Saturday, 16 March 2013

Shrink Snag

I have started seeing a new counselor and I'm having trouble deciding to stick with it. I sought out a new shrink because I needed to find one covered by my medical pan, and I choose one with good reviews. I have had two sessions and I don't know if things are going in a helpful direction. I know it takes time to get going but my plan only provides $1000 coverage and at $130 an hour that isn't going to last long. I need to start getting better now.

It can be hard to be assertive in any situation. Being open about your needs can be even more difficult. I have trouble being assertive and after bringing up this issue on group I decided to write out my concerns in an email. It might be the cowardly way to do it, but at least important things are being said. I need to know that this treatment is going to help before I continue. I am tired of trying things that don't work. I need someone on my team who is willing to try something new.

here is what I wrote to my counselor:

Hello Dr,

Sometimes I have trouble speaking my mind so I thought I would try writing it down. I know we have only had two sessions together and that it takes time to improve depression and anxiety but I have been trying to do this for a long time now. I don’t seem to be getting much better. I am tired of trying to fix things using the same tools and getting the same crappy results.
Things I have tried in my efforts to decrease depression.

Antidepressants: wellbutrin, celexa, Prozac
Books: many including Feeling Feeling Good The New Mood Therapy By David D. Burns, M.D

Dr Kaiser Charlottetown
EAP phone counselor
Paul Leger Counselor
Dr Kate Weaver Fredericton

Alternative Medicine:

Writing in a journal, multiple variations
Deep breathing
Mental safe word
Support groups

Destructive tools:
Cutting, scratching, picking
Suicidal thoughts

Nothing helps. I am tired and frustrated. I only have $1000 in my health plan for counseling and I don’t want to spend it trying the same ineffective things over again. I know I am a difficult patient and before I continue I would like to know if you have any more effective tools, skills or recommendations. I need a medication stronger then the urge to drive my car into the river. A tool stronger then the urge to binge and purge. A sleeping aid that is better than a bottle of liquor. I need medicine that is going to make great changes, not infinitesimal ones.  I can’t keep living like this, can you help me, or know someone else who can?

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Not Responding To Treatment

Today has been a hard day. I have been putting off going to a new therapist, and today I finally made it to my appointment. It started off normally enough, filling out forms, discussing medical history and goals. Then I was asked to fill out some questionnaires  Anyone who has been to a therapist for depression or anxiety is familiar with the types of questionnaires that I am talking about. I filled them out and gave them back to be marked. 

I still scores very high on both tests. Unfortunately these are not the type of test you want to score high on. It seems despite the support groups, therapy, medication and countless self help books I am still severely depressed and have very bad anxiety. 

Apparently I am not responding to treatment, the tools I have don't work well, and my medication isn't working well. It's very disheartening, especially since I already feel so badly all of the time. It makes me want to give up. 

But I made an appointment for next week. I'm also setting something up with a nutritionist and I'm hopeful it will be next week too. I need to try some new things. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I'm not ready to give up yet, so the only other option is to keep trying. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Dis-Functioanl Nutrition

Recovering from an eating disorder is hard. Recovery while dealing with depression and anxiety is harder. And trying to fix yourself while still feeling suicidal occasionally is excruciating. Eating well takes on a whole new level of anxiety when if I believe if I get it wrong, I might just as well kill myself.

How do you even quantify eating well? Who do I listen to? The food guide, a book, a magazine, Dr Oz? Depending on the source the answers to how to eating well can be very different. I wish I knew where to turn for help. It is even more maddening because I am an education person, I took nutrition in University. I "know" how I should eat, I just can't do it. I keep flying over moderation and land in restriction or binge eating.

I am planning to get a consultation with a nutritionist soon, and I meet with a new therapist this week. I just need to make it through this week. I'm trying to at least reduce my purging, even if I can't manage to reduce the binges.  One day at a time.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Mom Drives Me To Drink!

I have a volatile relationship with my mother. Often I wont pick up the phone if I see it's her number. I will wait for her to leave a message and depending on her mood I will call her back or wait for another day. I know this probably isn't the best way to deal with her, and I certainly wont win Daughter of the Year but I have a responsibility to take care of myself. And sometimes that means not dealing with her drama.

I have a hard time understanding my mother. How can she be the same woman who used to do my hair every morning before elementary school that is now spreading harmful gossip and vicious rumors about her own family? That's why I let her calls go to voice mail often, I need to know which Mom is calling. Caring loving mom, or the Other Mom? Is she calling to chat, or to passive aggressively tell me what a disappointment I am? She is master of the insult compliment. Recently she told me that my new hair cut makes my face less fat. Thanks Mom. She used to rage against how my old job treated me until I quit. Then I was over sensitive and stupid to have thrown away such a great opportunity.

I used to react to these conversations by binge eating and purging. And I will admit I purged tonight after speaking with her for a scant 5 minutes. She hates my sister in laws, and she wants me to collect dirt on them from facebook. I refused and she accused me of being on their side, whatever that means. But after I recovered and got myself pulled together I decided I needed to find a better way of detoxing after her phone calls.

I have started juicing recently and I find that it has been helping me feel pretty good, if I leave out the grapefruit. And I decided to recover the nutrition lost in my purge by making some juice. Juicing allows me to get the nutrients from a variety of veggies and fruit without overloading my battered system with fiber.

                                 Take all of this veg...
And make two cups of juice.

By far the best juicing book I have found so far. 
Some juice recipes are delicious, but I chose to make a couple of recipes that are a bit stronger. The ingredients included garlic, lemons, celery, broccoli, apples, onion, cayenne pepper and agave nectar. It was a little hard to chug down but now my tummy is full of nutrients. I am interested in getting my body back into a healthy state and even though I have bad days and sometimes fall into bad habits I can still treat myself well. I deserve it. Plus a popsicle, because that juice might have been nutrition but I needed to get the taste out of myself.

Until next time my fellow dis-functionals!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Medication Malfunction

I'ts no secret that I take medication for my ED and depression. I have also been having a hard time lately. My anxiety skyrocketed, and I stopped sleeping and my digestive system was in turmoil. I was agitated and moody all of the time, even when things were going well. I could be relaxing on the couch, just watching tv or reading a book when suddenly I would feel like crying or screaming out of anger, completely unprovoked. I was having a very hard time. I had been doing so much better, I had been sleeping and enjoying life when suddenly I was thrown violently back into depression.

I had been eating better in an effort to heal my body. My in-laws had even given me a juicer which was allowing me to supplement my diet with fruit and veggies without overloading on the fiber. I was experimenting with juicing everything including beets, broccoli, herbs, carrots and citrus. Two weeks ago I was at an all time low. Suicidal thoughts began whispering in my mind again. What was the point of all of the hard work? I was never really going to get better. It didn't matter what meds I took, food I ate or support groups I went to.  But then, thankfully, I figured out what was wrong. Strangely enough I clued in to the possible problem while on break at work. Somehow the topic turned to grapefruit and medication reactions. And it hit me, things began to go down hill after I got the juicer, and began eating grapefruit regularly.

Healthy or Harmful?
I added it to my diet because it is healthy, and I want to loose weight. But it can have a strong impact on how medications are metabolized  I researched it and found that my symptoms could have been caused by the sudden spike in prozac remaining in my blood stream. And to my shock I found out that left unchecked it could have progressed to serotonin syndrome which could have been fatal. I immediately stopped eating grapefruit. Later in the week I brought up the topic at my support group and the nurses confirmed that it was likely what had been happening. I don't remember if my pharmacist warned me against grapefruit. He likely did but it slipped my mind. I had been working at not actively harming myself for so long that I wasn't suspicious of things that are commonly thought of as healthy. So if any fellow dis-functionals out there are on meds please take the time to talk to your pharmacist about possible interactions. Ask not only about grapefruit but any other OTC meds you may be taking. It's not your fault you are sick. And sometimes when things are going badly there is a simple explication and an easy fix. Thankfully I realized what was wrong before it became fatal.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Nurturing Hobbies

I'm a girl who likes to try new hobbies, I don't always keep them up, but I'm always on the lookout for the next thing. I recently tried knitting, and I think it is going to stick. It is a great way to quiet my mind when I can't sleep. But now that we are stuck in the middle of winter I'm looking forward to spring. Last year I started container gardening and I'm excited to get going again. But I've been playing around on Pinterest and I have a new project to start.

Behold the beginning of my avocado orchard.

I love avocados and I have started saving the pits. Apparently you can grow an avocado tree. I don't have much of a green thumb but I figure it's worth a shot. Being dis-functional means I spend a lot of time worrying about things. I find planting things soothing. It's nice to see something you put your time and energy into flourish. It's hard when things don't go well, and your plants die, but life is full of ups and downs. But when things are going well, and you are able to give life to a nurture a living creature, no matter how small it makes you feel good. You feel needed, strong, and capable. These feelings are rare for a dis-functional.

My green thumb is sometimes more gangrenous than green.
I don't have a perfect track record with plants, but I try real hard. And I'm hopeful. Maybe I will find a new skill. Maybe I will be the first avocado farmer in Canada. Or I can always go back to knitting scarves.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I Regret

I wrote the following on Dec 12, 2012. Things have improved a little, but scary things do still live in my head. It is hard to live with mental illness. And it is better to write down these thoughts than to act on them. If you are feeling anything similar please get help.

There are a lot of things I regret about 2012. The thing I regret the most is not killing myself.

I know it seems harsh but I really do think about it often. Of all the things I managed to completely fuck up in my life the one thing I regret the most is not having the strength to kill myself. I should have done it during the summer. I would have had more life insurance and my loved ones would have been able to comfort themselves financially after my loss, if they mourned at all. My husband would have been devastated for a while, but he would find someone better, and would probably have ended up wondering why he had wasted so much time with me anyway. I would have made it look like an accident so the insurance would pay out and everyone would be spared the horror of knowing the truth about me.

But I took the cowards way out. I was honest about my illness and sought help. I went into treatment, got medicated and attended therapy. I even switched to a lower paying job that is less stress. Most days are better, I sometimes feel happy or even hopeful about the future. Then I start to remember that while on sick leave I missed two months of bills and I wont be able to pay them off any time soon. I remember that my student loans are in default, and I will never get them paid off. I remember that my credit cards are overdrawn and sending me letters and angry phone calls. I remember that I missed the car payment last week and worry about picking up the phone.

When I have a bad day I can’t help but thinking about what a waste of life I am. How I am a burden to those I love. I am worthless, completely, totally, worthless.

But if I had been hit by a car three months ago I would have been worth quite a bit. The car would have been paid off instantly. My student loans and credit cards would have disappeared. And my husband would have had two insurance policies to comfort himself with. If I get hit by a car tomorrow he will only have one.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Self Care

Self care is necessary, even on a bad day. And today has been a bad day. I didn't sleep well again. I had to dig my care out from under a snow drift that had buried it. I found out one of my credit cards had been canceled because my credit rating has crashed lately. I also had to borrow money from my in-laws to pay my student loan. All in all, not a very good day.

I have been fighting a sense of panic all day, and it almost came to a head at supper. I had to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things and I could feel my eating disorder clawing at my stomach and mind. I wanted to fill my basket with chips,cookies, pizza, diet soda and cake. I scurried quickly through the store and managed to get out without giving in to my urges. I had another spike of panic when I had to pay, not knowing if I had enough money to cover the bill. But it went through and I got back into my car.

I made it home and decided that this day deserved a little silver lining. I gathered up my nail care tools, mixed a fruity drink and gave myself a manicure  Even though I'm broke, tired, and a failure at life I still deserve to be treated well. That is why self care is so important. The world is not going to take care of me, it is too busy trying to beat me down. It is up to me to treat myself well. Even on a bad day.

Self Care Is Important

Sunday, 10 February 2013


Dealing with My Crazy is hard enough most days even with a good nights sleep. Most days however I do not have the luxury of a restful night. I don’t sleep well. It seems like a lifetime since I laid down, snug in my bed, comfortable under the covers and was able to relax and drift off into blissful slumber. Dealing with My Crazy is like fighting a war, and bedtime is like hunkering down in the trenches. At worst I am left knee deep in the gore of my ravaged soul and body, in agony after another day of dealing with myself. At best I lay in the eerie quiet of exhaustion, unable to drift off for fear of the next attack.

Like any other insomniac I have tried dozens of different methods of getting to sleep each night. My bedroom is cool and quiet. My alarm clock sits on its face so there is no LED light to disturb me. The blinds are closed and the curtains are thick to block ambient light. There is no TV or radio and the house is quiet.  Still I cannot relax. I don’t have any caffeine after lunchtime. I try to keep to a schedule and go to bed at a consistent time. I have a cupboard full of various herbal teas purported to help with relaxation and induce slumber. I have tried all of the various CDs; rain forest  classical music; white noise; rain and soothing instrumentation. I lay awake and listen to them repeat over in over with a warm tummy of herbal tea. I have tried OTC sleeping pills, prescriptions of various kinds, herbal concoctions and even alcohol. I still find it near impossible to get to sleep and to stay asleep.

Even when I rarely manage to get soundly asleep all is not well in my subconscious.  I have bad dreams often. It can vary between anxiety riddled dreams that make me restless and wake feeling as though I never slept, to nightmares that force me awake terrified in the dark and drenched in sweat. Then I lay awake, exhausted, needing rest but scared to drift off.

I often leave the comfort of bed so I don’t disturb my husband, there is no need to make him suffer with my sleep problems. He already has to deal with me during the day, it seems unfair to keep him awake too. I sometimes try to sleep on a couch, or watch the discovery channel to distract myself. I have watched 3am come and go so often it is almost as familiar to me as 3pm. I also know a lot of odd nature trivia from seeing so many nature documentaries. Did you know the bombardier beetle can create a chemical reaction in it’s body that causes scalding acid to shoot out of its rear in order to protect itself? I do because I don’t sleep. I also read when I don’t have a stress headache.

Being awake doesn't help with the depression or the bulimia. When the rest of the world is quiet The Crazy gets louder. McDonald's is open 24 hours so if I try to go for a drive to clear my head those golden arches might draw me in like a moth to a flame. I could use this time to improve myself but my focus is too shot to study, and I’m too physically worn out to exercise. I usually just lie in bed or on the couch, worried about the damage I have done to my body and mind and hate myself. Sometime I hate myself so well I work up a full panic attack and scare my cats and my husband with my hysterical crying and threats of self harm.

And all  of this happens when I should be off in dream land. I want to sleep. I try to sleep. I have done guided meditation, full body relaxation and even tried to write all of my worries down to get them off my mind. Yet here I am awake, exhausted and crazy.

Maybe I just need more tea and deep breathing….

Dream Forest

Friday, 8 February 2013

Breaking Bad Habits

As a dis-functional I have several bad habits that I am trying to break. Other than large problems like bulimia and depressive tendencies I have a few simpler ones. One that I have been trying to break lately is biting my nails. I have been doing this for as long as I remember. I don't just bite them a little, when I'm having a bad day I will bit them until they bleed.

It is proving to be a difficult habit to break. Now that it is classified as an OCD I feel a little more validated that I can't just stop. I have tried several things, from bitter tasting polish to wearing gloves when I sleep. I even bit my nails when I spring to have them done professionally. I even bit them when I had gel nails.

It seems like an inconsequential habit to focus on, especially when I compare it to the other problems I have. But I'm trying to start small and easy. The only problem is it isn't easy. It's harder than Hell.

I had my nails done today and my goal is to go a full week without biting them off or ruining the polish. I feel like if I can break this habit that I can move on o something more difficult. Like fixing my depression or anxiety.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Indecisive Decisions

A a disfunctonal I have trouble making decisions. I tend to put off making decisions or changes until things get desperate, which doesn't help me feel confident in my choices. I guess that is why I often defer to others or maintain the status quo even when things aren't working.

It is also hard to try to get other people to help me make decisions because I don't like to admit to weakness. I don't like to let other people know that I'm sick, or suffering. But lately things have been getting worse. I think it's because I didn't completely deal with some of the issues that I faced last year. Now they are trying to resurface despite my best efforts.

For the most part mental illness is silent and invisible to others. But some people can tell. I recently had a friend make a point to tell me she was concerned about me. I have been doing better but some woulds are beginning to reopen despite my best efforts to ignore them. So my goal for this week is to amp up my self care. I have been putting off going back to the doctor because I am broke, and I also want desperately to be normal. I hate that I am sick. I hate that I'm not getting better. I hate that I can't forget the bag things that have happened. I want to not have to be worried about any of this stuff.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

January Journey

I had trouble picking a resolution this year so I had a pickle jar decide for me. My resolution for January was to learn to cook new dishes, and eat less crappy food. I would say I have been quite successful at this. I tried several new recipes, not all of them worked but I kept trying. I also ate out much less and I have stuck to my vegetarian diet. I haven't seen much weight loss but for once in my life my weight is consistent without massive fluctuations  I have also been feeling better in general. Drinking a spinach smoothie might sound gross but I did feel pretty good the rest of the day. Eating take out might sound yummy, but I feel like crap the rest of the day.

So while I am very proud of my success in the last month, it is now time to look ahead at February. I'm hoping that I can keep the momentum from January and continue to make positive changes. So back to the pickle jar I go!
Be nicer to everyone. Be less sarcastic. Don't snap at people over little things.
Well crap. This is going to be hard, necessary but hard. I'm not saying I'm not a nice person but when I get tired, stressed or worn out I take it out on the people close to me which isn't fair. This is mostly a resolution for my Hubby so that I treat him better. It will also be an exercise in letting things go, instead of letting them fester until I explode. As for being sarcastic, I'll try. No really I will. OK, as Bart Simpson once said "I can't promise I'll try, but I will try to try."

Sunday, 27 January 2013

More or Less

I have been having trouble making decisions lately. I think that's normal for a disfunctional though. If I was able to make decisions about what is best for me with confidence I wouldn't be where I am. But I do try to get a little better each day. On one day recently I found myself at the library. I picked up some fun books to read, some new recipe books and also a couple self help books. It wasn't until I got home that I realized two of the books I had checked out had completely inconsistent titles.

More or Less
The Power Of More by Marine McBean is written by a three time Olympic champion. It is about making small changes and trying to do a little but more in order to reach a larger goal. I do want to make some large changes in my life and I though this would have some advice on how to keep from getting overwhelmed. The Power Of Less by Leo Babauta is about limiting yourself to the essential. I want to de-clutter my house and my mind so I though it would be a good guide. They both have good reviews and they both tie in with what I want to achieve in my life. But they are completely contrasting themes.

I have only just started reading these books. I'm hoping as I work through them I can find ways to learn from both titles. I think it's poignant that I picked these two books unintentionally  I have been struggling lately and I think it's because I don't know what I wasn't. Do I want more or less? Do I want to work harder or relax. Do I want to try to change or be happier with things as is? Can I have it both ways, or not at all? Hopefully these books will help me find the answers and point me in a different direction. Lately I have been turning in circles and I'm getting dizzy.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Stop. Rest. Heal

I have been feeling anxious the past two weeks and I had an epiphany at art class tonight as to the reason behind my unease. My instructor has some decks of cards on a window sill that students are able to pick up and mull through. One deck has 52 different cards that are supposed to help you answer questions or provide guidance (I know it's hokey but indulge me). For the first time I picked up the deck during a short break, shuffled through them and picked a card at random.

The card I picked was called Solitude. As I read the description it dawned on me that the reason I have been having trouble is I have been overextending myself. When I started the new year I was desperate to start a new chapter in my life. I wanted to improve many different aspects of my life. I was so overwhelmed I had to pick a resolution at random to avoid overloading myself. But after a week I started putting more on my plate, until I was buried. I wanted to volunteer more, paint more, exercise more, fix my finances and improve my relationships. I became swamped with obligations and started getting sick again.

So now I need to go back to focusing on myself, and getting better. I need to focus on my one resolution for January, which is to try new recipes. I got a great new cookbook from the library today that has many new recipes I want to try. This weekend I am going to relax in my kitchen and try some of them. Everyone and everything else can wait. I do not want to go back to the dark place I was in last year. So I am going to stop for a while, take time to rest, and heal myself before I fix anything else.

So thank you random deck of advice cards, and whatever force compelled me to pick them up for the first time and choose the one that allowed me to see my situation clearly. The world works in mysterious ways, sometimes things even work out for the best.

Time to stay on shore and watch the work do by.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Trapped Inside Myself

Have you ever felt like your a different person on the inside, than you seem to other people? I don't mean when you purposely wear a persona, I'm talking about how hard it can be to communicate your deepest thoughts, feelings and fears. Sometimes I feel like the more I try to explain myself, the less other people understand me. It's like my true self is locked inside a cage, and the harder I fight to get out, the more I hurt myself.

I hate being mentally ill, it is frustrating  exhausting, humiliating and terrifying. I especially hate trying to explain my illness to other people. I feel judged, feared or pitied. I spoke in an earlier post about how my mother in law reacted to finding out I am on Prozac  I know she didn't mean anything my it but I still feel hurt. I feel like every time I open up about what is wrong with me I get labeled and looked down upon. I take antidepressants so I must be weak. I have anxiety so I must be unreasonable. I have an eating disorder so I am spoiled and vain. I feel guilt so I must be a bad person.

I am not a bad person, I am not spoiled, I am not unreasonable and I am certainly not weak. It is not my fault I am sick. It is not weak to get help, and I am not unreasonable by expecting to be treated the same as everyone else.

I hate feeling different. Sometimes I feel like people can tell there is something wrong just by looking at me. I feel so abnormal and messed up that I feel like it must be obvious to the world. But it's not. Every person I have opened up to over the last year has been shocked. My hubby knew I was feeling a little stressed, but when I described the panic attacks and nightmares he was broken hearted  He felt like he should have known, and helped somehow. My in-laws were shocked that I was seeing a therapist  and that my doctor wanted me to stop going to work before I hurt myself. My sister had no idea that my self worth was zero.

That's the horrible beauty of mental illness, it's invisible  Often times people have no idea something is wrong until it is too late. People are shocked when they find out someone they know or love has been suffering in silence, and often they are clueless until that person lashes out, or hurts themselves. There is a huge stigma around being mentally ill. It hurts to be labeled as crazy or disfunctional. You feel like less of a person. You feel like a bird trapped in a cage.


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Triggers, Temptation and Trauma

I have been having a bad week, and I think it might be time to get my ample butt back to the shrink. It might be a little difficult since I'm broke but it needs to be done.

I had been having a pretty good start to the year but this week I started trying to get into some good habits, and instead of getting in the groove, I've fallen on my ass. It all started when I went to my evening art class. I began going in the fall because I needed something to do other than be depressed, and  I needed a reason to wear pants other than sweat pants. Things were going great and then there was a break for Christmas.

I was really excited to go back, I hadn't done any painting all December so I wanted to get going but I didn't have a subject. I decided to draw a building and began flipping through a library book of architecture. And then it happened. I saw a picture of the building I used to work in, the place I was working when I cracked. It's hard to describe the sensation of a panic attack or flash back but it is a full body experience. You feel it from your scalp to your feet. My world narrowed in to just that photo, everything else going on around me no longer registered. I felt cold and clammy, my breathing sped up and I started shaking. All I could do was picture decayed human flesh, and I gagged as I remembered the smell of putrification I quickly excused myself to the bathroom. I sat with my head between my knees and breathed deeply.

When I was able to go back out I put the book away and grabbed a picture of some birds and hurriedly began sketching. I felt anxious and my mind kept switching back to memories best left buried. I ended up finishing the class and was unhappy with my painting. I wasn't surprised given how anxious and upset I was. Everything upset me after I saw that picture. When the instructor would compliment another student I felt furiously jealous  When she helped me correct my mistakes I fell ashamed and humiliated. It was like the last several months of progress had been undone. By a picture in a library book.

I have been having a rocky couple of days, I fell back into some really bad patterns I have for dealing with stress. I feel very weak that a picture could cause a full body memory that has upset me for days.

There have been a lot of ads running on the tv and radio about mental health awareness  It helps to know I'm not alone in this but it is still difficult to talk to the people I love about this. I don't want to seem weak by being upset by something so simple. A library book can't hurt me, but now I don't want to pick it up. It is a reminder of things I don't want to deal with. But how long can I run from this? Running from yourself is exhausting.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Your taking what!?

I was recently talking with my mother in law on the phone and the topic was career choices. I washed out of my last career in the fall and I am shopping around for a new direction. My hubby's family has a lot of military and peace officers in it so the topic turned to joining the military or police. I said I didn't think that was going to happen with my history of mental illness and current antidepressant use.

MIL "Well, what are you taking?"
ME "Prozac"
MIL "Your taking what!?"
ME "Prozac, I tried a couple of other ones first but Prozac has actually helped quite a bit so I've stuck with it"
MIL "Your not going to go postal are you?" Laughs
Me "Actually, I feel a lot less postal being on it, and since it's working I don't want to rock the boat right now"

My in-laws are actually great and have been very supportive since my break down. It's nice they think highly enough of me that they are encouraging me to become an officer in the military or something similar. I actually used to be very interested in joining the police or border guards. But now I feel like my going for treatment would be a black mark on my application. It wont matter how smart, capable, brave or determined I am, everyone will be afraid I may go "postal" whenever things get a little stressful.

I think this is why there is still a lot of stigma around mental illness. Most people are comfortable talking about stress or depression, but nobody wants to admit to needing help. My own family thinks antidepressants are for wimps and losers, and shrinks are a waste of money. So I don't talk to them about my problems. I also don't talk about it at work, or with many of my friends. I only talk to my in-laws, hubby, therapist and support group. Those people are safe, they aren't going to judge me.

Some days I feel like going for treatment was a mistake, if I had been strong enough to struggle through on my own I wouldn't be so limited now. If I didn't have mental illnesses in my health records I could have more careers to choose from. I would be able to use the education I am still paying for. Instead I need a low stress job, which means low pay, and high debt. No matter what I do it will cause stress one way or another.

I know getting help was the best thing. On my last day at my other job I drove to work thinking how easy it would be to park by the river, lock my car, walk to the middle of the bridge and just jump. When I parked in front of the building and gathered my things and started across the lot I though to myself, I would rather put a gun in my mouth than go inside. I went in though, I broke down, and I ended up at the hospital where my doctor put my off on stress leave indefinitely. It was a bad day, but it could have been worse. I could have not gone for help. I could have refused the meds, and I could have ended up ending my life.

So I will take the jokes about going "postal". I will continue to go to my support group. And I will continue to work on getting better, being less disfunctional and more functional. Because I am alive, I am feeling much better, and I am very, very glad I got help. It doesn't limit me, it set me free.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Pinterest I hate you, but love you so!

I have been spending entirely too much time on Pinterest lately. I'm having a bit of a love hate relationship with it though. I love the cute craft ideas, the inspirational quotes, humor, and recipes  I even love the fitness advice to a point. It can be a huge inspiration, but also a reminder of my own shortcomings. Because of the random way pins seem to pop up I get some useful pins, and some less useful ones. I get easy crafts, and asinine, time consuming and expensive ones. I get yummy recipes,  flops, and foods that trigger unhealthy ideas. I get advice on good running shoes or gear, and thinspo, which makes me feel like a failure.

Pinterest makes me feel inspired, excited, angry and despaired all at the same time. I was worrying that this overload might be bad for my fragile state of mind but then I had a realization. I can handle it. If I can manage to get out of bed every day and go to work and appear to be a productive member of society that I can ignore annoying crap on the internet. We all deal with a bombardment of advertisements, media and other peoples problems every day. I can handle seeing a cheesecake I really want, or a girl a third my size posting insane fitness tips. I am strong enough now to filter out the crap, and focus on the helpful. Like cucumber salad, so good! Or this cheesecake, OMG!

My goal for the month has been trying to cook more, and healthier, and I have been doing pretty well. Many of the new recipes I have tried are from Pinterest, so I do have to deal with all of the other crap too. But I don't think I will be deleting my account because of the bullshit. I have given far to much of my time and energy to negativity. I am going to focus on the good. And there is a lot of good on Pinterest. It's just a matter of who you follow.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Good Day...Bad Day...It will be OK...

A lot of different things happened to me last year, and I am still trying to get my feet on solid ground. It is an on going process and I have good days, and bad ones too. Something I have been saying a lot lately is "It is what it is". It is OK to have a bad day. Sometimes we all fall back into bad patterns or behaviors  it doesn't make us bad people. It makes us human. It's OK to just be human.

I don't have to be perfect, I don't expect perfection from others and I will never accomplish it myself. Sometimes I need to slow down, stop spinning in circles and remind myself "It is what it is..." I can't change the past, I can't predict the future. I can't control other people, the weather, the economy or the universe. I just have to try and control my reaction to it. And that is freaking hard on a good day, and damn near impossible on a bad one.

Being dysfunctional is hard. It is difficult enough to make decision when you have a solid grasp on reality, confidence, support and optimism. When you have doubt, anxiety, fear and stress, simple decisions are agonizing, and difficult ones are impossible. I couldn't even decide what to do for a new years resolution, how am I supposed to find a new job? How do I fix my abysmal financial situation? Why didn't I just give up?

Good or bad day, the world keeps spinning and we disfunctionals must continue to function. Every time I think of something negative I try to focus on something else. I may be spending too much time on the internet watching cat videos but at least I'm not wallowing in self pity and loathing. We all have different ways to cope. As long as they are healthy and helpful, keep on trying. And if they are detrimental and harmful, stop. Do something else, anything else.

I keep a poster by my desk. It reads "Be nice to yourself. It's hard to be happy when someone's mean to you all the time" It's great advice, and I try to listen to it. Being on antidepressants has helped a lot, but I still need to work on the cognitive glitches. Be nice to yourself, get help, get support and leave the bullshit behind you. There is beauty in the grayest of days, you just have to look for it.

Peace and beauty.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Inner Bully

There is something wrong with the way I treat myself. I’m not just saying that because I have an eating disorder, or because I am depressed, or that everyone else says there are some glitches in my self esteem. I’m saying it because I know it in every cell in my body.  I hate myself; I loath my very existence; I am the lowest most miserable worthless piece of shit to ever have the unfortunate luck to be born. I treat myself worst than I would ever treat another living thing. It’s like having a bully focused solely on making your life a living hell. Only I can never get away from my bully, because it is me.

I used to feel that even though I was sick, at least I wasn't that bad because I wasn't hurting myself. I didn't drink myself to oblivion (often anyway) I didn't do drugs, and I had never taken a knife to my wrists. Then one day it sunk it, that everything My Crazy makes me do is self harm. I might not be in the ER from an overdose or blood loss but I was destroying myself slowly and painfully one day at a time.

I find Bulimia itself to be a act of self hatred and harm. Shoving food you don’t enjoy in your face only to force it back up is certainly not healthy. And if we ignore the fear of getting fat part for a minute, then the reason why because becomes that I deserve the pain. I deserve to suffer. I deserve to have my nails scrape the back of my throat, bile to burn my mouth and to wretch in agony until nothing but blood and mucus comes up. I don’t deserve to sleep because of heartburn, chest pains and nightmares.

When I look at it that way, then I bet most people would rather drink, get high or cut themselves than go through what I put myself through daily. It’s very twisted and hard to explain. I don’t know how many times I've heard people ask “Why don’t you just stop?” The truth is I can’t. I am working very hard to, but it’s not a matter of waking up one morning and just not doing it ever again. I can’t stop hearing my Inner Bully just because someone else tells me too.

I do other things that hurt myself too. Other than my completely fucked up food behaviors I have some other bad habits. I bite my nails until they bleed. I pick at acne until it bleeds. I pick at scabs to re-open wounds. I have even taken a razor blade to my shoulder to dig out a freckle. That’s not normal. I might not be cutting in the traditional sense but I bleed just the same.

I treat myself worse than I would treat my worst enemy. I couldn't imagine holding someone down and cutting out a chunk of their skin. I’d never force feed someone and then make them throw up. I cringe at the though of someone else going through what I do. I would never say out loud the things I am constantly screaming t myself in my head. I feel tremendous guilt whenever I hurt someone else, but I am constantly tearing myself to shreds. I've been doing this for so long it seems normal and natural. Like I deserve it.

I am working to change my Inner Bully. I've got doctors, therapists, medications, support groups and family all on my side trying to help. Maybe together we can have an intervention with my bully, sit her down and let her know what she is doing is wrong, and that things need to change. Maybe someday I can stop hating myself. Maybe I can stop hurting myself. Maybe even I can learn to like myself, or love myself. Maybe I can stop killing myself slowly.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Waiting Room WTF

I have spent my fair share of time in waiting rooms. Being sick means you always have appointments with one doctor or another, plus the occasional trip to the dentist or eye doctor. Sometimes the greatest frustration isn't the time you spend being examined, poked, prodded, scoped or medicated, it's the time spent in the waiting room. I'm not talking about the time lost, that's a whole other post. I'm talking about the other people in the waiting room, and the types of weirdos, freaks and creepers that always seem to be there.

Has anyone else come across some of these people? I can't be the only one who has sat in a waiting room and screamed silently in my head WTF? I know I'm crazy, but I'm often in good company with the other nut jobs in waiting rooms.

The Personal Groomer: There always seems to be someone preening. It can be putting on make up, filing their nails or doing their hair, which isn't too bad. But, I have also witnessed nose picking, nose hair trimming, under garment rearranging, flossing, putting in contacts, and even one person clipping their toenails.

Loud Cell Phone Creep: This person has a loud, annoying ring tone that is constantly going off. They may also talk loudly on the phone about personal details you wish you didn't hear. I don't need to know that you slept with your brother in law and now you're at the doctor because you think you have gonorrhea. Text that shit, but put your phone on vibrate first. And burn that chair when you leave, ugh.

Lonely Old Man: There is always one, he will talk to anyone who makes eye contact with him so stare at your feet. Topics can range from what he used to do before he retired, his extensive list of ailments, or how annoying his spouse is. And no matter what you say, he will keep on talking until one of you leaves.

Face Stuffer:  I understand that wait times are long and we all like caffeine or a quick snack. I'm not complaining about people with a coffee, or a cookie. I'm talking about the people who seem to be eating an entire meal in a germ filled waiting room. I have seen people with fast food, pasta, sushi, turkey dinner and clam chowder. Can you imaging sitting in a waiting room that smells like chowder, listening to someone slurp? I can. It's not good.

Stressed Mom: I can't decide if I am annoyed with this person, or feel bad for them. One child has an appointment and they have four more tagging along. These little hooligans tear around the waiting room touching stuff, bugging people and spreading disease. Can't they find someone to watch the rest for an hour or two? Grandparents? Day care? Uncle or Aunt? Kennel?

Indifferent parent: This person only has one kid to watch but they can't even manage that. The kid is being a pain in everyone's ass, vomiting or oozing on everything, or crying in agony, but Mom or Dad don't hear a thing while they play on their iPhone.

Shit Talker: Everyone complains while waiting, but this person is on a whole other level. They complain about the doctor, the staff, the facility, the wait times, their illnesses, their kids, their job and everything else. You can feel the negativity radiating off them. Stay away, unless you want to play a fun game of who's life is shittier?

I know I have probably had people think I'm the creeper in the waiting room. I have shown up for appointments, disheveled, exhausted, strung out and anxious. I probably look like a junkie some days. But at least I have enough presence of mind not to clip my toenails, cram my hand down my pants, and I cover my mouth when I cough. I might be crazy but I keep to myself. At least I did until I started blogging. Maybe I can be creepy blog girl in the waiting room next time.


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Suck It Up Buttercup!

The new year healthy eating blues are common I think. I can't be the only one coming off a holiday sugar rush disappointed that now I am expected to subsist on things that are nutritious and good for me. What sane person would choose kale salad and carrot juice over sugar cookies and cheesecake? It is especially hard to work on healthy eating habits when you have a history of eating disorders. I want to get healthy, not make myself sick, again...

Well it's time to just suck it up and change for the better. I know smoothies don't really count as trying new recipes but one of the times I struggle to eat well is at breakfast and smoothies work for me. I can whip one up in seconds and drink it in the car or at my desk. Heck, if I am really on the ball I can get the coffee going and have caffeine with my smoothie. That way I will be energized and full of vitamins without ever having to wake up enough to chew.

I used to actually be quite athletic back in university. But sadly I was also bulimic and depressed, and I don't want to get in better shape by resorting to dangerous methods. I know how hard I have to work to get back to being in a healthy shape, and drinking a smoothie will be the easy part. Time to quit complaining and just eat better because I know it will make me feel better. Cheesecake might make me happy while I'm eating it but as soon as it's gone I feel like crap. I felt like crap more than enough last year, this will be the year of feeling good.

Last year I was put on meds that have had a huge impact on my ability to control my binging and purging. Now that I am able to eat a slice of cake and not feel the overwhelming, terrifying urge to eat the whole thing then purge I want to work on eating nutritious foods that will help me. I have been reading books on how eating clean can improve depression and I want to give it a shot. I don't want to have to rely on meds forever.

So Time to suck it up buttercup!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

It's Not Easy being Nuts

We are officially 5 days into 2013 and so far everything has been OK. My naturally pessimistic and paranoid self worries that something really bad is about to happen but I keep trying to push that thought away. Denial is OK as long as you are denying useless negativity.

My first resolution of the year was to cook new things and eat less crappy. I would give myself a C- so far. I have tried a few new dishes, thanks to some pinterest inspiration. But I have also had a hard time giving up junk food. I am a sucker for sweets or salty treats. I have cut back a bit, and the new recipes have all been healthy. I just need to stop eating oreos after having an avocado salad. Seems kind of counter productive.

I am also a stress eater (shocking eh?) and I haven't been sleeping well which makes me easier to stress out during the day. It is the weekend now though so it is time to relax and try to get some balance back.

Balance is difficult to come by when your nuts. The anxiety and depression either tend to hold you back or cause you to go over the edge. It's not a good combination for rest and relaxation. But it is a new year, and good things are coming. All I need to focus on now is eating better; the finances, bad habits, career searching, and artistic endeavors can wait. I'm trying to take things one at a time instead of all at once.

So this nut is going to keep on rolling. I just have to focus on rolling away from the doughnuts and towards something healthier. Like pop tarts. They count as fruit right?

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Introducing: My Crazy

What makes me qualified to speak as a disFunctional? Well a normal dysfunctional person has one or two quirks but is pretty stable and normal. A disFunctional is all quirks and problems, but can appear stable maybe even normal, most of the time.
It’s hard to talk about mental health problems. It’s a sensitive issue that affects all of us in vastly different ways. It’s not something that most people are comfortable chatting about by the water cooler, or discussing at the dinner table. Everyone is aware of mental problems and we all like to think we are sensitive to other peoples needs. But how many of us are brave enough to tell our own stories? Or is airing our mental dirty laundry and exercise in masochism? I’ll have to remember to ask my shrink.

When we get sick we often find solace in getting a diagnosis because once something has been identified and named then you can get down to fixing it. It’s like having a cold for three weeks, finally going to the doctor and finding out you have bronchitis, and that’s why the OTC cough syrup isn't helping. Then they give you the right prescription and you are on your way to getting better. That’s not what happened with my mental health. I really, really, really wish it had been that quick and simple.

The diagnosis itself isn't even straight forward for many of us with mental health problems. Often we fit the criteria for a few different disorders, or match up with some criteria but not all for others. It’s hard for the doctors making the diagnosis and harder on the people being treated. It’s hard to explain to you family, loved ones and even coworkers what is wrong when you don’t even really have a firm answer yourself.

My personal brand of crazy is like mental herpes, inflammatory, painful, makes me socially awkward and I worry it’s contagious so I shut myself off from others. It flares up without warning but also can lie dormant for long enough for me to start believing I might be OK or normal than BAM! Mental herpes! My crazy is a collection of a few different mental “quirks” that all coalesce into a mental rash on my well being. I first sought help in university for Bulimia Nervosa, and found out I was also severely depressed and had problems with anxiety. So not only was I put in the eating disorder category I also had other problems to tackle at the same time. Unfortunately I’m and overachiever and a procrastinator so I worked really hard for a couple months, then just crammed everything down deeper and pretended that nothing was wrong for a few more years. This was exhausting and My Crazy stayed in the dark corners of my mind, feeding on negativity and eating my self esteem. My Crazy grew fat and multiplied, and my self worth disappeared.

If you ignore your health problems long enough, they don’t go away, they build and multiply. So for me 2012 was the year it all came to a head. My physical health crashed, I got sick often, headaches, pain, nightmares, and insomnia all started building. I started having panic attacks, I was irritable and exhausted all of the time. My productivity was shot and I loathed myself for not being able to be the person I though I should be. I reached out for help and after a few false starts I finally found a counselor I could work with, my family doctor started to listen and things started looking up. Then I snapped. It didn't seem fair. I was working so hard to get better, I was going to my appointments, taking my meds, reading all the books and I still wound up on the floor of the bathroom at work, vomiting my guts out and crying hysterically. I had let My Crazy fester so long that when I started to chip away at it Crazy exploded with a vengeance.

So here I am now, still trying to piece myself together after My Crazy blew my sense of self and happiness apart. Trying to pick up the pieces of me worth saving and letting go of the diseased bits. So that is why I started this blog, I want a reason to focus on getting better. Part of that will be working on my resolutions. I'm not aiming for prefect, just better.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

DisFunctional In The New Year

Goodbye 2012! Now that we can safely put last year behind us it is time to focus on the new year. Starting a new year is both a relief and stressful. Since last year went to shit what can I do differently to make sure this year is better? Luckily society has a solution to this problem, resolutions!

As a disFunctional there are many aspects of my life I should be actively trying to improve. Pretty much any resolution could apply. Work out, lose weight, drink less, eat vegetables, clean the house more often, be nicer, stop biting my nails, be less crazy, be happier, and so on. But we all know taking on too many changes at once can be overwhelming, especially for the type of person who is easily overwhelmed. I can't be the only person who has a panic attack at the grocery store when they are out of the "good" brand of peanut butter and I have to pick a different one. I don't like change!

But I recognize that change is necessary if I want to be a better person, or at least a less miserable person. But what to change? How can I find something to focus on when there are so many things that need done? If I feel overwhelmed trying to choose a resolution how on earth am I going to find the time and energy to focus on the one I choose? What if I choose wrong? Which is more important, working out or volunteering more? Eating better or spending time with family? What's a disFunctional to do?

Make  random resolutions throughout the year! I took two pickle jars, decorated them and put labels on them. I have a "In 2013 I Resolve To.." and a "Success" jar. I then wrote out my resolutions onto squares of paper, folded them, and put them in the resolution jar. I picked one at random and this will be my resolution for January.

Behold my beautifully decorated pickle jars!

Now there is no fear of picking the wrong resolution because all of my resolutions will be random. Now I just have to focus on changing one thing at a time, and by this time next year I will be a much better person. I hope. Maybe. Ugh.

Anyway the first resolution I picked was to "Learn to cook new dishes and eat less crappy food" I think this is a good place to start. I know it will do me good to eat less junk food and I like to cook but never seem to take the time to do it. Now I have to because the resolution jar told me to! Does that make me sound crazy? The pickle jar told me too...