ch-ch-ch-changes…

I’m reminded of lyrics from one of my favorite songs:

“I’m not quite what I thought I was, but, then again, I may have been more…”

Almost a year ago, each and every aspect of my life not only changed, but changed dramatically. There is not one part of me that wasn’t completely and totally upheaved, rearranged, and left in a big heaping mess.

Some of this was my own doing.

Like my former job.

I had been struggling in that position for some time, and I simply couldn’t do it anymore. Once upon a time, when I did that job, I was able to feel like I was genuinely helping people. Policy changes took that feeling away from me and, subsequently, sucked the joy out of the job for me. It got to the point where I had a fucking FMLA case on file for the anxiety attacks I would have in the middle of the day while I was working. Part of me feels infinitely grateful that this was available to me, but, at the end of the day, I really had to stop and ask myself “should I need FMLA time and drugs in order to be able to cope with my job?” That answer simply had to be a resounding “no.”

So, I left a job I had for the better part of my adult life. I left good benefits, a lot of paid vacation time, great wages, and, more importantly, people I adored. I left for my sanity. That had to be more important.

Some of this was a joint effort.

My long term relationship ended. I don’t want to say too much about that because there are people out there who do not deserve to have this information. All it’s really necessary to say is that this devastated me for many reasons.

Never before had I been forced to walk away while I still was very much in love with someone.

Addiction is a bitch, and that bitch certainly took her toll. In an effort to try not to be an enabler, I stepped back. I thought I was doing that new-agey thing and “holding space” for my love (some of you know what that means. For those who don’t, Google is your friend). I thought I was loving without condition. I thought I was being there without being a nag, preachy, or domineering.

You can say “I’m here for you,” until you’re blue in the face, and none of it means anything if no asking is going on.

All of this was met with accusations of neglect and not caring.

Well… it’s done. Nothing I can do about it now but learn, grow, and move on.

I’m not talking about the parts that piss me off the absolute most about all of this. If you simply HAVE to know, ask. If I feel like talking about it, I’ll tell you. If I tell you as kindly as I can that it isn’t any of your business, try not to let that get you down.

So… Some of these things, I’ve handled pretty goddamn well if I do say so myself. It’s only a year later, and I feel like I can cope, and I feel like I can do better and BE better.

During this process, though, did any of you know I legitimately had a nervous breakdown? No? Well, that’s good. That’s kind of between me and my doctor, but you know, this normal reaction to everygoddamnthing about my life being thrown in a blender, tossed all around, and left in a fucking dirty, nasty heap for me to sort, rearrange, and clean up all on my own (I’m talking about my own, personal, internal and figurative mess) has cost me some relationships I used to value.

I’m sure I’ve let some people down. I’m sure this particular snapshot they’ve gotten to see of me and my life leads them to think I’m not what they thought I was. Well, guess what? This has led me to see that they aren’t what I thought they were, either. There are some “hey kettle” conversations looming that are far overdue.

Diminished in one another’s eyes is okay, but now it’s time to move on, and it’s also of value to recall, at pertinent times, who kicked me when I was down. Not in a grudge kind of way, but in that healthy way of knowing with whom I can and can not extend myself in any kind of meaningful way.

Yes, life has brought me a lot of changes this year. I’m not at the point, yet, where I’m thankful for any of the upheaval, but I’m getting there. Every day, I feel it.

Whether or not you see it, well, that’s on you.

All of the Blah

Well, I’ve officially been detoxified from Effexor for about a month now.

I know I promised updates regularly about this, but… well… I didn’t do that. I guess I didn’t feel like I had a whole lot to say.

Life feels a whole lot more clear now. Some days, this is good; other days, not so much. The thing is… I am coping. I am coping far better than I have any right to, and I am happy about that. I didn’t do this expecting sunshine and roses, so I am not let down.

I can genuinely laugh again.
I can cry.
I can be angry.
I can be happy.

Best of all? I can choose what to do about all of those things.

Quarantine has presented her own unique set of challenges.

I feel angry that I was just getting back into regular exercise at a yoga studio, and now the studio has closed under Ohio’s quarantine regulations.

Now, I could do yoga in my own house, and I have, but the problem is that I don’t yet have suitable space available for this. Doing yoga on my kitchen floor was not very… yoga-fying, to say the least. I mean, I suppose it shouldn’t matter, but…

Working from home… what to say about that?

I mean, don’t get me wrong… I’m incredibly grateful to have a paycheck coming in. You know what? I’m going to leave it there, for now. I’m still working, I get to do so from home, which means insurance is still available to me, and I am lucky because of that.

Social media is on my last nerve. I’m tired of keyboard experts, fear mongering, and division. This whole spirit of “if you do/don’t do this/that, then I hate you/don’t want you in my life/think you’re a horrible person” makes me really really fucking sick. It’s seriously worse than when Captain Cheeto was installed as Grand Poobah of the USA.

I’m tired of being the Rodney King of my circle. “can’t we all just get along?” Apparently not. Not when everyone is right.

State of The Dissy

I’m finding it difficult to share these days. I seem to have fallen back into the headspace of, “no one gives a shit.” It’s not really in a “bad” way, though. It’s more like something I can’t quite describe.

I’m down to 1 twenty-five mg tablet of Effexor per day. I quit taking the Clonidine with it, as it was making me tired.

All in all, I’m feeling like a reasonably competent human being. Every day isn’t perfect, but I feel like I can successfully navigate through what comes my way.

At first, I thought I may want to stop drinking during my weaning off period. I felt, a couple weeks ago, like I was getting a little irrationally angry, but I’m thinking that may have been more PMS related than anything else. I had my once-a-week vodka drink last night, and I was just fine.

Without the Clonidine, the feelings of vertigo are a little more frequent, but they’re nothing that isn’t manageable.

I’m still seeing the shrink. I’m trying to decide if she feels too basic for me or if I’m just looking for an excuse to not engage. I’ve been known to do that from time to time (meaning, every other damn time I’ve spent any time with a mental health professional).

She is heavily encouraging me to look for a new job. The one I currently have is not contributing anything meaningful to my life, and, in fact, it makes me pretty irritated every time I’m here. It’s also made worse by the fact that I can’t exactly cover my bills and enjoy my life on my current salary. I guess we will see what we will see. She seems to have a lot of faith in my intelligence and my ability to do better for myself. Me? I’m fraught with impostor syndrome.

My sista and I have been hitting up a yoga class twice per week. We’ve been doing a yin yoga class and a vinyasa flow class. I’ve done yin before, and I suppose this class is ok. Personally, I think, in order to get the desired result, longer than an hour is needed. But, it’s something fun to do with Barb. Maybe, one day, we can do some work with the dvds I have. You know, after I have space in my house.

So, that’s about all that’s new in my world.

At Least the Stormtroopers Aren’t Coming to Get Me… yet.

Once, a long time ago, I told one of my “doctors” that Prozac was not helping me. For some reason, he decided to try me on some hard core crap. I can’t even remember the name of it, but that medication taught me all about side-effects. I guess some folks out there may have found them amusing. Me? not so much.

One evening, probably about 30 minutes after taking my medication, I left work. After stopping at the local shopping center (shit, are they even called that anymore?), I went about my drive home. I drove under a bridge and came to a stop at a traffic light. As I waited to turn left onto the expressway, I looked into my rear-view mirror.

I shit you not…

I saw a fucking Stormtrooper walking toward me, all business-like with his gun drawn. I mean, not that he’d have hit me or anything… But still… fuh-reeeeeeaky.

This is not The Dissy you are looking for.

I squeezed my eyes shut, shook my head, and looked again. As luck would have it, it was just a dude on a white crotch-rocket wearing a white jacket and a white helmet.

Fast forward to current times and current events…

When I advised my doctor (different from the doctor mentioned above) that I wanted to discontinue the Effexor, she told me she was going to prescribe something called Clonidine to help with side-effects.

Now, when I am prescribed a medication I’ve never heard of before, I go out of my way to dig up ALL the information I can find about it. You know… because I want to know if my arm hair is going to fall out, or if I’m going to grow some testicles from my belly button.

Luckily, the information only said they may cause some hallucinations.

I kind of thought that was bullshit until the other night.

I keep seeing movement around me. Shadowy figures and images. Usually, it’s just the screen door blowing in the breeze or the clock changing time, but for that minute, there is something in the room with me.

That aside, my mood has been excellent. I’m not going to lie and say I’ve been joyous one hundred percent of the time, but I’ve been able to cope successfully with things like anger, loneliness, sadness, and happiness.

I am, once again, experiencing pure, genuine laughter, and, thanks to a bit of flirtation, I am starting to notice other feelings returning. (“hello, lady parts, how you doin’?)

Everybody Loves Joey.

But… that’s where I am right now. Jumping at shadows and gladly interacting with myself again.

On a Partly Sunny Day

“I’ve always known that the mirror never lies…”

I haven’t checked in for a few days. Part of me feels like I really haven’t had anything new to add. Part of me feels like I’ve dropped the ball.

I had my third visit with the new therapist. I’m sort of feeling like she is throwing basic shit at me. Shit that may not occur to someone who hasn’t made it a life’s pursuit of understanding what’s going on in his or her noggin.

But, we will play the game her way for now.

This week, I’m supposed to observe my inner dialogue and see what kind of themes I come up with. Ummm… derr…

I’m very judgy about some things, mostly toward myself.
I’m surprisingly non-judgy about some things most people judge harshly.
A lot of time I’m singing to myself, mostly songs I made up for my dog.
And I’m not the most forgiving person anyone will ever meet. Particularly toward myself.

Weaning off the Effexor is still going okay. Nothing horrible has happened. I haven’t shanked anyone. I still feel mostly tired. I’ve had challenges to my decision. Things have come up that may push me back into a funk or make me unreasonably angry. I feel like I responded at an appropriate level, and the most fun thing happened.

I realized I didn’t even really give a whole lot of fucks about it.

I’m thinking a lot of good will come of this.

I went to dinner with Tama and Mary last night. They took me out for my birthday. I really miss seeing them both regularly and spending regular time with them. I need to figure out how to correct that.

I have a lot of ideas and plans brewing, and I’m feeling very optimistic about the ways life is shaping up.

Today

Every night, before I go to bed, I do a guided meditation with Kim Eng. I have a series on Audibles called “Meditations for a New Earth.” I really enjoy all of the meditations, and I absolutely love her soothing voice. I love that they aren’t super-complicated meditations that ask you to visualize some complex journey/time/place/entities. It’s all very straight-forward. So allow me to recommend this to you. She does also have Yin Yoga and Chi Flow Yoga dvds. Those can be gotten through eckharttolle.com, though, I did find mine on Amazon for slightly less.

As this weaning off of Effexor project progresses, I’m finding a lot of differences in myself that are hard to put into words. Today, the worst thing is that I feel tired. I think it’s an effect from the Clonidine. As for my moods… they’ve been fairly stable. There’s a small part of me that is worried this won’t last, but I am able to successfully not allow that nagging little anxiety take control and ruin my day.

I keep trying to make it to a yoga class, but I haven’t yet. I’ve been putting in some overtime at work, and I also took Daisy-Lou toy shopping this morning before I came to work. She needs a new supply every couple of weeks or so. She flat-out destroys her toys. One day, I’m just going to shut up and get her a Bark Box subscription.

The bouts of mild vertigo haven’t happened today, which is a good thing. Not that they were so troublesome.

That’s really about it for now.

I’ll check in tomorrow when I’m more alert and awake. haha. Hallelujah… it’s almost time to go home and sleep.

Wait What??

Right now, I just really wish I had some chocolate pudding. Jello brand, sugar free, and with the layer of vanilla in the middle.

The other day, I saw an offer someone was extending. For a nominal fee, the person in question will re-blog your blog. What the actual FUCK? I am not down with this in any way, shape, or form. I think it’s one of the purest forms of bullshit I have ever heard of.

“here’s my money, now re-blog my bullshit writing and ideas…”
OR
“I don’t have any money, so please skip over my well-written, thought-provoking blogs.”

Is this the state of blogging these days? The very thought kind of makes me want to barf.

Actually, it really makes me miss MySpace. I had a wonderful blog there. I had a huge following, and when I was shared, it was because people liked, admired, or respected what I had to say or because I had amused them, and the same applied when I shared someone else’s material.

Enough of that…

Day three of weaning off Effexor:

I feel like I’m sleeping a little better, and, emotionally, I feel pretty steady. I’d say “good,” but I feel a little flat. I’m still not falling into any pockets of despair, and I can bring myself “up,” but I sort of feel kind of dull. Maybe it’s because I had to be to work at 10 for a few hours of overtime.

Physically, I feel okay. I do get a dizzy spell here and there, and I get the brain jolts on occasion. I thought the vertigo was going to be more of a factor, as I got a pretty good case of that yesterday. It’s very mild today.

The nurse practitioner I was seeing (who initially prescribed the Effexor) said I was having a hard time sleeping because Effexor is partially a norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor, which means it will increase adrenaline in your system. It’s a sizeable difference I’m feeling with cutting the dose by so much. I’m sure it’ll continue to improve. I think that’s why I’m sleeping better, and I think it’s decreasing my anxiety.

I need to focus on finding natural ways to increase my energy. I need to get back into an exercise routine, and I need to make sure to eat well. Hopefully, the therapist and I can work out why I seem so neglectful of myself.

Today, I would continue to call this experience good. The telling times will be in about 5-10 days when PMS kicks in. muaaaahahahahahahaaaaa…

Tomorrow is Another Day

Yeah, yeah. I’m obsessed with Scarlett O’Hara. Well, maybe not obsessed, but she is definitely a resourceful woman, and I am infinitely inspired by resourcefulness. When I’m running at 100%, I fancy myself something of a resourceful gal.

Why, yes. Yes I should.

Anyhow, Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who are celebrating. Lupercalia blessings to those of you who may be celebrating that, as well.

And here we are at day two of the great Effexor detox. I’m definitely feeling it a little more. There are periods of dizziness and lightheadedness. I am also feeling a weird sort of fatigue in my muscles. So far, none of this is particularly bothersome. It’s just there.

I tried to meditate last night, but I kept yawning. I remember yawning a lot when I first started, so maybe that’s going to be a thing for a while.

Emotionally, I’m feeling a little strange. As a whole, I feel okay. At certain points, I feel bad, sad, or angry thoughts try to slip in, and then they just stop, and I’m back to my even-keeled feeling. It’s very strange, to me, because I usually have to put effort into feeling better when thoughts sneak in.

When I woke up, I spent some time petting my dog. Then I sang a song to her. In this song, I reach into her mouth and play with one of her teeth. She loves it. Anyhow, I got to thinking about what a good girl she is because she never bites me, and it reminded me of my ex’s dog and how I was trying to train her to be gentle with her teeth. That, of course, reminded me of the breakup fight. In the act of being a petty shitbag, he told me I was never allowed to touch the dog again. (I should point out that I’ve touched that dog a LOT since then (well, maybe not a LOT, but every time I have seen her, I touch her)). That made me cry for a minute because I loved that dog. It was relatively easy to cry, so progress is being made there.

My Daisy-Lou licked away my tears, climbed up on the mountain of pillows, and she sat on my head.

Bottom line? It’s a good day.

The Other Side of the Hill

Without a ton of kicking and screaming, I went on ahead and turned 50 yesterday.

In all, I’d say it turned out to be a pretty swell day.

In all, I’d say I’m embracing this change. It appears to have been significantly more than my number of years increasing by one. I actually feel like I’ve leveled up in many ways. I feel ready to take over the world.

Since I’ve committed to sharing my mental health journey, I will share that I started yesterday off with a visit to my primary care doctor. She and I discussed weaning off of the Effexor I have been taking for about 2 years now. Many factors have gone into this decision, for me.

  1. I will chuckle if I’m amused by something, but I have not experienced uncontrollable laughter in 2 years, and I miss it. I will cry if something horrendous happens, but I also enjoy those tears that come during a movie or during those stupid Hallmark commercials.
  2. The circumstances that were contributing to my anxiety are no longer factors in my life. By and large, it was my old job that prompted me to look into medication. I have a new job, one that is devoid of the factors that caused my problems at my old job.
  3. Depression may still be a factor, and we shall see if it is, but I think I may be able to do this with just a therapist.
  4. I finally have found a primary care doctor who understands how trying it is to transition off of these pills and was willing to prescribe something to help with the anxiety and dizzy spells that are sure to come during the transition and while my body adjusts to the new reality.
  5. I sort of miss having a libido. For as small of an amount of a sex drive as I had, I really couldn’t afford to lose what Effexor took away. I mean, I’m not shopping for a new boyfriend any time soon (if ever), but it also sucks to have certain parts of yourself closed down prior to you being ready for that to happen. Maybe there’s a friend out there. A friend who is a friend and also puts out (damn… do I sound piggish, or what?). Maybe there isn’t. Who knows? The option to find out does need to be present, though.

Sure, I am completely open to being on medication again, down the road, if I need it. I’m just hoping that I can make positive changes on my own now. You know, with the help of licensed mental health professionals. During this process, it will be nice to laugh so hard that it makes my stomach muscles hurt and to cry over the way that movie or story turned out. Anyone who has known me for any length of time has to have noticed how flat I’ve been.

Anyhow… Fifty is here, and she is nifty. This is the absolute first time that turning any age has caused me to feel anything, and I’m glad it is a positive thing.

I hope it turns out that way for all of my friends who are entering this decade this year.

Have a good one!

Boom Boom Boom

She said she thinks I’m a firecracker. If she only knew. I’m talking about my shrink, of course.

This was after she asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I communicated it quite clearly. Sure, lady, I have an idea and zero clues how to make it happen.

This clinic works on a 45 minute hour, and I suppose it would feel more helpful if I went more than once every two weeks. I do really like her, though.

This time, I was a little more down than I was last time. I guess I’m trying to decide if I’m doing that thing I always do… Usually, I act like I’m in better shape than I actually am so the therapist ends up wondering why I’m even there. It was my brilliant idea to go there, so why would I want to talk myself out of needing help?

I feel like this is going to be a slow process for a while. That’s okay, I suppose. I have time.

Later in the evening, I went to dinner with a friend. It’s amazing I even made it out of the house. This was supposed to happen last week, but my dog was sick, so I wanted to keep close to her in case I needed to take her to the emergency vet. I feel like I might have found another excuse to reschedule just because I’m so out of the loop and out of practice with the whole “going out” process that the thought of socializing gives me anxiety. Add to the mix that this isn’t a friend I see very often, and it’s the first time we’ve hung out without the rest of our mutual friends being there, and there’s a recipe for me to sit there looking like a deer in headlights.

Let’s just say I’m a teensy bit of an awkward person. Well… I guess that’s what pina coladas are for. It does make one wonder, though, when and why this shit started happening. I’ve never been a particularly awkward person before. I’m not the best with small talk, but, hey, I probably wouldn’t be hanging out with this friend if I felt like that was an expectation.

“Let’s talk about the weather.”
“Let me choke you with this bowl of tortilla chips.”

I have a few friends coming over on Tuesday for my birthday. That felt like the right thing to do. I think I might make a cake, too. I want a damn cake, and I don’t want anyone to go buy me one because, unless it’s NY style cheesecake from Giant Eagle, it will be wrong, and I rang in my birthday last year with cheesecake, and, while it was wonderful, I really just want some regular, normal cake.

So, I’m basically just rambling on now trying to take up time at work. It’s slow here. I’d better stop rambling, though. Along with small talk, that’s another thing I’m not especially fond of.

Til we meet again.