So, I just have not been myself for about the last two years. And, I am pretty sure it is a mix of grief, PTSD, impostor syndrome, perimenopause, the stress of owning a boutique, fat shaming trolls and genetics. It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that there is a lot of mental health and addiction issues in my family. Most of you know by now that my sister, Thumper, passed away 10 years ago this September and she was diagnosed with Bipolar, Schizoaffective disorder, Acute Panic disorder, Acute Social Anxiety disorder, etc. I like to talk about her occasionally on my social media pages and blog as a way to honor her memory – so this is no big secret.
And, I spent some of my time on my social media accounts talking about how we can all #stopthestigma . How there is no shame in mental health challenges and how human it makes all of us to know we are all in this together.
I am also a strong believer in not shaming people for taking meds like Prozac, Wellbutrin or any other meds people take for their own peace. (Yes, I do hate the pharmacy industry and I do hate the way people in our country are treated like shit when they talk about needing help with therapy or meds.) The pharmacy industry is greedy and irresponsible. I get that. I truly do. Would you shame someone for taking their meds for hepatitis, cancer or lupus? There is no difference in my mind.
Why would you or I deny ourselves the help of modern technology? Good question. Not sure why I waited so long to get some help – especially given the fact that my family is very familiar with depression, anxiety, and addiction. Like VERY VERY familiar. (And, for the record, I have never been suicidal, but if you have or are, please reach out to your friends, family or a support group. Here is a great resource too: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ )
So, it all started with me keeping a long of my moods using a few different cool apps on my phone. (Talkspace and Wysa.) I was looking for a pattern. WHY was I waking up crabby after a great night’s sleep? WHY was I so cranky around my friends and my sweetie?
I changed the foods I ate and focused on getting lots of lean protein and veggies. I got back in the pool and began working out in the pool for 60 to 90 minutes walking laps and floating in the deep end for some zen / me time. I tried reducing the amount of turds and leaches in my life. I cleaned up my social media feed. I started saying NO to everything. I tried to have more sex alone or with my partner. I did all of those things they say you should try. I tried them all. But, still I felt so irritable.
I kept assuming it is perimenopause, but for the love of God, I still get a cycle every 28 days and I am almost 50. (Although, I do think this is still a part of my mood issues. My hormones are definitely changing.)
So I decided it was time for more grief therapy and more talk therapy. And, once I started going again, of course, it brought up all the stuff that going to therapy brings up. If you have ever been to therapy, you know that all of the hard work happens in between appointments with your therapist or counselor.
One thing that I have not mentioned yet is that I have Trigeminal Neuralgia and was diagnosed with it July 2016. And, that had me down for a good 6 months. It was so jarring and so sudden. Super sharp pains behind my right ear that left me crying on the couch for 2 to 4 hours at a time. It is described in simple terms as a pinched nerve in your brain. (It is literally called the “suicide disease” because roughly 25% of the people who are diagnosed with it commit suicide. SAD!) Again, I have never been suicidal, thankfully. This TN really threw me for a loop. And, with the help of Kiaser, chiropractic care, lots of sex, lots of saying no and chilling the fuck out – it is very manageable now.
So, yah, interesting year or two I have had.
Then, earlier this year, my friend and author Sam Dylan Finch posted something that hit home for me on his Facebook page and it has been in the back of my mind ever since. He had publicly discussed adding Wellbutrin to his life and recovery for depression. I have been following along and his transition journey. Then one day I saw him post this on Facebook :
“I’m the happiest boy. It’s like my heart is a bouquet of spring tulips and my brain is a happily buzzing and tender and sweet beehive.” – Sam Dylan Finch
That beautiful sentence hit me hard. I use to always feel like this. What happened? And, that simple quote inspired me to go and get back into therapy. (Thank you, Sam! Sam is an amazing writer, feminist and advocate. I met Sam via Jes, The Militant Baker as we each had a chapter in her book.)
And that was the impetus to finally get my butt back in therapy. My therapist decided I do have “adjustment disorder.” Thank the Gods and WebMD, right? She thought possibly adjustment disorder with some anxiety and depression. And, she suggested I try their Kaiser stress management classes, more talk therapy and possibly consider some kind of medication.
I thought about it and interviewed my friends and family and asked them what they thought. I asked everyone what they take for their anxiety and depression. I got so many thoughtful responses. I have heard of family members taking Wellbutrin over the years – like going back 20 years or more. I talked to my Mom about what has worked for her. I made a long list for my next appointment with my psychotherapist and I did my research.
So, here we are two weeks later and I am starting to feel the clouds part some. I am not a “behive buzzing” yet. LIFE GOALS! But, I do feel some clarity coming back. I feel a bit less anxious. I am still somewhat irritable, but hoping that may subside, too. I mean, we need to give it some time. (For the record, I am taking 75 mg of Effexor. Started with 37.5 for 1 week. Second week I am taking two for 75mg total.)
No two people are the same – that is for sure. Do your research and who knows. Maybe talk therapy is all you need. There are so many variables. I mean, look at my list. Family history, super stressful business, PTSD, grief, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Perimenopause, Trolls…. who knows what is causing my anxiety, irritability and my depression. But, I am proudly taking an antidepressant / antianxiety medication because this year is all about CHRYSTAL and Self-Care for my brain and me. I am re-imagining Curvy Girl and what it may look like in the future and I definitely feel more clear about how to manage my business going forward.
Anyway, I know this is super long, but I wanted to be transparent with all of you as I try to be in all situations. I am good. Please do not worry about me. I want to be a positive force in the Mental Health of my community and me. My life is an open book and I am happy to help with any questions you have about what is going on with me and Curvy Girl.
Thank you all for all of your love and support! #stopthestigma and #stoptheshame.