I’m Alive!

I took a little break from blogging. Just needed too. I keep writing posts in my head again and not writing them down haha.

4 weeks on Pristiq, still going ok, feeling somewhat more human and more like myself. Finally! I haven’t advanced on the CBT because I felt like I needed more time to go over what was in the previous weeks with recognizing negative thoughts and everything. I have been trying to get out more, my counsellor wants me to go places and stay until my anxiety starts to subside, sort of just practicing dealing with the anxiety and facing it, try and not avoid like I am compelled to do. I plan on starting the next week of CBT either this week or beginning of next.

My sister’s and I decided to all start working out “together” using an app called You Are Your Own Gym, I’ve used it before and it’s pretty good, we are keeping each other accountable through facebook, it’s only week one though lol. It’s nice to have them doing it at the same time to keep motivated. My arms hurt today though!

Started packing, 9 boxes so far, all books and trinkets (my potato head collection and some funko pop figures). I still have another 5 shelves of books to pack, that’s not including my partner’s on bookshelf with maybe 3 shelves of books haha! So looking forward to being home, I am absolutely excited!

Not much else to report in on, anxiety is still there but not as overwhelming most of the time, at least not like the beginning of the year when I was having multiple panic attacks a day and my IBS was terrible. Just trying to take things one day at a time, one moment at a time.

My worst moment in the last few weeks was the first of the month, as my classmates were finished their placements that day, I shed some tears reading them post on facebook about having survived it, having come out the other side. I realized a few things that day though. I was super upset for a bit, crying, and realized that the feelings I were having in that moment was the reason I left the program, the panic attacks and self-doubt, etc. Also, that this whole process has been similar to grieving, I’m grieving the loss of a dream and feeling like I have been is normal and not bad except when I let it consume me and make my anxiety worse. I still feel sad, I still mourn that loss, but I’m trying to remind myself of the reasons things are the way they are and look toward the future. It’s hard though, the only time in my life I saw a set future was when I decided to pursue midwifery, now I can see a future but I’m not as excited or sure about it as I was then.

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This week…

Week 3 with the CBT is Automatic Negative Thoughts, or ANTs, and how to recognize them and self-talk to counteract them. Not a new concept for me but definitely one I need to strengthen and work on. I had to bring my car in to get my winter tires taken off and while I waited I wandered over to Chapters. I wandered for a while and then started to totally recognize the ANTs that were popping into my head (just the usual, ZOMG THEY’RE LOOKING AT YOU AND JUDGING YOU BY WHAT YOU READ) and started to tell my brain otherwise. I had a proud moment looking at books and relaxing a bit while dispelling bad thoughts! Woo go me! Gotta celebrate the little thing right?

On the med front: A week on Pristiq, a few headaches, nothing else really. Anxious prozac mixed state is gone! That’s the most exciting thing at this point lol. That was awful, terrible, horrible, never want to experience that again.

What else? I cleaned my car! Well the interior, I have to wait a little bit longer to do the outside because of the fender/door repaint. But the seats are all clean and stuff! Whoa. I’m a dork I know. But it’s kept me busy which is a good thing.

I had a mini-breakdown the other day when looking at my bank account and realizing how little money I had. Spent the next 24 hours in a panic attack. Finally got the courage to talk to my partner about it. He’s really good with money and always has savings, I’m really bad with money and my stint with prozac didn’t help. I never want him to feel like he has to sacrifice for me, or pay for things because I’m negligent. I feel a lot of guilt in this regard. He, being the amazing person he is, just hugged me and told me not to worry, we’ve been together for almost 10 years, it’s our money and we’ll be ok (we have separate bank accounts). I wanna cry just thinking about how awesome he is. Seriously, he’s a saint. Especially over the last few months.

Last but not least, I signed up for classes starting July 1st, just have to wait and see if my student loan application is approved and hope that they don’t overvalue my car and take a bunch away from me. Apparently I should sell my car to pay for school. It’s not worth that much but they only give you a $5k amount to own in assets before they dock you, which is dumb, considering they don’t give you enough as it is (seriously who can survive on about $700 a month? no one). We are hopefully moving back home for July 1st, just need to find an apartment and a job! Wooo. I’m excited to go home and I’m excited (though also sad and conflicted) about moving forward to finish my BA and move on to Social Work.

I gained a follower! And more about the CBT online therapy

I gained a follower! It always kinds of weirdly excites me when I know that strangers are reading my blog. I started this thing as a place to just write, and it kinda turned into a blog for whinging but I’m going to try and post less complainy things!

I mentioned the online CBT that I signed up for in my last post and someone contacted me that also signed up recently. I thought maybe once a week I can give a little overview of what it entails, maybe I should contact the company and tell them to give me money for promoting their product? LOL. In any case, I’m really only on the second week (first is just an intro). This week entails something called slow talk, which is exactly as it sounds. The goal is to practice slow talk by reading some of the course’s handouts outloud, slowly and rhythmically. Basically it’s a way to train your mind to slow your speech down and as such also slow down your body’s release of adrenaline and cortisol which are hormones that cause anxiety. As with CBT it’s all about practice, retraining your brain and how it/you react to situations. So, for 30 minutes everyday, I read outloud, slowly and try and relax and calm my body down. It’s ridiculously anxiety inducing to sit in a room by yourself and read outloud lol. I’ve been reading to my dogs as a way to not feel so weird about it. It usually puts them to sleep but I get a good cuddle out of it. The next step is really implementing it into conversations, I’m going to use my partner and mom as guinea pigs once I get comfy doing it. Switch over day is Mondays, each week has it’s own tasks.

Also, started pristiq today, was a bit scary. Scary orange square little pills, how will you make my mind and body feel? We shall see.

Song of the day: purring of the cat who is sitting on my arm making it really hard to type. My arm is now sore, thanks cat.

A hodgepodge of stuff

No real side effects from dropping my prozac dose, though I wasn’t expecting much yet due to the long half life. I switch over to pristiq on thursday so we’ll see how I feel on the weekend 😛

I decided to fork over the cash for an online CBT therapy focused on social anxiety, it’s through The Social Anxiety Institute. I’m usually not one for self-help stuff but I’ve read really good things about this program and it’s cheaper then a psychologist lol. The counsellor I’m seeing is great but she doesn’t have specialty training, so it’s mostly talk therapy with some random bits and pieces thrown in from specific therapies. The program is 25 weeks with lots of stuff within it, activities, info etc. https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/

Not much else to declare really, I’ve been playing Lego Marvel lol I love the Lego games, they are a lot of fun and Steam had them on sale for $5 each. Been waiting for the weather to get nicer so I can detail my car. I want to completely clean it inside and out but we’re still below 0 overnights and I want my upholstery to dry out fairly quickly after I clean it.

No music of the day unless you count the Law and Order theme song.

Update of the week…

I keep meaning to post more, I’m just so bloody absent minded…

Had another appt with accessibility office this week, with the same lady I complained about, she made a big deal about being assessed while my anxiety isn’t controlled, whatevs lady, I did the assessment anyway. I also found out that the doctor I’ve been seeing diagnosed me with avoidant personality disorder and never told me… but it was written in on my referral form. Thanks for telling me! I don’t disagree just would have been nice if she told me…

I talked to a classmate the other day who told me she was really bummed I was leaving the program and that I would be really good at the job. It just reopened all those doubts I have about leaving the program, talked to my counsellor about it but don’t feel anymore resolved… I can’t tell if I really feel like it would be better for my health to switch or if I’m just avoiding it because of past stress and anxiety.

I’ve been avoiding (there is that word again) saying exactly what I’m going to school for but to put it into context for you all, I’m a midwifery student. In Ontario (and some other parts of Canada) it’s a regulated profession funded by the Ontario government. It’s a fucking tough job but the rewards! tiny babies and mamas being born! I can’t imagine a better reward then watching that miracle. However, midwives here work on call, there are a lot of call schedules but the common ones are shared care: 2 midwives share a caseload of 8 births per month and work out off call time as either week on, week off, or several days on and several days off. Keeping in mind that is just for births (the team would also be responsible for 8 backup births as 2 midwives attend every birth, but the second usually gets there when birth is imminent), they also have prenatal and postnatal appts that are worked out between them and their call schedules. The other main way of doing it is what is called primary care, in which 1 midwife cares for 4 births a month (plus 4 backups) and all her prenatal/postnatal care unless at a birth. The first system is more time off call but much busier when on call (as you are have more women potentially birthing) the other is more time on call but less women to follow. It’s a really great system for childbearing women, but really tough on midwives, the average career length for a midwife in Ontario is 5 years. Most burn out from the stress and ridiculous lifestyle.

Mind you I knew this going in, I knew what a midwife did, I knew what their schedule was like. As a student it’s more hectic, in my placement I followed 2 midwives who shared clients, I could be going to multiple births plus up to 4 days of clinic and many postnatal visits in a week (the first 3 postnatal visits are at the parent’s home), it was extremely tiring (which I also expected) and there were many emotional moments and ups and downs (which I also expected). I fully expected to be stressed and stretched to my limits, but what I did not expect was how my anxiety and IBS would creep up on me the more tired I got, being woken up in the middle of the night for a birth, though exciting, was also anxiety inducing, going to clinic on little sleep to do 8 hours of appts was anxiety inducing, doing things wrong and not know things that my preceptors expected of me was anxiety inducing. I lasted a month, by the end of january I had lost 6lbs and had panic attacks at the thought of being called for a birth or going to clinic in the morning.

So here I am, wondering if once I get more accustomed to the job if the anxiety levels will fall or if the lack of sleep was the biggest trigger and if so means my mental illnesses are just not compatible with the midwifery life. I could try again and repeat the year and the placement, but if I can’t do it I cannot justify switching programs as I’ll have racked up another $20k debt (cant work during school cause on-call time and I have to maintain a vehicle which is bloody expensive). In some ways I feel like switching programs to something with a more regular schedule is running away but in other ways I see it as the ability of keeping sane. So what to do? My counsellor pointed out that if I got my degree I could do graduate studies in something else. Sure I could, but I could also change programs now and spend less money (cause I could work) and still end up in the same place. I have a passion for midwifery, I have a passion for supporting women and pregnancy and childbearing, I have a passion for advocacy, but I’ve also come to realize that midwifery in Ontario isn’t as focused on advocating as I would like, it’s focused on women but also limited in so many ways due to politics. I just don’t know.

On the plus(?) side I saw the doctor today who is switching me to Prestiq, an SNRI, she is also referring me to a psychiatrist as my case is now “too complicated”, which made me laugh. However it could be several months until I can get an appt with a psychiatrist so for now I’m weaning off the prozac and trying the Prestiq. I love having free health care but sometimes the wait for specialists really sucks!

I have to laugh, the prozac is so freaking activating, I’ve been yapping people’s ears off all day. Two weeks ago my counselling session was short because I just didn’t feel like talking, today I could have talked for several hours. I stopped by a professors office and chatted to her for an hour, then to another student I didn’t know well for a whille, then the pharmacist for a good 10 minutes. Now I’m writing a short novel. I need this anxious energy to go!

Frustration…

Today I met with the accessibility office at school. The person I met with was totally patronizing and awful. I was there on referral from my doc to be assessed for learning disabilities. The person I met with spent 10 minutes telling me about all of the vitamins I should be taking for mental health and how I should swim every day to help me sleep. When I asked about being tested for learning disabilities and gave a two sentence description she told me I didn’t need to be tested. Then her phone rang and as she went to answer it said “I’m saying goodbye now”. She spent a total of 15 minutes with me, about 1 minute on why I was there and decided to just push me out the door. I was so pissed when I left, I didn’t go there for advice on my mental health issues and here she was giving me unsolicited advice (including how bad marijuana is despite me not saying anything about recreational drug use). I emailed a complaint to the student liaison person.

I did however get to submit my request to be withdrawn from classes, apparently a committee has to review it because it’s passed the official deadline and the jerk accessibility person told me that it may get declined, despite having a doctor’s note and everything. I’ll fight for it though if I have too.

On a more positive note, this chipmunk made me giggle

The big guns…

Had a doc appt today. Told her how I wasn’t sleeping, she gave me clonazepam! woo, to me that’s a big gun lol, a pretty major med but I really need to sleep. Hoping that it doesn’t give me too much of a hangover in the morning.. I have to go see her again in 2 weeks as she doesn’t think the prozac is working out well, still too much anxiety and since prozac can be activating she seemed a bit concerned. She’s also sending me to the accessibility services on campus to be tested for learning disabilities because I told her I’m having trouble focusing and memorizing things. It’s not a new issue but definitely worse in the last few weeks. So yay? Have a counselling appt. tomorrow. I still havent heard back from the program coordinator or tutor about my withdrawing from classes. Thought I’d have a reply pretty quickly from both of them but nothing yet….

My new laptop came today so I’ve been busy installing all the things and transferring stuff. It’s nice, not flashy but fast and a whole lot better then the tablet I’ve been using for the past week. Especially since I somehow managed to crack the screen on my tablet….