Conquering a Scary Goal

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to conquer the  ropes course at the Mall of America.  And conquer it I did.

It was extremely difficult to get photographic proof, since they make you lock up your belongings before you can get the harness, and (if you want to take the slide at least) they make you take off your harness before you can get your belongings.  So this is what I have to settle for:

Rest assured, this photo was taken (by a helpful stranger) inside the compound for the The Flying Dutchman Ropes Course.  This was also taken after the whole thing was finished, because I’m pretty sure if it had been taken before hand, I wouldn’t have been nearly as smiley.

I was drugged–make no mistake about that–but I was still nervous.  Much like my adventure to the 4th floor, I was still emotionally nervous, but the physical symptoms were for the most part gone.  There was still a mind over matter fight, but the fight was a lot more evenly matched.

I’m pretty sure the first obstacle I had to cross I asked my buddy 1.0 “What the hell was I thinking?”.  If you’re wondering why I was asking myself that, here is the official video for the attraction.

Some of the obstacles I really had no trouble with.  And the more I did, the fewer I had trouble with.  By the time we made it to the 4th level, the ones I skipped on the 1st level didn’t seem so intimidating.  We went over the course twice, and I made a point to hit most of the obstacles I’d skipped.

I started the adventure by telling 1.0 I’d go across something after I watched her do it.  But pretty quickly in I decided to screw that and make myself take the open paths.  I’m really glad that I did.  This will go down as one of the things I’m really glad I made myself do.

To everyone that’s said “Let’s do this together!” I assure you, I will do this again.  If you want to go, name the time and I’ll be there (unless I’m, you know, at work, or something equally pressing).  I have one more major obstacle I need to conquer, so the Flying Dutchman hasn’t seen the last of me.

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Figuring out my Triggers

I had an interesting occurrence at work today.  It kind of made me put into very specific words some issues I’ve noticed over the years but wasn’t able to quantify.

I was out of the office yesterday, Valentine’s Day, and the team had decorated our pod w balloons. Evidently at the end of the day they decided to put all the balloons on my desk.  Funny.

And suddenly it reminded me of a comment I heard once, “You get unnecessarily upset when things don’t go your way.”  Which, frankly, is not true.  Things don’t go my way all the time, and usually they roll right off me.  But things that get in the way of, say, clocking in to work on time, or making it to a play on time, or finish a project on time, those upset me.  More specifically, they trigger my anxiety.

So instead of forging ahead in my attempt to ween myself off drugs at work, I found myself panicking and causing my coworkers to all say “It wasn’t my idea!” and “I’m sorry, it was just a joke!”  I don’t really want to be the girl with no sense of humor, but the anxiety makes me… different.  It’s not that I can’t see the humor in it, I just didn’t want it to be the reason I potentially lost attendance points to be because I was trying to get to my equipment to log in.  Because I was visibly upset, people helped me out, and I was in in plenty of time, but it just set a tone.

I still tried to muddle through, but the first couple customers were crabby and demanding.  So now I’m medicated.  And trying to be compassionate toward myself.  I’ll put a note on my to do list to find compassion, I really will.

Better Living Through Blah Blah Blah

It’s no secret I am fighting really hard not to have to drug myself to get through life.  I have the utmost respect for the people that know they need it and for whom it helps–my feelings are completely, 100% personal.  And maybe I could stand to take a little advice from my shrink and “reframe” the way I think about them (she was trying to speak to me as an artist, it was really quite adorable and frankly a little genius).  That said, I find pharmaceuticals to induce existentialism in myself.  Namely, it feels that there isn’t a whole lot of point to life if I have to drug myself to get through it.  I know it’s not the healthiest attitude, but it’s the one I currently have, and I’m just being honest about my feelings.  Maybe one day I’ll try a different frame around it.

However, I do fully admit there are times when medications are needed.  I take antibiotics (grudgingly, if I absolutely have to, and then I also take additional meds for the unintended consequences), I take pain killers and anti-inflammatories.  But I’d also be pretty upset if I had to take them all the time.  Like, really upset.

I’ve recently also started taking anti-anxiety meds.  Benzos.  Because I didn’t want to have to take something every day.  At first I was pretty “meh” about them.  Not really understanding if they helped at all.  After I had a panic attack at work, I started taking one every day, as a preventative, but I’m really trying to get away from them.  Again, I don’t want to have to take them every day.  If I have to take them everyday, then that says something pathetic about my job.  But even still, I wasn’t sure if they were working.  Maybe I’m just starting to feel more confident because I’m getting more experienced?  Who knows.

So I tried something I knew would absolutely tell me, without a doubt, they were working.

I took one, and promptly made my way to the Mall of America to go for a stroll.  First floor, easy peasy (always is).  Second floor, smooth sailing (usually is, unless I go close to a rail).  Third floor, hey, are we still on the second floor? (Usually at this point I have to start walking faster to get back to the second floor as soon as possible).  Fourth floor… I know I should be nervous, but there are literally no physical reactions.  None.

A little history… I could probably count the number of times I’ve been on the fourth floor, and each of those times my heart practically beat out of my chest, and I had to fight the urge to crawl flat on the floor.

But not today.  Today the fourth floor was my bitch.  Take that, fourth floor!

Next stop? Ropes course!  Who’s with me?

The Mack Daddy of All Challenges

If you are expecting me to always be fun, I’d probably just move along right now.  I anticipate this post being on the heavy side.  I have no reason to be secretive.  This post isn’t an attempt to get attention, but I’m actually putting it out there because I’m sure there are many, many people in the same boat as me.

I have done some serious soul searching in the last few days.  No, I take that back.  I am always introspective–omphalosceptic, if you will.  But I got a kick in the pants that has pushed me into overdrive.  I have always, always been far to scared of… everything.  And suddenly the alternative to doing all the things I’m scared of is scarier than actually doing them.  So I’m giving myself the mac daddy of all challenges.

I really wanted to do a monthly challenge at least until August–one year after I started them.  I still might, but I have come to realize that the monthly challenges were treating my symptoms and not my actual disease.  I’m not actually speaking metaphorically here.  I have been suffering from depression since 1995, nearly 2/3 of my life.  I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember (since at least 5 years old).  For 17+ years I have stubbornly fought therapy and even more stubbornly fought medication.  And I’ve finally succumbed to the fact that I am really not as functioning as I’ve lead myself to believe.

I have my first appointment for June 8 where I assume I will be assessed and hopefully I can get started sooner than later on a road to managing my depression and anxiety.  My goal is to pair medication with therapy, because I know there are certain behavioral aspects that therapy will help with.  The medication, I hope, will help me feel stronger and less scared/anxious while I work through them.

I have also just sent my resume off to an employment agency–directly to a representative who comes highly recommended–so that I can push myself into a job that pays a living wage.  I’m hoping with these two giant leaps that I can finally become a fully-functioning adult that I can actually be proud of.  I know I’m a good person, but I also know that with the right help I can be an amazing person, and I’m kind of looking forward to meeting her.

I hope to be able to post incredible results here over the second half of this year.  I’ve personally always had a good feeling about 2012, and now I have a great feeling about 2012.  I know it’s going to be a battle.  I know I’m going to get down about it and might feel discouraged.  But I literally have no choice anymore but to plow forward.  There is no turning back, because if I don’t push past this, then there simply is no point in life.*

*Don’t worry, I’m not suicidal, and I would never kill myself.  But really, the way I’ve been living is no way to live at all, and no one should suffer through it.  If you are depressed, please don’t be a hero.  Find help before you get to where I am.

I’ve gone and done it again…

Photo 10

Entitled: Self Portrait for the Occasion

I have no clue how I ever manage to make friends.  Or work in retail.  Or function at all.  Because I am terrified of people.  I will sometimes find any excuse I can find not to be with people, even some of my very best friends.  This is pretty much how all my friendships that have ended ended.  Sometimes I’m strong, and I push myself, and I will be honest that that has led to many amazing things (Hi, Wench Posse).  But a lot of times, I am made of suck.

Like tonight.

The Hippy went out to smoke, because he’s gross like that.  I doubt I had even really noticed that he was gone (it happens so frequently…) when I received a text that he was across the alley.  He’s developed a friendship with the guy over there, which is awesome, because it’s nice to have allies…  A few minutes later, he sent another message that I should go over.  Excuse time.  “I just put in a movie.”  Which was, incidentally, true.  I’d just put in The Emperor’s New Groove because recent llama talk got me jonesin’.  But really, it’s a DVD.  I can watch it any time.  I just didn’t feel comfortable going over there.

Just a few minutes ago…  About 2.5 hours from the first time he told me to come out, he came in and told me to come out again.  Again I protested, this time telling him the truth.  He kept saying that the guy was really nice (I don’t doubt that, I’ve met him briefly, and The Hippy has always had good things to say about him).  And I kept saying that I feel really stupid because I never talk and that weirds people out.  It’s not easy to explain to people why I don’t talk.  It’s easier just to say that I’m a fabric ninja.  (As far as I know, there is no real “reason” why I don’t talk.  Mostly I never developed the small talk skill, but fabric ninja is cooler sounding than “I don’t know.”)

So now, I’m sitting in my living room, watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, feeling like an idiot.  I don’t really believe in medication… Something about ignoring underlying problems and just covering things up while poisoning the body….  (Remember, despite his nickname, I’m the hippie around here…)  However, I could go for some anxiety meds about now.