My back is feeling better from yesterday’s ECT treatment, which I’m very grateful for. I decided I could go on with my day of doing errands, cleaning up the house, and working out. I started with short Zumba video. They’re pretty fun and they work very well. My husband called while I was in the middle of the video to tell me about an estate sale just up the road that he really wanted me to go to. We’re looking for some bedroom furniture, especially nightstands. Some of our stuff broke during the move.
I felt pressured into going, so I told him I wasn’t sure if I could make it. To be honest, I was saying that so I had out. I was terrified at the thought of going. There were going to be so many people in one small house (a house and people who I don’t even know at all), I just wasn’t sure if I could do it. I took a Valium and did some stuff around the house, waiting for it to kick in. Finally, it started working. I drove over to the estate sale and parked out-of-the-way. I stayed in my car for a while, but eventually I went in.
I looked around everywhere and tried to be polite to the people I passed. This whole situation was overwhelming, especially since I didn’t end up buying anything. However, I did it, I went by myself. That’s a huge step for me. I thought my heart was going to explode the entire time, but I made it through!
I had a rough day yesterday. I was stressed and my anxiety level was very high. I was able to keep myself from having a panic attack, but the anxiety attack was still pretty rough. The Valium helped. I also used some breathing techniques, just simple breathing in and out, not too fast and not too slow. The breathing helps me stay calm and focusing on it also helps me forget what I’m anxious about, even if it’s just for a minute or two.
Today seems like a better day. I have a normal amount of anxiety. I’m more frustrated than anything else, and I don’t really know why. I generally don’t know why I feel the way I do. I’m going to go get a bunch of stuff done. Being productive often makes me feel better.
I have to go to the post office today to mail some paperwork. Normally, I can weigh it at home, put on some stamps, and stick it in our mailbox. However, this package weights about 10 ounces, it’s too heavy for stamps. I really hate the post office. It’s a trigger that causes anxiety attacks. It’s always so busy and crazy. There’s a huge line every time I’ve been there. I’m hoping my husband will go to the post office for me. He’s done it before, maybe he won’t mind doing it again. He knows that it’s a trigger for me.
The post office in the town where I grew up is nothing like the post office in the city here. The longest line I ever stood in at my hometown post office was 2 people. There are a lot of benefits of living in a small town, right now I miss that.
I had a dentist appointment yesterday, which is one of my least favorite appointments to go to. Lying down in the dentist’s chair makes me feel so vulnerable. I can’t see who is walking up behind me and my reaction time is slowed because I’m lying down. These are some of my biggest fears. I have to use nitrous oxide to get through it without a panic attack lately. However, I think I want to try to do it without it next time. Maybe I can see how far I get before asking the hygienist to hook up the nitrous. It all depends on how I’m doing emotionally at the time of the next appointment.
This time, the hygienist asked me if I really needed it. I felt pathetic. He asked me if I needed it because of a bad dental experience. I told him no; he kept probing for answers. I told him it was PTSD from a bad relationship, not like it was really any of his business. He tried to give me tips on how to stay calm, but I cut him off. It’s not like I haven’t tried just about every trick in the book to deal with my anxiety/panic attacks. He wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, he was just trying to save me money; however, it wasn’t his place to say the things he said.
Vacation continues to go well. My sister, her husband, and their kids left. It was great to see all of them, we had a wonderful visit. That leaves just me and my mom! That’s my favorite part. We can do anything or nothing together and we always get along, everything with the two of us is always simple. We got my weekly blood work done this morning and informed the pharmacy that they should be receiving my blood work results soon. My mom helped me get the courage to go in and talk to the pharmacist, and it all worked out perfectly.
During lunch, one of the things we talked about was how I struggle to say ‘no’ to anyone. She pointed out that I said no to a couple of things such as no more ECT treatments and no to IV Ketamine treatments. It’s so difficult for me to say no; I can’t do it without an anxiety attack. My mom suggested that instead of saying I can’t say no, say “I haven’t been able to say no very often” or “I have not yet perfected the art of saying no”. My mom always has a great perspective and input.
I know that when I say things in a negative manner, it makes that part of life harder. If I work at saying things in a positive way, it helps me actually be positive. I’m going to work at saying these things along with other positive thinking.
Right now, I am holding on with all I’ve got. The Clozapine has caused a huge weight gain. I’ve gained more than 30 pounds in 3 months. It doesn’t matter how much I workout or what I eat, I just keep gaining weight. I know I made a committment to keep trying Clozapine until I reach my goal dose of 400 mg. I still have another month of dosage increases until I get to my goal. When I say I’m going to do something, I mean it. I want to hold myself to my committment. However, it’s easier said than done.
I told my psychiatrist about the weight gain. He told me that there are some measures we can take. However, he is on vacation, so I have to wait until next week. So I know that there is something that could possibly help with my weight gain, but I have to wait another week. I understand that everyone is entitled to go on vacation, but waiting even another day is extremely hard, a week is close to impossible. But somehow, someway, I will do it.
The problem with going off of Clozapine, is that there aren’t many other options for me. I’ve already tried ECT for over a year. I don’t want to do IV Ketamine because the thought of dissociation is terrifying for me. I’ve taken so many medications, there aren’t many options left. I keep questioning my future since my treatment options are getting fewer and fewer. This is when I really rely on my friends and family. So far, I have been shown nothing but love and support. I can do this; I can get through this. That’s what I need to keep telling myself.
The 4th of July is coming, and that means fireworks. I’m not a fan of fireworks because of the noises they make. In my neighborhood, people started setting off fireworks last night. They will do so every night and they will do more and more each night. They even set them off during the day. I’m not trying to be un-American; I’m just saying that fireworks scare me. Loud noises that come out from nowhere and happen over and over again terrify me. It’s a PTSD trigger.
My dog normally barks at fireworks and never stops barking, but last year I got him a ‘ThunderShirt’. The shirt is like a giant hug and is meant to help keep dogs calm. It works like magic. My dog may bark once, but then he goes and lays down. At least I don’t have to deal with my dog barking nonstop all night long from the fireworks.
The fireworks started last night. One really loud one went off, and I thought it was a gunshot. It’s not uncommon to hear gunshots in my neighborhood at night. My dog barked once and then went to bed. I wouldn’t mind the fireworks if they only happened one night, on the 4th of July. But instead, it’s at least 4 or 5 days of fireworks and loud noises.
I do my best to manage my fears. It scares me a little less since I already know that the fireworks are coming. I can prepare myself for them. Some nights, like on July 4th, I will take a Valium, which will allow me to actually enjoy the fireworks and celebration. Do other people have this same fear and problem?