Work was cancelled today. It rained all day yesterday, then sleeted for about 4 hours last night then the temps dropped into the teens and didn't get back above freezing until 2PM today. It was NASTY out there. As much as I enjoyed today off, it has really screwed up my week!

Did I do the right thing?

Hi, I'm Lily and I'm a second guesser. *altogether now* Hi, Lily.

I have been meaning to talk to my boss for the last couple of weeks about my absences. I missed Wednesday two weeks ago and Thursday and Friday of last week. I am going to have to take two half-days next week for the initial consultation with the psychiatrist and follow-up with my OBGYN. I wanted to bring that to her attention before someone else did, so I asked if I could meet with her for a few minutes.

So without going into details I told her that I had some things going on that were causing me to use some unplanned sick days, and that I was going to have to miss some more half-days soon to get everything wrapped up. She wasn't as supportive as one might hope (but then again that really isn't her style and I don't know why I really expected it) but she did acknowledge that she understood that you have to be healthy physically in order to do your best, to which I completely agree. But at the same time, she couldn't stress enough that when I'm gone no one else can do my work for me (duh, I know that). She also warned me that I am close to being docked pay. What? I still have 5 1/2 sick days left. That's not close. How's that for a subtle guilt trip. I already don't take off time when I need to, and now that I was going to try I feel like I have a target on my back and I have to do my job even better. I stayed late today because I now feel like she's watching me. UGH. Part of me thinks I did the right thing by going to her before she could come to me, because that really would have freaked me out and made me think I was going to be fired or something... but then part of me thinks I should have left it alone, that I've now targeted myself. Did I mention UGH? Did I do the right thing?

P.S. I find it crazy that it is pouring rain, yet 29 degrees. Tomorrow morning will be fun.

Weekend Action

Day 1 of Lex,apro- at least I remembered I had medicine to take this morning! In all honesty, I don't think I could have taken the Effe,xor even though she prescribed it. Just looking at it gives me this really bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Thankfully this weekend is one of my busier ones, no real chance for me to hide at home and stay in bed. The realization of that did not help with my anxiety this morning, it only made me want to stay home more. I was helping host a baby shower for one of my friends and needed to leave by 9 in order to get there to help set up/decorate. When I pulled up to her house everything in me was screaming to leave. I was so anxious that I was nauseous but I told myself that I wasn't going to ruin her day and that I was going to stay no matter what. Once I got settled into cooking, decorating, arranging, etc I was able to remember why these girls are my friends and feel completely comfortable with them.

The one thing I hate about baby showers is that I just don't really fit in. Seems like a weird statement, but looking around, everyone was either married, pregnant or already parents... and then there was me. Single. No kids. The conversations eventually situate themselves around crazy stories with kids and husbands, to which someone eventually asks me "Are you married?" Nope. Granted I'm in the first half of my 20's and all of my friends are older than me, so it's not that big of a deal... but it's just a reminder of what I don't have and makes me feel as though I have a huge countdown in front of me. Feeling that way and knowing I have so much more work to do before I can even trust myself to be in a relationship scares me even more.

Ended the afternoon with a massage, which I desperately needed. It has helped a lot with my anxiety, plus the physical aspects of dealing with so much stress. The knots in my back are pretty intense. Tomorrow I'm going to sleep in, do some grocery shopping, then L is coming over at 1 so we can start planning the baby shower we are throwing for our best friend, D. I got some good ideas from the shower that I am going to play off as my own!

A Beginning

I finally was able to get in to see my OBGYN today. I was extremely nervous about the conversation that I was going to have to have with her about how out of control my anxiety as been, as well as it being coupled with depression and suicidal ideations. After having multiple panic attacks last week in her office, I was worried about what she was going to think of me, but it just goes to show that I always assume the worst from everyone. She was really easy to talk to today, probably because she already knew so much about my history. She gave me a start-up pack for Eff.exor (after first recommending Lex.apro) but stressed to me that with the complexity of my mood disorders and past that she was going to send me to a psychiatrist. She said once he prescribes/regulates my medication that she will still have me follow-up with her based on his diagnosis/recommendations. I hadn't heard much about Effexor, except from my friend who is a nurse... she said to stay away from Eff.exor at all costs. So after researching it a bit more on Web.MD I read some absolutely awful things about it. I called my aunt (who's a GP) and talked to her about it and she said that I could start Lex.apro again if I felt more comfortable with it. I was on Lexapro a year ago but stopped taking it when I had an emergence of suicidal ideations during the week I was menstruating. That continued to happen so I thought it was caused by the medication, so I stopped taking it. Now it happens all the time, so it definitely was not the medicine. She thinks I wasn't on a high enough dose, so she said to go ahead and start 20 mg Lex.apro instead of the Effe.xor. Thankfully I had a 90 day supply that I never really tapped into, so that'll last me until I go back to follow up in 2 weeks. I just really hope she is not upset that I am choosing not to take the Eff.exor in favor of my own opinion on it, not her recommendation. Again, this is me expecting the worse.

Part of me is at peace with this decision because I know it is a beginning for me. The other part of me is scared that it's not going to work, that I will always suffer the effects of the PT.SD, panic and depression that has taken over my life. There are no guarantees in life, but sometimes a little reassurance goes a long way.

Get it together!

The past two weeks have been exhausting. In the last 10 work days, I have missed 5. My intense cyclical depression has now branched out to include social anxiety. Just the idea of going to work where I have no opportunity to leave or even rest immediately ramps up my anxiety and in the past few weeks has induced a few panic attacks. I took today off so I could take in another session with A, which was really good, but as soon as that was over the looming fear of having to return to work hit. I am trying to change the way I view my anxiety, being more aware of it as a method of understanding the thoughts/emotions that bring on the panic, as opposed to not acknowledging it as anything but a physical reaction. I didn't even want to leave to go to the gym, but knowing how much better exercise makes me feel I did. I got there and found out there was an explosion in the adjoining building, frying all the electricity. Sure hope God wasn't trying to tell me something there.

So I sat at home trying to decide whether or not it was worth it to go into work tomorrow just for the sake of saving one of my days in case I needed it later, or taking care of myself now. I chose the latter. I never put myself first, and I'm going to do that. I have an appointment to see my OBGYN tomorrow to start medication, so hopefully the knowledge that help is on the way will be enough to get me back to work on Monday. My hope was to be able to go to sessions 2x/week in February, but that was going to require me to take a half-day every Thursday. I was totally willing to do this, but it turns out her latest time on Thursdays is at 12:30 (and I am eligible to leave at 12 on half-days) but every Thursday was booked at that time except one. So that leaves me with the option of 10:30, having to come back to work the same day (not a good idea), or 11:30, if I can convince my boss to let me skip lunch. Given what happened last week (leaving at 11:30 and being docked a full-day) I'm thinking that I shouldn't get my hopes up. *sigh* I wish she worked more than just 1 1/2 days a week, that would make my life so much easier.. and it is so about me right now. Heh.

A Fork in the Road

I can't make a move without approaching a fork in the road. Every decision is the opportunity to move forward or take a U-turn in the wrong direction... and right now I feel extremely self destructive. I am so tired from feeling so many emotions that I have never learned to filter; basically emotional overdoses. And the way my mind/body has chosen to deal with it quickly is panic attacks. When the "consequence" in dealing with what ails you is in turn causing you more pain and fear, it eats away at your confidence. When I began this journey about 3 months ago, I knew I was ready and I was prepared for everything that I thought would be thrown my way. I knew I could do it. Now I don't feel it at all. I wonder why I thought I could ever do this.

Praying for guidance

I feel like my life is falling apart. I have no idea what my purpose is in life, I have no idea where I'm supposed to go from here.

I spent over an hour in C's office today... talking about things I have not voiced in therapy yet. I can tell her anything, yet I hold back with my therapist. The relationship is still somewhat new, but I'm afraid of letting my guard down that much. I mean, I'm already having panic attacks interfering with my life as things stand now, but they get so much worse when I dig up emotions I've kept hidden for so long. C asked for permission to speak to my therapist. I know she asked because she is concerned, but it worries me what will be said. I'm going to waive confidentiality because I trust her more than I have trusted anyone in my life, but part of me is panicked because anything I have shared in the past year will be fair game.

I have been fighting this battle unmedicated (with the exception of Xa.nax on an as needed basis), but I think I am going to have to be put on something... and that is such a slap in the face for me. There is also a possibility that I might take a leave of absence from work. I have been thinking about it, and C recommended it as a possibility.... but I am not jumping the gun on anything. I will be seeing A on Tuesday and will work with her in figuring out what is best for me. I will be praying for guidance, because as hard as I try, I just can't see God's path for me right now.

Can't I have a normal Wednesday?!

So I was expecting this week to be better than most, because I didn't have a session scheduled since she is out of town. My moods have been good, especially with how easy work is this week...

So today started with 2nd period exam (from 8:40-11:30), and since I don't have 2nd period I planned to run up to my OBGYN to start the Gar.dasil series before I get too old (26 is the cut-off). Got there, got the shot (which really does not feel good) and got up to leave. The nurse asked me if this was the last shot in the series for me and I told her it was the first. So she was like "Oh, you better sit down to make sure you don't have any reaction to it." OK, cool, sounds like a good idea to me. So I'm just sitting there waiting and all of a sudden I get nauseous... like the feeling you get when your blood sugar crashes, then I start getting heart palpitations and my BP skyrockets (we're talking like 150/120). It is extremely disorienting, but it has happened before. I've been to my doctor, she's run an EK.G and MR.I and everything is normal. So I don't really know if it's caused by the shot or not. The nurse comes to check on me, I tell her and she checks my vitals. I was on the downside of it, so my BP and HR had lowered a bit but were still elevated. So I told her that this has happened before that it probably wasn't the shot. She told me to sit there anyway while she talked to my OBGYN.

Not 3 minutes later does it happen again... then once I recover from that, it happens one more time. Never have I had back-to-back-to-back episodes like that. My OBGYN came in an listened to my heart, looked at the injection site, etc. She talked to me and told me that it was probably anxiety from the shot. Even though I wasn't nervous at all, she said people who are more susceptible to having anxiety react that way sometimes even though you may not FEEL that way. I felt like a complete idiot. I mean the last time I was there I told her about my abuse(something she knew absolutely nothing about even though I've seen her since I was a teenager), and I had such bad anxiety I was shaking the whole time and today, to go in for a little shot.. only supposed to see the nurse and I end up there for an hour and she has to come and make sure I'm OK. I can only imagine what she thinks of me... and that makes me even more anxious. I am so afraid of being judged by people.

Anyway... I leave and get to work right around lunch. I stop in the office because she told me to take a Ben.adryl just in case it was some sort of reaction and not anxiety. A nurse asked what was up and I just broke down. I have no idea where it came from but I was still feeling extremely anxious and could not calm myself down. She was kind enough to go talk to our secretary to tell her I needed to go home. The secretary thinks I'm a slacker because there are days where I just have to leave immediately, and without knowing why it really seems that way. So I've stopped asking to go home if I need to because of her. Thankfully luck was on my side today. I came straight home, took a Xa.nax and went to sleep. I slept for 4 hours and woke up feeling no better than when I got home. Normally I'm fine after a round of Xa.nax and sleep, but this time I woke up with this heavy feeling of shame, guilt, panic, etc. It's all I can do right now to hold back tears, but I have no idea why. Am I crying because I'm afraid my OBGYN thinks I'm neurotic? Am I crying because the secretary doesn't like me? Am I crying because I'm currently having a conflict with one of my co-workers and I'm afraid the other thinks it's my fault? I don't know and that makes me want to cry even more.


Life sucks. That is all.

I'm an inconvenience

So in session today, we started breaking down this letter I wrote. Spent the whole time on the first paragraph. I chose to address things in order of which they happened in my life; it was just easier to segregate that way. This paragraph we looked over was a nutshell of my pre-teenage years. From about 10 sentences she showed me how much they radiate certain beliefs I picked up then and have now; mainly that I am an inconvenience. It is hard to look back on my childhood and have that be the general feeling I get, and not only that... it's even harder to see now that my belief of that has affected how I respond to and enter into certain situations. It has completely destroyed my ability to have relationships with anyone. I mean, why would I want to enter into any relationship (friend or boyfriend) if that is I what I truly believe? The only problem is that I never knew that's what I believed. I don't go around saying to myself "OK, you can't be friends with her because you are an inconvenience" or "You can't date him because you'll only be an inconvenience." At some point it became so engrained in my psyche that it subconciously affected my decisions.

So now I have the knowledge. But the knowledge is not a light switch.. it does not just magically flip everything to a new outlook and new beliefs. I have identified who specifically I am an inconvenience to, and have to work on not labeling other people with that. I am not an inconvenience to them, only to these specific people. And while that is not a pleasant thought, it is true. And it proves to me even more that I am doing the right thing by getting help working through this anger I feel towards my family and the entire issue of my abuse. I have yet to feel anything about that... but considering that is the entire 2nd paragraph in the letter, it'll probably be presenting itself soon.

How TV has helped me...

This show started in 1999, about 2 years after I was abused by my dad's friend. In my home things were dealt with by sweeping them under the rug and not talking about anything, so I never learned how to deal with all the stuff that goes along with being sexually abused when you are 13 years old. So when SVU debuted, I stayed away from that show at all costs. I mean, who needs a weekly reminder of the evil in today's world? No thank you.

But at some point, I saw an episode and found something that I wished I had for a very long time: sympathy. It never even occured to me that abuse could be handled in any other way other than silence. I don't remember which episode I first saw, but it was one where Mariska Hargitay had the main job of tracking down a child molestor and getting justice for the victim, a girl not much older than I was. The words she said, the sympathy her character portrayed, the emotions she acted on had a lasting impact on me til this day. She was everything I wanted my mom to be. For an hour a week, I was able to see what it should have been like, and take comfort in the fact that even if it was fiction and acted out on a set that I felt validated and healed in that time.

As well as the character she plays, Mariska Hargitay seems like a wonderful person. Not taking into account the mental and emotional toll it must take on her to act on such high emotion and depressing subject matter, she is the founder of a group that offers wonderful opportunities for rape victims. I have seen a few interviews with her, and she just seems like an amazing person. I don't know if she realizes the effect she has on her fans. I am forever grateful for the show, the character of Olivia Benson and the job she has done portraying her.