Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter weekend

So Easter weekend went so much better than I would've expected. Which is funny in a someone with an anxiety disorder, it isn't naturally-occurring for me to anticipate positive outcomes. But I had a lovely three-day weekend with my partner in crime and a visit with my immediate family that was panic-free.

I even ate in front of them. When my anxiety is in its spiral-y, terrible stages, it affects my eating habits greatly...which is unfortunate given my innate, stereotypically Italian love of food. Ham, macaroni and cheese, cornbread...the whole nine. Best idea ever to have dinner catered by Boston Market. As a recovering agoraphobic, I worry about enough! So food wasn't a worry on Sunday. We laughed, talked and enjoyed one another's presence.

In the two days leading up to Easter, I also went out in public to a number of places on a holiday weekend and didn't pass out or die. Target, Jenny's Kuali restaurant (best Good Friday meatless dinner ever), Redner's, a friend's apartment to cat-sit and many other locales were visited. I still have setbacks or times of panic, but it's not as life-altering as it used to be. And that's the goal.

The anxiety and panic is essentially part of my makeup. I am never going to be one of those cool cats that listens to Steve Miller Band and wears patchouli. I am neurotic and anxious and I always have to plan ahead. I fret and anticipate and think a lot about my past, present AND future. I think a lot, period. But it doesn't kill me. And I'm feeling OK right now. And that, my friends, is a victory in itself.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Some useful tips

There have been a number of things that have helped me start to feel more "normal" as I learn to deal with my anxiety and panic long-term. In addition to the therapy and medicines that I really feel have worked wonders for me, I also swear by a few other things:

  • Magnesium-I have been taking a daily supplement, as well as eating foods rich in magnesium. I read somewhere that performers will eat a banana before going onstage because it helps provide a calming effect. It's not exactly the same as a benzo pill, but I have seen a difference.
  • St. John's Wort- I drink a bedtime tea with this as a component and it really is a good soother. It's also available in capsule form (which I own, but don't take at this point in time) and many have reported it to be effective.
  • Lavender-I swear by this and have been using lavender aromatherapy for years. Lotions, bubble baths, essential oils and even lavender scented items...necklace pendant and eye mask to be exact. 
  • Chamomile-I start some mornings with a lavender chamomile tea and it is a good nerve soother as well as a tummy soother. Lovin' it!
  • Animal therapy-as much as they drive my nutso, I don't know what I would do without their love.
  • Yoga-I have slowly started incorporating yoga poses and gentle stretching into my day, as well as longer dog walks and other soft exercise. I hope to get more vigorous the better I feel and hopefully start going to yoga classes. 
  • Exposure therapy-it's hard, but I have slowly been getting back out into the world. I hope to get better slowly but surely by taking baby steps. For those of you that I haven't seen in months, thank you for your patience and willingness to work with me.
  • Spirituality-without getting preachy (this is a very private thing for me and I am very cognizant of others' beliefs as well) I do believe that God has been by my side and I have guardian angels without a doubt. 
Are there any other things out there that work for folks? I am all ears and love sharing ideas! I have heard that acupuncture, massage, and craaniosacral therapy have been miraculous for some, so feel free to share your ideas and experiences! 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A taste of normal

I am more thankful than I can articulate into words, but I am going to try my darndest! I summoned up a TON of courage to get to my 15-minute monthly psychiatric appointment. I was panicky at first, but the Dr. is a wizard at keeping me in check and I made it through my THIRD psych visit without a hitch.

My meds seem to finally be in a good place. I have an anti-anxiety medicine that FINALLY seems to make me feel human and normal, and I'm only taking half of the dose my Dr. initially recommended. I won't name names with what I'm taking, but if you're ever interested, I am more than happy to disclose in a less public forum. I have also found an increase in magnesium to be incredibly beneficial, both through making an effort to eat magnesium rich foods and through taking a daily supplement.

I've gone out a little bit this week - just little things like Target, Subway, Giant, Trader Joes, etc. I wasn't always able to make it into the store (TJs can be really intimidating given that it's overcrowded 24/7) but just being in the parking lot felt enough for me during those times.

And I am making some strides in therapy and on my own. I am hoping to see people soon (when the time is right and I am ready) an ESTJ Myers-Briggs, the saddest part of this whole period of my life has been the loneliness/fear. I miss you all - tell me how you're doing. I love hearing what's going on in others' lives.

But we are talking victories here. And for the ones I've had, I am incredibly thankful to my support system and to God. Busy and productive week - lots of cooking, cleaning, Pinterest ideas coming to life to save us some money and we just signed on to live in our current apartment for six more months. The lease expired in June, but we wanted to give me more recoup time and us more time to find a really nice next home that we will love.

Good weather this week too....good weather=good vibes and thoughts. I'll take it.