Slipping Xanax Under My Tongue

English: Xanax 0.25, 0.5 and 1 mg scored tablets

English: Xanax 0.25, 0.5 and 1 mg scored tablets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a Xanax under my tongue. I’m not proud of it but I’m also not ashamed either. I feel the stirrings of a big anxiety attack about to kick in and I’m trying to head it off at the beginning. I am trying hard to head off having a complete melt down like I had four weeks ago for the same situation so let’s just call this preventive medicine. Preventive psychiatric medicine intervention? That’s a mouthful but I do like the sound of it.

If “my friend,” the always funny and creative blogger, Jennifer Lawson “The Bloggess” can write about Xanax and mental health I sure can too. This isn’t my first posting about anxiety I have plenty of those but in this one I am telling you what I am worried about, out loud in real-time. Maybe that will lessen the anguish, probably it will be just the same. Or maybe I will just worry about worrying. It ‘s anyone’s guess.

There are so many things that are out of my control and they all involve a common theme, as I used to call it “Health and Welfare.” I’m worried about the health of three very important people in my life. Yes, all at the same time. Initially I wrote down who those people are but then I had a funny feeling and I knew that if those people saw this blog they would be mad as heck and I would worry about that too. So, problem solved. These are all my anxieties wrapped up in a tightly knit, wound up ball, the kind you make out of twine, beige, scratchy and unforgiving.

There is an expression in German that my dad used to say and that I have said for years : “nur gesund sein.” Loosely translated, “Just stay healthy, your health is the most important thing.” I really mean it, I’ve never been the type who has needed a wake up call, I’ve been on the edge of that wake up call since I could probably talk. I don’t ever take that for granted but now I’m being tested not with just one thing but many and all at once. I need to rise to the occasion,my fears and worries aside, there is no other choice.

Another thing my dad taught me which frankly is not easy to achieve is staying in Neutral. If we all could do that successfully, we wouldn’t need Xanax or Valium, bags of chocolate or pints of ice cream or whatever your soothing pleasure is. If a cup of tea worked, believe me I’d be sipping it right now. Since I am not sobbing in hysteria, nor am I in ecstatic denial all I can see in my future, tonight, hopefully, is sleep. If I can get that, a good night’s sleep, I will feel that I have accomplished at least a little something.

Those weird protesting people in my stomach are rabble rousing again. They aren’t rioting like they were before, those angry protestors. Now, it’s more like they are marching silently, still carrying signs. But, they are still there, they know it and so do I. I’m truly hoping I can surprise them and wipe them all out before I turn out the lights. Wish me luck. Please.

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Clown Underpants

Hospital Bed

Hospital Bed (Photo credit: Indiana Public Media)

Last week, when the nurse in the hospital gave me a warmed blue blanket I thought she was an angel from heaven. I had already been waiting three hours for my 15 minute procedure in the outpatient unit in our local hospital. I was there for a Cystoscopy, having a camera, pretty much shoved up your bladder and beyond. I had already been given 10mg of Valium orally; (why do they tell you, you aren’t supposed to take a sip of water or anything at home when they offer you these drugs with water in the hospital like candy at a Halloween party?)

The nurse did get permission from the arrogant anesthesiologist who took my disclaimer of incredibly painful TMJ, another side effect from Fibromyalgia, with a shrug of his shoulders and a basic “not my problem” attitude. Kudos to my doctor who apparently switched anesthesiologist so a lovely Doctor replaced him and she used a different drug and didn’t have to wire my jaw open wide, thank you! You were kind, gentle and I remember your sweet, assuring smile that I would be dopey and sleepy in about……..and that was it.

Next thing I knew I was in some hall with my name being called way too loudly. “Laurie, Laurie” are you awake, wake up!” the nurses shouted and I had no idea where I was or even who I was. After saying “Where am I?” not at all original, I remember I uttered my husband’s name and someone went to get him. Apparently the procedure was over and I was in the hallway.  The same nurse brought me huge, mesh “clown” underpants which, I found hysterical. Let’s just blame it on the drugs. (but really they were SO funny!) I wish I hadn’t thrown them away!

Oh, those memories just come flooding back, pun intended. No one told me or prepared me that after a cystoscopy I would get cramping and pain and bleeding and would need the same supplies I needed when I still had my cycle; that pain was familiar. It’s funny how when we try to recreate happiness it’s hard to do but pain? We remember it vividly.

I wasn’t hungry anymore or thirsty, I was just tired and the only thing that interested me was a cup of coffee.  My pounding head felt as if a boomerang was bouncing between each lobe of my brain, what’s left of it that is. With Fibromyalgia comes “Fibro Fog” I don’t need to define if for those of you who have it, but for others who don’t know what it is: it’s an extended brain freeze. It bothers us much more than you, even if you have to hear repeated stories. It makes us feel stupid, old, daft and like we have dementia. We forget what we have done five minutes ago, it’s sad. Forgive us and try to be kind.

Finally home, I crawled into our bed, Lexi, my dog, climbing on and lying across my feet, her way to say she cares, not leaving my side. She licked each finger, I stroked her fur. Grateful to be home, to be in bed, I thanked my guardian angels for keeping me safe, I held one silver guardian angel key chain in my hand. Most of all, I told my husband how much I love him and how grateful I am for all that he does for me and to the nurse that brought me the warm blue blanket: thank you, it’s the little things that make all the difference. I appreciate all of my friends, especially, my on-line friends who support me and care for me without ever meeting me. You mean the world to me too!

Finally, I Am So “IN” Repost

anxiety

anxiety (Photo credit: FlickrJunkie)

For the first time in my life I’m in fashion and not following a trend that started four years ago. I am cutting edge; I am “IN ” because I get ANXIOUS.  I’m not talking about buying Uggs (I did buy those 4 years after they came out)  but I still wear them year after snowy year because they keep my feet toasty warm. Apparently, talking about anxiety is now fashionable and trendy. I’ve been popular for this newly accepted diagnosis all my life, I just never knew it. I could be President of this club, and CEO if not founder and major stock holder. The stock market is practically riding on my shoulders, okay the world.

There always seems to be a flavor of the month diagnosis, last year it seemed it was Bipolar and in the last few months, the newest and most focused on illness seemed to be Bipolar 2, (I can imagine a Bipolar 3 diagnosis soon). No disease is funny but when you start putting numbers after the diagnosis it feels like an  iPhone upgrade, with each upgrade things are a little bit different but you still need to buy new headphones or a different speaker.

My friend, Jenny the Bloggess always talks about her bouts with panic attacks and how, on the road, to plug her new book people have stopped to offer her Xanax. Last night while watching an HBO show called Newsroom a character had to go outside because of her anxiety and she didn’t have her Xanax with her. Look fellow anxiety sufferers, we’re even on television, HBO no less!

I’ve never been embarrassed or ashamed at the fact that I get anxious at times. I told my children about it when they were old enough to understand,  just as if I was a diabetic that had to take medicine. Some people are anxious, some are not. I would say my anxiety definitely started in my early childhood when I constantly had to be reassured, each night before bed, by my very nurturing father who would answer a list of questions that I had, same questions every night (I have OCD Worrying) I guess back then, in the old days, people didn’t send their kids to a doctor for an evaluation or to a psychiatrist, it was “just one of those things;” I was always “too sensitive or over-sensitive. I suffered with anxiety until I was in my early fifties when I finally got diagnosed and received medicine to help prevent anxiety attacks and medicine if I have an anxiety attack. I have what is commonly known as “Anticipatory Anxiety” and I’m one of many, many people who suffer with this.

There is NOTHING to be ashamed about worrying or being anxious. You worry because you care and you feel scared. You are fearful of bad things happening to you or to your loved ones or scared about planes, or elevators OR like one of my ex-friends, scared about everything, which is tragic. Unfortunately, she was even scared to go to the doctor and scared of taking medicine so her phobias piled up on her every year like a bloody car crash. There is so much help available if you are suffering, but you must consult a specialist.  My life turned for the better when I stopped worrying obsessively. So, we’re now out of the closet (not that I was ever in) we’re human, everyone deals with life in a different way. It can get better, trust me.

Keep your *Xanax or Valium or whatever you take with you but only use it as needed. Sometimes, the thought of having an anxiety med in my handbag is enough to deep breathe the scary thoughts away. Sometimes.

* I am in no way encouraging people to take medicine, without being under a physician’s care.*

*Obviously I am not a doctor and I am not dispensing advice, I’m an anxiety sufferer who wants to help others.

*I am not getting paid for this (I wish).

Arnold Palmer, Skinny Cows, Books, Music and Me

I never thought I had an addictive personality but now I am not so sure.  I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol, in fact I don’t drink or do drugs at all. I hate the taste of alcohol (with the exception of a really good Mojito but I can only drink half of one). However, I realized I am addicted to certain things and all new products. I am a public relations’ pleasure, I am the ultimate consumer and if I find something new that I like, like turns to love and love to obsession immediately.

I am now in love with Arnold Palmer’s lite Iced Tea and Lemonade drink.  My son, 17, turned me on to it and I drink it constantly. Usually I go for months adoring the product then I get so sick of it that I stop completely. I refuse to believe it will happen to my new love beverage but I tend to say that about everything I have been in love with. What happens is that I cycle through an addiction, find a new one and circle back. It’s a harmless beverage addiction and it makes me happy, besides we’re supposed to drink more water!  Do I go through withdrawal symptoms when I don’t have some? No, as long as there is some in the house. If not, I get anxious, seriously anxious. Perhaps I should consider rehab or an intervention?

I also am addicted to books and unfortunately not the books in the library although I go there quite often. I once bought a Kindle (gee, thanks Oprah) because of the number of books I read but that didn’t last long. I missed holding the book in my hand, I missed the texture and the feel of the paper, the fact that I could not write my name in bold, script letters on the first page to claim it as my own. I devour every word, sometimes highlighting, turning the pages deliciously and slowly, one by one.

I am the same way with music, my computer practically plays “Recently Played” songs almost automatically. I will listen to these 25 songs over and over again for a really long time. It’s something about the comfort of the repetition and the familiarity of those favorites that make me happy. Sometimes I will get sick of them, (although it’s been a long haul for the latest batch and I’m still listening to them) and I will move on to the next….eventually.   For now “I Dreamed A Dream” sung by the Glee cast has been played at least fifty times, okay everything from the Glee cast has been played at least 50 times, followed by the Plain White T’s song “1,2,3,4.” and Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze’s duet “Falling Slowly” from American Idol. When all else fails I still turn to John Denver for comfort and nostalgic memories of my youth. His song  “This Old Guitar” actually  soothes me, and so much more natural than a Valium.

The third and final fave for this month are Skinny Cows Vanilla with Caramel swirl ice cream cones. Oh, the sticky sweetness of the caramel swirl and the soothing vanilla ice cream (ice milk?) too. You get the crunch of a “real” ice cream cone with fewer calories. The best to come is that silky smoothness of chocolate that comes at the very end of the cone and it’s unbelievably dreamy. Simple pleasures for hard times.

When things are going badly, like for the past eleven months or so (unemployment, health) I have to force myself, like now, to focus on the good, the tried and true, the familiar instead of being overwhelmed with self-pity, (I admit I held a pity party today). Today there was a lot of “Everybody Hurts” sung by The Corrs’. I will be over myself by tomorrow, I promise.   I need to take deep breaths and walk in the sun, with my dog at my side, instead of sitting inside with my trustworthy laptop, playing music I’ve heard a hundred times already.

*I am not a spokesperson for the aforementioned products, I wish.