It’s been a while…

So…the title says it all. I sure has been a good long while since I’ve posted anything. To be quite honest, I kinda forgot this blog even existed. Kinda funny how this started out as a blog to document my OT school experience and was going to use it as a way to write about what I was learning (in OT school and life in general) and hoped it would be helpful for people.

That has NOT been the case. Pretty sure I’ve just been writing these things for no one but myself…and that’s ok…I don’t know, I guess I just hoped this thing could be helpful for others in some way or another. Also, OT school hasn’t exactly been the topic of discussion here – mental health has. More specifically, my mental health. It kinda became my place to word vomit and get stuff out. I’ve tried journaling and just wasn’t able to be consistent with it. I thought this might a better alternative. I spend an ungodly number of hours on my laptop anyways due to school and I thought that maybe others could see this and benefit…but no one really reads this. That’s fine. It’s still beneficial for me, but it would be nice if this blog could be a way to spark some community and lead to some conversations about mental health and provide some support for both myself and others. But I’m just word vomiting as usual. Moving on…

So…updates…where exactly do I begin? To be extremely blunt, life has been shitty. It has been hard and shitty. Lately, doing anything has been hard. It feels like my mind is in this constant tug-of-war battle between my anxiety and depression. Each day it feels like they are fighting over which one is going to make me feel worse, and with each day they both grow stronger. I feel so panicky, on-edge, and like I’m seconds away from experiencing something horrible, but at the same time I feel so weighed down and numb to just about everything.

Nothing is enjoyable for me anymore. I can hardly eat; it makes me nauseous to even try. Spending time with people doesn’t make me feel any better. Getting outside doesn’t do anything to help. I just feel so unattached from myself. I don’t feel like myself anymore and haven’t for quite some time now. I just don’t know what to do at this point.

I want to feel better. I want to get better. I want to feel like ME again…it just doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to happen. I keep trying medications and have yet to find one that helps. Therapy has been helpful. Gosh, I have such a wonderful therapist who has truly been such a good fit for me. But…I still feel awful.

Lately, it’s the depression that’s been the worst. Typically it’s my anxiety that wins out by a landslide, but lately the depression has been the thing that has made me feel so absolutely shitty. It’s physically painful at times. I want it to stop. I want to feel happy and feel good again…it just feels like that is never going to happen.

If anyone out there is reading this, please…anything would be helpful. Advice, encouragement, support…whatever you can give, I could really use. The hard days are far outnumbering the good ones and I want more than anything to just feel normal.


Anxiety Updates & COVID-19 Thoughts

Y’all. This past week has been rough, really rough.

My OT program transitioned to being fully online the rest of the term and it has definitely taken its toll on me. I miss my people. I miss being in class with my cohort and I miss getting to see all of faculty and staff (some more than others but ya know). It’s been hard. I feel so isolated and it is really weighing me down.

I’ve felt so numb honestly…not as on-edge and anxious, but more just numb to it all. It’s been more depression. I’ve hard a time getting myself to do anything. Sunday, I didn’t get out of bed until 2:00 pm. I just kept lying there, wanting to get up and get on with my day but also not wanting to do anything at all.

I had another therapy session on Monday which was helpful. It’s still pretty uncomfortable to have to be so vulnerable with someone I barely know, but at the same time it is so freeing. It’s especially nice too that my therapist has dealt with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders herself. She is actually able to really relate. I feel like she actually understands where I am coming from and also understands why it’s hard to break the cycle.

There were some hard pills to swallow this week though.

Hard pill #1: I need to cut people out of my life that I don’t necessarily want to let go of, but aren’t healthy for me to keep around. This is a hard one for me because I’m terrified of losing people and I’m so afraid of people leaving me. I’m not really used to people sticking around, so I’ll do anything to hold onto them, even if they are toxic. There is one person in particular my therapist feels I need to let go of, someone who was one of my best friends not too long ago. Shit hit the fan in our friendship and wow has it sucked. I want so much to have her back in my life, but she also said and did some really shitty, hurtful things to me. She has also said really shitty things about others behind their backs. While we haven’t been speaking, it has given me time to reflect…and I know that she isn’t the kind of person I need to keep around. I know she has treated me like shit, but I also hate losing her. It’s tough.

Hard pill to swallow #2: The way I see myself is why my relationship life has been nonexistent. Ummm…OUCH. I mean I get it. I understand where she was coming from, because yeah…I don’t see myself positively. You know that saying that goes something like “how can you expect anyone to love you until you learn to love yourself?” That probably applies here. I’m working on trying to be nicer to myself but it’s hard. I feel so unattractive and unworthy. Several spinal surgeries, a huge ass scar, uneven hips, uneven shoulders, scapular winging…how could anyone be attracted to that??? Honestly, this is definitely a TMI, but how could any guy ever want to sleep with me? How could any guy actually be attracted to all that? Which leads me to the next one…

Hard pill to swallow #3: The obsessive calorie counting and restricting food intake is becoming a bigger issue. Eating disorder. She actually said those words. I’ve known I’ve had one for a while now, but it’s so different to hear someone else actually say it. I don’t know how to break this thought process though. I’m so scared of gaining the weight back. It’s satisfying to watch it drop. It’s satisfying to be in control of at least one thing. I know it’s unhealthy. I know I should stop, but I don’t know if I want to.

I also had a panic attack on Tuesday night. First one in a while. I was hyperventilating on my bathroom floor at 12:30 am. It sucked. I hadn’t had a panic attack that bad since NYC. I’ve just felt so shitty all week. It’s one of those weeks when I feel like it won’t get better. I just feel so stuck, so lost. I don’t know anymore.

Thoughts on therapy session #1

I had my first therapy session yesterday afternoon…and it was the most refreshing experience I have had in a long while.

Not gonna lie, I was super nervous going into it because vulnerability isn’t exactly easy for me. Some people have the “I’m an open book” attitude, but not me. So having to discuss deep, personal stuff with a stranger was horribly intimidating. BUT I SURVIVED. However, this did not occur without a mild mental breakdown.

Let me explain…so I’m driving to my appointment when I receive a call (around 45ish minutes before my appointment) from the employee assistance program (EAP) that is supposed to be covering the cost of my first 3 face-to-face sessions. I pressed the “decline” button because I was more focused on listening to my GPS since I had no idea where the hell I was going. Anyways, I get to the place my appointment is in about 20 minutes. I decide to listen to the voicemail that was left from the caller I denied. I was fully expecting it to be a telemarketer but boy was I wrong. The voice on the message was not that of a telemarketer but that of someone from the EAP. They were calling to tell me that they made a mistake and the person they referred me to was actually NOT part of their database anymore…

*cue mental breakdown*

I called the callback number that was left to figure out what the hell was going on. They were apologetic but overall not super helpful. They just told me they could give me a new referral…but I didn’t want a new referral. See, I took the time to do my research and figure out who would be a good fit. I checked to see which providers specialized in anxiety. I checked to see who had experience dealing with disordered eating since that’s becoming an issue as of late. I checked to see who sounded like they would be warm, kind, and compassionate. I needed someone who seemed caring and trustworthy. And this particular provider fit all of those I needs I had.

Basically, I ended up crying to the person from the EAP and was a stressed out mess before I even got into the therapy room. Honestly, that was just the tip of the iceberg…tip of the iceberg made of way too many repressed emotions. That was the one last inconvenience that caused all the emotions to come to the surface. I was a mess before even meeting the therapist. Literally cried within minutes because the EAP situation had caused the dam to my emotions to break. Talk about a solid first impression.

Thankfully, I was met with so much compassion and understanding. She was so kind towards to me and so gentle with her words. I felt calm. I felt safe. I felt understood. I felt heard. My emotions felt validated. My walls were able to come down. I was able to address so many of the sources of my anxiety and it felt SO. FUCKING. GREAT.

So, I have another appointment scheduled in 2 weeks. Not sure how I’m going to pay for it, but I’ll figure it out. My insurance will only cover 25% of the cost, so it’ll be really expensive still. But I need this. I want this. I feel this will be really, really good for me.

That being said, if you’re reading this and are religious (I don’t care what religion just any spiritual belief at all) I’d so appreciate some prayers that this will work out financially for me because I want to get better. I want to take care of myself. I want to make myself a priority for the first time in my life.

Therapy Thoughts…

I scheduled an appointment with a therapist. Monday at 4:00. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super nervous. The last time I tried therapy it was horribly uncomfortable. I didn’t connect well with the therapist and she just made me feel really awkward. It wasn’t the type of environment I could make progress in. It’s taken me 7 months to work up the courage to try it again. Part of me is proud of myself for working up the nerve to schedule the appointment but part of me feels so much shame. It’s such a weird place to be in. I’m scared honestly.

Late Night Ramblings

It was better for a while, but now it’s getting worse. I thought I was starting to get my anxiety under control, but no…

My medication had to be increased again today. Part of me feels like such a failure for it. How did I get here? How did I get to a place of not being able to handle myself mentally? I don’t know anymore. I feel stuck. It’s getting all-consuming again and I hate it.

I feel like I’m alone in my suffering. I had one friend who was also dealing with a lot of mental health struggles as well. We were really able to lean on each other and support each other through the ups and the downs, on the good days and the really shitty days. Except for now I don’t have that. Our friendship is kind of on the rocks right now. Basically she said some things that were so over-the-line hurtful regarding really personal stuff for me and said some really hateful things about others in our circle. I confronted her on how I felt on the matter and she got pissed and was denying that she had done anything. So we haven’t spoken in almost 2 months and it sucks.

She was one of the two people I have been able to talk to about my anxiety and trust with all of that. I still have the one professor who has been a huge blessing in supporting me and encouraging me, but I don’t want to burden her with my struggles. I’m so afraid she is going to get tired of it and want nothing to do with me, leaving me with no one to talk to. I wish my parents understood mental health but they don’t see this type of stuff as an issue. They see it as being dramatic, creating stress, and doing it to myself. They don’t believe in using medication or therapy for it.

I don’t know. I just feel stuck, scared, and so alone.

Feeling stuck…

The calorie counting has become obsessive.

It didn’t start out this way. It didn’t happen on purpose. It just sorta happened…

When my anxiety was at its worst, I was often too nauseous to eat anything. As a result, I lost some weight.

And it felt good.

It felt good seeing that number drop, seeing that I had lost that weight without even trying to. I liked it and I wanted more.

And I’ve been wanting more for a while now.

I want to lose more. I don’t need to. But I want to.

I want to be thinner, just a little bit smaller. But the more pounds I lose, the more I want to continue doing so.

I track all my calories. I track the fat content. I’ve only been eating 1200 calories at max on a “bad” day. Meal replacement shakes and protein bars have become the substitute for 2/3rds of my meals.

I know this is a dangerous road to be heading down, but I don’t know how to stop…and I don’t know if I want to…

I just feel so stuck. What’s happening to me? What is this? If anyone has some guidance to offer, please do.

Anxiety’s my name & medication’s the game.

Side note: I’ve actually been working on this post for the past 2 months. I’ve struggled with knowing what to say. Each time I would start to type it, I’d get stuck. Processing through all of this has been hard and it’s taken time. Now, I think I’m finally at a place of really working through everything and learning how to handle it all. I’m learning to accept my mental health for what it is. So, here goes nothing.

I have anxiety.

It’s something I’ve known for a long time but only recently got an official diagnosis for. GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER. I am living with generalized anxiety disorder.

I’ve honestly spent so long feeling like I’m suffocating. I constantly feel anxious and on-edge and as if something just isn’t right. It’s been that way for years. Something has always felt off and I can’t think of a time where it hasn’t, but in the past few months it’s gotten really, REALLY bad.

I honestly hit the lowest of lows with my mental health late June-early July. The beginning of the end, as I like to call it. The start of my anxiety REALLY spiraling out of control.

I crashed and burned so hard. I basically hit rock bottom. I was hurting. I was confused. Why was this happening? I had almost always struggled with some degree of anxiety, but never like this. Why was it getting so much worse now? I had exciting things happening in my life. I was finally in OT school pursuing my doctorate (a goal I had been working towards for the past few years). I had just moved to Texas (again, something I had REALLY been wanting). Although it was some major life changes that were kinda stressful, it was overall very exciting things. Somehow, even though everything seemed to be so incredibly great, it wasn’t. I hit my breaking point, I was hurting, I was struggling every single day, and I needed help. I just didn’t know how to get it.

My grad program offers free counseling services…3 sessions per year…

That doesn’t exactly get you very far. It’s better than nothing, but still. After those 3 it’s you insurance that has to cover it. I went once and it was horribly uncomfortable and awkward. Partially because I had never been to therapy before and partially because I didn’t mesh well with the therapist. I haven’t been again since we get so few sessions.

I’d honestly love if I could make therapy be a consistent thing because I feel like with the right therapist it could be very beneficial. Unfortunately, that is not an option. What am I to do when those 3 free sessions run out? My family has insurance that COULD cover part of it but I know my parents wouldn’t go for that. My parents aren’t exactly on board with the whole mental health thing. I’ve tried talking to them about it so many times for several years and they just don’t get it. My dad’s response is always something along the lines of “I’m not going to deal with you when you act like this. You can talk to me when you calm down” and my mom’s response is always something like “I’m sorry sweetie. Stop stressing so much.” But it’s not stress, it’s anxiety and I can’t just “calm down.”

October 28, 2019. The day that I finally screamed for help (metaphorically speaking. I didn’t actually scream but I’m sure you get the point). I had another really bad anxiety attack. That time it was different. I decided enough was enough. It’s the day I decided that I couldn’t keep living like that and needed to do something. It was time I took some control. So, I made a doctor appointment and HALLELUJAH I was able to get in that afternoon.

Honestly, I was terrified. I knew deep down that so much good could come from speaking up, but I was still scared. What were they going to think when I said that I was struggling with anxiety at the appointment? Would they think I was being dramatic? Overreacting? Attention-seeking? Making it all up? All of the above? Nonetheless, I knew I had to follow through. I knew I had to go for it.

And I did.

Generalized anxiety disorder. That was the diagnosis I left with that day. I finally had an official diagnosis. I finally had answers. I started on a prescription SSRI to take every morning and another prescription to take when panic attacks occur.

The first SSRI did NOT work. My anxiety actually got worse while on it. Not sure if it was just a really bad side effect or if my anxiety was just getting worse in general. Anyways, after over a month of things getting worse, I had a follow-up. My medication was switched to a different SSRI and the dose on that one was soon doubled. After that, things started to get a little better.

Right now, I am starting to see some improvements. I still have my share of hard days where the anxiety is all-consuming, but overall they have greatly decreased. I feel like I’m starting to manage things. Life is finally feeling better.

I know it’s definitely going to be a continual process of learning how to manage this mental illness, but I finally have hope…hope that everything really will be alright. “Everything will be alright” kind of became my mantra in the midst of my anxiety being at its worst. It became the thing that I would speak over myself, hoping that I would eventually believe that it’s true, that everything would be alright. Now, I’m finally believing that it’s true, that everything WILL be alright.