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Sunday, July 5, 2015

When Anti-Depressants Fight Back


"That's all I want in this life: for this pain to seem purposeful."
-Elizabeth Wurtzel Prozac Nation

Ok, so I kind of struggle with depression, maybe sometimes I'm a little melancholy, perhaps I crawl into a little dark hole and shut out the world, and there's a chance that's not all that uncommon.

Imagine that. Imagine that I spent a decade feeling like I was unjustifiably sad and had to fake happy as often as I could to balance it out. I mean how else could I explain people calling me "Mrs. Brightside," when I felt so dark more often than not. I was truthfully conscious of the fact that throughout much of my life I had plenty to be thankful for, but often felt so heavy, dark, and full of a sense of impending doom.

In between those times though, were times when things actually were ok, sometimes even better than ok. I had plenty of times I felt insanely happy as well.  I guess that's typical for people like me. I intend to expand more about depression itself in an upcoming blog, but I really wanted to share my most recent experience first.

Paxil.
Pax-hell.
You'll feel better, they said.
Just take it for a little while, they said.

This is why I try to never listen to "they." Yes, I was struggling in 2014. Yes, I had some hurts I had been struggling to get through and my anxiety was worse than it ever had been. Yes, I was losing sleep and feeling a tad unmotivated at work. Yes, after keeping the weight I had lost off for almost 6 years I slowly gained about 20 pounds over the course of the year. Sure, I might have needed a chemical boost, but I did not need self-destruction in pill form. Was I in for a surprise or what?!

Holy where-the-hell-did-four-and-a-half-months-go Batman?!

Paxil.
Pa-devil.
You'll be able to sleep again, they said.
You'll be good as new in no time, they said.

Ok, from February-June:

My anxiety attack count went down,
I got more sleep,
I was writing poetry, and
I met an amazing man and fell in love, but....

I got more sleep because I rarely wanted to get out of bed. I was writing poetry because I wasn't feeling motivated to do ANYTHING else and writing a blog would take a longer attention span than I was capable of having. I was still having some anxiety attacks, they just weren't as frequent. I did meet a wonderful man, and I am lucky he is sticking it out through all the storm that I am hopefully almost out of.  Then, the unexpected bonuses....

Paxil.
Shit-xil.
You'll want to run again, they said.
You'll be healthier all around, they said.

Numb.
I was like a numb, mindless, unmotivated, sleepy, zombie. Oh did I mention I aquired a lovely slew of hives that got progressively worse as the weeks went on. I didn't care about things that normally were important to me. My car looked like I lived in it. Dishes would sit longer than normal. Laundry piled higher. Before I started on Paxil I had just started working on becoming a morning person and was getting up at sunrise and doing yoga, drinking green smoothies, and was on a whole new health kick that I was actually excited about. Guess how many times I did yoga and drank a green smoothie from February to June. You guessed it, zero. Well, I may have purchased one from Jamba Juice, but that doesn't even count. Ready for the kicker? I piled on another 30 pounds in 4 months to the previous 20 pounds I had put on in 2014. The worst part about all of these things was I either didn't notice them, or if I did, I didn't care. I couldn't care.

Am I painting a decent picture for you? I was suffering from mild depression and severe anxiety, so I sought help. Then one day I woke up, looked around my room, couldn't button my pants, looked in the mirror and then the breakdown came. I couldn't live like that anymore. Why didn't I return some phone calls but I would others? Why didn't I feel like going into my office or working out? I was coasting on cruise control down a bizarre road of nothingness. It was a miracle I met my boyfriend when I did because I had so very little to give anyone. I hated what I had become and knew it had to stop or it would get worse. I had 4 pills left and no refills. I had two choices, continue the nightmare and call my doctor to get more meds, or run hard the other way. So, I chopped them in half and began my escape.

It wasn't easy. I had one of the worst panic attacks of my life and almost thought I was having a heart attack. Then came everything else. The past several weeks have been some of the hardest weeks I have experienced. I couldn't think, complete sentences, or make sense of much. I had shocks in my brain that felt like I was being electrocuted and would send shocks throughout my body. They were so intense and painful at first I couldn't even drive and I did end up in Urgent Care. I like to think I deal with pain fairly well, but the part that was hardest to deal with was the uncontrollable emotions. I cry at the drop of a hat. I can't help it. I'm so overly sensitive right now it's absolutely intolerable. I have had my feelings hurt by friends and family recently in ways that I don't think I would've been too bothered with normally. I am still forgetful and get frustrated easily. I am miserable in countless ways, but I have hope. I know I'm going to get through this part and I can absolutely see the light.

Paxil.
Pax-hole.
You'll feel like yourself again in no time, they said.
You'll be happy, they said.

Now I'm 50 pounds overweight, with skin discolorations from wherever I had hives, I feel electric shocks in my brain every few minutes, I cry even when I don't want to, some nights I can't sleep at all, and some nights I fall into a deep sleep leaving people I care about hanging waiting for my phone call, my mind is still a little cloudy, but I know it's almost over. I know I can get through this. I went rollerblading twice last week. I cleaned out my car inside and out, put air in the tires and did some normal repairs on it that it has been needing. I am doing everything I can to stay positive. This has truly been one of the most confusing and frustrating times in my life. On the other hand, I think I learned so many lessons. My anti-depressants actually put me in a state of feeling more depressed with less passion for life in general. (Not to mention the weight, the skin spots, the constant puffy eyes and brain zaps). I should have communicated more with my doctor, the nurses in my life, people around me, etc, but I just kept it all to myself trying to fight my way through it; that's the first lesson. The next lesson was I should've talked to the doctor before yanking myself off of the poison pill I was taking because that could've all been much worse. I also realized that it's so important to pay attention to the little clues around you when battling depression, especially when meds are involved. All the little clues were right there in front of me screaming that the meds weren't working as they should've been.

Now what.

Apologies to those affected during my drugged up ambivalent state.
Get my health back.
Start my yoga practice again.
Feel.
Feel everything again.
Appreciate the darkness, for in it I found my way to the light.
Hang in there through the tears and brain zaps knowing that they won't last forever.
Share my story so that others will know they aren't alone, and maybe some people out there will understand depression and withdrawals on a deeper level than they have before.

In closing, I am not seeking sympathy or pity, I felt very strongly that I needed to share my experiences, because for the first time ever I am truly understanding that I am not alone. I hope this helps someone else realize that as well. Now for some yoga...

Namaste.









Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sorry, He's Not Sorry




"There may not be an easy or right way to break up with someone, but there has to be a better way than that." -Me


Let's face it, I made that quote up right before typing it. However, I'd also be lying if I said that this is the first time I've thought it. I've been the dumpee and the dumper, both suck. I can at least say for myself I've never dumped anyone in a text message nor over the phone. So, you can imagine my surprise upon receiving this text on Monday. Now, for the backstory...


BACKSTORY:

We met at a bar. 

I wish a had a dollar for every time that works out. In my case it would be a whoppin $0. It was sometime during the end of summer, on a Friday night. We talked for awhile, laughed a lot, and he finally asked for my number. He mentioned being gone all weekend but that I would hear from him before Sunday at 8pm. Sure enough I received a text at 7:47 that Sunday night, but as fate would have it, my response sometime around 10 pm would leave him to believe I was uninterested and he backed off. For the first time.

Over the course of the next several months a lot of things happened in my life, most of which were positive and I spent most of my kid-less nights out enjoying my friends, music, and beer. Throughout those fun-filled evenings every so often I would run into Rhymeswithhustle. By every so often, I mean quite often, considering it was at a variety of places all over town. On those evenings one of us would send a text from across the room accusing the other one of following us around, maybe a little small talk or a mini joke but, that was about it. 

In November, I was talking to one of my best, most trusted, and most respected male friends, we'll call him Marty, who is also single and has been struggling through the dating journey with minimal effort, not unlike myself.  We are great at holding each other accountable and one night during one of my, "I know I don't need a man but, sometimes I'd like someone else to fix my car when it takes a shit, or take the trash out for me, or just someone to hold me on the couch" rants, he called me out. I don't remember his exact words, but it was to the tune of, "We both frequently complain about our single situations, but honestly, what are we doing about it?" I didn't answer the question. I didn't have to. We both knew the answer. Neither of us were going to find our happily ever afters scrolling through Tinder sending each other screenshots of all of the horribly hilarious things we find. I fell asleep that night knowing I needed change.

Change:

40 days of dating.

That was my idea. For the next 40 days I would stop postponing it, stop avoiding it, and put myself out there. I knew I was ready for a relationship, that wasn't in question. I just honestly despise dating. I told my friend my idea and he basically gave me the two thumbs up. I didn't waste any time. Within my first two weeks of dating I ran into Rhymeswithhustle twice and after the second time he finally asked me to lunch.

40 days of dating quickly transformed into 40 days of dating Rhymeswithhustle exclusively. We hit it off and it really felt easy and natural. Both of our friends threatened to kill the other person if we hurt them and everything was progressing nicely. He wasn't what I would call the super romantic type, not even close, but one night he took a Lyft ride across town after 2 in the morning after we had been talking on the phone for hours just to kiss me goodnight. (He took a Lyft because he had a few drinks and I'm strongly opposed to drinking and driving). We just were really kinda crazy happy for a bit.

I have a nasty habit of rushing things along quickly and I can say honestly, most of the rushing and future talk was not done by me. In fact, I did very little if any at all. I was plenty pleased with how things were in the moment. On the other hand, he was not afraid to tell me exactly how he felt and he did quite often, and I bought everything he sold. Such as:
Now, I don't consider myself easily fooled, nor would I call him capable of being charming (or using the proper "you're" all the time), so how he went from sending texts like those to the BS last text I received in less than two weeks is beyond me. I suppose it isn't even relevant to be honest. In fact, the true point of this blog is what set me off the most, and that is the sheer lack of respect.

I would also like to make mention of a few things that add insult to injury. The week before receiving this text, I helped the man move truckloads of his shit twice and he had been on a family vacation in Cabo for three days when he sent me that text and we had been communicating each day he was gone--just to reiterate my justified and utter shock about it all. On another note, I have never been dumped internationally before, so that's neat. But as my dear friend and writer of The Klonopin Chronicles so eloquently put it, he would rather go through customs than dump me face to face. (As you could imagine our conversation led to daydreams of unexpected cavity searches, thanks Klonnie). 

There's No Other Way to Put This:

Really?

After sending out a screenshot of the Dumptext to the few who knew and would care, so many things began to stand out to me: "Sorry" in the same text 3 times, (ok fine, I noticed "your" instead of "you're" first. Ugh), and then I pondered over the fact that the most recent ex I knew of was from 3 years ago, but the part that struck the biggest nerve was "there's no other way to put this." 

I mean think about that, there isn't? Really? When that really began pissing me off I sent the Dumptext to Marty and as I was sending my wheels were turning. Perhaps a blog was in order? Initially I was going to go the humorous route and list off "51 other ways to put this." Marty gave me a super awesome #1 "Sorry you're amazing but I'm a selfish f#cked up human being that is a glutton for punishment so I'm going to screw you over to make a mistake. Bye."

I mean consider that, I'd have preferred that and it would have been more honest. He was going to be back in town in a few days, doing it in person wasn't out of the question. Don't even get me started on the fact that at the very least he could have called.

When I started this blog today, I knew it wasn't going to end up being a list of 51 better ways to break-up with someone, but I still felt that this was something worth sharing. Primarily, because that is just NOT how people should be treated. I deserved to be treated better, with respect and consideration, and at the very least I deserved the truth. Especially since I'm "cool as f#ck" and all.  (Oh ya, I'm not buyin what he's selling anymore just for the record, but if you happen to be in the market for a load of crap, he's got plenty).

The best part of all of this, I have a serious history of letting heart bumps, bruises, and breaks to really do a number on me. As crazy as I was about this guy for a bit, he accounts for no more than 10 minutes of tears on my part. I mean, I even surprised myself. I was seriously too pissed off and felt so disrespected to be sad, and it's been almost a week and that hasn't changed. I guess it's also hard to feel sad when you realize you got out of something that would have hurt a lot more later on. Hindsight is always a fun game too. How I ever thought I could date someone that uses "u" not "you" is beyond me, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. 


Now What:

I have no idea.

 I just know what isn't in my future. I won't be with someone who thinks this is ok:


 

That was our final communication. Ever, as far as I'm concerned. I mean, I know how awesome I am, and I certainly don't have time to fool around with people that don't right? ;) 

Ok, enough with the confidence. After all, I haven't always been this strong. In fact, I've never been this strong. If you've read my other posts then you know that to be true. I'm a masochist at heart. I think I just got tired of it. The sleepless nights, wasted tears, and countless beers. Enough is enough. What I discovered was raising my standards wasn't enough, because well, people have this horrible habit of deceiving each other. It had to come from within. People are going to let me down, guys are going to break my heart, and I'll likely never be a morning person. I made the choice to do things differently this time. This time I know exactly what I want, what I need, and most of all what I deserve and I won't settle for anything less. If someone is willing to walk away from me than I don't want them anyway.
 

The Wrap-Up:

Never Settle.
 
That's the mindset you need to have. Break-ups will hurt unlike any other pain we experience. They will suck the wind and life out of you. Hurt is unavoidable, but as I always say, suffering isn't. We alone determine the length of our suffering. We have as many options of ways we can deal with being dumped as Rhymeswithhustle had other ways to "put this." (What about, "I didn't realize it until I was drunk in Mexico, but I'm not over my ex and as amazing as you are it isn't right for me to drag you into my mess.") Ya, that would have better as well. Whatever. The point is I didn't stay in bed, I didn't stuff my face with ice cream, nor did I drown myself with booze while watching He's Just Not that into You. I got up the next morning and made my coffee, took a shower, and went through my day just like any other. 
 
The interesting thing about all of it is that I noticed there was an internal struggle that occurred in some moments. It was almost as if my brain was whispering to me, "here is where you get sad Jocelyn. Now is when you are supposed to cry." My habits were so blatantly obvious to me immediately. I had to fight them off and realize I wasn't sad, I truly wasn't. At least not about the loss of him. He served his purpose in my life and I thank him for that. The end. This is the beginning of change for me. Here is where I don't get sad. Here is where I create new habits, healthier habits and a more positive future. I couldn't be more stoked. So stoked in fact that the only word I could come up with to describe it is stoked. How do you like them apples?
 
Normally I don't put people on blast, you know that. I'm fairly respectful if you ask me. However, in this case, I felt I owed Rhymeswithhustle the same level of respect he bestowed upon me. Hence the zero hesitation when it came to posting his texts. Believe me, I could have done a LOT worse, that's just not my style. I just wanted to throw that out there.
 
I hope that something I've said helps you get through a bullshit break-up. This was seriously only about a 1.4 on the break-up Richter scale, I've survived much worse. I really just didn't want to pass up an opportunity to express my excitement about the positive changes in my life. I think brighter days are coming. I mean, he set the bar so low that I can only go up from here anyway. HA. I also feel super bad for him if he runs into me while a few of my friends are around. I mean, they warned him right? I'm only kidding, I don't wish him any ill will. After all, getting back with an ex is inevitably punishment enough. (Because it worked out so well the last time, I can see why you'd want to give it another shot. You just walked into a bull fighting ring with a red t-shirt on my friend. Good luck and may the force be with you).
 
Remember that another person's opinion of you doesn't define your worth. Their actions only define who they really are. I hope this year brings new and positive changes for you as well, and that the assholes don't bring you down. Much love friends.