Thursday, October 29, 2009

Our House

Did I mentioned that I absolutely ADORE our new house?
Yeah it's a rental...yeah it's not perfect. But, it's lifted my mood like nothing else has lately and been quite instrumental in my decision to change EVERYTHING. I just spent half an hour pruning 10 Bird of Paradise plants out on the front. No, we haven't got daylight savings...don't need it as because we are on a main road (only really busy in rush hour) we have huge orange streetlights right outside our house ALL night. It's kinda comforting and I feel quite secure with them on. The house has one less room than the other place, ie no big utility room out the back for the kids PC, xbox, ironing board...blah blah, but the rest of the house is so big and spacious (even the entrance hall and passageways) that we can fit more stuff in the rooms. I really do feel happy here. It's only a couple of hundred metres down the road from major shopping complex/cinema. Only 300m walk to primary school and 100m to the high school. It's on a hill so the yard is split level with stairs and awesome old fashioned plants like wisteria, hibiscus, money plants (squashed pea plants) roses, an umbrella tree and camellias but there's no lawn to look after (yays!) It also has front and back verandahs that are just begging for someone to be sitting and having a cuppa in the morning or a wine in the evening. Perfect for summer! So, yes. Happy. Calm too. Had a bit of an incident tonight when I usually would have lost the plot but I handled it well. And as well as coming off the meds I'm also PMS'ing..and I still didn't snap. Hmmmm...interesting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More betterish.....

Note to self -
Do NOT attempt to cut meds AND cut carbs at the same time...well at least not on the same day.
I got more foils though and they cheered me up no end!
I've cut my meds by 25%. I'll do this for a week to 10 days then cut down again by another 25%. These meds are short lived in the system so the side effects of discontinuation are pretty immediate.
Thought I was losing it this morning but turned out it was nothing 5 shortbread biscuits couldn't fix and realised the lightheadedness, wobblies and sleepiness were due to lack of carbs rather than lack of meds. Actually ONE shortbread biscuit would have done it but as Spiffo noted I was "doing a good impression of the Cookie Monster" at the time.
Seriously....feeling quite ok. It's amazing how not worrying about being stressed eliminates even more stress. I know I might get a temporary increase in symptoms while coming off the meds but there's nothing pressing I need to do or get done, so I'm not stressing as to how it will affect's win win.
Spent this evening cleaning up at the old place. Will do a final vacuum and mop tomorrow and hand keys back on Thursday. Then can really enjoy unpacking and setting up the new place.
Had my final lecture yesterday - maths. Got my assignment back..just scraped through for an HD so no pressure going into the exam which is a relief.
I'm really looking forward to enjoying STUFF now. Whether or not I can do it drug free or on another drug better suited to me...I'll be doing it.
Thanks to all the gorgeous folk who commented and/or emailed/facebooked. It was VERY MUCH appreciated.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Losing my shit

So I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but I have an anxiety disorder. It’s pretty bad. I’ve had it all my life but didn’t know what it was. I’ve had obsessive compulsive behaviour, Hypochondriasis and an addictive personality (addicted to anything). It's all part of the same disorder.
Things came to a head when I left my husband in 2001. I had a little brain snap and could not sleep for nearly 3 weeks. My well meaning doctor at the time put me on anti-depressants to help me sleep, he also told me it was help with my anxiety, which it did after a couple of weeks.
So, I’ve been on these tricyclic meds for eight years, gradually increasing my meds every year as the stressors in my life increased. Oops, I’m a single parent with a 5 year old and a 2 year old…meds…now I’m working 20 hours a week…let’s increase the dose, now I’m studying – increase again.
It’s got to the point lately where I can’t increase the dose anymore and my symptoms are worse than ever.
I’m not just talking ‘stressed out’. I’m talking debilitating anxiety with physical symptoms. It’s at the point that even if there is nothing ‘pressing’ that I am worried about, the physical symptoms just don’t go away. It’s like extreme butterflies in my chest and stomach nearly all day, followed by bouts of breathlessness, headspins and heart palpatations. This is nearly ALL day.
I can’t concentrate on anything, I can’t string a sentence together. Every situation is a potential stressor, and usually blown out of proportion. A walk to the mailbox can set it off. There might be bad news or a bill I wasn’t expecting. The phone rings – this is going to be bad, just don’t answer it.
I thought I had everything under control but it’s been getting worse and worse, especially the last year or so – something had to give. These last few weeks trying to find a place to live and keep up with study and work and kids has just seemed to flick a switch that now I can’t turn off.
Study is the worst stressor, it’s unrelenting. As much as I’ve loved the challenge and the opportunity that university has given me (as a high school dropout) I have decided that I can’t continue. This has not been an easy decision and I’ve spent many sleepless nights worrying about it.
I’m half way through my degree. I’ve completed 13 units (and will complete another this semester). Two of those were prac units and 11 were academic units for which I received 7 HD’s, 3 D’s and one C (theology LOL). I’m half way there. Only 14 academic units and 1 prac unit to go. But I just can’t do it. I don’t want to do it.
This has taken me three years, and they’ve been three years of stress and tears and isolation and a decline in my health. I’ve neglected my kids, my family and my friends. I haven’t had a relationship and hadn’t even had sex until my one year leave of absence. I went from a healthy 70kg at the start of my degree (2006) to nearly 90kg in 2007 through to early this year.
I started my degree because I was passionate about health and fitness, in particular, strength training. But in the process of learning I found I was no longer DOING.
I’ve thought long and hard about why I am studying. What am I going to get out of it at the end. Yes it will be great to have a piece of paper saying I’m clever, but is it worth what I have lost? The thought of waking up in another 4 years, finally finished my degree and having spent the whole of my 40’s isolated, stressed and out of touch with reality is positively terrifying for me. It’s the same feeling I had when I realised I needed out of my marriage…the exact same feeling.
So I’m done.
I’m not saying I will never go back and finish. Maybe when Ethan is in high school (3 years time) I will go back..maybe never. I should be able to get a credit for my completed units if I re-apply at a later stage.
My lecturer/dean has tried to help and has been wonderful in suggesting I apply for a retrospective withdrawal for one of my units I have not been able to complete this semester, due to a near breakdown last week. I was quite happy just to lay in bed and fail but she wouldn’t let me. I know she would like me to stay on but it’s just not right for me now.
I saw my doctor today and she fully supports my decision (and encouraged it). She said that my previous doctor had put me on the wrong meds for anxiety and that we are going to wean me off my current ones and transition into some newer SSRI’s which are targeted at my condition. She said she can’t believe that I had actually managed the study all this time at that level without proper medication.

I will probably feel like a new person when the new meds kick in. But, first she wants me to try and relax…knowing I have made the right decision and to try and get my stress levels down first before we try to cut back on the meds. I still have a maths exam to get through and Christmas looming and have to completely wean of the old meds before I can start the new ones as you can't take them at the same time.
Right now my heart is beating so fast that I feel like I could have a heart attack and the thought of cutting back on my meds scares the shit out of me but it has to be done. I’m not kidding, I’m fucking terrified. I don’t know if I can handle getting any worse than I am now. I really feel like I could keel over at any minute. But I have to do this as we can’t increase the meds I’m on and in any case she thinks they’ve not been working for some time.
I just want to live a normal life. I haven’t enjoyed my life for quite some time. The constant stress of study and having something always hanging over my head, has taken the enjoyment out of everything. I want to be able to sit on the couch and watch Dr Who with my son without squirming around feeling like I need to go do research for a report. I want to be able to help the kids with their homework and chat and cook healthy meals instead of slapping easy crap on their plate because I’m too busy.
I want to go to work, work, come home, train, hang out with my kids, go out with my friends…normal life!

Arrgh….I know I’m waffling but I just want my fucking life back!!!! And I’m taking it!

I’m going to try and blog about it as this is supposed to be my diary but I’ve been too wound up to do it. I overcame that tonight by not typing straight onto my blog like I usually do but starting it in a word doc…not so daunting.

So there you have it. I’m not bloody superwoman I’m just as fucked up as everyone else.
But I do have great hair.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Feeling great today..yeah my neck is stuffed, my FM is flaring up and I've got a shitload of study and packing to do...but who gives a fuck?? I got FOILS!
OMG first time I have EVER had my hair coloured in a salon. Usually just do it myself. But, now I'm getting more greys and with my dark hair they really show up. Hairdresser suggested a few blonde foils and I LOVE them. I can't believe how much it changes the way I look. My skin looks healthier and brighter. You know, next time I might get a few more's quite addictive!
I get the keys for the new place tomorrow. I'm a little bit nervous as I only saw the place once and it had people in there at the time. I can hardly remember what it looked like. Too late to worry now!
I'm really embracing change at the moment....actually not just embracing it, I'm adding extra changes! (such as my hair). We really need to change our lives, the kids and I. I need to be more organised, keep on top of them a bit more about school work etc...cook healthier foods for them (they are fussy little fuckers) and get way more active.
Feeling like I'm dumping a whole lot of ex-hubby baggage right now too as getting rid of a lot of items I've been hanging on to since we split. Just basic household stuff but chucking it in the bin or giving it to St Vinnies has been so uplifting. I've cleared out so much crap and feel as light as a feather.
Geez, crapping on now. Off to the physio shortly. See you after my move!
oh - PS - Had GREAT news about my job (as my contract finishes Dec 31). The dean of the school has approved my job to be funded until the end of 2010!!! Whoo hoo! By then we should have a stack of projects up and running and will be self funding so will be able to pay my salary from project money. SUCH a load off my shoulders that one.