I Has Snow

I am struggling along.  I seem to have hit some sort of valley in between the rush of the clonazepam and the effectiveness of the cipralax.  The last few days are a struggle.  My boss has been gone this week but the temporary replacement, the old manager (who I sort of replaced when she left and who comes back on occasion as a favour) coincidentally also has anxiety issues, and is also taking cipralax, and we’ve compared a few notes on medication.

She’s perfectly happy to be on drugs for the rest of her life.  I’m not.  But I think, too, that her issues were always more centered around severe panic attacks (she told me her first one had her in the ER, because she was sure she was having a heart attack) and mine seem to be more around consistently high levels of anxiety with occasional peaks into panic attacks (which I have always, always had, although I was probably about twenty before I could identify them as anything other than periods in which I felt awful and ill and suicidally despairing and certain I was losing my mind).

It did mean, though, that the other day when she ran out for an errand, called to check up on me, and I, in a state of high anxiety and near a panic attack told her I was freaking out, that she returned immediately, and allowed me to go for a short walk.  It was -15 C or so, didn’t bother with my coat (I have a warm sweater, working partly outdoors) but grabbed my gloves and walked to the other side of the parking lot to calm myself down.

The parking lot ends in a high slope next to a radio station, almost a cliff, that overlooks an industrial area and railway tracks and cutbanks over the distant river.  There are trees.  It was quieter than inside.  I ended up sitting down in the snow, and then lying down with my eyes closed for a little while until I felt better.

I told a friend of mine about this, and she immediately thought of this:

I am okay with that, I think.

I am very anxious today.  I have to go out.  I don’t wish to.  It will be for my own good.  I have managed to shower and dress, I have taken my meds.  When I am out I have my counselling at 3:15 (weird time), which will be good.  I have to pick up groceries, since I’m out of the meal replacement bars I’ve been living off of when I need to but can’t eat and also had to borrow some of Audrey’s margarine last night.

I am not eating well.  I know I’m not.  It’s not a lot, and it’s not balanced, being mostly carbs.  My boss believes, I think, that I have an eating disorder, combined with my doctor-recommended three weeks off and my continued weight loss.  I am trying but food is hard to face.  I have to eat breakfast because the cipralax makes me very nauseous if I take it on an empty stomach, and we’re having meal bars for lunch, but besides that… all bets are off.

So I continue to lose weight.  In April, I weighed 200 lbs.  I don’t mind saying that.  Apparently I carried the weight “well,” whatever that means, but I was aware that I was eating extremely poorly, with the occasional tendency to binge eat, and that bothered me more than my weight.  I made a lifestyle change, a vow to eat healthy without dieting, not to starve myself but to not make bad decisions constantly.  I said to myself that if I lost twenty pounds it’d be great, thirty would thrill me, and then I just sort of kept losing the weight.  I’m at… well, somewhere between 130 lbs and 135 lbs.  I’ve gone from a size 14-ish to a size…. I’m not even sure, actually.  Size 3 or 4?  All my clothes are too big.  I haven’t bought more in some time.  Buying new clothes makes me, well, anxious, like everything else.

I was stable at 140 lbs for a while, and I was okay with that, but I’m not stable now, and I’m still losing weight.  I haven’t discussed that with anyone, because I don’t know what to say about it.  It’s a perfectly healthy weight for my height — I’m 5’5 1/2″, with a large frame, broad hips and broad shoulders, big hands and feet.  My family has joked that if I hit the point where I’m as thin as the Mongoose, they’ll intervene.  My youngest sister is one of those people who is just very thin by nature, much like my father is, with a speedy metabolism and a hyperactive nature, who never stops moving and naturally tends to graze constantly rather than eat heavy meals.  She’s only thirteen now, and still growing (though she’s only a couple of inches shy of me, now, and I’m the tallest of my sisters, and I suspect she’ll outpace me soon enough), but she’s never succeeded in packing on more than the smallest amount of body fat.  One summer she sprouted six inches over the course of about two or three months.  She looked almost skeletal, although she ate like a horse that whole time.  A thought, about the media’s influence on body image: she has a body many girls strive for, now, thin and lanky but becoming decidedly more feminine and curvy all the time, although still with overlarge hands and feet that suggest she’s got more growing to do (although we’ve all got big hands and feet).  The Mongoose, however, has confessed to me that she worries she’s too thin, and wishes she could gain just a little bit of fat.

I worry that that intervention will be necessary, though, because as I said, my weight is still dropping.  Slowly, but it is.

Sliding backwards

I feel like the clonazepam is losing effect.

I was doing so well, I felt competent and capable, and I thought, “maybe this is what it’s like for normal people” but I can feel myself sliding backwards.  No more skipping doses, maybe, it might be a short-term acting drug but let’s stay safe.  Let’s hope for the cipralex to start working, and soon, but antidepressants take weeks.  Doctor’s appointment on Friday to review the drugs I’ve been taken, we can see what she says.

Oh.  Oh my god.  I cannot.  I am fighting this, I am trying to be calm, but this terrifies me, to feel myself slipping back into the anxiety.  Yes, this is the way I’ve felt nearly constantly for years, but I’ve had a taste of something else and I don’t want to give it up.

I’ve always had good days and bad days, as far as this goes.  Possibly this is just a bad day, and it if weren’t for the clonazepam, I’d be doing a hell of a lot worse.

I have an appointment today.  I need to leave to catch the bus in about twenty minutes.  I should eat, can’t face food, am rocking in my chair.  This is that stupid counselling appointment that I initially tried to make in mid-December, had to wait two weeks for an intake, and had to wait another month for an actual appointment.  What sort of bullshit is this, that it takes this long to get help?  Thank god for my temporary counsellor, is all I can say.

Speaking of which, the temporary counsellor asked me to make a list of everything that makes me anxious.  Everything.  I’m adding things as they occur to me.  It’s becoming… a daunting list.

Catch-22

I’ve always been, well, not exactly a morning person, but someone who doesn’t sleep very much.

I wake up early by necessity, and have for a long time.  The alarm is set for a nice, round 6.  The job I had before this, dough cook at a pizza restaurant, required me to start at 7, and my alarm was even earlier.  I stay up because I get busy doing things, or because I am too anxious and upset to sleep.  There have been several incidents in my life where, rather than go to bed at a reasonable hour, knowing full well how early the alarm for the next morning was set, I stayed up far past midnight, or later, because I was simply too anxious to sleep.  Usually I would play video games until I was so tired I literally could not keep my eyes open.

On clonazepam, I am happy as anything, but I want to sleep all the time.

The 6 am alarm is now problematic.  Going to bed after ten is now problematic.

 

My appetite is awful.  Recently, after the event that has crystallised everything into Something Must Be Done, I went a week and a half hardly eating.  I simply couldn’t; I was afraid that forcing myself would make me vomit.  I would look at food and suffer a hideous contraction of my stomach.  At times I felt light-headed with hunger but it was an effort to eat because my stomach was so knotted I did not feel hungry at all.

This does not help the case of those who, not knowing exactly what’s going on with me right now, believe I have an eating disorder.  When you lose sixty-five pounds and then suffer some sort of mental breakdown at work, people tend to make connections.

And then the Wellbutrin, of course, didn’t make it better.  One of the side-effects of Wellbutrin is appetite suppression.  I was no longer fighting a stomach clenched with anxiety, but I simply didn’t feel hungry a lot of the time, either, and had to constantly remind myself to eat.  It would be better for a few days, and I would eat normally, and then I would have a Bad Day and be unable to eat and it would take me several days to get back into the swing of eating normally.

I’m no longer on the Wellbutrin, of course.

But this morning, I am looking at a piece of homemade honey-wheat bread, with chunky peanut butter.  I have a big mug of poor man’s mocha — coffee and hot chocolate mix.  It should be delicious; I can barely stomach it.  I have two pills to take: the clonazepam, and half of a tablet of Cipralex.

Cipralex is, of course, the long-term drug, the one I am waiting to work so that I don’t have to take clonazepam.

Cipralex must be taken with food, or it makes me very ill.

And I cannot get any food into me this morning.