Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I never want to sleep again.

Okay, that’s a lie. How about I never want to sleep for 36 hours straight again.

What’s that, you say? Thirty-six hours? Oh, yes. I went to bed Monday night around 9:30pm and save a brief half an hour I woke up yesterday afternoon to eat a peanut butter sandwich, I slept until 8:30 this morning. That’s a lotta z’s.

Why so sleepy? I will tell you: medication! Hooray!

Last week wasn’t a good week for ol’ Erin and I got put on medication. I was starting to feel pretty a-okay Friday, until Dad had an incident which prompted me to go to Deshler to care for him until Saturday afternoon. Then the fun started all over again with another anxiety attack Monday. I went back to see the lovely physician assistant, who I’m sure by now is tired of my needy ass, and she gave me a new prescription to add to my regiment. It’s called hydroxizine and is a seemingly innocuous antihistamine but is also used for anxiety. I took one of these puppies Monday night and fast-forward 36 hours later, I am awake. Sweet fancy Moses.

I called her this morning and was all, “dude.” She was all, “dude. Let’s fix this shit.” And I was all, “dude. Yes.” So, now I am hopefully adjusted to function properly again.

I hope. I’d love to feel normal again. That’d be great. Right now, the sight of the bed makes me nauseous and I never want to sleep again as I said, but damn. Can you blame me? Fucking a.

As I type this, I do feel better, which makes me cautiously optimistic. I took what was probably the 8th best shower in my life so far, and I have a load of laundry going. Mundane tasks have never felt so wonderful to do.

I am grateful for this feeling. It’s been a while since I have felt like a human being.

I know I’ll continue to have good and bad days dealing with Dad, and that’s to be expected. I mean, how does one handle the impending death of a parent without breaking down a time or a dozen? I wish there was a guide book or something, or at least something that tells me what I’ve been going through the last week and a half is totally normal, and you’re just fine, woman…but there isn’t. We all deal with this kind of crap differently. My method seems to be losing my goddamn mind. Cool.

It’ll be okay. I’ll be okay. That seems to be my new mantra these days, and I think I’m finally starting to believe that.

Or at least until my next meltdown, which I hope isn’t for a while.

Before I go, allow me to drop a public service announcement on your butts: for the love of all things, if you have any sort of depression or anxiety or lucky enough to have both, keep going even on the days you think you can’t. You can. It’s tough as fuck, but you/I can do it. Okay? Okay.

Goddamn John Green for ruining that. I can’t say it without being all “The Fault in Our Stars” now. Thanks a lot, Green. It’s like Smashmouth forever sullying “hey now!” without someone immediately saying, “you’re an all-star!” back at you. AND they ruined a perfectly good Monkees song, to boot. Fuckfaces.

Alright, I’m finished here. Here’s to better days. Much love.

Anxiety and You!

General disclaimer:  Chantix™ is the devil and if you have a history of depression, how about you not take this shit because it will fuck you and leave you right afterwards with a “hey, call me sometime,” but won’t actually mean it.

Last week was not a good week. I had a mental breakdown, with Chantix as the catalyst. I stopped taking it six days ago, and while feeling more normal to an extent, some of it still lingers on and had myself a lovely panic attack again this morning. Hyperventilating, shaking, my heart pounding out of my chest, the whole nine yards. What fun!

I was placed on an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication, but I think the Chantix is still the alpha drug and making these new ones less effective than they should be. And I’ve played this game with SSRIs/benzodiazepines before and finding a perfect mix can be laborious and frustrating to those of us who’d love to be able to walk out the door to get ready for work and face their day without feeling like death is tiptoeing behind you, whispering his icy breath into your ear, “just give up.”

Chantix is the lone culprit here; I also know the stress of dealing with a terminally ill parent is also putting its grubby mitts into the pot. My dad’s pain got out of control this past Friday and I spent part of the weekend with him again. We started him on hospice care finally, much to his dismay. He wasn’t overly thrilled with me, my brother, sister-in-law, and his cousin ambushing him to start utilizing their services, but he can be mad all he wants. A nurse visited him this morning and already made adjustments to his current regiment, and I must confess that’s already a load off these shoulders. Dad  hates taking pain medication and would falter off schedule, which duh–caused his pain to ramp up. Hopefully now, this will help him… And us.

I was also smart enough to understand I need help, myself. Most workplaces offer an Employee Assistance program and I utilized their services already, and am not too proud to admit I need therapy to help me cope with what’s going on. For the last year, I’ve “held it together” as well as I could, but it’s starting to creep up on me and my mental state. The therapist I saw said something to me that I hadn’t realized: I’m already starting my grieving process with Dad. Plus, it’s hard being the only child readily available to him. I’m not blaming my brother and sister-in-law for anything for being in Idaho, but I kind of am (love you both, I swear). I do wish they were closer to help with Dad, to come down on weekends and sit with him, but they do their very best by calling him frequently, so I’m grateful for that. Every little bit helps.

My new job has been beyond terrific in understanding what’s going on, but they hired me for a reason–to do my damn job. I spoke with my boss this morning and while compassionate about my situation, they need me to work and I need to work. I’m going to see the awesome physician assistant this afternoon and hope she can help adjust some medication so I can get back to work. Sleeping 3/4 of the day and hiding in my basement bedroom really isn’t conducive to being a productive member of society.

I’ll be fine…eventually. Right now is iffy, but Dad keeps telling me I’m a strong bitch (I added the “bitch” part; it helps me feel more bad-ass) and can do this. And I can. I just also realize I need more help in maintaining my bad-ass-ery.

And there you have it. I’m struggling, but it’ll be okay soon.

Thank you for letting me sound off about this. Thank you for understanding depression is a cunt and I hate it. And to anyone I’m close to who is also suffering, please help yourselves, too. There is no shame in it. I’ll stand right beside you and we can do this thing together. Strength in numbers, right? Right.

Okay then.


Chantix™? More Like “Can’t Take This Shix.”

I started writing this on Tuesday:

“Fuck this shit. Fuck it hard in its Chantix asshole.

I can’t take it anymore. My sanity at the moment depends on it. I’ve spent the last two days crying. Now, whether that’s the drug messing with my already delicate brain, or just my life at the moment, or both, but either way, I can’t.

The thoughts of “it’d all be better if I wasn’t here” crept up and that’s my cue to stop taking it. I’ve played this game before and luckily, I didn’t win. And luckily, I know better now than to let that nagging voice get a hold of me like before.

I’m pissed off. I wanted this shit to work for me and to help me quit smoking once and for all, and to have those who silently look down on me for smoking to finally gain some respect for me for kicking the habit, but guess I’ll continue to disappoint for a while longer. I’m angry I smoke, I’m angry I can’t find the willpower to quit yet. I’m just angry in general.

I’m sorry for letting myself down. I’m sorry for letting everyone else down. It’s something I want to quit, it’s something that has a deeper hold on me than I realized.”

Unsettling, no? I have been at home since Monday, slowing being made to feel like I was losing my mind. Nonstop crying, barely getting any sleep, my balance was starting to get fucked up, and I couldn’t function properly.

I haven’t been on it since yesterday (Wednesday), and while I feel my proverbial grip returning, I still have my moments. I have no idea how long it takes to flush out of my system, but I  hope it’s soon. This bed is great and all, and I’m reading, but I have to return to some normalcy soon. A goddamn week of erratic behavior. I guess this shit has a black box warning on it for a reason, huh?

Scratch Attempt #6 off the books. I’ll give it the ol’ college try again, I guess. I’ll also try to not let it get me down. I was so excited to try this out and finally be able to be the asshole ex-smoker who got to judge current nic stickers, but whatever. My time will come.

It might be when I’m dead from cancer, but at least I won’t be smoking.

I know that was a tasteless joke, but I’ve been an emotional tsunami for 4 fucking days. I earned it.

Thanks for trying to go on this ride with me. I’ll pack up and head out again soon.


Chantix™ Day Seven, or How I Stayed In Bed Today

Day seven of varenicline.

Here are the pros of this drug:
I can tell it’s reducing my urge to smoke. I have a thought to go outside and have one, but then immediately say, “nah, I’m okay.” That’s good.

Here are the cons of this drug:
Remember almost two years ago when after my hysterectomy I started taking Wellbutrin to help with wild mood monsoons and to also help me quit smoking but all I did was cry and I cried over scrambled eggs? Yeah, that was awesome.

This weekend was my visit with Dad and I also decided to go see my mom. Fun! I was at Mom’s Saturday and was petting Blue and started crying because he is old. I grabbed both his fluffy cheeks in my hands and he licked my nose and I bawled for a while. It was great.

Yesterday was Dad’s turn, and it’s already emotional without Chantix fucking me up, and the visit went well, but this morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed because of the crippling anxiety and sadness I feel over yesterday. I tried getting up. I did get up. I put on my work clothes and shoes and had my hand on the doorknob to the bedroom and I just couldn’t. I burst into tears. I called my boss and left an incoherent message that was basically me saying, “it’s Erin, I’m taking a personal daaaaaaayyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh,” followed by unintelligible rambling.

And my sleep is starting to suffer. Not really with the dreams thing, although those are starting to change a bit–everything seems more like it’s realistic, as in actually happening, which is different. The biggest problem is I’m restless all night. I toss and turn. I hate that.

But hey! I only had one cigarette so far today! Woot woot! Crippling anxiety and depression? Who cares! I only smoked once! Aaaawwww yeeeeaaaaahhhhhh!

Many of you may be asking yourself, “why the shit are you taking this drug if it’s causing you so many problems? And why complain about them since you’re the one who decided to take it?”

Those are good questions, and I’m glad you asked them.

I know myself. My willpower is shit. This is my 4th serious attempt at quitting. That does not count the 4,000 times I’ve said, “man, I gotta quit smoking,” amp myself up to quit, then when the day comes, I lie to myself and say, “oh well, I wasn’t ready yet.” I’m tired of failing at this. I needed some major help with kicking the habit. I’ve tried cold turkey. I didn’t make it longer than a week both times. I tried gum and patches. I went a few weeks, then I started smoking again. I tried quitting with old Roommate Steve two different times–one was when I used the vaporizer and quit for 6 months; the other was when he took Chantix and I just quit. I lasted about 2 months that time.

I just need something more to help me.

As for the bitching about the side effects? It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bitch about something.

And there it is. Tomorrow should be funner than ever because it’s when I crank this mother up and start taking 1mg in the morning and at night. But  for now, I’ll continue laying in bed today, enjoying my mood under the covers.

Okay bye,

I’m On The ‘Tix.

That’s my super clever name for Chantix™ now: The ‘Tix. Ridin’ the ‘Tix wave, babies! Catch ya later, dudes!

Previously, I wrote about some side effects I’ve noticed while on this little drug, and while I can’t report bizarre dreams yet, I *can* say that I have two new ones. The first: I went and done gone stupid, which is terrific.

I noticed this yesterday. Picture this: me, in my bathroom, preparing for work. I stood in front of the large mirror, my nose less than an inch away from the cool glass because I’m blind and can’t see without my spectacles on. I’m carefully applying my eyeliner, a skill that takes some concentration and some modicum of talent as you want a sexy cat eye look, not drunk five-year-old with a Sharpie look.

I carefully drew the pen across my left eyelid, wiped a bit of liner away at the corner, critiqued my work, gave myself an assured nod, and put my glasses on.

Friends, I only applied liner to one eye.


And that wasn’t the only incident of my slow mental decline, as I caught myself doing dumb little things throughout the day. I forgot to put the plastic cover on the thermometer at work a few times when taking vital signs. I was bringing a patient back to a room and suddenly forgot which one I was going to. I was counting change to get a pop from the machine in the break room and couldn’t make sense of the cluster of nickels, quarters, and dimes in my hands and had to count them out twice before I realized I had the proper amount. Little things like that are enough to make you feel like you’re on a slow decent into scary territory that you’re not sure you’ll ever find your way out of again.

The second effect I noticed is slurring my speech, or talking gibberish for a second. In my mind, I’m saying the right thing, but once it slips over my tongue and out of my lips, something fucked it up. I was trying to explain to a gal she needed to change into a gown and hit the “patient ready” light switch on the wall when she was done, but instead said, “when you’re switched, change the patient, and the light.” The poor thing looked at me like I suggested that imitation Uggs boots are just as good as the real thing.

I felt my face go bright red and I corrected myself by saying, “or how about when you’re changed and ready, hit that switch on the wall.”

I just felt odd all day yesterday. Maybe it was catching residual excitement from these young kids who finished their finals for the week and are now on Spring Break; maybe it was building anxiety knowing this weekend is when I go visit Dad; or maybe, this fucking medication is having a goddamn hay day messing with my brain synapses. “Hey fellas! Check this out! If I attach myself to this neurotransmitter, she’ll forget how to speak properly!” “Ah, cool! I wanna try!”

This shit is giving me the nervous. I’m not even on the full dose yet. I don’t want to stop taking it because in reality, these are just minor quirks and I’m sure once I’m done titrating myself up to the full dose, things’ll even out.

Or so I hope. If not, y’all can come poke fun at me and my half-done makeup and funny talkin’.

Stay tuned for more wacky adventures with E and The ‘Tix!

Chantix™, or My Slow Decent Into Madness Just Because I Want To Quit Smoking

I want to quit smoking. I’ve been a smoker for seven years, and have made four unsuccessful attempts to quit during this time (vaporizer, patch/gum, cold turkey twice), but I made the decision again and am using the nicotine agonist Chantix™ to help. May god have mercy on my poor soul.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the most common side effects of using this drug: extremely vivid dreams and the most troubling: suicidal thoughts and ideations. What fun!

I’ve been on it three days so far, which means I take one 0.5mg tablet in the morning. Tomorrow, I switch to taking one 0.5mg tablet in the morning and one at night for the next four days, then up the ante to 1mg in the morning and one at night for the next three weeks. The entire duration of treatment is three months. I don’t know if I’ll make it that far.

Here’s what’s happening already:

1. I don’t want to eat. My body says, “E! Hungry! Food!” My stomach rumbles, but I just don’t want to eat. I had to force myself to choke down a breakfast sandwich this morning. Normally, I’d be all, “fuckin’ sweet!” as I could stand to lose 30 pounds, but even I’m smart enough to realize weight loss should be from eating well and behavior modification, not a pill messing with your brain chemicals (yes, I appreciate the irony of my statement since I’m using a pill to mess with my brain chemicals to get me to quit smoking). This also makes me have a sad because I love food. Love it! Maybe I’ll have to devise a system of eating several small meals during the day in make up for my lack of interest in eating a designated one. Good plan, woman.

2. Looks like I’ll be abstaining from alcohol! I went to dinner with two friends last night, enjoyed a few margaritas, and immediately regretted my life choices. Now, I’m a drinker. Not a terrific boast by any means, but my tolerance is fairly high. Normally upon consuming that same amount of alcohol, I would have been buzzed for sure, but with this drug, I was straight up DRUNK. The precautions on the package of Chantix warn of drinking, but because I’m an intrepid scientist, I wanted to see what really happened. You know, for science.

Holy shit. I won’t be doing that again, at least not in public, but rather the safety of my home where my shenanigans are more tolerated. Or here’s a wild idea–just not drink in general. When I drink, I want to smoke more, and if I’m trying to quit the sticks, might as well remove a trigger, right? Right? See, I can be smart. I guess the only “positive” of last night’s experiment is that I feel fine today, as in not at all hungover which is definitely not what I expected given how intoxicated I felt last night. So…yay?

3. The mental effects begin! I was driving to work this morning and cried. Just cried without any real discernable reason to cry. Well, that’s not entirely true; I was thinking that the mental stuff is happening and then I was all, “oh great, I’m going to be one of those people who is going to think about killing myself and my doctor told me to head straight to the hospital if I had those thoughts, and then I’ll have a luxurious 3 day stay in the behavior services ward again and not be allowed to use real silverware but plastic utensils.” That’s when I started crying. I guess sporks make me emotional.

Plus, this is a tricky one to pinpoint, but I’ve also got a lot of stuff on my proverbial plate, so who’s to say I didn’t freak because of that? I can’t.

4. I haven’t had any whackadoo dreams yet…I am curious about that and if I’ll get to experience that fun little side effect. My dreams are weird already.

I told my boss today I’m on the Chantix, just purely to warn her of any unsavory behavior I may display, but she was super great about it and was very encouraging to me to quit, so that was very nice and I appreciated that.

I know it sounds asinine to subject myself to this just to quit smoking when there are other options available, like cold turkey or using Super Glue™ to seal my lips shut, but historically speaking, and as I mentioned before, other methods have not jived well with me. I want this to work and as crazy as it seems and for as much bitching I’m doing 3 days in my 3 month treatment plan, I have to do this. I have a bike I’d like to ride without hyperventilating. I’d like the money I’m wasting every day to go towards something more useful, like literally anything but cigarettes. I would like to not have what I affectionately refer to as “ash crotch,” which is when I smoke in my car and a wad of ash falls between my legs. Sexy, no?

Quitting smoking is fucking hard. Take a look through the last 9 years of this blog and count how many posts I have in regards to quitting. There is a lot. I have to finally get it over with.

I also have to get over the reason why I started smoking (failed marriage). I have attached a stigma to smoking: my ex-husband didn’t show concern or care I started, so my brilliant idea is that I’ll quit when someone shows me that they do give a fuck I smoke and cares enough for me to list off reasons why I need to stop. It’s selfish of me, for certain. It also stems from horribly lacking self-esteem: I hate myself so much, I speed up my own death daily by puffing away. Here’s a rare display of self-love: I am worth it to have a (hopefully) long-ish life. I’m pretty neat most of the time and I owe it to myself to take better care of me. No one is going to do that for me. This is my chance to prove to myself I matter for once. This is for me, goddamn it.

Of course, I absolutely appreciate all forms of encouragement from people. Several of you have done so and it warms my cold heart, so thank you for that.

I can do this. I may go madder in the process, but I can do this.

Okay then.

As always, thanks for reading.

March 12, 2016

Speaking of wearing my heart on my sleeve…

Life has been kicking me squarely in the lady balls for a while, and I usually just smile and put on an “everything’s fine” front. I can’t do that anymore. I try to hide behind the smile so no one worries about me; everyone has their own shit to deal with and you don’t need me whining to you–but that doesn’t help me at all. My trying to protect people from my problems isn’t valiant or noble; it’s not caring about myself enough to be able to share.

I’m struggling with Dad’s prognosis. It’s somehow different to know for certain your time is limited with someone you love instead of being taken by surprise by an untimely passing.

I have been having so much increased anxiety lately, and it’s terrifying. Depression is also rearing its ugly head at me again. I sleep too much or not enough; I’ve started smoking more, which is bananas because I was already considered a heavy smoker; I am trying to pull my signature “push people away” move, which is always a great idea and works so well for me. Alienating the ones you love solves everything, right? Right. I find myself wishing I could work all the time because at work, I don’t think about anything but my job. After I’m off for the day, I sit in my car for almost an hour, dreading driving home to only sit in my room alone with my thoughts. I’m neglecting myself more so than I usually do. My room is a mess, clothes are piled in my laundry hamper waiting to be folded, hung, and put away but there they sit untouched. I don’t eat during the day and save my only meal for dinner, which is usually something fast food and disgusting for me. My only saving grace is that I haven’t really turned to alcohol much, as historically speaking, I am fond of drinking nightly, but I haven’t stooped to that level…yet.

I know I need to spend time with Dad while there’s still time to spend, but we end up talking about funeral arrangements or getting him set up for hospice and that he wants to bring in a hospital bed to his house and die there…and I start thinking of all the places I’d rather be than with him, or what a relief it’s going to be when he’s finally gone and I feel like the lowest piece of trash for having that thought cross my mind. (This is actually rather comical, if I do say so myself, but Wednesday, I contacted hospice to see what needs to happen in order to get Dad their services. I was emailing a nurse, giving her information, when she replied back on Thursday, “I’ve been looking into this some more, and it actually looks like we already had a consult with your father on Tuesday. I’ll have the nurse who visited your dad get in touch with you.” Me, being the jerk I am, texted Dad, “how’d the hospice visit go, FATHER? You forget as your power of attorney, I know all and see all.” Well, I thought it was funny anyway.)

I’m sorry to ramble, I’m sorry to put this out into the world wide web, but anymore, it’s the only avenue I feel I can share this stuff, which is righteously fucked up. I apologize for the goddamn therapy session you all suddenly find yourself unexpectedly invited to. I don’t feel comfortable talking to actual people about this because I (mostly) write better than I speak, which is also fucked up. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve lied to someone by saying I’d try harder to communicate, I’d be like Scrooge McDuck diving into his silo full of money, doing the breaststroke in an insane amount of nickels.

My inability to talk is and always will be a problem for me. So far, only a few brave souls have endured this flaw of mine; everyone else leaves.

I digress.

While the feelings of helplessness and depression have gotten uglier, do know I visited a doctor’s office this morning and asked for some assistance in managing these symptoms, and was given a prescription for anxiety medication. I hope to fuck it helps. I need it to help. I already know that when Dad dies, I’m going to be irreparably damaged. It’s already starting to kick in, as the other day I texted Dad and thought, “in a few months, I won’t get to do this anymore.” Cue the waterworks.

Again, I’m sorry for the morose nature of this post, but if you read it, I appreciate your time.