One Day At A Time
Well, I seem to still be battling anxiety. I mean, the pendant has helped, but it’s been a journey the last several weeks. I haven’t made a personal journal entry in a while because some of the things that I’m going through I don’t really want to put down in words and share with everyone, but there are a few elements that I can share now that I’m a little more calm about them.
Well, several weeks ago we came to believe that the Doctor I’ve been seeing at the local mental health clinic had discontinued my Ativan because despite being contacted by the place I get my meds from every morning they were not getting refilled. So I stopped Ativan, my anti-anxiety medication, cold turkey. That was good at first, for a while, I was fine. In fact, I was pretty good and calm, even went to a wedding down in my hometown for my cousin.
Then the anxiety started to surface and the rage started to surface. I started to get anxious like I used to six years ago, except this time instead of having horror and fear dominate my obssessional thinking, I was pissed off. I was so angry a lot, and a lot of times I didn’t even have anything to be angry about.
I was so angry I was not functional. I stopped cooking dinner, I stopped taking care of anything, all I could do is lay on the couch and fume about not being able to do anything. I know! I was upset that my anxiety and my anger was stopping me from doing anything, and what I mean by that is that when I’m angry and anxious I can’t seem to do anything constructive. Maus and I got into a lot of fights that ended up with my screaming and flailing around like a crazy person. It was so bad that Maus wanted to take me to the Crisis Center. I finally got an appointment with the Doctor sooner than November, but before that happened she called me.
In the phone call she told me that if I was being so dysfunctional, and I’m talking not bathing myself staring at walls for hours and days dysfunctional, I could go to the crisis center. She’d write in her notes that I should be admitted so that they can drastically up my meds under observation, as she was uncertain whether she could really make that drastic of med changes in outpatient.
Thus began the drama of the Crisis Center. I got there to talk to them about seeing my for observation. We get into the assessment room and I describe my symptoms. The nurse just looks at me and says, “Let me level with you.” She then proceeds to tell me that we everyone gets anxious and angry and that I just need to basically man up and deal with it. She said, “There is no magic concoction that’s going to make all the feelings go away.” She was right, to some degree, but I was past the point of being able to deal with my emotions in a normal sense.
But that’s all she gave me, she basically brushed me off and said, “This is what life is, Asher, so just deal.” I just sat there and said, “Okay.” The only real thing I came back with at one point was, “Why are we on medications if they don’t do anything for us?” and she had some cop out answer that they do some things for us. But she maintained resolutely that I didn’t belong in the Crisis Center and just had to learn to deal with my normal life emotions.
She literally told me that my brain was plastic and I just had to think the right thoughts to reinforce them in my brain and voila, I could cure myself without meds. Really? The hard thing is that I don’t discount what she said because it’s true, to a point. But when you’re past the point of being able to deal with your emotions and thoughts in a rational way, rational thinking doesn’t really help. I was furious the majority of the day, I was furious every evening I could hardly sleep. My amygdala was firing like crazy.
I felt like Dorothy in the Golden Girls when the neurologist in New York tells her to change her hair color. I was completely dismissed. I vowed I’d never go back to that clinic again, and even though she offered me to ask if I could get on the CSU the next day after seeing the Doctor, I refused. I’m not going back to that dismissive shit. When Maus even said to her that he believed in his experience with me this was a chemical issue she dismissed it. She was kind of a bitch.
But I have discovered, and always knew, that she had a point. My Ativan was immediately reinstated, which has helped quite a bit. Also my Zyprexa was raised, in fact, practically doubled, and that has been presenting a few issues (such as restless feet at night). But now that my medication is properly adjusted, something I was hoping the center would’ve been able to do, I am a more rational person and can actually start to apply what the assessment nurse said.
That’s right, she wasn’t wrong, she just didn’t understand how badly I was doing. Now that I’m doing better, now that my anxiety is being dealt with on a more chemical level and my rage is being dealt with on an also more chemical level, I’m much more able to think about things rationally. Now that I’m more rational I have the tough job of doing what the assessment nurse said: facing my anxiety and my anger.
I’m anxious and angry about a lot of things in my life lately. I seem to not be satisfied with what I’m doing in life right now, but don’t really know what exactly I should be doing differently. The BIGGEST problem is that I want to be more creative, but I every time I try to be start dealing with something creative my anxiety spikes and I’m completely frozen. I want to make a computer game using RPG Maker, but as soon as I think about working on it I’m completely frozen. There’s this anxiety that’s so physical for me. It’s like something’s wrong, or I should be doing something, but I don’t know what it is. It’s maddening!
I’m angry at myself because I feel like I’m letting myself down, and in turn letting other people down. Like for instance my brother Ninja wants me to work on programming these little microcontrollers for this toy he’s developing. I haven’t even started programming the little buggers, though I’ve read up on it, and I already feel like I’m letting him down somehow. Or that I’m letting Enlightener down, or Maus down because I’m not making any money.
The Doctor said that some of these symptoms are exacerbated or come from a mania. And it’s true, I can’t break thoughts down into smaller pieces. Everything I think is in its entirety and too hard to break down and deal with one step at a time. I feel like I’ve gone through a two week period where my brain was running so fast I couldn’t think. The doctor says this is known as “expansion”. She says my manic episodes, which we are trying to eliminate or control, are more dysphoric than euphoric. That’s where a lot of this anger came from these last two weeks.
It’s really hard for my brain not to be hard on myself because I don’t feel like I’m living up to something. I’m not sure what that something is, and I wish I could find it and just get it done with so I don’t feel this way. I mean, I write articles during the day, and that should help me feel accomplished, but once one is done I’m just anxious about the next one.
I gotta face this anxiety and anger straight on. I gotta ask myself the hard questions, and force myself to do the hard work of sorting out my life. Until then, it’s just one day at a time.