Gym

Yesterday is going down in history as a REALLY bad day! I’ve had some bad days, but this really took the biscuit. I was at the gym, on the treadmill almost finishing my stint on it, when next minute I’m lying on the floor in the recovery position not knowing what the hell was going on. I found out later in hospital (an ambulance was called) that I hit the floor and had a violent seizure for 30 seconds, then spoke absolute gibberish for 5 minutes. There were two lovely gym members being really gentle with me, luckily it was at a time when it was staffed, and luckily for me I didn’t seriously injure myself.

The hospital ran some tests, nothing obvious was highlighted. But I’ve been referred to a neurologist. I have to wait for the phone call. Luckily the hospital let me go, there’s no way I was sleeping in there. I had to get Steve to pick me up and take me back to the gym where my car was. I have to say, being alone and not having someone there to support and care for me felt like a kick in the guts. I only asked the gym to call Steve because I was supposed to be collecting the kids. If he had planned to do it, I wouldn’t have had them call him. I know he doesn’t care or want to be involved. I miss that terribly.

I did message some friends though and got some incredible support. I wouldn’t usually reach out like that, but I did feel so alone. And being home alone after such a traumatic day felt miserable.

This morning I woke with a shocking migraine. I’ve not had one for a while. I had to go and get some super expensive migraine medication, but it was the only one that’d get rid of it. And I’m on kid duty this afternoon.

Aside from my gym event, a lot of other stuff has been going on. We had H (6) assessed because we were worried that he wasn’t progressing academically. Turns out he’s monumentally behind his targets. It seems he might have a learning disability. I’ve seen his school principal to find out how the hell this has gone unnoticed and what they can do to support him in class. I’ve also arranged for him to see the GP because he’s so tired all the time. Just to eliminate any underlying health issues. I am really worried about my boy and feel terrible that it’s gone on this long.

I’ve had more interviews and more rejections, although the feedback from my interviews has been good, I just miss out.

It’s been affecting my confidence, it’s been hitting my finances because of the petrol I have to keep buying and the parking I keep paying for. And I’ve been feeling a bit run down. It’s stressful doing loads of interviews. I saw Ian, my CPN and he reassured me that anyone would feel tired and depressed from the interviewing and I’m on kid duty after school so the days have been long and trying. We both agreed I should take a week break and then get back into it again.

I have been catching up with friends at the weekends and it’s been really nice to have more of a social life. I’m trying not to isolate myself again.

I’m feel a bit fragile emotionally and physically. I’ll be glad to get some answers about this seizure and know how I can avoid it happening again. It’s really made me feel anxious about going back to the gym, but I’ll make it. I’ll just take it easy.

I’m doing a lot of work in counselling, I feel really committed to the process. I’m ready to really explore things and work through things.

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Lithium and PTSD

So I’m officially back on lithium now. It’s too early to feel the awful side effects, but my psychiatrist reassured me that my mood would stop dipping. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m starting on 1000mg increasing after a week. I’m still keeping my other medication which I’m hoping to reduce over time because I’m now on so many pills.

My PTSD reared up spectacularly recently. My car was making a hideous noise to the point I was panicking while I drove it. I made it to Steve’s house and asked to borrow his car. I begged him to call the dealership because I’m so anxious about confrontation. I’ve dealt with them three times already and my anxiety was too high. I was prepared to abandon the car altogether. He made the initial call but I followed it up after he kept on having a go at me for dumping the car outside his house. They agreed to come and collect it.

So turns out, someone took my wheel nuts off, no doubt desperate to steal my alloys to make some money for Xmas. Fortunately one is safety locked on, so I was driving a car with no wheel nuts. I was very fortunate that I didn’t have an accident. The car is either parked outside my house or the police station where I work. Naturally it’s unlikely to be the latter where this occurred, so it means the offender came onto my driveway. I reported it to the police who classified it as a burglary and they asked me to check for signs of entry into the house. I couldn’t see anything, but that didn’t stop me from panicking. That night I barely slept, every noise sounded like an intruder, I was absolutely terrified. The first time I have felt so vulnerable in my home.

I told my elderly neighbour what had happened as she parks outside her house and she told me that her neighbor (on the other side) had had his car trashed. A garbage can thrown over it, windscreen wipers bent. I was shocked and I guess grateful that nothing worse had happened to mine.

I borrowed one of Steve’s golf club’s in an attempt to feel safer at night. But it’s been hard. I’ve been especially jumpy and been suffering with horrible nightmares. I have had an unrelenting migraine for three days, which is costing me a fortune in medication as the prescribed codeine isn’t working.

The deduction from my pay for my student loan was so huge, it’s meant I can’t make the rent. I don’t understand it at all, I thought I had to meet a certain income threshold. I really don’t need this. I’m literally going to be one of these people that is better just living off benefits. Which is awful because work, despite the long hours, has been really good for my confidence and sense of independence.

I’m really feeling the stress and with Xmas fast approaching, it’s only going to get worse. I hate Xmas as it is, so I’m making steps to avoid it, although I’m supposed to be attending this bloody work function on the 13th. I can’t think of anything worse. The people I work with are nice, but so bitchy and in these cliches it’s pretty pathetic. They’re definitely not the sort of people I’d want to liaise with outside of work. I’ve offered to cover the night shift in an attempt to get out of it, but they’ve worked it so that I can still attend and work later!

I’m not seeing the kids from now and through the weekend, I’m working and Steve’s away so his parents are down and looking after them. Of course I’m grateful to them for stepping up, but I miss the kids terribly. I wonder what this is all for sometimes.

Facebook

I have some wonderful followers on here that either come along to read, or post inspiring and heplful comments.  It makes me feel less alone, in difficult times.

As such, I’ve taken a leaf out of a fellow bloggers (epage!) and have created a Facebook page. Here you will find a (very) novice platform to contact me, create discussion or to find some agencies that may be helpful.  You are always welcome to contact me via that page or on here, and I’d be happy to locate more sources as needed.

The most important thing that this blog has created is a community in which I’ve been able to express all of my inner most thoughts, feelings, fears, symptoms and my life journey to recovery.

No one should be alone.

Thank to everyone over the last years that have held my hand and offered me words to think over, words to soothe and words to remind me that I’m heard.

The blog of course will continue as normal.

Penny Insane

(https://www.facebook.com/PennyInsane)

Penny

xx

 

 

Unfamiliar

This weekend I’ve predominantly slept and shut myself away. The noise of the kids has been more overwhelming than usual and my aversion to being touched worse than its been for a long time. Even my son whom I love a good snuggle with especially in the mornings and I can be a bit soft on him in the evening when wants to sit we us, I’ve not wanted the feeling of limbs, or heat on my body. While I know it’s my son, my cherished warm little guy that in my darkest hour keeps me going, my body just doesn’t want the touch. My youngest daughter is always full of love and wants to hug me, but her hugs become claustrophobic. 

When they’ve been distracted I’ve hurried out the room to check their rooms, take out bowls, throw out rubbish, in keeping with my routine with keeping the house clean and tidy but then I skuttle back to room like a witch from a fairy tale.

I just went out to see my husband and kids in the spa pool. Excited faces (they’re not allowed in it very often), laughing and playing. All I could see was scattered damp clothes, the water being thrown over the sides (yikes that’s not good for the water level!), it’s going to need a hit of chemicals after they’ve been in it, lots of towels that would add to my laundry list, and they all looked up at me happily to ask if I’d join. A spa pool full of kids? Frankly I’d rather take my chances in a lake of piranha. 

I utilised that as an opportunity to hunt bedrooms for hidden rubbish, hidden lunch bars, hidden pens, and do the laundry cycle.

I suppose this feeling comes from the week I had. The impact of rushing around, keeping to times and not allowing any emotions to get in the way. Not having time to rest.

On Friday night my mind was racing through all the issues, anxieties, topics from therapy – there was no respite. I took quitiepiene. I needed to shut down and sleep. My daughter woke me in the early hours to say she felt ill. I could barely murmur for her to have water and some more sleep. Not long after our son joined us. Being disturbed like that gave me a huge migraine. Fortunately my husband decided to get up with our son. So I was left to sleep off the migraine.

I’ve felt irritable throughout Saturday. I tried taking minimal doses of quitiepiene and occasionally diazepam. There was a restlessness, anxiety, miserable. I struggled to relax but I knew I was tired. 

Sunday has been similar, although I’ve really avoided everyone as much as I can.

I have always ignored my needs. When things have stressed me out or upset me, I have just moved and busied myself. But I notice that it’s not uncommon for other survivors or other people with PTSD or depression to listen to themselves and take time out when it all gets a bit much to avoid getting to a point where they’re pushed to it, as I have been.

The trouble is when I’ve been pregnant or fractured my foot and the experts advice has been to slow down – I have done more. As though I need to prove I am better than their advice, or some sort of superhero. If someone tells me not to expect to achieve something within a set timeframe, you can bet your arse I’m working to accomplish it within half that timeframe.

Why the need to prove myself all the time and to whom? I’m not going into any history books! There aren’t doctors talking about that one patient that defied advice and […] and my husband isn’t waxing lyrical with his colleagues about how his pregnant wife used to move furniture around and carry things upstairs etc. as usual the only person I stand to harm is myself. And the only person I’m trying to prove myself to is myself.

A residual trait from my upbringing. Don’t think you’re anything special. Regardless of what’s wrong with you (except mental health – they didn’t believe in that) you do the same as you usually would. Don’t make excuses, don’t expect pity and don’t ask for help.

So all those inner frustrations and bitterness must have manifested and made them the repressed, bitter people they are today. Judgemental, never asking for help (or giving it), angry at the world and unable to communicate.

On my journey I have learnt to say when I’m struggling. 

But these last couple of weeks have shown me there’s still a way to go. I was able to push myself, ignore my concerns – and I did have them, isolate from people, stop communicating, and push myself against my better judgement.

Now I’m in my room feeling isolated, disconnected. Triggered. I’m feeling young again in that I’m vulnerable, I’m afraid – of what I don’t know, I’ve let myself down.

Mental health, being a survivor, it’s so complex. When you think you have a grasp, everything becomes unfamiliar again.

Looking in the mirror

A therapy day. I had been reluctant to go today. I questioned myself for the root of that feeling. Simply I didn’t want to feel exposed again. I have been busy, I have been plodding along and stopping to open up my heart and soul and pick apart the painful bits seemed too scary. Too overwhelming. Why not stick a band aid over the wound and ignore it a bit longer? 

But I owe my therapist more respect than that, and I committed to working at this. 

As usual I set about my day’s plan in my head, allocating time slots. I successfully managed to complete my tasks and arrived on time for therapy. She has slowly raised my awareness about my tendency towards my obsessive compulsiveness. The way I do things in order. My routines, my planning. I’d never considered it before. But now I find myself becoming more aware, and my husband agreed with the therapist without hesitation which surprised me.

We started off with me highlighting examples of where I’d realised this was in fact an issue, whereby previously I’d never even considered it before. Obsessive people just wash their hands a lot or worry about germs don’t they? But looking over at the way I plan, my daily routines, the way I do things, the need for control, and my inability to respond well to unpredictable changes does show some unexpected obsessive tendencies. 

I made a passing comment about how Christmas is always a nightmare for me because of the mess and lack of order with the kids. I’m always scurrying around with a black bag to collect rubbish and trying to keep presents in a ordally fashion. The kids just want to play and are excited. My husband wants to be laid back and watch the moment. But I’m never truly happy. It’s a period of time I endure. It’s messy chaos with pressure and expectations. I try to keep decorations to an absolute minimum because I find them tacky and suffocating. 

Growing up my parents decorated the house like Santas grotto. It was always bright and tacky. Overwhelming. As a kid I loved it. But my parents were just two bitter drunk people, that dragged us around to see relatives we hated who gave us horrible presents out of a forced sentiment. Christmas Day was always my mother playing the martyr, and dad being waited on. While my sister and I entairtained each other. In retrospect Christmas wasn’t a special time. It was never warm or real. It was suffocating, it was forced politeness, it was drinking, it was self absorbed, it was tradition for the sake of it. By the 12th day, the pine tree was was almost dead, the tinsel was coming off photo frames, lights were dead, candles melted and everyone was fed up with each other. 

I guess I have inadvertently pushed miserable Christmas’s onto my family. But my therapist felt it ran much deeper than that. As my fondest Xmas memory with my husband and kids is when we stayed in a back in KeriKeri (north of the North Island). We had a fantastic time. My therapist offered that perhaps it was because I was out of the house. Perhaps at Christmas I live in the past not the present.

And this started a conversation pertaining to my childhood and some uncomfortable feelings I have around that.

It’s the first time I’ve really spoken so openly and unguarded. 

She listened and then suggested we talk in more detail the following week, concerned at how much I could handle saying in one session after I’ve been struggling with proper down time recently and bad bouts of disassociation.

I left her and drove on to get my hair done. Although I found it difficult to be in the moment and seem cheerful. I just felt drained and the beginnings of a migraine were warning.

It’s been snowing here. It’s bitterly cold, dark, miserable. I’m feeling worn down. 

But I’m glad I talked to the therapist. I offloaded. I feel that she’s giving me good insight about myself and gradually not only am I learning more about myself but I’m wanting to learn more. Like looking in a mirror for the first time after surgery, I am both curious and terrified. But better to look in the mirror then catch your reflection off guard.

Waiting in painful limbo

I don’t know what I’m doing, what I’m feeling, what I’m supposed to be doing. This week has been suspended in time. My movements and thoughts in autopilot. Someone could ask me the day, the time, the year and frankly I’d have no idea. Nor would I care to know.

My first bite of reality came on Thursday. My middle daughter had fallen from the monkey bars at after school care. It was late afternoon and everyone felt it was a nasty sprain. We opted to let her get some rest rather than spend the entire night in the emergency room and see how she was in the morning. The morning she was still sore, swollen and couldn’t move her fingers. I had a tremendous migraine but wasn’t willing to leave my little girl so had my husband drive us to the hospital. An x-Ray revealed a fracture. We were there for four hours so were glad we hadn’t taken her in the night. She was incredibly brave. She had a cast put on and we promised her lunch and a few goodies.

On Saturday I took her and my youngest daughter to get their hair done as previously promised. My migraine still present and so painful I was jacked up painkillers. But if my daughter could be so resilient, so could I. I got my favourite nail girls to make her nails extra special, then we went clothes shopping to accomodate the new cast. That certainly pepped her up. By the end of the day she was tired though and had wanted to dance and play with her sisters but her cast felt heavy and the forewarned swelling had begun. She felt miserable and forlorn. I tried to comfort her and reassure her it was only temporary. I wished it was my arm. I hate to see my daughter in pain. She’s such an energetic, happy bouncy girl. 

My migraine hasn’t relented. I’ve taken every medication I possibly can, in fact I’m sure if it wasn’t for my robust disposition most people would have keeled over by now. 

The reason for the agony is that I will be hearing soon from my lawyer the outcome of the oral submissions to the Judge as to whether my case will go to trial or not.

That means my final attempt at justice will reach an end. I’m less confident as time has gone by. I have less faith in the justice system than ever before and I fear my pain of reliving this trauma will be nothing. Again.

I know that with the resolution it will be time for me to move on, to start really healing and leaving the past behind.

I have an excellent counsellor now, I’ve seen her twice now and I think she’s a good fit. She’s direct, honest and has a methodology to chisel deep into the heart of my trauma – which will be hard but needed. It’s time.

So I’m giving the energy I have to my children, but for me, life is in limbo. I am not living, I am waiting and I have no control. I have no faith and I have no hope for justice. I feel my pain is worthless, that I don’t matter. That I’m a tiny bug in someone’s really busy day of more important things.

I can’t express how much it hurts to know that after all I’ve been through, still no one cares enough to hear me.

But at some point I have to let it go.

I will have my worst fears confirmed soon.

In the meantime I look to my children for their inspiring strength and resilience.

 My beautiful daughter still smiling 😉 

Anger and the internal battle

Sometimes I get so god damn angry. This rage builds so internally like a volcano, my body holds onto the tense emotion, the fury, the anguish, the fear and sense of self pity, self loathing. All balled together. A fire deep within me. How it’s expressed can vary, but today it manifested into a painful debilitating migraine. Different from the others. Different in that I could feel the seething rotten anger behind my eyes, but the migraine was almost a protection from stopping me from doing anything about it.

I slept it off. But when I awoke the irritation remained. My frustrations, my deep rooted anger, unleashed, unforgiving, misdirected anger. But my body is tired. My mind flashes hot, but I’m drained.

Is this mental illness or the stress? Or both? I don’t want anybody around me. No one can comfort or cool me down. Over the last few days I’ve noticed I’ve started grinding my jaw. That’s a new thing. My husband does this thing where he acts all surprised, as though I have absolutely no reason in the world to be angry. As though any change in emotion comes as a complete shock. It makes me feel more frustrated. Why can’t I be fucking stressed and angry? Must I be at a plateau all the time?

My sleep is shot to pieces. I’m relying more on sleeping tablets – dangerous game. I’m so fucking tired but my brain is too stressed and the nightmares are relentless. 

Periods of feeling numb and disassociated are happening more frequently and they’re welcomed albeit unnerving. I can go hours without clicking a single minute of what I’m doing. It’s all fine until I have to pull on a conversation I had, remember an appointment or lose time.

In my head I can imagine smashing things, hitting people (in a fight – not random), I imagine screaming and shouting until my voice is almost gone. I want to throw things across the room, punch a wall until my knuckles are bloody and broken. But my body is a dead weight. The fury is in my mind. I’m scared to release what’s inside. It’s why my tears are short bursts. It’s why I disassociate, why I’d rather take a blade to my own skin. And why my head hurts. Why my body memories come back so painfully.

The only knack I have is for taking out my irritation and pushing people away. 

Everything else I do is internalised.

Everything ounce of pain and anger is in me. The people around me get the mere tip of the iceberg.