While some things change – I guess some things never will

In high school, I was incredibly confidant for my age and gender.  Teenage girls are by theory, insecure, naive and immature.  I wasn’t.  I mean don’t get me wrong, I know I had my moments – but I really didn’t care too much what others thought of me and I had a close group of friends that I felt were equals – that I wasn’t competing for attention or trust or loyalty. 

Once I moved to Peterborough for University though, something happened – something changed, I changed.  Now maybe my environment was too overwhelming – Peterborough is as opposite as Scarborough as you can get in both good and bad ways, but I lost myself, I lost my faith in me, I lost those close friends who had been my confidants and for the first time in years, I had to make new friends – I didn’t think it would be so hard considering I am known as the social butterfly by nature.  However, I constantly felt like I was competing for friendships, like I wasn’t good enough or cool enough or special enough to be cared about on a consistent basis.  Through my four years at Trent, I always felt on edge, my anxiety really starting to overtake the best parts of me.  I was paranoid constantly, stuttering through my words and actions and my grades suffered because of it.  The people I was closest to in University would never call me “smart” or a “good student”.  But I was – in high school at least!?  So what changed?  

I don’t know, I still don’t. 

Coming home after graduation, I had to pick up the pieces of my life, figure out where I belonged, what life I wanted for myself.  When Filipino boy and I broke up – I was heartbroken, but not surprised at all because I had changed and so had he.  We would have hated each other if we had stayed together, resentment would have grown.

After almost ten years since graduating Trent, I have changed again to be a more confidant, self-assured woman, sure of who I am, what I say and what I mean.  I am more of the me in high school – with better decision-making capabilities (cause my decision-making skills seriously lacked through 99% of  Cedarbrae). 

And then I have dinner with my Trent friends and I’m thrown back ten years – just like that. 

I had dinner on Saturday night with B, his fiancé, N and her husband.  Now B and N were two people I was probably closest to at the end of it all even though I had suffered many ups and downs, teasing and playing with them throughout my four years with Trent.  I see B regularly as he lives closest to me, but N I haven’t seen since 06, maybe 07.  The whole evening was great, we had a great meal, talked a lot about the “good ol’ days” and what’s current in our lives, but I found myself sounding “dumber ” than I actually am.  I found myself stumbling through my words and ganged up on again.  I am sure it was all in my head, I know we are all mature(ish) adults who have all made names for ourselves in our respected industries, with friends and with family, but with a knock on the door, I was 20 years old fighting for attention, hoping they would still like me.  

How stupid?!  I know – trust me…sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and I shake my head whenever that other me – the old me – shows her face.  And other times, I smile knowing that at the end of the day – I love who I am, who I have become and all the stuff I have had to go through in between, is just that – stuff, stuff that disappears with maturity and years.  And with this chapter of my life slowly coming to an end, a new one about to begin (more details later) I must be as strong as I can!

XOXO Nikilee

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The Face of Fear

My chest tightens, the tears fill my eyes and within a few seconds I feel fear, of what I don’t know.

My heart physically starts to hurt and my breathing quickens…am I having a heart attack at the young age of 32?

I don’t want to go out, yet get upset when I know my friends are out together doing something I am not invited to.

I actively make up excuses for being overweight yet I complain when people say anything about it or suggest I should do as they say, they don’t know me – they don’t know what it’s like.

At times I bite the heads off people I love because the heat in my chest is bursting to get out, they have been the ones to make me cross a very thin, invisible line that I walk everyday.

Whats wrong with me you ask – nothing.  Like thousands of other men and women I suffer from anxiety and have been on a medication called Ciprolex for the past three years.  For some reason, none that I can pinpoint, my anxiety has gotten worse over the past month.

I have spent the past three years trying to get my head on straight, make changes, adjust my friendships, forgive people who desperately sought me out and do what everyone wanted me to do – work, date, go out and do whatever it took to be “normal”.  But inside, deep inside my heart, I want to curl into a ball and do none of the above.

Suicide is an option for many people with anxiety-others may just have a physical reaction by either vomiting or having excessive bowel problems, I am fortunate that my anxiety doesn’t manifest itself in any of these ways.  I’m not going to sit here and pretend I haven’t thought how easy it would be to end it all or tell you I’ve never had stomach cramps that beg for me to throw up, but I always manage.  I always get myself under control.

Anxiety and depression aren’t things we talk about with strangers and sometimes not even with those who love us most.  A girl who I have known my entire life I recently re-connected with through her blog www.worthcourting.wordpress.com and like me, she is single, in her 30’s and suffers from anxiety.  Now, Court is a much stronger writer then I will ever be, but our stories are similar.  She is brave.  She is beautiful.  She has made this taboo subject not so taboo. I am grateful that I have read all that she has to write on this topic and praise her for being so candid while so many of us suffer in silence.

Because of fear I have been having lately, I felt a need, a need to write it down.  I ask those of who know me personally to not ask if I am okay.  Don’t ask what you can do.  Don’t tell me I will be okay.  I don’t have any response to those questions or concerns and it just makes me more frustrated when people talk to me about it. I get it – its frustrating to you to see me hurt, to see me cry, to not be able to help, but guess what:

I can’t care right now

I see a doctor, she knows my issues and I am bothered by the fact that due to something completed unrelated I no longer want to be under her care, but I will continue seeing her until I can find someone knew, because regardless of how unstable I feel – I am responsible enough to know having a doctors guidance and support is of more importance right now than our disagreement.

The amount of people I know who have or have suffered from anxiety and/or depression astounds me.  I have friends who have attempted suicide, who have been heavily medicated because of this horrible disease.  It is not a disease that strikes only white, middle class women, though we are the ones who usually come out and talk about it.   This horrible illness effects people – regardless of race, socio-economic status and gender.  It beats you up, it can and does kill you.  It eats you alive from the inside until the only thing that seems normal is not feeling normal.

I write this because I have approximately 44 followers and numerous others who read my blog for whatever reason.  I am asking everyone to realize that you most likely know someone who is suffering right now.  Someone you know is hurting and doesn’t have the resources and support that I do.  Please make yourselves available.  Talk, but please listen.  Pay attention to those you love, check-in and if you are the one suffering, please get help, tell a trusted doctor.  You do not have to be alone.

XOXO Nikilee

 

 

 

 

A little nervous about anxiety

I have been taking anxiety medications for just over two years now.  This all started when GBF and I ended our relationship and I lost not only my lover, my apartment, but I lost my best friend.  Things were rough for a long time and as much as I know medication isn’t the best way to solve your problems, for me, it worked and it was needed. 

I also started smoking, which helped me in ways that I am aware no one believes does.  Smoking is a horrible habit that I revert back to every time shit hits the fan because it’s easy.  So between the medication and the smoking, I got through the longest, loneliest year of my life. 

Then my dad had his heart attack and I almost lost the only man who has never disappointed me, who changed my world in ways he will never know and for which I’ll always be grateful.  The anxiety was exploding. 

Slowly he got better and so did I. 

But then my Nana passed away and the slow grip I had gained on my life crashed.  Now I know what you are all thinking because at times of clarity I did too.  THINGS HAPPEN, YOU NEED TO LEARN TO COPE!

Of course I do and of course bad things happen all the time.  I can’t revert to smoking and anxiety medication to calm me and keep me cool.  But you know what, until you have walked in my shoes – lets keep the judging to a minimum.

I started CBT (Cognative Behavioural Therapy) in December 2011.  I learned slowly how to look at different situations that happen and how to deal with them, accept them and express my opinions on them.  I also met MiMo in February who after only a couple of days broke down some walls I had built up around my heart.  He was so different than anyone I had dated and I needed that and him so badly at the time and I immediately started to feel better

Of course I was also working on healing and patching up my friendship with GBF.  It was never about my love for him or my feelings towards him, it was my friendship I missed. 

So things got better, I had MiMo, GBF, some great friends who I cherish, my dad is doing well, things with my brother and his wife are good so I started thinking about lowering my dose of my anxiety medication.  I talked to my family doctor and she agreed it was a good time to go to 10 mg.

So even though things with me and MiMo have ended (amicably) and I am sad more often than I care to admit, I have lowered my medication and I have quit smoking (remember when I was sick a couple of weeks ag0 – ya I decided it was the perfect time to quit).  With some crazy things at work and some personal drama that never seems to end, I am not 100% sure it was the best time, but like I said – I KNOW I have to learn to deal with real life. 

Anxiety isn’t a joke – it’s not something you should criticise or deem as a pathetic excuse for attention.  It hurts, a lot, and I have a few friends who have the same medication I do and whom I personally am aware of the trauma they have dealt with in life and you know what – if medication, or smoking, or sleeping or crying helps – than so be it.  Leave people to deal with their lives on their own as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.

I am hoping that I can stay at the 10 mg for a few months and then go down to 5 and then wean myself off of them.  I hope to have quit smoking permanently (though that one may be easier said then done). Things change every day so I refuse to judge myself as life happens and just take one day at a time. 

Why am I posting all this – I don’t know, I felt like it?  I felt like writing something that may help others know they aren’t alone in the crazy world of anxiety and that they have NOT failed at life because they need some pharmaceutical assistance to help them get through a time in their life. 

Good luck all, happy Wednesday, have a great HUMP day!

XOXO Nikilee