Guess Who’s Back

Wow, it’s been two months since I’ve written. I have thought about it many times but usually by then I’m in bed and not about to move. I wish there was a way to just mind meld my thoughts onto a blog. It would be so much easier. First world problems I guess. So here we go, this might be a long one.

Let’s start where we left off. I had just gotten my N. Since then, I have managed to not wreck the car. I have had a couple of close calls but luckily I have a quick reflexes lol. I’ve been driving all over the place. That of course also means I spend a lot more money because I have access to more stores! The car has improved my quality of life so much, I don’t know how I went so long without it. I still can’t believe I can drive. It’s something I never thought I would achieve because of anxiety. I still get waves of fear while driving but am confident enough in my abilities to stay safe. For now at least!

I also went to the Alice Cooper concert with mom recently. That was an amazing show. I have never seen such theatrics in a concert, mind you I haven’t been to many. There was a guillotine, a giant Frankenstein, sparks and smoke and all sorts of stuff. We had aisle seats which was nice because we weren’t crushed like at the TOP concert. I had two guys sitting next to me that were dressed fully in latex and wigs and brought their own flasks of rum. I will tell you one thing, I won’t be forgetting the smell of sweaty latex and damp wigs mixed with rum any time soon. Still, that was one hell of a show and their female guitar player was INSANE.

20161019_215423-1
The closing shot from Alice Cooper

Since I have the car now, I have seen a psychiatrist at the TriCities Mental Health Team. I was to scared to access that before because it would have been quite the bus ride. I got a referral from my GP and went over there. She stopped my respiradone because frankly no one knows why I was on it in the first place. Apparently someone at some point thought I was psychotic. I’m happy report that I’m not. Since being off that, sleeping has been more difficult. I think it was acting as a bit of a sedative at night for me making it easier to fall asleep. I have more energy now as well. Not as lethargic, again I think because of the lack of sedative in my system. It feels good to know I’m not on that medication anymore.

The psych also recommended that I start Yoga. I did Yoga in New West through the mental health group there and found it beneficial but it was highly discounted at $2 a class. When I left New West I was no longer eligible for that so I stopped. I did some research and tried to find a Yoga studio that wasn’t too far away, not overly expensive and seemed non-intimidating. Yoga can be very judgmental if you are in the wrong studio. Luckily, I found a great studio that is no pressure, great people, the instructors are a blast and it is just regular people. No judgment and no professional yogis that can twist themselves in six different ways at once. I had been going twice a week, once to Hatha and once to Chillout which is soft yoga by candlelight (fake candles). The Hatha was a bit too intense for me so lately I have only been going to the chillout. Now that I am earning more at work, I am able to afford it.

Before I started Yoga, I was quite lonely. I had no idea how to meet people or make friends. I am doing so well and frankly was a bit depressed that I was doing so well, had my license, was working and all that and yet still had no friends. No one was noticing me. No one was there to see how well I was doing and how I was starting to function as a “normal” human being. I realize that this can make it seem like I am doing better for someone else and that I wanted to do this for attention from someone else. Maybe that is partly true. I guess I thought that if I did all this and became “socially acceptable” that people would want to be around me. People would see me as successful and think I was worth being around. Maybe if I looked like I had my shit together (even if it was only on the outside), people would want to hang out with me, see me as a fun person and stop turning me away. The fact that I had all of this together and yet was still so alone, was devastating to me.

Yoga gave me a way to meet other people in a non-threatening environment. The first class I went to, a girl instantly introduced herself to me. She was very welcoming. I kept going and a few classes later met another girl. She was super nice too. So that made two people that I might be able to be friends with. Then the last class another girl came in and we got along too. This may sound very juvenile and maybe even a bit pathetic but I am hoping these can turn into friendships and I can stop taking my mom with me everywhere. I sound like I am desperate for someone to like me and want to spend time with me and I think that’s true. Humans need human contact and locking yourself away for years can be damaging psychologically. I’m glad that I took the leap and I’m trying to make connections again.

15338744_1347610221937288_2897160874390831733_n
Candlelight Yoga, usually there are more people but the weather was shit (and still is).

Let’s see, what else has happened….I got my hair dyed the other night. I decided I wanted to go a turquoise color next. It took 5 hours to strip the current color, bleach and dye and Olaplex my hair. The girl that did it took her sweet time but I don’t mind because it came out well. I tried to book with my usual hairdresser but couldn’t because she was booked up past Christmas. I guess I waited too long. Anyway, I’m pretty happy with it. Still getting used to it though. I have had pink hair for so long that now that it’s darker again, it can be weird to look in the mirror in the morning not to mention my pillowcase is now green.

15285079_1351441124887531_8868747343316536795_n.jpg
It looks different in every light

One of the curses of anxiety is that when things are going so well, you are waiting for it to all fall apart. History has shown me that when I get up, it will all inevitably at some point come crashing down again. Sometimes farther than I was to begin with. It is always lurking in the back of my mind and I know it’s there. It’s waiting for me to show the slightest sign of weakness and it will pounce. I am waiting for the morning that I wake up and am scared to the leave my room again. Not long ago I was unable to go as far as the mailbox. I try to stay positive but history tells me it’s coming. Hopefully with the music of Twenty One Pilots (that gave me the strength to crawl out of my hole to begin with) I will make it through this time. I might stumble but hopefully I will catch myself and won’t face plant like I have before. Even if I do, I know Twenty One Pilots will be there to pick me up again.

  |-/ Together We Go |-/

When Your Body Gives Up

I don’t know where to start with this one. Am I the only one that feels like their body is working against them? My mind wants to exercise like they do on TV, I want to jog and hike and do all the things that “happy” people do. I used to do those things (well I never ran because, seriously…). I used to climb mountains. I was in an outdoor school that required non-stop hiking and camping in the woods for a week a month. I had no issues physically then. I could do pretty much anything you asked me to.

Now it’s a different story. I can barely walk 45 minutes without every cell in my body wanting to collapse. It isn’t the regular out of shape feeling. At least I don’t think it is. This feels like death. Every step feels like I’m dragging a 1300 pound weight behind me. I get dizzy and lightheaded. My legs want to give out from under me and my ankles cramp up. Every step feels like it will be my last but I keep pushing. I push through the dizziness, even when everything starts to go blurry and I feel like I’m about to die, I keep pushing. Maybe I push too hard, maybe I don’t push hard enough. I used to do so many things and I don’t understand why my body has decided to give up on me. What do I have left if I don’t have a body that is supporting me? I have no access to a car, so I have to walk everywhere. My brain already limits me so much in what I can do, what do I have left if I can’t walk to the stores and parks that I can actually go to without freaking out?

I have kind of come to terms with the fact that my brain is fucked up and it probably will be for the rest of my life but I am having a harder time accepting the fact that I am 30 years old and my body feels 90. I keep pushing, waiting for it to get easier but it doesn’t. It just gets harder. I am so done with this.

I have gone through many tests, blood tests every three months and even a CT scan. All they can find is that I’m anemic and I have inflammation in my body. My doctor doesn’t seem to think it’s worth trying to track down where the inflammation is coming from. She told me to take iron for the anemia but didn’t tell me a dosage. She just said take one a day. I used to take iron daily but I have a hard time swallowing pills so I stopped. I did have energy when I took iron, almost too much. My body would have energy and want to go to do all sorts of stuff but my mind couldn’t back it up. The anxiety stopped me from doing things my body wanted to do. Now my body is stopping me from doing things my mind wants to do. I see my doctor every three months and sometimes every week. I keep going back because I feel like I’m not getting an answer. I keep telling people that I am not okay and no one seems to be listening. Maybe I don’t know how to say it right to make doctors realize that something is going on. I feel like I keep getting brushed off. I hate going back so often because I don’t want to bug them and I feel like I’m being needy.

I just want to feel healthy again.

The Weight Issue

When I was in my early 20s, I weighed 155 pounds. I fit into everything I wanted to fit into and had no body image issues. Now I’m 30 and I’m 216. What happened?  Well, I have a few things I like to blame it on. Before we go any further, I should mention I’m 5’11.

The main culprit in my mind is the meds I’m on. Zoloft in particular. Because of my severe anxiety I need it to function. When I was 155 I was on paxil but I was also barely eating because the anxiety was so out of control. I would eat very rarely and mostly drank juice to keep me alive. Unhealthy I know, but at least I looked good. I have used Dr Google and according to him it can cause weight gain but it can also cause weight loss. Everything gives me a different answer. Some say it alters the way your body handles carbs and can make you crave them like crazy. Others say it can cause appetite loss and weight loss. After talking with my doctor today, she said it can cause weight gain. I guess I believe the person that went to med school right? One of the problems is that I can’t even really remember when I started the Zoloft so it’s hard to pin down the start of the problem.

Also between 155 me and 216 me, lies a terrible relationship.  One that stressed me out so much I started eating three chocolate bars a night. Living across from a 24 hour convenience store didn’t help. Don’t even get me started on the 24 hour coffee shop that made frapps to die for. I would go there at 1 am to get a decaf frapp. I know what you’re thinking, “well fuck Shannon, there’s your problem”! You may be right, but after that behavior I only gained about 10 or so pounds. After that relationship we left the area and I was no longer across the street from a 24 hour store and a 24 hour coffee shop.  That didn’t stop the weight gain though. When I moved on from that relationship, I was what I thought was “fat”. My skin tight clothes started to show things that weren’t there before. My stomach grew and my thigh circumference doubled. I had no idea what I was in for.

2 - Copy
What I thought “fat” looked like

Now in the new place, the eating continued. There was a store but it was down the street. That didn’t stop me from going to get chips, chocolate, pop, etc. I ate all the time. All night. I couldn’t stay out of the kitchen. I was bored, depressed, anxious and eating was all I had.  As mentioned above, I like to think that Zoloft spurred the appetite increase but I am also trying to avoid excuses. But what if it’s the truth? SSRIs can cause weight gain, that’s a real thing. Right? Right?!

2 - Copy
216 pound Shannon

Fast forward to now. The 216 pound version of Shannon. Clothes don’t fit right even when they are in my size.  I feel heavy and sluggish. I have low iron which doesn’t help. I have tried counting calories. I even signed up for Weight Watchers. All to no avail. The weight will not come off. Maybe I’m not being strict enough with myself, maybe I am still finding excuses. I will be honest, I’m scared of over correcting. I don’t want to become so fixated on food and calories that it turns into anorexia or something worse. I feel like I keep trying and I lose maybe two pounds and then it comes back.

I see a lot out there now about body positivity. Feeling good in your own skin and being proud of every roll and every chin. There are more and more body positive role models out there that are supposed to make girls like me feel better. They don’t. I feel like I am doing something bad by being this weight. It makes everything harder. And if it is my Zoloft, does that mean I have to choose between mental health and physical health? Would I rather be a nervous, depressed wreck that is skinny or a kind of calm, kind of happy fat girl. I don’t know why I let it get to me so much, but it does. Until next time.