Archive for the ‘Mental Status Updates’ Category

Panic Attacks: A definition walkthrough for the concerned, confused, and/or fucking stupid…

June 28, 2012 6 comments

For the very few of you who may not be aware, I have severe social anxiety disorder with panic disorder thrown in (just to keep things interesting at parties and on lazy weekends with the family), and have had for several years, since the devastating loss of two of my children.  I have run the gamut of experiments in attempts to combat this, from self-imposed isolation (which sometimes wasn’t self-imposed at all and was actually agoraphobia rearing its ugly head) to throwing my face into other people’s — just to be social — until restraining orders were threatened.

The one thing I hear most often, however, is how this debilitating illness (because let’s not kid each other here, “mental illness” is not just a cute turn of phrase to placate the PC-heads, your brain is just as capable of being sick as your liver or your tonsils…) is somehow a fictional construct of my own invention, designed to garner pity and/or gifts from bleeding hearts.  Those who have seen me go through what I’ve gone through first-hand know better, and those who have similar experiences with mental illness, know better.  However, we still all go through the same daily battle, and then have to battle some more against those who are supposed to be our friends, our family, and our comrades-in-arms, in an effort to prove to them that we have what we say we have, and that we are who we say we are, and that nothing they predict/diagnose/assert will change that… unless their success rate includes rising three days after death.

I just had one of my worst panic attacks to date, so bad that I blacked out and my brain has completely redacted anything that happened during the attack (my husband tells me it was quite a bit, and it feels like I hit a bus with my face at Mach 4, so I’m inclined to believe him), in part because I ran out of my medication and cannot currently afford more… but that’s resolved as of tomorrow (at some point, I hope).   What struck me as I was reeling from the aftermath — which is somewhat akin to waking up after a 15-day-bender with your esophagus feeling like you’ve regurgitated nails and your head feeling like the drummer from Iron Maiden lost his kit and you volunteered as a dutiful fan, combined with every nerve on your skin short-circuiting to the point where your senses are overreacting to touch/smell/sound/sight/Daleks, and you can’t stop trembling so hard that people might think you have Lou Gherig’s Disease — is that it’s hardest for me to communicate my symptoms in a rational state of mind at any point, let alone when I’m in the middle of them and sounding like I may just try to eat someone’s baby.

In case you were wondering, this is not the type of thing that appeals to someone’s willingness to listen… Welcome to the inside of my head.

And, as I was laying in the bed that my husband apparently managed to hoist me up into during my unconsciousness, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just had a link to send people to so that they could see, from someone who lives it, what panic attacks are and are not?”  Because, seriously, sometimes trying to explain myself, to someone who doesn’t have the right to demand that I do right as I’m losing my shit, is enough to make me lose my shit. And I’ve talked to enough of you anxiety-fighters out there to know that this is true for you as well.  So here it is, your panic page: send people here who you feel may or may not understand.

If you have been sent to this page, here’s what you should know before we get started:  This page is only as offensive as you make it.  This is an honest explanation from someone who lives with this illness every day and fights it at any given opportunity. If your friend/relative/patient/passing acquaintance sent you here, then there’s a very likely chance that you are:

a.) confused
b.) misinformed
c.) have preconceived notions based on Hollywood’s repeated misrepresentation of what it is to deal with mental illness
d.) are a self-important fuckweasel, yet your friend/relative/patient/passing acquaintance still holds out hope for your successful rehabilitation

While any may apply to you, this page is not presuming to state which, in fact, does… that’s up to you to figure out and remedy.  This page is just the simple guide to help you do it.

Panic attacks are…

  • Traumatic; each one leaves us feeling a little less human.
  • Sudden (although, sometimes, a few of us can tell the signs in ourselves and warn people one is coming, but usually not with enough time to prevent it — if it’s even possible; when there is enough self-possession to maintain the status quo until meds/help can arrive, it requires all available focus and energy and the help of some real friends willing to do whatever is indicated might help… I call this phase “treading water”, because at some point I will tire and panic)
  • Overwhelming to the point of incoherence; imagine stepping barefoot in a puddle and then sticking a piece of tinfoil in a light socket whilst giving a recitation of the morning’s headlines. For starters.
  • Often distort reality until we can’t definitively tell between fact and fiction; our anxieties become manifest in all their imagined ugliness and we can’t break free of the terror. We are everything bad in the world that anyone has ever told us, because otherwise we’d be “healthy,” right? You’re really angry with us and could never love us because we’re like this, and no matter what EVERYTHING IS GODDAMNED COMING TO GET US.
  • See above, re: terror… Imagine being trapped inside the body of a flailing, screaming psychopath whose only desire is to rend the flesh from anything that stands between it and escape from the monsters. Now imagine the shame of feeling like everyone’s looking at you with pity (because you’re that sad soul who can’t control him/herself), confusion (what the fuck is wrong with you?), sadness (they don’t know how to help you, and that makes you feel guilty because now you’ve put your pain into someone else unintentionally, so you panic some more), anger (how dare you be so selfish as to think and act like everything’s about you? people go through shit every day, you’re not special…), and/or fear (if this can happen to you, it could happen to them, and the human instinct is to shy away from anything that might transmit — by the way, anxiety’s not actually contagious. just sayin’.)
  • Draining in every sense of the word; physically, emotionally, mentally, socially… seriously, why would we intentionally do this to ourselves? ACTORS at least get paid for pretending to be us…
  • Detrimental to our health; my blood pressure swings up and down like the Devil’s yo-yo during a panic attack. I get “tunnel vision” (the edges of my field of vision darken and blur until I can only see the barest blur of what’s in front of me), my head feels like it’s about to spin off my neck, my face and hands get numb (from the hyperventilation, which causes oxygen deprivation, which can cause blackouts), my heart races, my teeth chatter against each other so hard from my body locking up/trembling that I’ve actually cracked one of the new fillings out of my molars (along with the front of that tooth), and sometimes we lose our voice from the involuntary panting/screaming.

Panic attacks are NOT…

  • A convenient excuse to ditch a fight/argument/party/sex/taking out trash/putting kids to bed/date; try me. I’ve heard every one of these. Personally, when I want to get out of something, I just say no. I know others who fake a headache. But, putting one’s self through the physical and psychological anguish described above, simply to get out of talking about who insulted whose parents the most over dinner, seems a little extreme wouldn’t you say?
  • Something we can “get over” or “deal with on our own”; don’t you think we’ve tried? Obviously, this is the part where you demonstrate your understanding of the word “friend.”
  • A phase that can be magicked out of us with the right drug/therapist/voodoo witch doctor during a thunderstorm; thanks for asking, though.
  • Something to make us feel guilty about; believe it or not, we’re quite capable of handling that part on our own. Ta.
  • Something to ignore until they go away and then come back to hang out with us; you may not like country music, but Tracy Lawrence said it best: “You Find Out Who Your Friends Are” … If you don’t want us at our worst, you don’t deserve us at our best.
  • Something you can high-handedly analyze for us and have us listen to you with a straight face when we’re calm; you’re not inside our heads. You may have opinions, but until LSD baths truly become a telepathic antenna they will forever remain opinions and not authoritative declarations; do yourself the courtesy of not confusing the two. It just makes you look like an idiot. And may get you slapped.


If I think of anything else, I’ll edit this page accordingly.  If anyone else battling anxiety disorder has additions/suggestions for this page, I encourage you to leave your comment below or contact me privately via email.  All comments of a rude or derogatory nature will be changed or removed.  This page is for your education and support, from someone who experiences this every day of her life.  Please use this page any time someone asks about or doubts your struggle, because it’s real and no one has the right to make you feel otherwise (intentionally or no).


I support you.




Catapults are for people who are too damned lazy to fling themselves through the air using more creative methods.

September 8, 2011 7 comments

So, I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to write and I’ve been out of meds for my anxiety for over 24 hours.  I’ve had anxiety disorder since 2006 (possibly longer, but that’s the year that I started showcasing the crazy for public consumption).  I’ve gone through different meds and therapy options, within my limited income, and finally found a medication that works better than anything else I’ve tried.  Unfortunately, it’s very expensive, which often results in me going without and becoming a hermit until the meds can be bought.

Unmedicated anxiety disorder is like being shoved naked into the path of oncoming traffic: you’re not sure you’ll survive the day, but your dignity is now up for grabs.

Most of my coping mechanisms revolve around the important principles of distraction and self-delusion.  I’ve gotten fairly good at both.  Unfortunately, my distractions vary wildly, and frequently, depending on the amount of unmedicated stress that has just hit me in the face.  This would be why I have trouble blogging sometimes… you try to write when you’re head-underwater and have developed a level of anxious paranoia reserved for fugitives and politicians’ mistresses.

Tomorrow is one of my husband’s paydays, though, so we should be able to refill my prescription in the morning.  Today, I plan to do what I can to vent steam… I have come up with the following list of activities to (hopefully) provide catharsis and stave off panic attacks:

  1. Finish a knitting/crochet project or two. ~  I always feel better when I get that “Hah! See what I just did, bitches?” high.  You know what I’m talking about.
  2. Clean the house until I pass out from heat exhaustion.  ~  Usually reserved for times of utmost pissiness, housecleaning is something I do to give myself time to think, calm down, and silently plot the deaths of those who oppose me.  I can get pretty creative with a bottle of Clorox wipes and a toaster.  Do not fucking test me.
  3. Play World of Warcraft.  ~ I figure, after I teach Siobhan how to forage for her lunch and afternoon snack, and tie a hospital-grade adult diaper to her ass, that’ll buy me somewhere in the ballpark of six hours to pretend I’m a gun-shooting werewolf on a vendetta against anything that moves.  (Also, fake money is like crack for people who have no real money. My werewolf can sell a moldy pair of boots for two gold pieces.  I can’t sell a pair of earrings for ten bucks.)
  4. Finish unpacking until back gives out.  ~  I plan to turn this into a game, to keep it interesting.  I love my husband, but rearranging his face because all the unpacking has been left to me while he’s at work has become a favorite fantasy of mine the last two days.  I think I should unpack on the principle of counter-intuition:  socks in the junk drawer, junk in the pillowcase, deoderant in the vacuum, vacuum in the dresser, anti-depressants in the spice rack, and craft supplies in the underwear drawer.  It’ll be like a treasure hunt of awesome!
  5. Paint murals on the neighbors’ cars.  ~  I’ve given this one a lot of thought.  I’m fairly certain our next door neighbor’s kids would love a Tardis hiding in the Metreon Cascade on the windshield.  No one will ever see them coming.
  6. Teach Siobhan how to game with the best.  ~  This one could prove difficult, as the Wii remote makes me seem like I haven’t played Mario a day in my life.  I used to rock that shit every Sunday at Marie Calendar’s while my parents waited for a table.  Like hell I can’t goomba-stomp with the best!  However, tradition holds that whatever I think I’m good at, my daughter will be better.  She was playing Street Fighter 4 on her daddy’s arcade-style fight stick when she was a year old.  Ergo, training her early ensures that she’ll kick Justin Wong’s ass by the time she’s five.
  7. Write a book.  ~  On a slightly more serious note, I’m actually kicking around ideas for geeky pattern books in my head… I’ve got at least two knitting books, a nonfiction plot line, and a fiction plot line kicking around in my head.  Whether or not I can write on any of them remains to be seen.
  8. Create more stuff for my store. ~  If you haven’t been to my store yet, for shame.  It’s not got much in there yet, though, so the ritual floggings will be suspended.  The problem with this plan, though, is that it means digging through random unpacked crap in search for more random unpacked crap with which to make stuff.  I’ll reserve this for the moment before I kill someone in the face.
  9. Poke at fellow bloggers on Twitter for shits and giggles.  ~  It always makes me feel better when I can make someone spit-take on their monitor, or just run screaming into the night from the horrifying mental imagery.  Honestly, I consider either a win.  (Spit-taking is considerably better for site traffic, however, so we’re aiming for that…)
  10. Teach Siobhan to yodel.  ~  Dignity is overrated.  I figure if I teach her an interesting skill, she’ll make a killing as a street performer.  Of course, it would have been easier if I’d had twins, so I didn’t have to contend with child performer labor laws… Maybe I should teach her pickpocketing instead…
  11. Exercise. ~ There’s a reason this is at the bottom of the list.  It’s too fucking hot to do it.  However, the Wii is set up, and I haven’t touched Wii Fit in months… if it gets cooler, maybe…


What do you think?  Any other ideas for distracting one’s self from anxiety issues?

I blame my husband.

June 14, 2011 6 comments

My husband sent me this on Facebook this morning.

I don’t know why it speaks so clearly to my inner “Bitch I’m going to slap the yellow off your teeth” self today, but there you have it.

…And I can’t stop watching it…

Mommy loves you, shithead…

June 10, 2011 9 comments

We’ve reached that stage in my two-year-old’s development where she is excited to go to the “potty” but no idea what to do once she gets there.  Despite encouragement from me, and reinforcement of the idea that she needs to communicate and listen more frequently in other areas of our mother-daughter relationship, she still waits until her diaper has been put back on before she does a little dance in front of me, then squats dramatically at my feet to relieve herself.  This is usually accompanied by impromptu vocal work on her part; singing for #1, yelling toddler obscenities at the carpet if #2.

Today, Siobhan has eliminated the Pampers middle-man.

This morning, I was rudely awakened by stupid credit card collectors who called at 8:01.  Thanks fuckers.  That whole minute you let me sleep in will be cherished and sung of for years to come.  Remember in my last post, when I mentioned being up before my husband several mornings in a row, resulting in a very confused British man?  Yeah, I’m making up for that nonsense now.

Insomnia, I thought we’d never see each other again… Asshole.

So, I had difficulty waking up all the way after I finally got credit card collector-person off the phone, and as a result my husband left our daughter in “baby jail” (a set of interlocking plastic barred partitions, up to 8 of them) in front of Nick, Jr. while I tried to finish getting up.  Bear in mind, our kid — while tall for her age — is only 36″ and these gates are roughly 2-2.5 feet tall.  By the time I’d gotten out there (five minutes after he’d left to meet his carpool, no longer), this is what I saw:  She was perched in the highchair to the side of her “baby jail”, grinning at me and sing-songing a “Hi, Mommy!”, sitting on her haunches while she balanced on the balls of her feet, one foot on each plastic track (where the tray slides on)… pissing in her fucking seat until it trickled through the soaked cloth to drip into the carpet underneath.

Take a minute to make sure you read that correctly before we continue.

Cue the frantic “find-a-goddamned-towel-and-stick-it-under-the-pee-faucet-before-holding-giggling-hellspawn-at-the-end-of-outstretched-arms-during-the-mad-dash-to-stick-her-under-a-running-faucet” dance number, accompanied by the plumber knocking at my door and leaving because I couldn’t get back to him in time.  (Luckily, he called and I was able to get him to come back… different story.)

Rather than kill my child, I got her cleaned up, let the towel stay where it was, and figured I’d just deal with the cleanup later.  I cleaned up the discarded diaper and spilled snacks and sat and cuddled her in front of cartoons until it was time for her nap.

Lately, my daughter doesn’t nap.  She plays for two hours in her room until I feel like such a horrible 6-o’clock-news-type-parent who locks her child in a closet with an Easy Bake Oven and half a Walgreen’s pharmacy, telling her not to come out until she’s got enough meth cooked up to pay for her preschool enrollment fees, that I just let her out.  This traditionally results in Siobhan being too tired to eat anything I serve her, which I conveniently forget while I’m yelling at her in frustration because I’m worried social services is going to accuse me of starving my child, culminating in her passing out face-first in the macaroni and cheese and me having several shots of rum before putting her to bed.

So, precisely two hours after I’d put her down, I’m thinking I should go check on her and see if she’s hungry.  I notice the odor of poopy diaper, wafting up from under her door, and roll my eyes because I figure I’m going to have to change a stinky one before I get to make us a snack. It’s always an adventure when I’m proved wrong in something.

I open her bedroom door, fighting my way past the toys she’s shoved up against the back of her door, to see her running at me.  My daughter is butt naked, covered in her own filth, singing the theme song to “Go, Diego, Go!”, while wearing her shitty diaper on her head.

I can’t make this up.

See above, re: mad-fucking-dash-for-cleanliness.  Call me when you’ve caught up.

I put her back down for her nap, with a sippy cup, because — at this point? — fuck food.  I’ll feed her when I’m sure I won’t puke on her.  We don’t have that sort of mother-daughter relationship.  Don’t judge me.

I love my child, but I honestly think sometimes that she’d be more at home in a family of monkeys.

Temporary setback…

April 21, 2011 1 comment

I know I was all POSTPOSTPOSTPOST…and then there was a week-long (or longer) lull in activity here… I’ve had in-laws and birthdays and schoolwork (’tis finals week for me) and marital stuff…

Plus, I’ve got depression and anxiety issues that have reached the forefront of my brain.

Trying to re-focus my brain, but it’s arguing with me. And since my anxiety encompasses just about any social activity, usually, to the point of near-agoraphobia, yeah… I’ll just be here. Sitting at my desk. Reading fanfiction.

Why fanfiction?

Because it provides the illusion of control over characters that are not my own, so when they do things that are long-hallowed customs in the land of Fucktardia, I can smack them around and make them do naughty things for my own amusement.

…It’s the little things that give you small boosts in your self-esteem levels…

Dance, fuckers, dance.

Categories: Mental Status Updates
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