Halloween is here, whether I like it or not. Halloween is a holiday that has bothered me for a long time. I don’t like people I don’t know knocking on my door. I also don’t like walking around town with strangers, especially when people are dressed up in costumes so I don’t know who is who.
My husband is going trick or treating with our 2-year-old granddaughter, who is dressing up in a my little pony costume. They will be going as a group including my husband, mother-in-law, step-daughter, her boyfriend, and their kid (our granddaughter). Instead of committing myself to something I’m unsure about, I told them that I don’t know if I will be going or not. They think it’s because of my allergies and not feeling well, but it’s really because of my anxiety and PTSD.
I definitely will miss seeing our granddaughter experience Halloween, but I decided that it’s not a good idea to put myself through the anxiety. Instead, I will most likely stay home with my dog. My neighborhood (HOA) does not hand out candy, so there shouldn’t be anyone knocking on my door. I hope that everything goes okay.
Some days, I have a hard time coming up with topics to write about. I write about what’s going on in my mind, but some days, my mind is completely blank. That’s probably because of ECT.
I figured I would reach out to my readers. Is there anything that you would like me to write about? Do you have any questions for me? Or would you like to hear my point of view on any specific topics? I hope to hear from some of you.
I have been through many depressive episodes as well as several manic episodes. When I was 24, I first started going through a major manic episode, then a huge depressive episode; I had absolutely no control over either. My job was trying to help me through it. They let me work from home for a while, but my symptoms just kept getting worse. I went on short-term disability, then long-term disability, and then finally on social security disability. I ended up moving across the country to go live with my mom because I couldn’t take care of myself.
After I made it through a pretty big depressive episode when I was approximately 25, I got another tattoo to remind me of what I went through. The tattoo is on my left hip and the drawing is actually based off of me (I was skinnier then). I stayed with my mom for approximately 2½ years. I moved back to Arizona in 2011 when I started dating the guy who is now my husband. We were best friends for years before we started dating. He always said we would end up together, and I always told him he was wrong. I had to admit that I was wrong and he was right. Most of the time, my husband or my mom notices when I’m beginning to go through another episode, and when I’m beginning to make noticeable changes and come out of an episode. They recognize my symptoms and do what they can to help. Every episode and all of my symptoms appear slightly differently every time.
My depressive symptoms generally include some mixture of a lack of energy, over-sleeping, overeating, feeling worthless, and physical pain. These are only some of the most common symptoms that I can think of. There are many more symptoms that I can’t think of at this moment. My manic symptoms are often more easy to see. They include no sleeping, excessive energy, easily distracted, racing thoughts, and more. I make sure that the people close to me know what my symptoms are and what normal is like for me so they can help me catch my episodes early. We don’t have to go through our episodes alone.
I’m trying to prepare myself with the Fourth of July coming up. I’m not a big fan of large groups of people, so I usually stay home to celebrate. I’m not sure how Achilles would handle the fireworks. This will be our first experience with him during fireworks. I don’t think he will bark because he almost never does, but I’m not sure if he will be scared or anxious.
We just moved into a new house, and it is in a great neighborhood. Throughout the previous years, we had to deal with all sorts of people setting off their own fireworks as well as listening to gunshots. I would jump all the time because the noises made me so nervous. Luckily, we live in a much better neighborhood. We won’t hear gunshots in this new neighborhood, which is such a relief. There’s still some anxiety, but celebrating the holiday will be much easier this year.
I had another session of ECT last week. My doctor, Dr Espinoza, asked me again if I wanted to switch to once a week instead of once every other week. When I turned him down on that option, he asked me I had any interest in IV Ketamine. I turned that option down very quickly. I know IV Ketamine is a lot different from using Ketamine to get high, but it brings back memories. I told him why I’m so against IV Ketamine. The last time I used it to get high, I ended up cheating on my boyfriend (he asked me to marry him; I’m sure we would have gone through with it, but I doubt that it would have lasted; that’s just how it goes with relationships based on drugs). Then, less than 24 hours after I got home, the cops were at my door to question me. My boyfriend/fiance was killed in a drug deal gone bad. I don’t want to remind myself of that horrible event and the many others that I went through while on drugs.
I’m not doing too much better, but there has been improvement since my last two ECT treatments. I explained to Dr Espinoza that I got a new dog and I think he will be helping me get through this rough time. I’ve been thinking about it all day and I’ve decided that if I don’t improve enough within the next four weeks, then I will go back to weekly ECT treatments. Hopefully that doesn’t have to happen.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. We had a family get-together at his mother’s house to celebrate. There were 12 people there, two of which were kids. We brought Achilles with us because we didn’t want to leave him home alone. Everyone absolutely loved him! All he did was lay down, sleep, and give people kisses. He is the most mellow dog I have ever known.
I’m actually thinking about seeing if I can register him as a Therapy Dog. I’m not sure what kind of therapy dog would help me the most; maybe an ESA, Emotional Support Animal, or a Psychiatric Service Dog. He would be great at it, and I think it would really help me reduce my anxiety to a manageable level, possibly. It’s something that I’m going to talk to my therapist and psychiatrist about the next time I see both/either of them.
The Psychiatric Service Dog seems like it would be more helpful for me. This type of service dog can help people with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and I am diagnosed with all of those issues. For example, the service dog can create a physical barrier between the owner and others around them, providing the owner with more personal space. The service dog could help me get out of the house more often. These are things that my husband does for me to get me out of the house. Having a dog capable of those things could really get me out into the world.
Last night, my husband wasn’t up for going on a walk like we normally do, he just wasn’t feeling well. However, I still had to go get the mail, and I decided to make a walk out of it. I simply walked in a circle; up a couple of streets, over one block, and back home. It only took me 15 minutes; however, my heart was racing the entire time. I was so afraid, I kept jumping every time I heard a noise. I knew I was walking in a safe neighborhood, but I couldn’t help my reactions. I don’t think I want to go on walks anymore without my husband. Although, the only way I’ll get comfortable walking on my own is with practice.
I’m trying to get settled into our new house, but it seems to be a never-ending job. We have a lot of stuff that we are going to donate to Goodwill. They are even going to come out and pick it up because it’s too big and too heavy for us to bring to them. Now is when my anxiety and fears kick in. Simply calling to ask them to come pick everything up is difficult for me. I can’t have them come to the house unless my husband is here, otherwise I’m simply asking for a panic attack. The idea of anyone I don’t know coming over scares me. I wish I could get over this fear. I wish I could get my heart to calm down when the doorbell rings or when someone knocks on the door. I’ll just keep trying.
Yesterday, my husband and I received our ID cards for the HOA that we live in now. This place is amazing. They have so many clubs and activities that we can use/join. There’s a pottery club that both me and my husband want to join. We met a couple of people there yesterday (I had taken a Valium) and they were really nice. We have to call this one woman who will teach us what we need to know to begin, since neither of us have any experience. Once you’ve learned how to do it, you can do the work on your own. I’ve been trying to get up the courage all day to call this woman, and I still can’t do it. There are other options like a woodworking shop, a workout room, a pool, a Pinochle club, and much more. I don’t think I’ll be able to do any of it on my own, at least for now. My husband provides me with comfort. Once I feel comfortable at the recreation center with him, maybe I’ll try going without him, but that won’t happen for a while.
I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me to get the courage to do something new or different. It’s probably because of the PTSD. I’ve come a long way in regards to my PTSD, but I still have quite a way to go. Each time that I push myself to try something new or different, I grow stronger and more capable. I just have to remember not to overdo it. It’s okay to give myself a break.
I’ve been having a hard time staying in contact with friends lately. I think it’s my bipolar depression that makes me not want to connect with people; even when I want to connect with people, it’s a difficult activity. It takes a lot of work to stay in contact with people. Talking to people, whether they are family or friends, often feels like work, even when I’m talking to people who I want to talk to. It maybe something similar to emotional detachment, or it could be a reaction from my PTSD due to fear.
I do my best to stay in contact with a couple of people, such as my husband and mother. However, it gets harder and harder as time goes on. I’ve always been such a talker, so I find it weird that talking to people is so difficult for me. I notice that as time goes on, I talk to fewer people. Especially my friends; I let go of them when I’m struggling because it’s too much for me to manage. While I separate myself from them, I’m thinking of them often. When I’m doing better, I then try to reach out to my friends. I’m lucky enough to have friends and family members understand what I’m going through and they don’t judge me for separating myself from them.
I have anxiety attacks frequently. I’m used to them on some level. However, anytime someone knocks on my door or rings the doorbell, my heart automatically jumps, as if it’s trying to jump out of my chest. I don’t know why, but I panic every time there’s a noise outside of my house. When it happens, my mind flashes back to when I was 17 and living with an abusive boyfriend.
It used to paralyze me, but now I slowly walk to the door with my dog and check to see who is there. I hate the fear I feel when there’s a knock on the door. They’re panic attacks and I feel like I have no control over them. I’ve been able to reduce how long they last, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get rid of them completely. Most of my anxiety and panic attacks are related to sound. I don’t know why that is.