Begin again.

I’ve been scared to write for the past while. It’s not something that I have had to deal with in the past. I’ve always found words to be able to explain myself or to vent my feelings or even to help other people out. I find myself more and more afraid of sharing in the most recent weeks.

I went to the doctor here recently and was prescribed more medication. It has been a rough time adjusting to that and my other meds. I am finding it much harder to focus and to write and be creative. It has gotten bad enough that I haven’t posted in over a week which is something that I haven’t done since starting my blog over two years ago. Words don’t flow the way they used to and even the simplest tasks seem harder now days. I’ve even been contemplating not continuing my blog and ending it where it stands now.
I have decided against doing so.
I know my blog has been an inspiration to quite a few people. I have received more than one note or letter from people telling me how much they appreciate me writing and helping them through difficult times. I feel somewhat responsible for helping continue to help people out through tough times in their lives. That is not something I can throw away very lightly.
And so I asked my dear friends, please bare with me over the next coming weeks as I am continuing to adjust to this new life on more meds. I have recently started a overnight stocking job for a large retail company as well to keep things mixed up. I also had some other interesting life news happen that I cannot share at this time. Some of that news was good and some of it was bad. Rest assure I will continue to do my best to help encourage others, and continue documenting my journey through depression and anxiety and other invisible disabilities.
I thank you all who read this. Know that I love each and everyone of you and I look forward to bringing you more words of wisdom and encouragement.

#hugapony my friends.

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Pilling around.

I had another doctor’s visit this past week. My regular 3 month follow-up. It was supposed to be a regular check up but this was my first one since my asking about my condition and fibromyalgia. It was a bit hard to accept a negative response when I first asked about it. I was told it was all in my head and I was dismissed. It was not what I thought my doctor who has helped me so much would do to me.

I went in to the exam room and had all my vitals checked (lost 2 pounds at 210, 126/80, 97.1 temp). Chatted with the nurse, who knows me on sight now, about my emotional support dog and how much he is helping. Small talk. She left and I waited in silence.

After 5 minutes my doctor came in.

She asked how I was doing and I told her not very well. My pain had been flaring up quite a bit, life was still very stressful with moving into a new apartment (and dealing with new management and other issues), my wife being in another car accident (she was OK but is doing physical therapy because of injuries sustained), and surviving several other private things that I cannot share here.

She listened as she checked my lungs and commented a word or two of concern when needed. She then said she had been looking over my case and she agreed that she might have been too hasty in her decision to dismiss my claims, especially in light of me having increased pain. She was going to add another prescription to my usual medication to help with the pain.

I was surprised but happy to have her, in my opinion, back on my side looking out for me.

 

I went home and filled all my meds and in the next few days dealt with the addition of more side effects (all three of my meds cause drowsiness and dizziness) and my body trying to respond to them. It has been a rough weekend for me.

I have had to rely on my family and friends quite a bit as I have had more than several moments of having to clutch the wall in a dizzy spell, falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon, not mixing them up or overdosing, and making sure I am not driving. I am not sure people know the responsibility of taking medications. There is a lot more work than people know.

Making sure to keep track of them (there is a fantastic app called Medisafe that tracks when to take something, how many pills you have, and when to refill) is a part-time job. You become a pharmacist, almost, with knowing what to take, how to take it, when to take it.  You have to check in with those around you to see how badly its affecting you because your reality is skewed. You fight to maintain your concentration in the simplest tasks. You get criticized because you are on medication and you are weak and just need to feel better.

I am here to tell you that it is OK to need medication to help you.

I am here to encourage you that it is OK to get help.

I am here to tell you to talk to your doctor to get help.

I am here to tell you to stop listening to those who criticize.

Only you know what you are going through. I understand the struggle and the need for help. I have lived with the pain daily. It is beyond OK to look for help in your life. Lets end all the shaming in being prescribed medication BECAUSE YOUR BRAIN IS SICK. If you had a kidney infection or diabetes, you would take antibiotics or insulin to help your body. This is considered normal. The brain should be treated the same way.

Sometimes it can be therapy (stuffed or otherwise).

Sometimes it takes medication.

There is no shame in asking for help.

I’m not.

#hugapony

 

The Great Unknown.

It has not been a good day/week/month/year mentally. I have undergone many a issue. I have worked harder on finding out more about myself and what is going on. I have worked harder on myself and my illness. I have tried to make things change. I have pushed to have more control over my life.

And I feel back behind square one.

Square Zero.

I am tired of being tired. I am tired of being sick. I am tired of hurting every single day. I am tired of being a mess.

I decided to write what I feel and what goes through my head when I am having a bad day. I wanted to show what goes through my head and what my mind is telling me. I wanted to see on paper and hold my issues in my hand. Try and see the tangible evidence of my mind spiraling out of control. I only wrote for about a minute, but it was not pretty.

I AM SELF-CENTERED. I am an idiot. I am a horrid person. I am a failure. I bring everyone down around me. No one wants me. No one actually cares for me. No one wants to give me anything. No one wants to do something for me without wanting something in return. I always feel guilty, even when sitting and reading. I don’t take care of the kids. I don’t fulfill anyone’s hopes, dreams, desires. I am not attractive. 

I am trying to sort through just went through my head what my mind tells me.

I know I am not a complete failure. (But you fail at so much)

I know I take care of my kids. (You don’t do enough)

I know people care for me. (They are just faking or feeling sorry for you out of pity)

I know my wife and kids love me. (They have to, they don’t have a choice)

I should not feel guilty about sitting and reading. (You are lazy for taking time for yourself and need to be helping others or cleaning or anything but what you want to do)

My mind is a battleground. I wanted share this with everyone. Not for pity or help. But to show that I suffer as well. I fight each day. I have people fighting with me. I am seeking new ideas and ways to help/sort/better myself.

You are not alone, dear reader.

Even holding the card in my hand, I see myself and almost want to take pity on me. I have to write things down to get them out of my head? Worthless. Even now I struggle to be free of my mind.

Even now I hug a pony.

 

 

 

I wish I had Cancer

Cancer is a disease that people can relate to and under. The causal head nod, followed by the “I’m so sorry” makes it so people understand that something serious is going on. People hear it and recognize that a person is going through one of the most difficult things to go through. One of our closest family friends is a cancer survivor. Eight years ago she got a terminal diagnosis. She says her first thought was “Thank God it’s cancer and not depression.”

Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses don’t carry that same weight. People don’t understand and cannot see the changes. Family, friends, and even doctors all look at you and say “It is all in your head”. While they are not false, this makes it seem like I have the ability to change my illness and “Just feel and act better and you will BE better”. It is easy to forget that these illnesses can be just as deadly.

Here are some statistics on depression/suicide.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
  • The suicide rates decreased from 1990-2000 from 12.5 suicides per 100,000 to 10.4 per 100,000.  Over the past decade, however, the rate has again increased to 12.1 per 100,000. Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 12.3 minutes. (CDC)
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. (CDC)
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • 80% -90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TADS)
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)

With all this data, why is there such a stigma around mental and neurological disorders? Why are people so quick to judge? Why is it so hard to believe it IS all in my head due to my head having an illness.

It is frustrating trying to explain why you can’t focus on the happy. Your mind looks and seeks the flaws. You go and find thinks to fill the gaps in your day so the anxiety doesn’t catch up to you. You just try to stay ahead of the wave that is threatening to drown you.

And people stare at you.

They wonder why you are so different. They wonder why you can’t just feel better. They just want you to be normal. They are tired of you and all the baggage that you carry. They get tired of you and how you act.

Believe me, if I could just “Man up” and be a better person, I would have done it years ago.

No, I would never want or wish on anyone cancer. It is a terrible disease and I am glad so much time and research goes into it. I just want people to understand that mental health issues can be just as dangerous and deadly. Keeping people’s mental state in order so they can live better lives should be a focus for everyone.

I’ll step off my soapbox now.

#hugapony

#prayers4dallas

I am calling for prayers and good will to those of us here in Dallas. This was 15 min away from were I live. This is way too close to home for me. I will resume normal posts at a later date. I and my family and friends are fine. I pray for peace for the families of the fallen. Thank you to those who serve.

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#weallneedaponytonight

Updating life, please stand by.

I have been busy. I have been stressed out. I look at Bilbo Baggins talking about butter being scraped over too much bread with deep set envy. I long for days of “normal”.

I have hit a very rough patch. My meds are fickle at best at the moment. I have been sick for 2 weeks because my anxiety has shut down my immune system. My stress keeps me up nights. I stay up till 3 or 4 in the morning but still manage to wake up at 9 am or earlier because stress and heartburn from my stress wake me up. I stumble out to pills and coffee and spend the next 2 hours trying to find energy or the will power to do anything but just sit.

But it is in very short supply.

People don’t understand that anxiety makes you focus on everything and you can’t stop. You are hyper sensitive to you, those around you, outside events that you have no control over. You can’t push them to the back of your mind. You can’t “just act better”. “Just go make a difference in your life” is not an available option.

Depression then feeds on you as you slide down the hole which anxiety beats you down into.

I am beat up. I will keep fighting. I hope to feel better soon. I hope life returns to normal.

Resetting life is fun.

#hugapony my friends.

Failure

It is 3 am and I cannot sleep. Thoughts flowing through my head as I think back at what today was. I started today hopeful, yet it crashed.

Hard.

I had an amazing job opportunity. It was a contract run for a subsidiary for Google. It was parttime, work at home, with some amazing pay. I could stay with my girls, still watch the kid that I babysit, keep the house clean, and Gail would be still able to do her job.

Unfortunately it was not to be.

The application process was pretty straightforward. I had quite a few verification checks on my credentials as far as the position. It required tons of social media experience and website design experience which, while I did not have schooling, this blog is more than helped me be able to say I have experience running a website and knowing what to look for in one. And of course this blog is helping me with social media connections that I have made.

I then had a test that I was required to take with three parts. With this test came a large training manual that I was supposed to study. I was given a week to be able to go through the study materials and take the exams. Two of the major warnings about the test. First, once you begin the test you were not able to stop. Second, if you failed any single part of the test you could not move on to the next part of the test and you would be removed from the program and not able to reapply.

Ever.

But it seemed fate was not on my side this day.

I spent most of the day studying a good 8 hours or so. I did all the right things. I made sure to have Alpha brain wave study music going. I made sure to study when there were minimal distractions. And it’s been quite a while since college so I have not used to study as much as I used to be. Still, I did all I could to ensure a proper study regime.

As I was finishing this first day of study in the training material they had a “Here’s the website you’re going to be using for your work and to take the test button. Click on it to check it out.” When I clicked on it and inspected the website as they had instructed me to do so, everything decided to make a turn for the worse.

The website decided to go ahead and launch this test, with me only being less than a day prepared for a 7-Day examination. My heart raced as I realize that I just started a test I could not stop. I started working through the test and to my surprise, I felt I was doing well. I understood the material that been given to me. The questions were true/false questions, not my personal favorite but they still were not as difficult as any essay questions that I had taken.

At the end of the test I hit submit and thought I had done the best I possibly could have and felt pretty good about it.

I had a 15-minute wait for an email would be sent to me to inform me that I could start the next part of the exam which should have taken another day or two to prepare and go through it. As I was reviewing the material and going through my information for the next step I received the email.

I had failed.

For the life of me, I don’t understand what questions I had missed. It was an open book exam and the answers that I had given were taken straight from the textbook. Even thinking back on it now I still don’t know what questions I got wrong and unfortunately the test providers would not give me the answers I sought. I was informed that due to security reasons, I could not be told my result other than a pass/fail.

For someone with anxiety, failing a test I think is one of the worst possible things that you can experience. Especially one that you studied and think you’re going to do well. When you’ve studied and you have prepared yourself and you feel a little bit confident (a rare thing for me) that you know the material. It gives you a sense of pride because you’ve done the best you could possible. It is a rare feeling for someone with anxiety because so rarely do we experience pride or that feeling of preparation. For me to fail this test felt like someone had taken the rug that I was standing on and pulled it out from underneath me.

And then came the guilt.

This has been the best opportunity I’ve had in quite a while to be able to support my family in this fashion. I even had the great opportunity of it being in a field that I am currently in with blog writing and the like. This is also was to be a great boon as my family looks for a new place to live and having a nice consistent paycheck with a decent pay was going to be a particular godsend for us. As my mind slowly turned against me I thought about how much I failed my wife and my kids.

This horrific side effect of anxiety is the one that just deeply troubles me the most. It’s where your brain uses all its resources to convince you, you are your worst fear. Most people think that depression and anxiety can be the same thing at times. Depression is the absence of feelings inside you, emptiness. Anxiety is the feeling of everything wrong with you and it’s your fault.

Having both of them as hell.

I went through my regular progression of dealing with my anxiety. I grabbed one blanket I grabbed my pony and I curled up on my bed and just tried to block out everything. I did not have anyone to distract me because everyone had gone to church to leave me to study. Being alone was probably the best thing for me at that moment. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of how stupid of a person I was then I couldn’t pass an open book exam. My brain continued the mutiny against me.

My wife came home concerned because I had turned off my phone and she couldn’t reach me. She always does the best she can when I’m in anxiety fit. She got my daughter’s ready for bed made sure I was left alone and make sure that if I need anything just to ask. My roommate at this time came in and saw that I had failed the test on Facebook. He took a moment to pray over me and I really do thank him for taking the time to think of me.

It just takes a few small moments with loving people to break you out.

It’s been a hard day my friends. I hope you have better news soon. All I know is that I have to keep trying and I plan to continue to do so.

Hug a pony my friends.

#stuffedtherapy

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Hill climbing.

I have had a bad week. I hit chronic pain levels I had not hit in a long time. My body hit a new bottom, ending with me being hit with a case of acid reflux so bad I had fluids coming out of both ends of my body. Not the pretty picture you want to read with your morning coffee I am sure.

But hey, chronic living is not pretty life.

I do want to say that when these dips and valleys in life hit, it becomes hard to post and to replay to people. Real life friends and blog commentators all seem to fall to the wayside. That further deepest the pit of despair that someone like me lives in. My bottom hit with me coming home after a very long day and going to straight to my bed, covering up in a My Little Pony blanket, grabbing my favorite plushie, put on a headset to block out all sound, and played music I know that helps calm me down. It took over 2 hours to get to a point to speak again. I remember clutching the headset to clamp it down over my ears to make sure all I heard was the music. It was my recovery time.

I started to try and pull myself out of the valley the next day when I was hit with the sickness that let me in bathroom for hours. Dehydration was the next thing to hit followed by the severe headache from not have the water in my system. I looked to my promise of making this year the best I have had in a while.

I looked for joy in others.

I saw my good friend just started on the road to starting his own business.

I saw my brother compete in his new sports car in a slalom event and hearing him giggle as he sped his car through the track.

I looked to my roommate who got a new mattress for his room and cleaned out all the old junk and is starting fresh.

I took the joys of others and I pressed forward. It was then that I got news for myself.

A job opportunity.

I found a part time position (10-20 hours a week) that I can work from home on my computer. This will allow me to still homeschool and watch my daughters, let me keep babysitting my friends 2 year old during the week, and I wont have to take up the vehicle so my wife can continue to pursue her dream of being the breadwinner and keep her business going.

Talk about a break.

Now I still have tests to pass and get the little details worked out but I have gotten my foot in the door and am at least going to be given the opportunity to help out the family more. My prayers could be answered in this.

I still have a few major items, like finding a new place to stay in a month, make enough money to pay the bills, and find (also afford) another car, but I have at least gotten a foothold in the hill climb to get me out of a pit I have been in for several years now.

Is the light up there really reachable?

Time will tell. I will keep climbing and grasping for the light.

#stuffedtherapy

#hugapony

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El quick posting.

I had a 9 pain pain day yesterday. For those who don’t know, here is the pain chart.

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11 was when I had kidney stones for 3 days.

Ow.

I am trying to recover today (the aftermath). I spent most of the day on a heating pad, then iced it down. Needless to say I am back to my normal 4-6 that I am every day. Pain, the non welcome friend who never goes home.

#hugapony
#stuffedtherapy

The Reichenbach Fall

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I have worked hard these past few weeks to be more positive. I have tried to fight my depression and work through my anxiety when it rises. I have toiled and fought through in trying new things. I have helped quite a few people in this time. I appreciate all those who have messaged me and told me I had helped you. My medications have helped buffer the lower moments. So much going right.

And so much going wrong.

I have been putting the positive face on for a while now. I want to apologize for not being as open and honest with you, dear reader, as I should have been. I have put my faith and hope that I can do things and have problems work out. They have not worked.

And it has been a millstone around my neck.

I am currently trying to find another place to live as I am moving in May. I have been trying to find a job that I can do that does not interfere with my watching my daughters, homeschooling them, babysitting a little boy, and taking care of the house. I have started to look for some writing jobs even, as I believe I have done well on this blog. It just seems that life starts to fray apart instead of staying together.

My days of pain and sadness are slowly seeping in and I am trying to hold back the tide. I am just needing life to break free in just one area. I just want one personal problem to be resolved in a positive manner.

I have the inner fear of what effects this has on my family. My daughters already look into how stressed me and my wife are at times and they react to it. I already see my eldest daughter starting to face the anxiety demons that I have faced in the past. While I am glad I am there for her and can help her through it, it is still a burden.

I am doing my best to remain positive. I hope to continue to write and maybe get a job writing full-time. This blog is a place for me to share and vent. I hope to have better news in the future.

Until next time.

#hugapony