A mysterious “Something”

shadowy-figure-shower-curtain-1300pxOver the past few days, I have had the “sense” of something deep inside my brain that wants to get out.  I’m not sure what it is, or what it wants, but it paces around waiting to be released.  I can feel it getting stronger, and the urgency getting deeper, but I don’t know how to get it out.  It is very frustrating, like an itch I can’t scratch.  It is like there is a song in my head, a song that I know, a song that I love, a song that tells a story of the deepest part of me, but I just can’t remember the words or lyrics.  Over the next few days I am going to spend time meditating on it to see what comes up.  Is it a short story, a poem, a joke, or something completely out of left field?  Whatever it is, it is definitely a “thing” that wants to be made, an expression of…something…that yearns to be free.

I’m excited to find out what it turns out to be 🙂

Panic attack

how-stop-panic-attacks-step-stepYesterday was a mixed bag of a day.  I felt fine all day then, in the middle of the afternoon, I suddenly got a major anxiety attack.  I was sitting at my desk at work, not thinking about anything other than the computer code I was writing, when it hit me like a bolt of lightning.  I felt a sudden sense of panic, like I was in danger, and the urgent desire to run away and hide.  Remembering the training I got in therapy, I closed my eyes and focused on mindfulness, just being present in my own body.  After a few minutes or so, the panic attack stopped, but the low-level anxiety remained the rest of the day.

Feeling a lot better today, still don’t know what caused the attack, but I’m so grateful that I now have tools available to be able to wrestle control back.  Therapy has really helped me to deal with the depression and anxiety, and I am so glad that my family persuaded me to give it a shot.

Onwards and upwards…

Bad day

jester_by_incross-d63b842Today is a bad one… I manage to get myself up and out to work, but I am really struggling to get a grip on my depression today.  There are some days where everything comes easy, and some days where everything seems hard.  Today is the latter.  I didn’t sleep well, had bad dreams, and then woke up early.  I have been in a downward spiral ever since 😦  Everything seems a little…bland right now, like there is no point of purpose.  I know that this is my brain lying to me, because I know that I have many wonderful things and people in my world.

Luckily, I have a wonderful spouse who understands and doesn’t hate me for it.  Besides, I hate myself enough for both of us.  This is one of the few times that I have blogged while in the grips of a down day – I usually can’t bring myself to do it.  I want this blog to be honest, so I am just typing how I feel and not worrying about editing.  Forgive me if I seem down on myself right now, only I feel like a complete piece of shit and hate everything about myself.  Okay, that might be overstating a little… I just hate how I feel about myself right now.

I am going to do the only thing I can do… slap on my jester’s cap, do a silly dance and wear the “happy” mask for the sake of my job.  If I do it long enough, I might start to fool myself.  I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

This too shall pass…

Closing the Book of Face…

I’m seriously considering quitting Facebook.  Not because of anything specific that anyone has said or done, but (for some reason) it seems to be contributing to my depression.  Scrolling through Facebook for more than a few minutes seems to frequently leave me feeling that downwards pull.  Don’t really know why, although I have theories.

It will be hard not being in touch with certain people, but hopefully I will still be able to keep in touch over email etc.  I have to take the steps needed to maintain my emotional and mental health, I owe it to my family to do all that I can to be the best “me” that I can be.  So, if I suddenly disappear from your friends list, please know that it isn’t personal, it will be because I have closed my account.

Of course, I will still be writing this blog – so you can always reach me here 🙂

Feeling very small…

cropped-first-insight-canstockphoto6258288.jpgI had a very frustrating experience yesterday that I thought I would write about.  Last night, shortly after I went to bed, I had just started to fall asleep when the smoke alarm in the bedroom went off for no apparent reason.  I jumped out of bed, switched on the light and (of course) the alarm stopped by itself.  Don’t know what triggered it, but it now it was blinking red and I was worried about it going off again.  It was at this point that I realized that I had no idea what to do.

This may sound silly to most people, but to me it was a crushing realization.  I consider myself a technically proficient person, some would say geek, but as I stood staring at the alarm I felt completely lost and helpless.  Do I just press the button?  Do I have to open it?  Do I do nothing?  I had no idea. Of course, 2 minutes of Googling later I had the answer, but I felt so stupid and useless.  How could something so simple make me freeze like that?

As I get older I am starting to find out all the things that most people find out when they are children, or at least younger than 42!  As I lay in bed I couldn’t stop thinking about how my dad never really taught us how to do things.  My dad never really wanted to spend much time with us, and was very controlling and never allowed us to help him around the house.  He never taught me how to bait a hook, never played catch, never taught me to drive, or even let me learn how to do the little jobs around the house.  He would do a lot of DIY, but would never let us be involved.  I didn’t realize just how much it affected me until now.

I feel like a small, scared child pretending to be a grown-up, hoping that the “real” grown-ups don’t see through my disguise and reveal me to be the fraud that I feel like.  I’m sure that a lot of people feel this way, but I am going through a phase of “post-therapy” self-realization.  Even as I write this it sounds so whiny, and it probably is, but it is something that hurts my soul.

Sometimes, self-awareness sucks…

Anxiety Dreams

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Lately, I have been having rather vivid, disturbing dreams centered on being rejected by those I love the most.  I know that this is coming from a place of post-therapy anxiety, and I know that they are not real, but I can’t help being affected by them.  My dreams have been mostly centered on my wife not wanting to be with me for one reason or another.  She avoids me more and more until I end up begging for her to be honest with me about how she feels.  She eventually admits that she doesn’t care about me and leaves me.

These are dreams, they are not reality (not even close) and I have a great relationship with my wife, but every time I wake up from one of these dreams I feel rejected and incredibly sad and depressed.  This morning I was able to “shake it off” and get up and go to work, but it was not easy.  I gave my wife a big hug before I left, which helped me feel more “connected”.  I am feeling full of anxiety this morning and I am hoping that I can get a grip on it – the last thing I want to do it have to leave work early again.

People that don’t have anxiety issues don’t really understand the impact that something like can have on your state of mind, which (for me) is a huge factor.  My anxiety makes me worry about things that probably won’t happen, it makes me feel like I can’t take any course of action because they all seem too difficult, or that they will all end badly.  When I have clear vivid dreams that literally show me those bad things happening, it multiplies the sense of dread that I feel by a factor of 10.

I think that today is a good day to use the “Upbeat” playlist that I have on my iPhone, focus on work and cuddle with my wife when I get home…

Leaving the therapy nest…

I am coming to the “end” of my therapy sessions, and I don’t really know how to feel about it.  My therapist is going to be starting maternity leave in August, and I have such a great rapport with her, I don’t feel like I want to switch to another therapist, so I am coming to the end of the line for this course of sessions.  While I feel like I have probably gained enough tools to be able to maintain and deal with my depression & anxiety, and I have been doing a lot better lately, I still have some trepidation about flying solo.

I have considered support groups, both online and in-person, but I don’t know how I feel about it.  I enjoy being able to talk about what I am going through with people that understand and getting that extra support, but I know how much of a natural emotional “caretaker” I tend to be.  I’m concerned that I will end up taking on everyone else’s burdens and lose the progress I have made.  I don’t know enough people who have been to support groups to be able to get good feedback – I may just have to take the plunge and try some.  Finding ones local to me has been difficult, but there are a few possibilities.

One option I am considering is just sticking to an online groups for now, that way I can detach if I start to get overwhelmed.  There is a podcast that I listen to (“Mental Health Happy Hour” – mentalpod.com) that is awesome, and has a good online forum.  The forum is well moderated, so it keeps it genuine and non-judgmental.  I think I’ll throw myself into that for a while and see how it goes…

As always, feedback would be appreciated 🙂  Talk to you all again soon…

The rest of my life – Day 1

I haven’t written for a few weeks, mostly because I have been travelling but also because I have felt empty of words.  We flew to England on 4/21, had my brother’s funeral on 4/24, flew back on 4/28, drove down to CA on 4/30, had Grandpa’s funeral on 5/1 then drove back 5/2.  Phew, just typing it makes me tired.  It has been a physically and emotionally exhausting month, and it had an affect on me.  Yesterday, I had one of the worst depression days I have had in a long while.  I ended up leaving work before noon, coming home and falling into the loving arms of my wife (who is fricking awesome, BTW).  It is only the second time I’ve cried since I got the news about my brother (the first being during the funeral).  I only cried a few tears yesterday, but the emotional outpouring was huge.

I woke this morning feeling somewhat better, with a determined attitude to do everything I can to not have a day like that again.  I have contacted my doctor about reviewing my meds (he is trying an increase for now), scheduled my first counselling session and bought a fitbit flex, as part of my “get off your arse and lose weight” plan.  I am also going to make an appointment to discuss getting a CPAP machine, as I had to stop using the mouth-guard for my sleep apnea, due to the pain it gives me.

I am treating yesterday as day 0, the end of a part of my life where I let things slip and allow myself to be at the mercy of my emotions and the start of a new era.  I am drawing a line and moving on.  Today is day 1 of the rest of my life, and I am only looking forward.  Will I fail from time to time?  Probably, but I have my family and friends and I will get up again.

To be continued…

Bad moon rising…

It has only been 4 days, but it feels like an eternity.  I got a call at work on Tuesday morning from my brother in the UK, which is in itself unusual as he normally calls me on the weekend.  I knew that something was wrong, then when he asked if I was sitting down I expected the worst.  I knew that something bad had happened (I was thinking, maybe one of my parents…?) but I wasn’t prepared for the news.  My eldest brother and my niece (his daughter-in-law) had both been found dead at home.  They were aged 52 and 41.

I (somehow) drove myself home safely and waited for a call back from my brother, who was waiting for the police to visit the house and give more details.  when he called back, he had very few details.  No obvious cause of death, no signs of foul play… no answers.  We will have to wait for a toxicology report to come back to get some more idea of how it happened, but it still won’t tell us why.  Why…such a small word, but such a vast question.  Right now, I feel…numb.  I don’t even know what to feel.  I had been estranged from my eldest brother for a while now, for reasons I won’t go into here.  I tried reaching out to him a year or so ago, but he didn’t respond.  Somehow, none of the reasons seem as important as they did.  Perspective can be a bitter pill when it comes too late…

That night we got another call.  My wife’s grandfather had passed away.  He had been ill for some time (leukemia), so this was not as big of a shock, but it still hit like a knife in the gut.  3 family members in the same day – it was brutal.  As I sat there attempting to comfort my weeping wife, I realized that I hadn’t cried, not a tear.  I know that people grieve differently, but I am normally able to cry.  Right now, I just can’t.  Maybe it is too soon, maybe my system is in survival mode, hanging on until a “safer” time to let go, maybe it is the Prozac.  Who knows.  I am feeling plenty of emotion, just no tears.

I can feel the bad wolf growling inside me, pacing back and forth, snarling and snapping, looking for a way out.  He is caged in, angry and wants out.  I need to stop feeding him, and allow the good wolf to take control.  I will persevere, I will get through, but right now I need to just deal with the internal struggle, and the wolf that wants to devour me.

He is loud.  His name is regret…