I have no idea why I want to write this post but something is telling me I should write this today. I am partially inspired because of today's SITS Spotlight blogger and partially because a tweet I wrote over the weekend when I was feeling overwhelmed and yes, a little sad. I was also still a little ticked about being told that I have anger issues when I don't - I am tired, frustrated, probably having a panic attack but not - angry.
Angry implies that I am unhappy with my life. I am not. I love my life. I love some parts more then others and I know that the other parts will work themselves out but that does not mean I am angry. Frustrated, absolutely, angry - no. It is okay to be mad sometimes. It is okay to show frustration. The irony is not lost on me that I sound angry, writing about not being angry.
Regardless, here is my soul revealing confession.
I am a basket case. Well, the offical diagnosis is: Panic disorder with agoraphobia. To say that I am a text book case would not be a reach. I was diagnosed in 2001 but was told that I had probably been self medicating with alcohol for awhile and just did not know that I was doing it. I worked in bars and restaurants - no one would have known, myself included, that there was something amiss because we were all drunk. I was 27. I took Zoloft. I learned to manage it and have been off meds since 2007.
I remember the week I finally got help.
I was working at a restaurant, waiting tables and I could not stop crying. Something was wrong and I had this pit in my stomach that I was not. going. to. go. on. anymore. I was not suicidal but the thoughts were there, circling in the brain, whispering. I was sure that there was something wrong and I was missing it. I felt like I could not breath. I thought that my heart was going to pound through my chest.
My bosses gave me the weekend off, you just need rest. My husband (who was not my husband then, just a "friend") took me to breakfast and then the movies for the day. I remember the look that he had on his face. It was a mixture of concern and the need to flee. I finally went to my Mom and she made me call North Coast Health Ministry.
I waited tables. Health insurance was a luxury that I could not afford - I tried. All I could get was insurance for emergency situations and apparently suicidal thoughts was not an emergency.
Any way, thanks to the amazing staff and the doctor at NCHM- I got help. They also got me linked with free medication. Yay!
I told you this was a downer post.
Over the years, I have been on and off medication. Thankfully mostly off. I have fought with an insurance company that insisted I take one medication because it was cheaper even though, it turned out, it was contraindicated for panic disorder so it made me suicidal... for real. I found out through my doctor that they would not pay for the right meds unless I complained about being suicidal, um... really?
I also know, now, when to ask for help and when to go the doctor. I know when to stand up to a doctor who thinks I am "med seeking" as apposed to actually needing meds and I know that I am grateful for all the support that I have gotten over the years... not everyone is that lucky.
I occasionally, get panic attacks. You would never know it. I have learned to work through them using several techniques (sugar, deep breathing) and occasionally Valium or Ativan depending on my doctor at the time. I prefer the later. I prefer not taking anything at all but that is not always realistic. I also love Zoloft. I am not ashamed to admit that because that drug saved me. To bad not everyone has access to it, when they need it but, eh - that's health care in America.
I did have a small episode with postpartum depression when my son was born and I had panic attacks when ever baby girl latched on for months but I have great doctors to go to and support within my family.
I am very lucky.
I was having a panic attack this weekend.
I was mad for no reason.
I was sad.
I was overwhelmed.
I was not suicidal.
I do not have anger issues.
I tweeted and some wonderful twitter pals asked if I was okay.
It was a moment.
Sometimes it only takes a nice word to make someone feel better.
I needed a pick me up.
I have a great support system. If you don't, get one. You can even email me. There is hope.