Serotonin

Ok I finally did it. I took my therapist’s advice after a long time thinking about it… I am ready to feel like I am ok instead of the brink of falling apart all the time. I am taking an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and yes that’s a mouthful. I had to ask my primary care doctor to fill me in on what it means because I couldn’t bear the thought of looking it up. My doc as kind as he is doesn’t have the best way with words, his query “so what psychological issues are you having?” had me ready to burst into tears and dash for the door. Luckily, I blinked the tears away and remembered he isn’t my therapist, I don’t have to tell him details just the bare minimum.

I’m anxious, I feel I don’t cope well when things go awry… I have a tendency to fixate and I have panic attacks. I was teetering on the edge for a long time, but making it work. I found a little balance until I entered an abusive relationship. (Doctor interrupts.)

“Are you out of this relationship?”

Yes, yes I am… but I still feel the pain. I’m trying so hard and then with school coming up. I feel I’m a mess daily because of all the changes in my life.

Cue my doc explaining to me the serotonin release in the medicine and how we’ll start off with this generic version. Check in 4 weeks to see if it’s working out, if not we’ll keep tweaking. I got my prescription today and I was already in doubt… Reading every single ┬ápossible side effect. Ummm weight gain and libido decrease?! I could have thrown those pills away if they didn’t cost me $18. But there was the line that said most people don’t have side effects and this is a lower dosage. I was already thinking of back up plans, if I end up overeating on this drug I will overeat celery and fucking carrot sticks. If my sex drive drops, I will find every single way I can increase it… so here’s hoping that in 4 weeks it’ll be nothing but good news and higher serotonin levels.

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Slipping

I have been barely coping. I have to be real about my anxiety and seriously I have been skating by for a long time. It is this pressure on my chest that I have lived with for years and breaking free from unhealthy habits and people has helped significantly. But I go through cycles of being ok and not being ok. This particular cycle has me barely hanging on and feeling myself slipping and sliding back to that dark place. That dark place where I can’t even get up or go outside. 

It scares the shit out of me. I am scared of so much and now add the possibility to slipping back into depression because of my anxiety triggers, I am this big ball of fear and shame. It sucks. Big time. My therapist recommended seeing a physician and/or psychiatrist. That is a huge deal for me.

I have been trying to coexist with these feelings sans medication for years. When I first entered therapy it was a possibility and now it feels that it is a certainty that it will happen. I have never tried to treat it that way before. I am not committed to it yet but god what would it feel like to take the edge off of it? My therapist assured me I would still be me… what if I could have that weight off my chest lifted? To breathe without restraint… that would be life changing. 

Can someone tell me how to be ok?

I do not know how to be ok.

Here’s the weird part, my life is going pretty well. Nothing terrible is happening. My friends are nearby, I love them. I have my family close and everyone is doing as well as they can be… my niece and nephews are healthy bundles of love. I have a job, an apartment in a cool fucking neighborhood, it’s the holidays where I get two weeks off and the weather doesn’t suck. I am seeing someone I really like. My life is pretty unsucky right now.

But why don’t I feel ok?

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A confession.

I talked with my new coworker/head teacher this week about blogging and how I am terrible at keeping it a routine. I am getting to know her better each day, she is so confident and knows what she likes. I used to be that way. Lately, I have been rather listless but striving for change. I was way more confident and took way more chances, now I am tend to stay in the background where it’s safe. I occasionally go out of my comfort zone but only occasionally.

So here is me going at it again to keep this up.

Also I was dumped today by my boyfriend. Before all the pity and I’m sorry this happened you, etc. This isn’t my first rodeo in the break up arena. This however is the first time someone I am in love with broke up with me cruelly and without mercy. Yes, there were petty arguments leading up to it and there has been months of stagnation… But today I was told that there was no empathy or patience left for me. That I am only confident around those I am comfortable with, on my own terms and that I’m not confident outright. I make too many demands. The list goes on.

Basically all my deficiencies in the relationships were put on blast and I didn’t fight it. No ma’am. I listened, I agreed, I said my piece and as soon as the “I have no empathy or patience for you” came out of that phone, I hung up. I cried, I sobbed. I couldn’t believe that someone I love could talk to me so hatefully and claim that my selfless acts paled in comparison to his true selflessness.

My language about my relationship on this blog has been rather vague and now I can clarify without shame or concern over hurting the man I love most. Last year, I antagonized my boyfriend physically after he used a door to crush my body accidentally. Incensed and a witness to physical abuse as a child, I lashed out by breaking his phone and in my boyfriend’s attempts to flee he grabbed liquid soap and threw the soapy substance into my eyes to blind me. He yelled, I yelled and yes it burned like a motherfucker. It didn’t end there. I really wish it did.

I hit him on his way out. I forget his words exactly, I tried to block them out but he told me something along the lines of “you want to fight?” With that he took me down to the floor, sat on me and slapped me repeatedly all over my face. He tore at my shirt and my chest was exposed. I screamed and tried to defend myself, it was fruitless. I screamed bloody murder until he placed his hands on my throat and choked me. My screams were silenced and I saw black until he stopped himself. Shocked as to what occurred, he leaned against the wall while I cried and asked “Why, why, why?” He picked me up off the floor and I tried to shove him away. He cleaned up my wounds as I cried and lamented that I became like my mother. A victim.

This night haunts me even when I think I’ve forgiven him. I know what I did was wrong. I broke his property, I slapped him, I pushed him. It wasn’t right. I didn’t make wise choices. But what he did in response wasn’t right either. He could have killed me.

I called the police. I demanded he go to anger management and counseling because promises were not enough. There have been close calls since then, where I phoned police. He broke a door, he’s thrown me into the street. It’s been a hard two years in this relationship. I have anxiety even before this relationship but opening up about my dislikes has become difficult.

He’s made lots of strides but we both tuned the world out. Him more so than me. He lost his drive. These past months have been peaceful. However, my disgruntled requests sometimes too late leave him feeling as if I demand too much. He reminded me of all he does or did. Going to jail once, paying for anger management and therapy, sending me letters, videos, flowers, when I refused to date him until I relented last summer. I found his ceaseless efforts to be that of someone who is willing to be accountable for what occurred. As I try to be as well.

For now, we go our separate ways but now I no longer have to keep this secret close to me. To protect him and to protect myself. It happened. We can’t be a couple anymore because the empathy was lost, but maybe he can forgive me over time all those demands… as I try to forgive him everyday for what happened that night.

How to grow white hairs in 10 days

It has been the most anxiety ridden month I’ve had since I was in high school.

And that’s saying a lot.

I have been anticipating this winter break for so long but also dreading it. My lease ends on the 31st. New Year’s Eve. Who wants to move on NYE? No one. On top of that, my application for this apartment I wanted had not been filed yet. My work and my leasing agent apparently do not get along. Additionally, I was expected to be liaison when the whole point of a leasing agent is they are in charge of your application! No one was communicative, no one understood how imperative it was for me to obtain this apartment.

An apartment that was beautiful but in a way out there neighborhood and way over my budget. But I am impulsive and sign up for things quickly when cornered. I like to think of myself as independent but honestly, I think my impulses have to take credit for that. Needless to say, I’ve been a wreck about wondering how I would pay for this place (which included signing up for SNAP haha except I make too much money before taxes… but after taxes of course I would be a perfect candidate–too bad it is all BEFORE taxes) and researching programs that could help you pay for utilities such as LIHEAP and CEDA.

Holidays rolling around I wondered how I would get anyone gifts. Some gifts were purchased when I believed I would have money and planned to live with my boyfriend (this was before discussing with his roommates how they lacked confidence they were in our relationship… which led me running far away to find a place on my own without telling my boyfriend). So now I was stuck with what to buy or make, with what time and what materials all before Christmas Eve. Where after Christmas Eve, I would need to pack my life away and hopefully end up somewhere if my application was accepted.

Then came the Christmas Eve planning, my family assumed I would spend it with my boyfriend and I assumed I would spend it with my family (I missed last Christmas due to a very lovely holiday in Paris with my best friend–first Christmas away from home, first time in Europe and far less stressful despite language barriers and the like… perhaps out of country holidays are best!). That would be all fine were it not for the fact, I invited my roommate-soon-not-to-be-roommate to Christmas because I would be damned if my Hawaii-born roomie would spend Christmas alone in a cold city! I was invited to part one of the family event but part two I was not welcome because of my stranger roommate. “Oh but we love you and we would never do this to you on purpose!” It’s really true, no one meant for dates to get muddled and I didn’t think a plus one that was not my boyfriend would mean an abrupt end to our Christmas Eve.

It hurt. I didn’t know what to do. Everything was collapsing around me and as soon as the Friday before break ended… I could feel that emptiness and despair grabbing hold. Anxiety is a daily battle but if I keep losing, it’s a slippery slope back into depression if I’m not aware and giving myself time to process. This past weekend, I could feel those tears drown me and take me back to that place. I was scared, I was alone, I tried to reach out but my words were cruel. I lay in bed without eating and just sobbed until I fell asleep. I woke up and realized I was still here. I cried again until I went back to sleep. It went back and forth. That feeling of not belonging and messing it all up, it choked me and it hadn’t done that to me in a very long time.

I saw no hope, I saw nothing after one disappointment and another. All it took was mismatched Christmas plans and I fell apart. I tried so hard to fight it. I thought of ideas to spend Christmas Day with just my roommate and I. We could build forts and count all the Christmas trees downtown. I googled spending Christmas alone and I found more inspiration, but it reminded me of that abandonment I felt. No one truly abandoned me but my mind didn’t believe it. My heart did not either. My boyfriend came over and I knew I needed help, but I did not know how to ask. I was tired of asking, I was asking all the time for help. I felt so weak.

I can’t even tell you how I got up. I don’t remember how or what was said and done. I know I was cruel and he didn’t get it when he saw my tears. He believed I cried because my plans weren’t to my expectations. It was more than that. So many feelings left unchecked, so much waiting and lack of control then finally I broke.

I’m not put together again at all. I am still in a bit of shock and how close I was to that edge. Elizabeth Wurtzel describes it best as this “black wave”. I recalled that feeling that began to follow me when I turned 13. For me, the black wave was just a splash in those preteen years and the only presence of my anxiety was my eyelash pulling. It gained momentum in high school and the black wave was pulling me into its tide. I hid my eyes with makeup and wrists with sweatbands. I thought geography could change it, distance from toxic relationships, so when I left for college–I thought this was it. I would break free. Forever. I would not see the black wave. But what I hadn’t realized was the toxic relationship I had with myself.

I don’t feel hatred towards myself anymore, but making mistakes is still so hard for me to handle. It’s like I was taught being human was an utter abomination. So I have credit debt, I want to live with my boyfriend even if people don’t particularly like it and believe we have a lot to work on (it’s A LOT), and I am impulsive… but I want to pay off the cards and being in a healthy relationship is very important to me. It doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect. And being impulsive has gotten me into trouble but it has also gotten me into places I never thought I’d be… like Paris on Christmas. I might have lots of white hairs before I turn 30 but hopefully there will be less surprise black waves.