Anxiety, Challenging, Change, Chronic health condition, Death, Depression, Doctors, Exhausted, Family, Gastroparesis, Generalised Anxiety, Grief, Mother and daughter, Panic Attack, Siblings, Sisters, Social Anxiety, Step-father, Tired

2017

Well another year is over! I survived another 365 days of being chronically sick, mentally sick and grieving. I stayed alive to see another year through. I should be proud of myself right? I wish I could say that 2017 was my year, but it really wasn’t. 

Here’s an overview of what happened in 2017:

The best thing to happen in 2017 is that I got my puppy Asher in June! She is the sweetest little cavoodle, although she does have a bit of a mean side like her Mum… (me)😉 She is now 8 months old and going through her terrible threes a little bit. Yikes, indeed. But when she’s not running around trying to chew everything and destroy tissues she is loving and loves to give you hugs and affection. She has been a great distraction and friend for me but that’s not to say that it’s been easy looking after her. There are some days when I’m just too exhausted emotionally and physically to give her what she needs (a walk, attention and to be played with ect) and that’s where my Mum steps in. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t get her and have the extra responsibility but I guess that extra responsibility is what I need to make sure I don’t become a complete hermit and let myself get sucked into the dark hole of depression and lay in bed all day. Asher makes me get up out of bed, feed her and look after her. I love her so much and could never re-home her but I’d be lying if some days I thought it would be easier without her… Those thoughts usually only occur when like I said before, I’m exhausted -usually from life- I’m in a lot of physical pain or when I’m having a really hard time with my anxiety and depression. It’s nice though that when I am feeling so down she comes into my room and climbs onto my bed and attacks me with her kisses and hugs. She can make me smile when I feel like I might never smile again.

Here’s a photo of one of the funnier ways she’s fallen asleep.  

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She also has her own Instagram page if you’re interested! https://www.instagram.com/asherthecavoodle/

There was also a lot of bad sh*t happen in 2017, mostly regarding my physical and mental health. My physical health got so much worse which I didn’t think was possible but I was so wrong. My chronic fatigue became unbearable to the point of me literally not being able to get out of bed or I was able to just make it to the couch and that is where I stayed for the rest of the day. My gastroparesis also went through a couple of pretty bad flares which left me in a lot of incredibly bad pain and nausea. My medication for that also stopped working like it used to so I stopped that for about a month to give my body a break from it and just stuck to soft foods while I let my body rest and now I’ve been back on that for the past few months. I didn’t lose anymore weight, I actually put about 2kgs back on. Dammit! I tried to walk everyday but between my physical health and mental health I had a pretty hard time with that. 

I joined my local youth programme within my council and went to one of their programmes which was once a week for 4 weeks. That didn’t help at all with anything and was really just a waste of time. I never heard back from the youth worker after that finished though so no more help from them. 
I went to a programme at the outpatient pain clinic at my local hospital. That was for two days and once again, I didn’t find helpful at all… 

I really suffered with my mental health. There was a period a few months ago where I thought I was going to end up back into the psych ward but I was able to medicate myself and find a way out of that suicidal hole. I still have extremely bad anxiety every day so me going to both of those programmes I mentioned above was such a big deal for me even if I did come home and have a  total breakdown and panic attack over it. 
I continued to see my psychologist regularly and even spoke up one session and told her that what we were doing and some of the things she said to me wasn’t helpful. That was a massive step for me because I had never said anything to her about how what she was saying I found unhelpful before.
I started seeing a new psychiatrist whom I have been seeing every fortnight. She has been very helpful medication wise but there have been a few things she has said in our sessions that I found to be very insensitive and hurtful. I tried talking to her about how I found those things she said insensitive and hurtful and I was semi-able to say what I wanted to say but I also found myself lying to her about something because I felt like she would never hear me properly…
She started me on a new medication to help me sleep and with a few dosage changes we have found a dosage that usually gets me to sleep and keeps me asleep. It doesn’t work all the time but I don’t expect it to work every single time. She also started me on a new medication to try to help me with my chronic fatigue and I guess it works the tiniest bit. It takes a very thin layer off of my fatigue so that I’m able to get dressed and move off the couch but it hasn’t helped with my brain fog or given me energy. I don’t know if a higher dosage would help or not but for now we’ll keep it at what it is. She also gave me a new medication for my anxiety and panic attacks and that definitely helps but I try not to take it unless I really have to and can’t handle my anxiety or if I have to go somewhere like to a medical appointment. I also take it if I’m having a really hard day with my depression and grief. 

Yes my grief is still here and active. I still miss Chase every single day and struggle with him not being here. I don’t cry as much as I used to and I don’t know if that’s because I’ve gotten better at suppressing my overwhelming grief or if I’ve become more detached from my feelings but there are still days like I mentioned before where the grief is so bad that I can’t handle it and I have to take something to help me get through the day.  
2017 marked 4 years since Chase’s death and it also would’ve been his 9th birthday if he was still alive.
A few people said this year that it was time that I moved on from Chase dying and that it had been long enough and to them, four years might sound like a long time but to me, it feels like it happened last week or a year ago. People also said that Chase dying was the cause of all my health conditions and to that, I say no, it wasn’t. It is so unfair and disgusting that they are happy to blame my baby brother’s death for the reason I’m sick. I had stomach problems since I was a BABY! NOT only after Chase died. Sure, the emotional stress put a strain on my body and therefore triggered or flared my stomach problems up but him dying didn’t cause them. Same with my anxiety and depression. I was already starting to get anxiety from school and my stepfather before Chase died and I was also starting to show signs of depression before Chase died.
I will continue to grieve my brother because I have that right and if his death and my grief stops me from doing certain things in life then that’s fine too. What I went through was so incredibly horrific and I have the right to take as much time as I need to heal and process what happened. My brother dying, my right to take as long as I need to grieve.

Since we’re talking about siblings, my sister Holly comes to mind as one of that bad things of 2017. She continued to hate on my Mum and I for saying that we didn’t like her boyfriend and therefore pushed us out of her life. I decided to write her a letter which she read but never responded to and then in April after not hearing from her for months she randomly messaged me one day asking for my details for her will. I messaged her back and said that I hadn’t heard from her for months and then all of a sudden she wanted my details for her will and that that isn’t ok. She then decided to tell me (all through message) that she had a brain tumour not that I would care! Yes, you read the right folks. My sister told me over message that she had a brain tumour and then added that I wouldn’t care.
(Side note: For those of you who are reading  this blog post and who haven’t read my other posts about my brother Chase, he died from a rare, incurable and inoperable brain tumour at the age of 5 and from the day he got diagnosed to the day he died it was 12 weeks.)
So of course I rang her straight away and asked her what was going on and what did she mean when she told me that she had a brain tumour and she told me that she had a MRI done and they found a brain tumour. Well, that brain tumour ended up being a pretty common pineal cyst, NOT a brain tumour.
The fact that she said and I quote ” I have a brain tumour not that you’d care” hurt me so  much. The next day I rang her and said to her that if she wanted to talk about the letter that I sent that I would be happy to talk to her but I also said that if she wants that to happen that she has to contact me and that I wouldn’t chase her around trying to get her to talk to me. Well, I never heard from her again so I guess she didn’t miss me that much and doesn’t want to have me in her life… 
I am so hurt that she basically disowned me but I have to accept that I guess. Holly will never be able to be the sister that I want and we’ll never have the relationship that I want to have. And before you say “But you’re family” or “Maybe in a few years you two will reconnect”, Holly and I have always had a very strained relationship and the fact that she dislikes my Mum so strongly I can’t handle. I don’t want to have someone who can feel so negatively about the ONE person in my life who has been there for me through everything and who is my best friend. Anyway, that’s another story for another day. 

So basically 2017 was a big ball of sh*t! It was meant to be my year for everything to change from 2016 but that didn’t happen. I really need 2018 to be different; I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive another year like 2017 and have nothing change. I will take all the steps that I can towards things changing this year but I also think people in my life need to remember that I’m not just fighting mental health issues OR physical health issues, I’m fighting BOTH at once. It’s not one or the other for me. 

I hope 2018 will be the year that things change for the better for you people reading this and that you get everything you want. I also hope that 2017 wasn’t too bad for you.

Keep safe,
Maddy xoxo  

 

Twitter: @DMWAAG
Email: depressedmesswithanxietyandgrief@outlook.com
Featured Image: http://imperial-properties.com/en/2017-happenings

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Anxiety, Body image, Challenging, Chronic health condition, Depression, Exhausted, Friends, Generalised Anxiety, Panic Attack, Social Anxiety, Tired

Anxiety Anxiety Anxiety Anxiety Anxiety Anxiety Anxiety Anxiety!!!

I’ve talked before about my depression, health conditions and I’ve mentioned my anxiety before but I haven’t dedicated a blog post to what is a big part of my life and that is, you guessed it, anxiety! *Insert clapping*

Anxiety is a tricky thing as it’s different for everyone who gets it and the symptoms that people experience with anxiety will also be different. Sure, anxiety sufferers might experience SIMILAR symptoms but they will never be EXACTLY the same. There are two main types of anxiety that I’m aware of and they are generalised (you get anxious about everything and anything) and social (you get anxious about going outside, seeing people, talking to people ect) anxiety. I have both generalised and social anxiety.

I can’t tell you which is worse as they are both incredibly bad and somedays one will be worse than the other and then other days they’re both at the same level of anxiousness. My anxiety has definitely gotten worse over the years and now I have a hard time leaving the house just to take the rubbish down. When I’m sleeping I have anxious dreams because of my PTSD and when I’m awake I’m sometimes shaking with anxiety doing absolutely nothing, so basically I am just one big ball of anxiety.

I’ll talk about my social anxiety first:
There’s a big difference between being nervous about going somewhere new and being anxious about going somewhere new. Being nervous is normal and a useful human emotion but being anxious takes it past the level of being useful and a good human emotion to being a draining and fearful experience where there is no need at all to be fearful and to act and feel like you’re being chased by a lion about to be eaten!
I’d like people to stop using the term ‘anxiety’ so loosely and about everything when in fact, they are just NERVOUS and or excited NOT anxious.

A lot of my social anxiety revolves around how I think I look because of my weight which makes going out anywhere incredibly hard. I have a hard time going out and eating because I feel like everyone will be looking at me and judging me for eating. I can’t stand crowded places with too many people and loud noises and I have a very hard time talking to people like shop assistants when I’m out.  I have a constant monologue of unhelpful thoughts running through my head the whole time I’m out and some of them are: “That person is looking at you because you’re fat” and “People are looking at you because you’re fat and eating” and “People are looking at your acne and that’s all they’re seeing.” As you can see, those thoughts aren’t nice or helpful and yet no matter how hard I try I can never stop them while I’m out. I’m always fidgeting and looking like I’m going to hurl and I know these thought aren’t rational but in a society where it’s openly known that you’re judged on the way you look, it’s hard not to have those thoughts and it’s even harder when you have no self confidence at all.

My social anxiety really inhibits me from doing a lot of things like going out with my Mum and spending time with her or going out and trying to find some friends. Social anxiety is not fun at all and I hate it, I hate everything about it because we know that it’s not rational to be so scared of seeing and talking to people that you want to cry, throw up and run away (all at the same time I might add) and yet you can’t stop feeling like that. Pushing past all those anxious feelings is really freaking exhausting which is why after I come home after going out anywhere I have to have a nap 😂 Not only is pushing past those anxious feelings to actually go somewhere exhausting but consciously challenging all those anxious and unhelpful thoughts is exhausting as well, it almost feels like a full time job…

And as I right this blog post about anxiety I am starting to get anxiety… how effed up is that?! 🙄

Now I will talk about my generalised anxiety:
Having generalised anxiety means that I am anxious nearly all the time and usually about nothing. I could be sitting on the couch watching TV and feel like I can’t breathe and my heart is racing and yet there’s no reason for me to feel anxious at all. Even when I’m sleeping my dreams are anxiety inducing and so I wake up with anxiety. I always feel like I am in that fight or flight state and that I can never properly relax, I am always on edge and always ready to go go go (even though I have no energy).

Continuously feeling anxious for no reason is hard work. I can sit somewhere quietly and do my breathing exercises or distract myself but I still can’t seem to quit being anxious. Being anxious has become part of who I am now and I hate it. I don’t like feeling anxious all the time about nothing and never being able to relax, I want to be able to sit down and give my body a rest.
I get anxious about making plans for the day, taking the rubbish out, Mum going anywhere and sometimes I get anxious just looking outside my window…

Nearly everything causes me to have anxiety and therefore continuously makes my body react like there’s danger and release that adrenaline and cortisol that your body produces when it’s in danger and yet, there is no danger for me at all. My body and mind are always on high alert and can never get a proper rest unless I take my anti-anxiety medication. I’m not against medication at all but I don’t want to take my anti-anxiety medication everyday just so I can get through the day without having all the feelings of anxiety and the starting symptoms of a panic attack, I want to be able to get and work through my anxiety myself but everything I try just doesn’t work. I have worked with many counsellors and psychologists to try and help me with my anxiety and apart from them all giving me the same techniques to use, they just don’t work. 

My anxiety also makes all my other health conditions worse. When my anxiety is worse it makes my depression worse which then makes my health conditions worse which then makes my anxiety worse and it’s a cycle that I can’t get out of. 

Here’s a little chart I made:

anxiety chart screenshot.png

Living with anxiety is a daily struggle that I have been dealing with for nearly 5 years now and you’d think that I’d get use to it by now but I haven’t, I’m still surprised over the level of my anxiety sometimes and how I can have anxiety for no apparent reason. I will continue to fight it and maybe one day I won’t have it anymore but for now, It’s making my life 1000000x harder and its just another thing that I have to deal with.

Keep safe everyone and know that you are not alone with your anxiety.
Maddy xoxo

Follow my new twitter account: https://twitter.com/DMWAAG

Email: depressedmesswithanxietyandgrief@outlook.com

 

(Featured image: https://www.jmrocketreporter.org/arts-entertainment-2/staff-columns/2017/05/18/stress/)

 

 

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