems and the medication that is prescribed to help it. Her advice on the Lamictal was not to take it if I did not feel comfortable with it or the doctor (I didn't). She said she felt the doc shouldn't have prescribed something so strong for me right at the start without any additional therapy or tests to see if *needed* something like that.

I made the decision to start off smaller. Lamictal is said to be prescribed for those that didn't take well or get relief from other anti-depressants. Years ago, Zoloft worked for me. I have the starter pack and a 'scipt my primary care doc gave to me before I saw the psychiatrist, and I started it last night. We'll see how the Zoloft works out. If it does work, I won't even have to get on the much stronger stuff.

Thanks to all of you for the kind words and wonderful support. It really does help to know that, no matter what, I'm not alone.

Coming Out the Crazy Closet

Friday, May 20th, 2005

Okay...the jig is up. There's been a lot of days-long absences, and lack of quality posting around here and you guys deserve an explanation. No, you do. You come here faithfully every few days, you check on me, you voice your concern when I go M.I.A. - you care and I want you to know what's up.

As I've mentioned on and off here in the past, I am struggling with mental problems. These have recently gone from bad to worse to absolutely unlivable. Everything sends me into a panic, the simplest of tasks seem overwhelming and nerve-wracking, and even my sleep, which is usually unfettered and my only escape, has been afflicted.

For example, driving to and from work is hard. I am nervous, shaky and unexplainably afraid. Of what, I couldn't tell you. I just am. It's like that a lot now. I'm terrified. Added to my growing mental-problems' inventory is now, also, social anxiety. Whoopee. The blunt, outspoken and normally charismatic, open and friendly me has become quiet, withdrawn and jittery at the thought of being around large numbers of people. Even going out to dinner, which I love, is difficult lately.

If I had to categorize it, I say it's a hefty amount of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, mixed in with a healthy dose of Severe Depression, a smattering of Social Anxiety, and all backed up by a solid case of Bipolar Disorder. And there's the Self-Mutilation thrown in, time to time, for good measure. Yes, I've been cutting again.

Not exactly the most fun way to live life, I can assure you. So how bad has it gotten? I've decided to take the Happy-Pills-Plunge. Yes, I'm finally admitting that I need extra help to get out of this slump/funk/crack that I've fallen so deep into. You might remember, in the past, that I had a pretty firm don't-want-to-do-that stance on taking pills. Yet, I told you on May 11 that I was going to the doc and ask to be put on Lexapro. A bit more has happened since then, and I've been trying to deal with it - trying to get it straight in my own head before I came out with it here.

Then, this morning, I read EJ's wonderful & brave post about her own struggles with mental problems and medication, and I knew it was time to speak out. Thanks, EJ; it takes courage to "come out" like that, but you did it beautifully. Everyone who's struggled with this kind of stuff should take a moment to read her poignant poem "Bi-Polar".

To bring you up to speed, my doctor prescribed Zoloft rather than Lexapro, because I'd been on it years before and it had helped. But he wanted me to see a psychiatrist. I did so; she wasn't the nicest of people but was very to-the-point and professional (almost too much so) - the only time she showed any emotion is when she asked to see my scars. She did a double-take and an astonished, "Oh my god"; nothing like shocking the seasoned veterans, I tell ya. She said she did not think Zoloft would be enough for me and prescribed Lamictral.

I'd never heard of it, but I've learned a lot from scouring the 'Net the last few days. I'm terrified - of course - about taking any medication, and my spirits weren't buoyed to read labels on the pill bottle saying "Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while on this medication" and "Wear identification that says you are taking this medication while on it". Nice. If anyone has been, or knows someone that has been (or is), on Lamictral, please share your stories with me.

My body has a weird way of reacting to medicines, so we'll have to see how it goes. In the past few days I've bounced around from deciding not to take it all to giving it a try on Saturday (when I'm home and have nothing to do, in case of a bad reaction). Right now I'm planning to take it, but that could change. I'm scared.

I just wanted all of you to know what is going on with me, why I've been so distant or not really here. The simple act of living has become almost impossible to maintain, and I've just been trying to fix myself. All I know is that I'm tired of living - or not living - like this. I'm tired of crying, of being stressed out, of having panic attacks, of being scared all of the time. It isn't me; not the real me - I'm not like this. Let's hope this journey I'm about to begin can lead me back to the old Shanna.

All the Drama In My Head

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

I wish I could say I've been away because of my wisdom tooth, but that would only be a half-truth. The docs have me on antibiotics (the pain was the result of a bad infection) and I go in on Friday to have all four of the suckers removed.

But my absence can be attributed to other factors, considering I'm not in constant and agonizing pain anymore. I'm depressed. I don't know exactly when it started but this blackness has been growing and threatening to swallow me up for some time now. Worse than that, I'm stressed; not for any real reason in particular - rather, the simplest tasks throw me in a tizzy. Every little thing overwhelms me. Not that many years ago I was cool-headed and laid-back. Now I'm a freakin' basket case, panicking over the slightest events that present themselves. Driving to the post office has become a nerve-wracking ordeal for me.

I know it has something to do with my on going leg problems - as you know, complications stemming from surgery I had almost three years ago (the original surgery was in July of 2002). I'm quite aware of how living near-cripple for this long period, and with no end in sight really, has made me bitter and anxious. I know I need to fight, but I still don't know what I'm supposed to do exactly. I was making a lot of progress after the "clean-up" surgery I had last summer, but the winter threw me for a bad loop; when the cold came in I froze up stiffer than a board and was unable to continue my rigorous physical therapy I was giving myself. The last visit with my doc (in March) did not go well; he says I'm almost as stiff and "frozen" as I was before the surgery and he wanted to see me again in six weeks. He told me to up the weight pressure from the Dynasplint (yes, I still sleep in that thing every night) and he expected me to be more straight when I returned. The progress wasn't good, so I simply didn't go back. I know that's bad, but... I'm tired of bad news; I just don't know if my battered soul can take much more of it.

When you're depressed, which I have been since all of this started, you lose the will to fight. It has hindered my progress with recovery, I know it. I give up when, before, I would've continued to fight. A few weeks ago I made the decision to get some help. We all know therapy didn't do it for me, and I go see the doctor on Thursday to ask him to put me on happy pills; I've finally succumbed to the fact that I'm in so deep I'm going to need some help getting back out.

I'm going to try my hand at Lexapro, which numerous friends and acquaintances have recommended for depression and generalized anxiety-disorder. They claim it has no side effects, and has worked wonderfully for them. I know a good friend who has been taking it a year, and have noticed the positive effect it's had on him.

Once I get my mind straight, I can begin to focus on my leg again. It's nearly impossible to stay trained on such a time-consuming and serious recovery when you're suffering from daily panic attacks and a general feeling of "uck".

I sat down this morning to write a post about flying fingernails, and all of this just poured out of me. It's helped me put things in perspective, though. As always, thank you all for your continued support. Someday I'll have all of this beat.

Pondering Death

Monday, January 24th, 2005

As you all know by now, Johnny Carson died this weekend. I suppose I am getting old b/c when I mentioned this in the EQII zone I was in last night someone actually responded with, "Really? Who is he?" I bet if I'd of said "Ashlee Simpson just died" they would've known who I was talking about. -sigh- Such is the world we live in - we'll never understand the generations that follow us. I'm sad to see him go - we have definitely lost a legend.

Before I heard about Carson's death, my best friend called from his parents' home. This in itself was odd, so I knew something must be up. Nodnarb and I have been best friends for 20-something years. We went to Kindergarten together and graduated high school together - we worked our main high school job together, took Driver's Ed together, and were each other's dates for both Junior and Senior homecoming dances and proms. In a few short days, all by chance, he is going to be my neighbor. Our lives always, invariably, end up intertwining. So when I saw he was calling from his hometown I knew it had to be some interesting gossip or tidbit about someone we once knew in our younger years. Sadly, he told me that he'd just found a newspaper clipping on the fridge that told of the death of one of our classmates; one that had graduated with us and had been with us, before that, since 2nd grade. He died in a large car accident in another state - having moved and started a family there a few years ago.

I've often commented how lucky we were that no one in our graduating class of 65 had died. I know that isn't the norm - everyone I know has someone they graduated with that didn't make it very far into their adult years. It's sad to think that he died the year we would've been having our 10 year reunion. The whole thing is sad - he'd been married around five years and had a 6 mos. old son; when he died he was delivering Bibles and Christian publications. He was, as I remember him, completely sweet and very funny - a genuinely all-around good guy. As the article I found on his death said he hadn't changed much in the past ten years. One person commented that he was like "a ray of sunshine" when he walked in the room, that he made everyone smile.

It's a strange thing when someone your age dies; especially when you once knew that person. It makes you wake up and remember that Death is never that far from any of us - that any day it could come. It makes me more appreciative of the time I have with those still here - more conscious of enjoying every minute that I've got left.