Anxiety Shopping

She’s in the grocery store pushing her cart; the territory is familiar. The aisles seem tighter than usual and she begins talking to herself. It used to be that the talking was in her head, but as people pass her by, now they wonder who she’s speaking to. Yelling at. Making fun of.

“You leave your cart on the left side of the freezer section aisle, but you are actually on the right hand side of the freezer aisle picking something out. There’s a box of God knows what in the center selling something for pets and I can’t get by.”

So she stands there waiting.

“Excuse me!”

That time she knew she was yelling out loud. The “Oh, sorry…” didn’t fill the void of anger as she continues her shopping in agony because people and noise and disruption are all part of her triggers.

Today she only needed a handful of items so the self-checkout was there and waiting. She mentally prepared herself for the woman inside the machine who told her what to do, step by step, usually a step behind what she was already doing.

Put the item in the bag…

I already DID!

Remove the item from the bag and place in on the scale…

What the fuck for?

Place the item in the bag…

Oh, you mean the one where it was before you dumb bitch!

Select method of payment…

I already scanned my card!

Don’t forget to take your bags…

Why in the fuck would I go through all of this and forget to take my bags?

Thank you…

People are listening and staring, and she actually cares but she rushes out of the store in hopes those same people won’t be there next time she returns.

—Actually me in every store!!

Depression is a Lying Bastard

Depression is filled with lies and ugly underlying issues.

It hovers over you whispering sweet nothings into your ear…You stupid bitch! What are you doing with your life? You’re nothing and you’ll never amount to anything. 
I’d tell it to screw off on a normal day but depression tricks you into thinking the lies are the truth.

Depression not only gets into your own head, but the heads of others. The people in your life get a little gust of wind blown at them and start saying things to you that you’re already thinking and make you feel even worse about yourself.

Don’t you think this is bad timing? Oh! This isn’t a convenient time for YOU to turn MY LIFE upside down? What was I thinking?

Depression lies. It steals. It makes you do things you don’t want to do. It makes you say things you’ve been holding in for far too long. It makes you silent. It grabs hold of your throat and gasp for breath. It makes you think far too strong. It makes you stare into the beyond.

I just want to be happy.

I want help.

I want my problems to be someone else’s problems.

I want to smile and fucking mean it.

I want to tell you I’m Fine and feel it.

I want more.

I fucking deserve more.

Depression is a lying bastard.

Tell Me How You Really Feel

{This was originally written before the holidays and is brutally honest. Honesty goes a long way and often makes others feel less alone.}

I took a shower. Washed my hair. Shaved my legs. All of this to feel squeaky clean and smooth when I put my sweatpants back on.

Beneath is a new pair of underwear, which really does make all the difference in the world when the rest of you is a ratty old piece of shit.

I’m wearing a 13 year old sports bra complete with holes, old stains from dying my hair and is too stretched to even make a difference. But it does a phenomenal job soaking up boob sweat.

I was going to take a bath today. Put on some music loud enough to hear in my bathroom. Read a book while soaking in the tangerine scented bubbles. But that would mean I’d have to clean the tub first and who the fuck wants to go to that extreme?

There’s a sheet of ice outside and snow is falling. So delicate and serene. It’s a good thing I’ll be staying home today. Alone. With the threatening voice in my head whispering sweet nothings into my ear. So much so that I can’t concentrate on the Netflix marathon of movies I added for this day.

I try to read but I’m not grasping what’s happening on the pages, which sucks because I really want to read this book. It’s peculiar and smart and dirty and one day I’ll get through it and understand what it’s about.

Maybe I should vacuum the house. Maybe I should pour a glass of wine, or better yet, a whiskey on the rocks. Maybe some Klonopin would make me not feel what I’m already not feeling. Maybe I should work on writing the half dozen stories I started and haven’t touched in weeks. Maybe I should try to forget that the voices are reminding me of the fresh, unopened bottles of pills that are still in my purse because I’m too afraid to place them in the cabinet. Within reach.

Depression is a motherfucker. It lies. It steals. It makes you do things you don’t want to do. It makes you say things you’ve been holding in for far too long. It makes you silent. It grabs hold of your throat and gasp for breath. It makes you think far too strong. It makes you stare into the beyond. It makes you scratch at your skin, just to feel something-even pain-leaving fingertips warm and covered in blood.

“They” say people get depressed around the holidays. Funny thing to say to someone who is clinically depressed all the days of the year.

Know Your Medication

I’ve had some bad psychiatrists over the years, but I’ve had a couple of good ones too. Some play the role of a higher power (or wish they could do so on TV) and others sit back and write prescriptions to get through their shift. Many will (and should) work with you and not against you.

The first time I stepped foot in a psychiatrist’s office, I didn’t know what to expect. When I left his office, even in the state of mind I was in, I knew I was going to have to be involved in my mental health care. I was going to have to hit the interwebs (reputable sources) and study my illness as well as the medications that treat the illness.

Some individuals walk into any doctor’s office and take their word because they went to medical school. In my opinion, this isn’t the way to care for your well-being.

When it comes to psychotropics, you have to be informed. There are different trial and errors for every medication but I’m going to focus on psychotropics today.

Many psychotropic medications require blood work before you can even begin taking them. Doctors are testing for things such as glucose levels, platelet counts and the thyroid hormone. Some of these medications can cause diabetes, hypothyroidism, a white blood cell count differential, impairment of kidney function, liver disease, and the list goes on…

The tests are completed before taking new medication to have a starting point of your blood levels to be monitored during the course of treatment.

If you’re in the clear to take the new medication, labs are tested again down the road (depending on what you’re taking-the timing will vary) to recheck your levels. Doses may need to be adjusted accordingly. The tests don’t stop there. Regular testing, especially during dose changes, will be a part of your life. Hopefully less often as it takes effect and you’re on level ground again.

Not all medications require such lengths before you can take them. Recently I was faced with making a decision of my own with my psychiatrist (because I don’t let my doctors decide for me, they’re there to hand me the info and we conclude together). Do I:

 A. Not change medications right away, get my labs drawn, wait up to two weeks then figure out what to do…

— or

B. Change to something that doesn’t require blood work so I can get to feeling less like death immediately and then move back to plan A should I need additional help…

I went with plan B. Why? I couldn’t say for a fact that I’d still be around when the lab results arrived. My symptoms are that bad.

My point? Work with your doctor. Don’t just do what he tells you to do. If you’re being treated by a doctor that will only keep seeing you if you do everything he says, he’s not a good doctor. Make decisions together. Do your research. Know what you have to do prior to swallowing something new. Know the common side-effects and the rare side-effects. You may be one in the small percentage who experiences these side-effects, but it’s important to have the information on hand. Researching after the fact can be devastating. In my personal recent experience, my doctor insisted that a good portion of the effects I’m feeling wasn’t from the medications. He only said that it was possible, in quite a weary tone.

Be armed. Be informed. Be ready to fight for what you know. Be ready to fight for what you want.

Your doctor is experienced and shouldn’t brush you off because your time limit is up. He should stick by your side until you’re comfortable enough moving forward with your health plan, and be at the ready if you have questions in the interim.