Tag Archives: Anxiety Disorders

AGORAPHOBIA~ TRYING TO EXPLAIN IT AND LIVING WITH IT

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After spending a week in my state’s local psychiatric facility I realized I did need help and I needed to make some big changes in my life.

Unfortunately I wasn’t really given the tools or resources to deal with my biggest problems that have been preventing me from living the life I want to for a very long time.

I did what probably a lot of us have done and looked for some self-help books.

I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, and Conversion Disorder (not sure if it’s still called that). The Anxiety Disorders started when I was around 8-10 years old and have been the most debilitating.

I always thought Agoraphobia was like what you see in the movies. The person is unable to leave their house without collapsing or having a full blown panic attack. I was wrong.

Agoraphobia is actually related to Social Anxiety Disorder and panic attacks. With Social Anxiety Disorder the person becomes anxious around social situations like meeting new people, public scrutiny, starting conversations, speaking to authority figures, dating, etc. This can lead to panic attacks where you feel fear, impending doom, nausea, dizziness, trembling or shaking, have trouble breathing, hot and cold flashes, a lump in your throat, sweating, or chest pain. Some of these symptoms you’ll have with Social Anxiety anyway but with a panic attack you’ll have more of them and they will be bad enough to where you start avoiding social situations or anything that makes you feel this way.

Little by little you begin to limit your contact with society.

With Agoraphobia you only feel safe in certain environments or with specific people.

Being away from home or the people/person you feel safest with fills you with anxiety. Your anxiety increases each time your safe places or people are too far away or unavailable to you and what you feel becomes intolerable.

You stay home more often and begin to isolate yourself. Your safe places/people can start to shrink if your Agoraphobia goes untreated. Some people do become confined to their home or bedroom.

Agoraphobia has a higher risk of occurring in late adolescence and young adulthood. A second period of higher risk occurs later in life after the age of 40.

Agoraphobia is thought to be passed on in families and/or environmental. It’s also a chronic disorder and reoccurring if left untreated.

HOW THIS RELATES TO ME

Ok, I’m not very good with time periods so cut me some slack. In my early teens and lasting into my early 20’s I couldn’t go anywhere alone. Either my twin, best friend, or a parent had to be with me. I couldn’t put gas in my car by myself, go to the grocery store, the mall, or the movies, alone. I never did anything alone.

I’m not sure what changed except that I began drinking but I remember going to the mall alone and my entire family being shocked. It could be when the Bipolar Disorder started or that I wanted to look pretty for a guy I drank with, I don’t know. It would happen again.

At some point I tried to quit drinking and my anxiety in general was overwhelming. I believe I was in my late 20’s and it lasted a year. I spent most of the year in my bedroom watching movies and reading books. I lived with my parents who never made me go to the store or leave my room if I didn’t want to. I think they were just happy I wasn’t drinking. I was afraid of everything. I declined all offers to go anywhere with anyone.

Ten years ago when my Mom passed away it started again. The only reason I think it ended before was that my parents eventually forced me to go back to work and my Mom had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. My love for her forced me to help take care of her and work. When she passed, everything crumbled.

I knew I couldn’t go back completely to the way I was because my Dad needed me. The first few years my Dad and I spent a lot of time together. Then I started to go up to my bedroom earlier and earlier where I would watch movies and chain smoke. I cut myself off from everyone again and it started to become difficult to go places by myself. My Dad started to fall back into the habit of going to the store for me. When I think back on it I can see how bad it was and how codependent we both were.

What forced me out of my room this time was my Dad getting sick and me having to take care of him until he passed away. I don’t regret that for a minute.

Recently I’ve had to face going to a Laundry Mat for the first time and thought I would throw up and die. I didn’t.

I’m trying to move from Rhode Island to Florida, for someone like me this is like trying to climb Mount Everest naked. I’m still trying and struggling but I want some happiness in my life for a change so I need to find a way to do it.

Thank you all who read my blog you help keep me going.


THE NEED TO REMINISCE

 

These were some of the places I drank at, had fun at or got in trouble at. I met interesting people and I met some of the worse people. Some are known and some are no longer here.

I remember filling my purse with Purple Passion and sneaking it in to Rocky Point. We weren’t old enough to drink. We would go to see hair bands that hadn’t exactly “made it” yet. Of course me being me while drunk, I made sure W and I met them all. It helped that W is extremely attractive. The problem was she never knew it and didn’t know how to use it. I could talk a good game if I was drunk so it worked.

The problem with W not knowing how attractive she was is I had to be alert at all times.

One night there were two guys in black leather jackets with long black curly hair. One of them was in his 30’s and had a walking stick. He didn’t need a walking stick. He was using it to lift the skirts of girls/women that walked by. I noticed it but W did not. I never wore mini skirts or any skirts and even if I did I doubt anyone would try to look under it. I was still around 200 pounds at the time.

We walked by and sure enough I see the stick headed W’s direction and she still had no clue. It touched the inside of her thigh when I grabbed it and threw it into the Beer Garden. People were not happy. But I didn’t care. No one hurt W and she felt the same about me.

We met Danger Danger, Kip Winger (I accidentally insulted his height by calling him petite), Pantera (Bad choice to go into the pit. Then I don’t remember the rest of the night where I supposedly brought them to a friends house for refreshments), Dream Theater, another band that begins with a S like Slaughter that wore flannels but I can’t remember the name. We probably went to a lot of shows there I just can’t remember.

Club Babyhead wasn’t for the weak. It was kind of crazy and we weren’t supposed to be in there. You couldn’t avoid getting hit by someone. Most likely it was going to be this football player/wrestler we had gone to school with. He was huge and it was all muscle. He was an attractive guy but not someone you could talk politics with or anything else too difficult. I was kicked out for good when I had words with the bouncer, another large man with a shiny bald head. This is where my bro in law first met Green Day and they stayed at his mom’s house. BFF’s ever since. So you know it wasn’t yesterday.

The Station is hard to talk about. The fire was horrible, the loss of lives haunting. I had my own demons with the place and the people who worked and went there. I did a lot of drinking there. I was never cut off. I would go with J and he would be passed out at the bar one minute and have another beer in front of him the next. I had seen people puke and go back to being served. I didn’t care at the time because I was still being served.

I also started going to The Station before I was 21. It depended on who I was with and who was working the door. Some of them let me in for extra cash and some for free if I was with the right person.

I met Sebastian Bach for the first time there, a guy who had been in KISS once gave me a lovely offer that I declined, I spent time with Zakk Wylde and his family when I found out my Mom had Lung Cancer, had a run in with the lead singer of RATT, spent hours talking to the lead singer of White Lion Mike Tramp, there were probably more but I don’t remember. There were more bad memories than good that went with the place. I was banned once but I don’t remember why. I do remember my phone ringing nonstop the night of the fire. People thought I still went there and were afraid I was there that night.

At Lupo’s I remember seeing FIGHT and I think VOIVOD was opening. I got into a fight with W’s boyfriend and my cousin went home with a member of VOIVOD that even I wouldn’t have touched with a 10 foot pole. He kept asking if I was joining them the entire ride back to J’s apartment. His English wasn’t great and neither was his name which fit him perfectly.

The METOO movement has brought up many unpleasant things for me. I’ve been sexually assaulted in some way or another more times than I like to admit. At first I thought I deserved it. I had such low self-esteem and the people I hung around with used it to their advantage. When I did tell someone nothing was done because they said “You were drunk. We can’t take your statement seriously.” The other problem was one of the people in the group had a Father that was friendly with members of the police department.

I take responsibility for continuing to drink and be in their company. That was my choice. It made me an angry, suspicious, and at times violent, person. I went from low self-esteem to raging bitch after several years of being treated like garbage.

I got a little better when I stopped having anything to do with them. Unfortunately memories like those never fade and that rage would come back now and then.

A career didn’t keep me silent, money or fame didn’t keep me silent, out and out fear kept me silent. When you’re beaten so badly you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror and you try to tell your family that you didn’t fall down the stairs drunk he did it to you and they say “We just can’t believe you anymore. You’re a drunk”. It changes your view of the World.

Eventually my family found out the truth. It was too late. The damage had been done. I was so scared when it was happening because at one point I couldn’t breathe. Blood was going down the back of my throat and my nose was swollen shut and bleeding also. I was pinned to the floor so I couldn’t lift my head, I felt like I was drowning. I just saw red and black before passing out. I then woke up at the bottom of his apartment stairs with him laughing at the top coming down towards me.

I don’t know. Lately everything bothers me. All the different movements. No one seems to have a story like mine. A shame filled, alcohol filled, hate filled, mental illness filled, never ending self loathing story.

 

 


BIRTHDAYS AND OTHER STUFF

When you are a twin, Birthday Parties are not really that fun. When you have problems with Anxiety at a young age they are worse. When you don’t understand why you feel the way you do or why can’t “act normal” they’re a nightmare.

I’ve described previous Birthday Parties where I would watch my twin sister from a hiding place trying to understand how she could talk to people, laugh, or even smile. I felt sick and wanted to go home. I’ve always had a hard time making friends. My voice is not loud and I’ve always had a hard time being heard. I was also afraid of saying the wrong thing or saying something that would make other people laugh at me. They already laughed at me because of my thick glasses, my weight, and my skin. I had won the lottery for being bullied.

It wasn’t until I started drinking that I actually had some great Birthday Parties. Sober people with self-esteem and self-respect wouldn’t have thought they were great but I did.

I think it was my 18th year when J. did a surprise party for me. There was HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner, a keg, cupcakes, an entire football team (invited just for me), a raffle (I won a bottle of Fire Water which I drank), and about 100 people in and out of his small apartment wishing me a Happy Birthday. Things did take a little turn for the worse after I drank the bottle of Fire Water but it was still good. (Fire Water at the time was as close to 100 proof as you could get Cinnamon Schnapps that we would put in the freezer).

Most of my Birthdays while I was drinking were actually fun. I think.

I have not celebrated my Birthday in the 9 and half years or so I’ve been sober. I am down to 1 friend who works a lot and has a boyfriend. My twin celebrates our Birthday with her husband and children. My Dad usually forgets or just says Happy Birthday.

January 11th I will be 45. I’m kind of feeling this one. I’ve been depressed for a long time now and can’t seem to climb out of it. My Dad and I are fighting constantly. Mostly because I keep trying too hard. He refuses to learn new things like how to use the new TV I bought him or the right foods to eat so he doesn’t die while on Dialysis. He also insists on shoveling the driveway when he doesn’t have to. My anxiety is at an all time high.

Lately he likes to make little comments or digs. I remember he used to do this with my Mom sometimes. My Mom would give it back to him. I have a hard time doing that because he scares me at times and I have no where else to live.

I’ve been doing DBT for the last few weeks and it sucks just as much as I remember. “Don’t judge your judging”. Ok. That’s a brilliant idea. I wish I had thought of that. “Take a walk outside when you’re triggered”. Ok. It’s 9 degrees out and there’s snow so that isn’t happening. And my favorite “Try doing some exercise or yoga”. If I had the energy or will to wash my hair, get dressed, shovel out my car, rob someone to pay for yoga lessons, maybe I would. “Make someone you love cookies”. Why? So they can yell at me for using the stove? Complain about what kind I made? Because this is what I live with.

It’s almost my Birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.5e507ed572b2cde6eba0358f3836f8ff


A VISIT TO MY PSYCHIATRIST

Today is the first time I’ve left my house in 3 weeks. I had to go see my psychiatrist and get ready for the big snow storm coming tomorrow. I hate snow and I hate the cold. I hate a lot of things lately.

As usual I was called into his office late. His first question was “How is your Crohn’s?”. First I don’t have Crohn’s Disease I have Celiac Disease so that was strike was one. I hate correcting people. I decided this visit I was going to write everything down that has been going on. I also wrote down observations from my Dad and my twin sister just in case. I was going to correct him when he said the wrong diagnosis or medication too.

I told him that I’ve been having trouble concentrating, leaving the house, issues with controlling anger and irritability, and going over past events. My family thinks I have gotten worse in the last year. I also told him that spoke to a few of the companies making my medications and they said that they needed to be adjusted because of my kidney failure. The Klonopin manufacturer said it’s most likely only staying in my system about 2-3 hours. The maximum dose for people like me is 4mg and I’m on 2mg. I only take it at night. He disagreed and said I had probably built up a tolerance to it and it’s only a band aid and not meant to be used as a cure.

I told him I refuse to live like I used to, dry heaving all day with a lump in my throat for no reason. That’s one of the biggest reasons I drank.

He said we could try an antidepressant. I think when I started laughing he got nervous. I have a list of all the antidepressants I’ve been on. It’s 2 pages long. I asked him if there were any new ones not related to the ones I’ve already tried.

His answer? “Trintellix” I said “You mean the one that’s just like Brintellix?”. He said “Yes”. I said “The one I was on when I almost got arrested for assaulting a police officer?”. He said “Oh! You’ve tried that one?”. Yes moron I have. If you looked down at your screen it would probably be listed there. Or maybe not because he gave me a bag filled with samples that the sales rep had just dropped off and must have thought I would be a good guinea pig.

He then suggested another medication for PTSD but he didn’t say the name of it. He asked if maybe I had been eating Gluten and that was why there was change. I told him I eat 1 big bowl of Rice Chex a day and that’s pretty much it.

Then he asks me “How are you managing your Eating Disorder then?”. WTF? I said “WHAT Eating Disorder?” “I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder. My appetite is poor because I have Chronic Kidney Disease”. His response was “You do?”.

He did mention the hospital where he works is doing Ketamine trials because he thinks it’s the same as mushrooms or organic psychedelics. I couldn’t help it at this point. I said “There a little late. There are already a lot of studies showing the negative effects of Ketamine specifically with people who have PTSD or Conversion Disorder.” He didn’t respond to that one.

He repeatedly mentioned Therapy and I repeatedly mentioned that I already tried every kind of Therapy there is including Shock Therapy.

My family doesn’t want to talk to me, I cry all the time, and I don’t want to leave the house.

The only person that has offered any kind of help or support is my Auntie Lee. She called me yesterday to tell me she loves me and that I should come to Florida and be with her. If I had the money I would in a second. She’s my Mom’s sister and I love her. She’s positive 99% of the time. We’re like best friends when we get together.

I think I’ll start saving my money. It’s time to make a change. the-mind-of-freud


OVERTHINKING CHRISTMAS

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When I was little I enjoyed Christmas I think. There were only a few occasions where I received gifts where I was excited or surprised that the person actually knew me enough to know what I would enjoy.

What’s odd is that these gifts came from my brother. The only thing is he kind of ruined his gifts by including himself.

One year it was tickets to see John Mellencamp. I was probably 15 at the time. It would’ve been one of best shows ever if my brother hadn’t been drunk and trying to take other people’s seats the entire time. I spent most of my time worrying about him getting thrown out.

Another gift was a limo for the night, tickets to see Blue Man Group, reservations and an all paid for meal at a 5 star Restaurant in Boston and a Dual Piano Bar. Again all of this would’ve been wonderful if my brother wasn’t part of the deal. If he didn’t smoke in the limo, get drunk at the restaurant, and start a fight at the Piano Bar.

I enjoy giving gifts more than receiving them. I love seeing someone’s face light up. I remember when my Dad bought my Mom the first diamonds she ever owned. He wrapped them up so she had to open 7 different boxes to get to them but the look on her face had me crying for an hour. She was so shocked that he did it on his own. He did it because he loved her. It was outside his comfort zone and I can’t picture him going to a Jewelers by himself but he did. It was worth it to see her face.

Every year at Blockbuster we had Secret Santa with the Managers, HR, and the owner. We had a minimum of $50 which is kind of high for most places and I usually went over it.

One Manager was huge wrestling fan. I mean he went to every event and did some photography for them. He went to conventions all over the U.S. too. I got his name one year. What no one knew is that I was a wrestling fan, my brother was also. I had several autographed pictures of wrestlers in the Hall of Fame, Chief Jay Strongbow, Gorilla Monsoon, and Pedro Morales. I put them in nice frames and also got him his favorite candy and Gift Certificate for his wife’s favorite restaurant. When he opened it he said “Hey, thanks”.

I got the owner and knew a lot about her already but worked with one of her kids so I did some more research. She loved this one jewelry designer from Newport. I got her a charm necklace from the designer with a charms from her life. One charm was a beautiful palm tree with a stone it and the other a tennis racket. Both gold. Then they had a matching bracelet that I got with charms to represent the kids. I also made her Peanut Butter Balls Gluten Free because she also has Celiac. Her response was “Thanks”.

I gave my sister a necklace one year that had two Ds entwined (both our first names begin with D) there was also a garnet in it. I had the back engraved with a personal note. It was Platinum, her favorite. She responded like everyone else and never wore it. Never talked about it. It wasn’t the cost. It was the fact that I took time, thought and love to do that and it didn’t matter. I know she has no idea where it is.

SOME GOOD NEWS

My Dad has talked about wanting to read John McCain’s family memoirs “Faith of My Father’s” for years. With Mr. McCain’s health in the news lately I decided to order the book for my Dad. I even had it gift wrapped. It came yesterday in a gorgeous forest green gauze gift bag. My Dad looked so confused. He had no idea what it was. I left the room while he opened it. I heard him while he opened it. “I’ll be Goddamned!” then I heard his voice break. I started to cry in the kitchen because I did it, I gave him something that mattered. He came and hugged me for the longest time and I was happy in that moment.


PSYCHIATRY 101 (Kind Of)

CLARIFICATION OF TERMS/VOCABULARY

I thought I knew what most of the language being used around me or in medical reports meant. Turns out I was wrong and so were a few of my Doctors. It’s obvious who keeps up with new research/education/diagnostic criteria and who doesn’t. All you have to do is look at some of the exams used in 2017 for Psychology/Sociology/Psychiatry/Neurology/Pharmacology to see there has been a change in thinking.

PSYCHOLOGY: The scientific study of behavior that is tested through scientific research.

SOCIOLOGY: The study of human social groups and society.

PSYCHIATRY: The study, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, of mental health disorders.

PSYCHOLOGIST VS PSYCHIATRIST: The each have different approaches and degrees/licensing. Psychologists are nonmedical professionals who train in methods of Psychological Testing, Psychotherapy, Analysis, and Research. The can not prescribe medications or ECT. Psychologists look at behavior and track sleep patterns, eating patterns, and negative thoughts. Psychiatrists do have medical degrees and graduate from medical school. Psychiatrists tend to look at biology and neurochemistry ruling out vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems or other medical reasons for mental health issues before making a diagnosis.

I’m going to focus on Psychiatry/Psychiatrists for now. It can be overwhelming when you read all of it so I’ll stick to the basics. These are some things I didn’t know and was afraid to ask.

What is the DSM?

The DSM (volume 5 now) is the standard classification manual of mental disorders published by the AMA (American Medical Association). A Psychiatrist basically uses this more for billing than anything else. When it comes to Psychiatric Disorders there is no one size fits all so they come as close as they can.

NOS

NOS means Not otherwise specified, again more of a billing thing and because you might show most of the symptoms of a disorder but not all of them but the Doctor is certain that you probably will in the future.

INVOLUNTARY ADMISSION

If you are admitted to a Psychiatric facility involuntarily you must be released in 72 hours. A probate hearing needs to happen within the 72 hours if they want you to remain an impatient involuntarily.

YOUR RIGHTS

As a patient you have the right to refuse treatment (including medications), the right to privacy, to keep personal items (except in cases of self harm), enter into legal contracts, and informed consent. It’s important to know this. I always felt I didn’t have the right to ask questions because they were the Doctors and more educated than me. But there were many times I should’ve spoke up and didn’t. This only added to my problems.

When you feel you are being held against your will and someone threatens to keep you as long as they want if you’re not a “good girl” it’s demeaning and terrifying to say the least.

To find out what is going on a Mental Status Assessment is done which is a view of Psychological Function in time that changes interview to interview. Doctors also use the following:

GENERAL APPEARANCE: grooming, how a person is dressed, hygiene, eye contact, posture, appearance vs stated age. (If you show up in your pajamas and you haven’t showered in weeks and are shuffling into the office most likely it isn’t going to go well)

ATTITUDE: (toward examiner) cooperative, warm, friendly, suspicious, guarded, hostile, apathetic, distant, combative, aggressive, seductive. (Pretty sure if you act seductive you’re receiving that 72 hour hold. Same with combative. I’ve been distant, guarded, hostile and cooperative I think)

BEHAVIOR AND ACTIVITY: Psychomotor Retardation (medical term), restless, agitated, hyperactive, tremors, tics, unusual movements/gestures, catatonia, gait and coordination. (I’ve had all of these at one time or another. It took a long time to figure out it was mostly due to my brain and trauma)

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE: Clarity, Speed, Volume, Relevancy, Pressured, Hesitant, Coherence and Fluency (So I really don’t do well in this department. If I am manic I will talk fast and go from topic to topic, I will also repeat myself. If in a depressive episode my voice is quieter, I have trouble finding words and if it’s a really bad day I will stutter or hesitated before saying a word. Either way it’s embarrassing when I’m in public I usually have to sit in my car and cry for a little bit before I can drive.)

THIS IS IT FOR NOW BUT THERE WILL BE MORE. I HOPE PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED. I ENJOY LEARNING AND RESEARCHING I ALSO DON’T THINK I’LL BE TRAVELING ANYWHERE SO I NEED A PROJECT. BBA3eDB

 


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