Forcing myself out of my comfort zone has become something I’m trying to do more frequently. Not really something I enjoy doing – at all. What I do enjoy, though, are the results.
I can’t say I ever really remember being prouder of myself than I have been over the past week or two. I’m getting out of the hotel room EVERY day, pretty much. Today? I’m skipping, for a couple reasons. Yesterday I had Jeff drop me off at a different shopping center (I’m REALLY getting bored with the one right here). He and D were headed to the junkyard for some man time (I’d much rather walk around Kohl’s, thank you very much) and parts for the truck. They were gonna be about 2 hours, possibly a little longer. Well, they dropped me off at 11:00, and I walked, and walked, and walked… until they finally picked me up at 3:00. Then I wound up having to walk over to the shopping center closer to me (it’s like a block away, not even a 5 minute walk) twice before 5pm. And then insomnia crept in and I was still awake at 4:50 – WTF? 4+ hours of walking, I should’ve passed out at 8:00 last night, lol… But, anyway. That’s one of the reasons I’m proud of me. I’m pushing past the depression, the anxiety, the fear, and the just in general I hate to exercise-ness and walking. A lot. I should get a pedometer – get an idea of how MUCH walking I’m doing.
My anxiety had gotten to the point where the ONLY time I left the hotel room was in the morning to go to the methadone clinic. And the entire ride there, the 5 minutes inside the building, and the entire ride back, I’d be on the edge of tears, visibly shaking, pale, heart racing and short of breath. Every morning this hour was hell for me – I spent it just on the edge of a full blown panic attack. The once a week I had to sit through an hour of counseling was hell. I didn’t walk across the street to the gas station to get milk or cigarettes – I had to wait for Jeff to get home. It was absolutely horrible – making excuses to my son as to why every time Jeff stopped by my mom’s house, I wasn’t with him. My brother asking me to go to a doctor’s appointment with him and not being able to do it for him. I finally gave up on it and was honest with them about my anxiety – they were both a lot more understanding than I expected.
I was stuck in this horrible cycle of anxiety, depression, and anger. Too anxious to go anywhere. Depressed from sitting in a dark hotel room day after day after day. Pissed off at myself for not being strong enough to overcome the anxiety so that I could pull out of the depression. And it just kept going around and around. Then I’d look at Jeff, and see how helpless he felt, how badly he wanted to help me, but not knowing how. Trying everything he knew, and getting reactions ranging from hysterical tears to angry or fearful silence to an occasional grateful smile. He was watching me fade away, regress back to the injured and broken (and perpetually drunk) girl who found him on Facebook back in 2010. See, he knew me at 15 – when I only had some of my issues. Sure, there were the scars from my childhood and the rape. He knew me as a strong, mouthy, opinionated, don’t-you-dare-tell-me-what-to-do teenager who was determined to make it, to have her baby and raise it, to defy all the odds and stereotypes. And that’s what he was expecting (only all growed up) when we reconnected in 2010. He had no idea that he was getting a woman with a “problem” teenager, a dying disabled preteen, and all the baggage that comes from being abused for 16 years. He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t fight with him – because I didn’t know how to. I wasn’t ALLOWED to fight with my ex. He couldn’t comprehend why I’d flinch if he moved wrong, or was SO anxious about pleasing him. He didn’t get my complete lack of self-esteem and self respect, my inability to believe that HE respected me, loved me (because I wasn’t loveable), found me beautiful… my inability to believe that he was in it for the long haul, that he wasn’t going anywhere. I believe him now :).
Wow, I got off track, I think. Anxiety, that’s where I was. I got a prescription for xanax, and that helped me get started on getting past the anxiety. At first, I was taking it every time I left the room. Actually, I’d take it in preparation for leaving the room – rather than wait until I was shaking and losing it, I found taking it when the anxiety first started, usually as I was getting dressed & ready to go somewhere, was how it worked best. If I tried to tough it out and put off taking it, by the time I took it, I’d be suffering and going crazy waiting for it to kick in. Then, I started experimenting with the adderal. I found that if I take that in the morning (though I did figure out the hard way that I need to take that earlier in the morning – if I take it too late, there’s no falling asleep that night), I’m able to focus, my mind is clearer. I’m able to approach the anxiety from a more rational angle, picking it apart and talking myself down some. With the adderal, I need less of the xanax. I find it strange that what’s pretty much a stimulant, an amphetamine, is helping my anxiety. It’s only a small dose, but it clears my head. And now instead of taking xanax 3-4 times a day, I’m down to taking it only that many times in a week. Granted, it’s been a “good” week. If I have a bad day, I take it. I’ve stopped beating myself up for needing it at times, that wasn’t helping me one bit. Now I have to convince my doctor to write me a script for the adderal, lol… I don’t think he’ll have a problem with it if it means less xanax, though – after my struggle with opiates, he’s concerned (who can blame him) about me abusing or becoming addicted to the xanax. Either way – less than 2 weeks ago, I had barely left the hotel room for 2 months. Walking out the door clinging to Jeff’s hand brought on a panic attack. Now? I’m able to walk around a shopping center, by myself. Not zombied out on xanax, either.
Something that I’m not sure is related, but it’s happening along the same timeline, so I can’t see it NOT being related – I’m sleeping better. A few weeks ago, I was taking xanax 2-3x per night to get to sleep. Bedtime, then 1 or 2 more times when I woke up in the middle of the night. I’ve always had insomnia issues – falling asleep, not staying asleep. I’ve taken a sleeping pill for… well, about 13 years now. When you have a kid whose life is dependent on machines, you learn to sleep halfway – part of your brain (or your heart?) listening for the beep of the machine that means your child isn’t breathing, or his heart stopped. You’re always listening for something wrong coming from their room. So when I finally got a nurse to come in and stay with him at night (he lived at home til 2010), I couldn’t really sleep. No deep sleep, I’d trained myself to kind of doze through the night. Started on sleeping pills, and never came off them. Well, until I was in jail. And when I got out, I didn’t have a prescription, so I’ve been off the sleeping pills about 6 months now. Now, I still have some difficulty falling asleep, but I’m not waking up and not being able to fall back asleep a few times a night.
I’m bipolar, I deal with chronic depression (with some mania thrown in just to mix it up a little and keep things from getting boring, ya know). I’m a worrier and have always had (what I considered within or just outside the normal range) anxiety issues. But NEVER in my life have I dealt with anxiety like I have in the past 2 months. But there’s anxious and then there’s borderline agoraphobic. Then there’s the insomnia.
There’s only one thing that changed about 2 months ago, when my anxiety spiraled out of control. And changed again about a week ago, when I began to get it under control. Methadone. Again with the whole is it related thing… In my mind, it’s too coincidental not to be. Don’t get me wrong, when we signed up at the clinic, they gave us a whole bunch of paperwork, and some of it was on the side effects of methadone. But it’s only now, in hindsight, that I can piece it together. Why is that, lol? One more reason I’m so thrilled to be coming off that crap. Every morning when we walk into the clinic, the nurse asks me how I’m feeling. And she looks at me kinda strangely when I tell her, “pretty good, actually”. I don’t think she believes me. But it’s true. We’re not feeling sick from coming off of it, and we haven’t gone back to getting high like we were before starting it – which isn’t the norm, I’m guessing. They started detoxing us when we were honest with them – we can’t continue to paying the fee, and can’t catch up on our balance. Instead of the standard 21 day detox, we got the 14 day screw you special, though. And they were very insistent on telling us, repeatedly, that within a day or two of starting the detox, we’d be using just as much as when we started at the clinic. They’re not too happy with us proving them wrong. 10 days ago we were at over 100mg each. Today we’re at just over 30mg. And we’re okay. We’re better than okay. And Tuesday is the end of the clinic, the end of getting high.
Shit. I just reread that sentence. The clinic part I’m thrilled about… the other part? Completely mixed feelings. That’s a post I know I need to write. Just not looking forward to it.
Enough for tonight… gonna veg in front of another episode of Hoarders until Jeff gets home. Today was a PJ’s day. Fleece neon leopard print PJ’s, of course. Or maybe I’ll start wrapping the presents that go in my sister’s box… all 41 of them. Yeah, I should probably start that if I wanna mail the box tomorrow, lol…