Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Cord of Three Strands

"...a threefold chord is not quickly broken."  Ecclesiastes 4:12

My mom is leaving tomorrow after being here for two weeks and I'm sad to see her leave.  I normally try to be so independent and put on a strong face but I think sometimes a girl just needs her mom.  I'm really glad that she came.

Two weeks ago I started waking up out of sleep having panic attacks.  I was shaking, my heart was racing, and I was afraid to be alone.  I felt for sure I was going to have a heart attack or something and the boys wouldn't know what to do and I would die right there on my bedroom floor.

I didn't know what to do.  I have a hard time admitting when I'm struggling sometimes.  I didn't want people to think I was crazy.  But I was seriously panicking for what seemed like no reason.  I tried to calm myself down.  I read my Bible.  I listened to soft music.  I prayed.  I tried to just go back to sleep.  Nothing helped me to feel better.  I wanted to call my mom but at the same time, I didn't because I felt like as soon as I voiced how I was feeling out loud, there was no going back.  It was really happening.  

I sat in my bed contemplating for a few minutes past 6am.  It was too early.  I couldn't call my mom that early.  But mom does wake up early.  Maybe it would be okay.  No, I'm just going to sit for a few more minutes and hope to calm down.  I can't call her.  And not that early.  About thirty seconds passed.  What if I text her first to see if she's awake?  Okay, I texted her... "Are you awake?"

"I am now," she replied.  So I was going to do this.  Admit out loud I was having a panic attack.  I pressed number four on my speed dial and she answered.  "I think I'm having a panic attack," I said.  I told her how I was feeling and we talked for a little while.  I paced the house while we talked.  Thankfully the boys were still in bed.  I made it back to my bedroom and sat on my bed rocking back and forth.  I was starting to calm down as we talked.  Since the talking helped me feel better, I hoped that meant I wasn't really having a heart attack.  I told her that I was considering calling a lady from church to come stay with me that day so I wouldn't have to be alone.  She encouraged that.  I was afraid.  Now I had to admit to someone else that I was crazy.  My mom asked if I wanted her and my dad to come home early from their annual summer months in Michigan.  No, I didn't want to be a burden.  Plus they had a trip planned on the way home.

We hung up the phone and I called the lady from church and just briefly told her that I had been having some anxiety issues and I would feel better if I wasn't alone.  But then I talked myself out of it because I didn't want her to think I was crazy.  She told me she would come over and to call her back if I wanted her to.  I was okay, I assured her.

The boys woke up.  I was still feeling panicked.  So I called my lady friend from church back and told her that I'd changed my mind and I'd appreciate if she would go with me to an appointment for my son that day.  She did.  It was nice to have the company.

I stopped by the health food store on the way home and asked about some natural remedies for anxiety.  The lady at the store recommended a natural supplement with something to do with amino acids.  Yeah, sure, give me some of that.  I also picked up a multivitamin.  I started taking those right away.  I was very up and down, feeling panicked easier and easier.  I was having trouble functioning.  My kids were watching way too much television.  I stopped back by the health food store and she gave me these stress relief drops that you put under your tongue that are supposed to be like an instant rescue when you start to get bad anxiety.  They did help some.  The drops had a kick to them.  I read the box.  27% alcohol.  Okay, now I know why they were helping me mellow out, lol.  They really tasted more like 100% alcohol.  I called them my whiskey drops.  I don't drink and I didn't particularly like the sensation of the drops under my tongue but they got me through the week.

One night I started feeling really bad again.  I called my good friend who came over and just hung out with me for the evening.  I felt somewhat guilty because she has kids and a family of her own that I was taking her away from to come and babysit me.  But it was nice having her here.  We just hung out and talked and watched Big Brother, er perhaps that is too much information since that is not the most wholesome show.  But it helped just sitting in silence watching TV with a friend.

The next night I felt bad again.  Ugh.  I couldn't keep calling her to come over.  All of my friends who I would trust to reveal my craziness to have families and I felt like I was being such a burden.  I'm a grown woman with two children.  I should be able to stay home alone.  So I called my mom.  Just hearing her voice made me start to cry.  I asked if they could come home early.  I felt guilty asking because I didn't want to make them miss out on any of their summer or fun plans on the way home.  So I said, nevermind, I don't want you to do that.  But then I changed my mind... can you come home?  I didn't know what I wanted.  I wanted my mom but I didn't want to be a burden.  She said she would talk to my dad and see what they could do.

She called back the next day and said that my dad would stay but that she would fly home for as long as I needed her.  She bought a one way ticket and flew home.  The same day she arrived was when I went to see the doctor who put me on some anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds.  Those things were a real shock to my system so I was really glad to have my mom there.

Although she stayed at her own house at night, every morning she came over and helped get the kids ready for school.  Each evening, she had dinner ready when I got home from work.  She helped with appointments.  And she just hung out with me and watched TV and normal night time stuff like that.  These past two weeks have been priceless.  I've always loved my mom but these past two weeks have just been different.  I feel like she has an extra special place in my heart now.

I'm doing a lot better after these two weeks.  I've felt guilty about needing to take medications but I'm coming to acceptance of it and they have really helped me to be able to function again.  I almost feel normal again.  I've even gotten some of my creativity back which I've felt like I've lost lately.  And I've loved spending this time with my mom.

I've painfully had to let my guard down some and let other people past the strong mask that I wear.  I think I do have genuine strength through Christ, but my flesh is still very weak and I have a hard time accepting that sometimes.  I'm really thankful to have friends and family who love and care about me and a Savior who never lets me go.  A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Still Breathing

Today I have officially been taking meds for anxiety and depression for one week.  I have never wanted to take medicine.  I worry about the side effects.  I tried some natural things.  They didn't really work.  So for now, I'm taking the medicine.  Last week they made me really loopy.  I couldn't drive myself to work so my good friend picked me up and drove me.  My mind moves very slow on the meds.  My memory has also suffered.  I sometimes ask the same question three or four times, forgetting that I asked it the first time.  In fact, I probably already said this in a previous post.  I don't remember.  This is why I don't like taking medicine.  It also makes me dizzy and gives me a headache so I started cutting the anti-anxiety one in half and taking half in the morning and half before bed.  The bottle says to take 1-2 per day.  I don't want to take that much.  I'd rather not take it at all.  So far I took half this morning but haven't had to take the second half tonight.  I'm going to try and go to bed without it tonight.  The panic attacks may wake me up and I know they'll be there if I need them but I hope to sleep in Heavenly peace tonight.

I read in James this morning.  Reading my Bible helps to calm me.  If only I remember what I had read.  I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

So when I woke up this morning I thought I should have a goal for today.  My goal was to make it through the full day of work.  I'm happy to say I made it!  And I was even quite productive at work today which makes me feel good.  It brings organization to my often chaotic life with so many things of out of my control.

I came home with another goal... to not just randomly go through the evening, stressing over all the things that needed to be done.  My nine year old Autistic son loves to make schedules and his schedule has been all over the place this summer.  As has his behavior.  Hence part of my own struggles because I've had a hard time handling the new diagnosis', the appointments, the medical bills, the melt downs, the repetitious conversations, etc.  So tonight I got out a spiral notebook and had him write down his schedule for what we were going to do tonight.  I gave him a few things that had to be on it like reading, practicing his piano, taking a bath, and some free time.  He loved it.  The schedule kept him calm for most of the night... until bedtime. We still need to work on that.

I also had another surprise when I got home.  I've been overwhelmed with expenses lately... legal fees, broken collar bones, medical procedures, evaluations, car accidents, sprained ankles, and on and on.  I was praying about it yesterday and just remembering the times in the past when there have been other tight times and God has provided.  Today when I checked my mail I received and envelope that looked like just one more bill to pay.  Great.  What was it now?  I opened the envelope and it was actually a check for an overpayment on an old trash pick up account.  It was nice to finally get some good news.  And an answer to prayer.

So while I was still very tired and dizzy most of the day, today was a better day than days past.  While I'm still overwhelmed, I'm also incredibly blessed to serve a God who loves and cares about me.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

One Day at a Time

"Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted."  Matthew 5:4

Last night I had a date with my almost six year old spunky red headed sweetheart.  I wasn't sure if it was going to happen or not because I was feeling pretty out of it and down last night.  But I knew I wanted to do it.  He needed it and I think I needed it, too.  So somehow I pulled myself together and off we went.  We went to TGI Friday's for dinner where he had been asking to go for a while.  To his excitement, we even got to order dessert!  And what else would you expect a six year old boy to order?  A big cup of dirt, of course.

After that we went over to Toys R Us and just looked around at all the cool toys.  He didn't even seem to mind or comprehend that we weren't buying anything, he just enjoyed checking everything out.  It was also a good mental trip for me since his birthday is coming up in about two months.  That is if I can remember everything.  I think it's the meds I'm on but my memory has been lacking recently.  When I asked my mom if she was going to her church or mine tomorrow, she said it was the third time I'd asked her that.

Today as much as I wanted to just lay on the couch and do nothing, I knew that wasn't fair to the boys so we went to the park.  I figured I could maybe sit on a bench while they played so they wouldn't be stuck at home all day with their crazy mom.  I don't want this to be how they remember their childhood when they grow up so I really hope to snap out of this soon.

We spent about 30-45 minutes at the park when I started to feel really anxious again.  I've been trying to avoid taking the anxiety meds unless absolutely necessary so I hadn't taken any this morning or yesterday at all.  So we ended up coming home and my mom took the boys over to her house for a little bit so I could lay down.  I hoped just laying down in the quiet house would help.  But it didn't.  So I just took a half of my anxiety medicine.  I'm already feeling better.

As someone who doesn't even take Tylenol when I have a headache, resigning myself to the fact that maybe I do need medicine at least for a time is difficult for me.  I may have said that already.  Like I said, my memory is not good right now.  At least now I feel like I can function.  So here we go.  I kind of feel like a crazy person.  I don't want to miss any more work or other functions because I don't want other people to know I'm a crazy person.  I think most people look at me and think I have it all together.  So I guess I have to do what I have to do.  I hope this does not last forever.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Confessions from the Funny Farm

I don't usually blog without knowing what the overall message of encouragement will be at the end.  There have been a few here and there lately like that.  This one will continue.  I just felt like I wanted to journal through a darker time in my life.  I know that sometime in the future I will be able to look back and see how God worked through this time and maybe seeing the worst will make the best shine even brighter of God's goodness.

I came home today after only about 45 minutes at work.  I am completely exhausted.  I thought once I got there and into my routine I would feel better.  But when I couldn't focus, felt like I could cry at the drop of a hat, and kept feeling the need to find a quiet spot in some closet to go lay down and sleep, I knew I would be better just going home.  I had to have a friend drive me home because I was so out of it.

I don't like feeling like this.  It's not normal for me.

I went to the doctor on Monday and she prescribed me some meds to help with anxiety and depression.  I knew I was feeling very anxious.  I hadn't realized that I was actually suffering from depression as well.  But it makes sense.  The only thing I want to do is lay on the couch and do nothing.  I have very little interest in anything.  Before the boys left to see their dad for a couple of weeks, we had filled out our calendar of all the fun things we wanted to do this summer... go to the children's museum, visit a few amusement parks, go to the beach, play on the playground, go to Home Depot and make the monthly children's craft... normally we do all of those things and have a great time.  Right now I don't feel able to do any of them.  It takes about three weeks for the depression meds to kick in so I hope to feel better then.

Right now I'm just very tired.  I want to watch TV and sleep and do nothing else.  I try to fake it as much as I can when the boys come home from school.  It's hard.  The other night we all played the board game Sorry.  It was tough for me but it did make me happy every time my oldest son laughed hysterically whenever he put me back home.  That makes me smile to think about now.  

I've had a lot of appointments for my nine year old lately since his autism diagnosis.  It's draining and overwhelming.  So tonight, I'm having a date night with my almost six year old so he knows he is important to me as well.  I hate to admit this but I'm kind of looking forward to a night off from parenting a special needs child.  I love him so much but at times, I just feel like I've come to my breaking point and I can't answer what kind of clouds are in the sky for the two millionth time that day.  I feel guilty saying this but I'm looking forward to just having a normal conversation with a six year old tonight instead where we'll talk about all kinds of things.

So for now, this is about the extent of what I have the energy to write about.  I'm going to lay back on the couch.  I'm really thankful for my mom this week who has flown down to help me out.  I think I'd be in worse shape without her.  I love you, mom. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Unsettled

"Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul.  Like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me."  Psalm 131: 2

I really wish my soul felt like this right now.  I don't know if it's an intense amount of stressors lately or something else, but I have been extremely anxious this week.

I always try to put forth a very positive front and I smile a lot, even when the situation is frightening and uncertain... smile through the pain.  I'm afraid to let people in too close... afraid to show any signs of weakness.  I asked a lady from church to come over on Monday to go to an appointment with me in the hopes it would help me to feel better not being alone.  It did, to some degree.  But at the same time, while I talked to her a little of the anxiety I was experiencing, I felt the need to assure her that I was going to be okay and display my "strength" when strong is the furthest thing from what I feel right now.

I know all of the canned Sunday School responses... you don't have to be strong because God is your strength.  Be anxious about nothing but in everything present your requests... I know these things to be true. It's not that I don't know or believe them. Right now I am just feeling very unsettled in my soul rather than calmed and quieted and it's been rough.

I realized earlier today that I have been on auto-pilot for a while because there have just been SO many stressful things going on in my life over the past several months.  I didn't really have the time to process my feelings too much over anything.  I just did.  Right now I'm on vacation from work and am home from a trip to visit my sister last week.  Maybe it's all just settling in within the isolation of my house.  Being at home is when I feel the worst I think because my mind starts to process everything.  I need to process my feelings over everything, but it is just coming in the form of a tidal wave right now.

Laying down my burdens...