Rough week

Last week was a pretty bad week, but I feel that things are climbing back upwards slowly but surely. I am starting to think I need some medication for my anxiety. I’ve tried just about everything that doesn’t include pharmaceuticals to no avail. I had another panic attack recently, having two of them so close together frightens me. I’ve only had a few in my entire life. I did some reading up on them and it appears that if you leave panic attacks untreated, they can turn into a panic disorder. Well, that’s the last thing I need, really.

I took some klonopin a friend had given me to get me through a couple stressful social events and feel like it really helped me relax and act like a normal person in a social situation, something I have never experienced before because I am soooo used to freaking out in situations like that. I typically just shut down and don’t talk, mostly because I fear saying the wrong things, or weird things, or not having anything interesting to say, etc. I always assume people will be bored or irritated by me. So it was nice to have a sort of normal experience. The only thing is I think it messed with my memory a bit, which is already a little suspect with my brain fog and whatnot.

My homework for myself lately has been reading up on being a toxic person. Previously, I had read up on other people being toxic but never thought about the fact that I may be toxic as well. It explains a lot about the type of people I attract, both in relationships and friendships. I never thought about myself as toxic because I felt it was all about intent. I try to avoid making anything personal, even in arguments, not dragging out peoples’ shortcomings and throwing them in their faces, etc. BUT I realize that my (negative) feelings are so palpable that they suffocate the people around me when I am in the midst of dealing with them. I realize how painful and draining this can be for others because I grew up in a very volatile situation, though I think I was more afraid of my father when he was angry because it could and would easily switch from him being frustrated at some situation that had nothing to do with me or my brother/mother/etc. to taking it out on one or all of us. I became trained to be frightened any time his mood went south regardless of how or why. I don’t want to be like him, at all, so when I hear my anger hurts those close to me even though I am careful to not direct it at anyone, it really touches me and I want to do everything in my power to avoid it.

My boyfriend and I are both battling these things, whether he realizes it or not. Something in my tone of voice will trigger him, and he will fire away at me. Because I am still unaware of these tones in my voice (they do not always match up with how I feel inside) it takes me aback when he starts yelling. I don’t do well with yelling/slamming doors/etc. so then I am triggered and then I start yelling. It’s a downward spiral from there. I end up shaking and crying and he gets so defensive and puts blinders on, not realizing that he has any fault in this as he is just “reacting” to me. I think that is utter bullshit and refuse to take 100% of the responsibility, and we did discuss it last time this happened. He agrees and apologizes for his part. But I still feel like we have a long way to go, because he likes to drag out very personal things when he gets angry and that hurts me a lot. Knowing that he thinks I do not do enough for my mental health especially aggravates me. I do not have enough time in my schedule to fit in more therapy, nor more money. He thinks I should find a provider in my insurance network so it is cheaper and therefore the idea is I can go more often. However, my argument is… it has taken YEARS to find a therapist who works for me. I am not willing to go through the motions of trying out multiple providers again, wasting time, energy and money to find someone who will work for me only to start all the way over from the beginning. It took me many years to find my therapist and I am not willing to give her up. Plus, I rarely even have time to go have “fun”. If I cram all my “free time” into appointments, then my entire life is really just appointments and work. What about my work/life balance? There is no balance there. I still don’t even know what to DO for fun. I have lost that part of myself long ago. My life has become this search for restoring my health or finding a way to cope with all of these things, I have lost sight completely of all the things that used to make me happy, the things I thought were fun. It’s depressing! I am even dealing with a lot of anxiety around the idea that I have to talk about myself at work soon in front of my team because we merged with another company and we are just doing this thing every week where one person from each department will introduce themselves to the whole team, talk a little about the things they like to do, etc. and I am just sitting here thinking… what do I like to do? What will I talk about? “Hi, I enjoy working my life away and fighting to get my life back from many chronic illnesses and mental health issues, so I basically don’t have any hobbies anymore.” I mean really… I feel like a shell of my former self, even more so than when I was really deeply depressed. At least then I was constantly writing and painting.

Tomorrow I finally go back to my doctor and will discuss the idea of checking for Lyme disease, and maybe discussing anxiety meds. I don’t know how he will feel about the last part, since he is a naturopath, but he has been open to prescribing me things I ask for because he knows I won’t abuse it and that I am very self-aware and have done a lot of research about things.

On another note, the medical marijuana card was a great idea. I have found some products from dispensaries that really help me with my pain without getting me high. I got a very potent tincture that helps me with my pain but doesn’t mess me up so I can take it at work. I’ve also found some particular strains that I can smoke when I am at home that help with pain without making me tired or hungry, so I can stay focused and get things done. Aside from gabapentin, this is probably one of the most helpful things I have gotten for myself. I have now just started using Rick Simpson oil (RSO) and I can’t comment quite yet on my experience with it as I just started last night. Supposedly, people have cured various cancers with it and helped all sorts of symptoms from varying illnesses including lupus and fibromyalgia, but I am skeptical. However, I can say I am happy to have found something for me that works, I previously rejected people when they told me I should get my card, thinking all stoners think weed is miraculous and can fix all problems… shows what I know. Hopefully it will be decriminalized on a federal level so I don’t have to worry about being drug tested at work and potentially losing my job.

Anyway, that’s about all there is to report. I’ve still been incredibly fatigued. I feel as though I used up all my energy last year and the beginning of this year, when I bought my house and did a ton of work on it. Now all those projects are half completed and the disarray is making my anxiety worse. I’ve been depressed too, with the PMDD going into overdrive… I always think, has it been a month again already? I need to also talk to my doctor about eradicating my period again which I did for 11 years and didn’t have these types of symptoms. I can’t live with it.

I also lost a pet recently, I have snakes. One of them got sick and I took him to the vet, unfortunately it appears the respiratory infection spread quicker than I caught it because the very next day, he was dying when I got home from work. He died right next to me and I just sobbed and sobbed… didn’t help it was one of the days my boyfriend and I were at odds and he was not there when this happened. We fought all day long and then this happened…and then we fought some more. I need a vacation, pretty damn sure of it.

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New supplement to try

Have any of you ever taken Lauricidin? My doctor recently suggested I start on it as a long term thing to attempt to help battle the Epstein-Barr virus. I just ordered some on Amazon and started today. I was told to start slow and work my way up to a full dose, and from what I read, it is to avoid the Herxheimer Reaction (which is something I experienced while treating the parasitic infection I had – the die off of the parasites was happening quicker than my body could flush out the toxins, which resulted in waking at 4 or 5am covered in sweat, with terrible stomach cramps and high fever…would like to avoid ever feeling like THAT again). I am reading some promising things on Amazon but would like to hear from others if anyone has anything to share. I hope this helps me.

Still trying to track down what is causing all the signs of infection/inflammation in my bloodwork. I’ve finally come out of a depressive phase with extreme stress/anxiety and can try to get things done again. I emailed a doctor who my doctor referred me to who is supposed to be really good at nailing down causes of inflammation in the body. He’s stumped. I’m glad he did make a lot of progress with me, because it was SO overwhelming for so long to just hear doctors continually call me a mystery or a “complex case” but not make any progress!

I also just got my medical marijuana card in the mail yesterday. Looking into making some salve with cannabis oil for my muscle tension, pain and the painful cramps I get with PMS. I’m new to all of this so I need to talk to someone at a dispensary about what strain(s) would be best for my conditions. I just find it all fairly intimidating, especially with the spike in anxiety I was feeling.

The sun came out for a little while today and that certainly helped improve my mood and energy levels. My boyfriend and I had a great talk to the other day too after another fight left us both in tears and I think we are getting to a point where we understand how to properly support each other. We both come from a background of abuse and trauma, there is a lot of pain in both of us. Our issues had been pushing each other apart instead of bringing us together like it should. I’m feeling better about things.

I had decided to go back to therapy also since my therapist told me she would do sliding scale for me once I discovered my out of network deductible is too high for me to ever meet in a year ($4500) meaning I was paying $220 a month for therapy which I just can’t do with my really high mortgage I am paying on my own and all my other assorted bills, loans and healthcare costs. Unfortunately, she can’t afford to see me for what I can afford so I might have to wait until I can spend more or hopefully we can work something out at least for one meeting a month. She’s still only working two days a week (recently back from maternity leave) so we’re both having financial struggles at the same time. At least I am starting to feel more stable though I haven’t seen her in a few months. And even then, I’ve barely seen her for the past year because of how long she was on maternity leave. Maybe I am doing better than I thought.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Follow up

As a follow up to my previous post regarding ASMR, I have just come across a video that explains ASMR and goes through many different triggers so you can find out if you can experience those “head tingles” that people in the ASMR community describe and what particular triggers work for you, if any:

Of course, even if you don’t experience the “head tingles” hopefully it will at least be relaxing for you. I find these videos help me sleep.

In other news, my major accomplishment this week was finally getting my medical records sent to a clinic to get approved for a medical marijuana card. This is something I have been meaning to do for about a year, but the cost associated is rather high and sometimes I get a kind of medical fatigue… too many appointments and I get burnt out. Something gets placed on the back burner. Sometimes this is chiropractic appointments, or dental appointments, or whatever. Anything I feel I can spare or put off for awhile gets ignored. This allows me to recoup a little bit, save a little money, de-stress a bit.

I have some hope that with my card I will be able to find some products that will help me with my pain levels at work. I work ten hour shifts (sometimes longer) and work in a high stress position, and to make matters worse, it’s an environment that is purposefully kept cold. Even WORSE, I have had no heat in my house for weeks, including through a very bad freeze and snowstorm, though I survived with a couple space heaters and the work in my house is continuing on… I should have a working furnace again at the beginning of next week. Of course the weather has improved since the freeze a couple weeks ago but still. I am very sensitive to cold thanks to Raynaud’s and my thyroid issue.

Anyway, a friend of mine who is also a cardholder told me about some kind of salve purchased from a dispensary that may help me out a lot. I did also recently get a topical anti-inflammatory/muscle relaxer from a compounding pharmacy that my doctor prescribed for me, but it is expensive and difficult to apply by myself. A guy at the clinic I went to told me this salve has kind of a warming sensation too which could be very soothing for me.  ANYTHING that can be done to reduce my pain and tension would be a life saver for me. I keep feeling like I have tried everything, but there’s always something else. So we’ll see how it works.

On that note, I just have to complain a little bit. I am sure that everyone with any chronic illness has run into the acquaintances who mean well but just kind of continually cause frustration with unwanted medical advice…. or maybe I am just kind of an asshole, I don’t know. I get pretty irritated with unwanted advice in general, I don’t know why but I tend to feel offended even though it is irrational. I realize people just want to help, but after so many years, tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours of medical care, I feel I have heard it all. Suggesting I take vitamin D is not exactly groundbreaking advice.

I did, though, find an article I really liked regarding how to understand and interact with people with chronic pain. I feel much of it applies to other chronic illnesses and even some acute ones. I keep sharing this, hoping my friends/acquaintances will at least give it a cursory glance, or other people may find it helpful for the people in their lives if  they also suffer with a chronic illness: How to Understand Someone With Chronic Pain