Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Best Way To Manage A Panic Attack, Or Not ;-)

Today my social worker Jenn (the lady who takes me out shopping or too appointments and stuff) suggested I do my own shopping because she didn’t want to keep enabling me :-O! We had been talking about my latest panic attack at Farm Boy yesterday.  Although I agreed that yes I ‘could’ do my own shopping I warned her and sometimes I put it off and let the produce I am interested in eating daily run out for days before I ‘might’ force myself to go.

 I asked Jenn “Do you know the best way to stop a panic attack while in a store?” Jenn was like “What?” I guess it was just a trick question ie: just leave the store, right? But Jenn was trying to tell me alternative breathing techniques during a panic attack! Unfortunately other then ‘trying’ to deep breath, distract, or leave the situation during a panic attack, nothing seems to help for me.

 My last therapist was able to guide me through a few helpful, self soothing exercises to help prevent a panic attack however she warned me that I am supposed to practice techniques to relax in a relatively calm state. For example each day I could make an effort to practice something self soothing so that if I get into a situation of high anxiety I can have a positive and calming focus. Once you have the techniques down pat they come more easily during an actual panic attack. So, I’ve kind of been slacking in that field but I find it hard to have a daily focus when I am mostly depressed and anxious and just want to distract with TV and social media ;-).
Here is a cool video by Michele Rosenthal (founder of  with another perspective on events. The fact that ALL events are neutral. That is why we all respond to stress in different ways:
I’m still fighting this idea in my head that Jenn will NEVER take me food shopping again. She didn’t say never so I’m hoping to suggest food shopping when I see her again in 2 weeks ;-). Okay, I try right? My folks say they can help out as well but I do want to try to be independent. My big fear with the panic is that I will feel uncomfortable, that I will pass out and 911 will have to be called because I am in a public place, that I will have to be hospitalized and away from my cats. Yes those are huge! But I haven’t passed out from a panic attack but have had to sit down at “The Wheat Berry” because I was hyperventilating and dizzy. I was with a fill in worker at the time but I knew her so it was ok. I pretty much pretend no one else exists when I am with my worker(s) and it comforts me to have them to help me.
Although, it would be nice to go out to a coffee shop or fun things around Ottawa with my worker instead of food shopping.  She suggests stuff but I say I want to go food shopping, lol…but it helps me to eat right that is for sure, but still. I have to get out of this agoraphobic rut. There are no agoraphobic therapists in Ottawa unless you go to them 5 days a week or are in patient in a special program. I figure once I can go to appointments on my own with out staying up in the night having panic attacks or being unable to sleep then I may as well go to a once a week anxiety program and volunteer or get a part time job and try to meet people in the real world. Its been awhile!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Atheism Doesn't Have To Mean Hate

While watching a repeat of “Murder By The Book” on HLN chronicling the mystery surrounding the death of Madeline O’Hare, her husband John Roth and her daughter (the story is explained in the link)'hare/

It seems no wonder I view Atheists as haters. This woman was full of hate! But yet am wondering why there is all this hate around Atheism because the definition of an atheist is that there is not God and what you see is what you get: and this is a pretty non spiritual perspective indeed.

Atheists, myself excluded, since I do believe in spiritual issues, that I have met are not outspoken and angry people. I find them a bit jumpy if I try to broach a spiritual topic. I wonder if that is because they don’t want me to be swept off into some cult or something and that is understandable but so far it hasn’t happened, lol…

Atheists are different then I suppose the majority of us that believe in some higher being or afterlife. Does this difference have to be a bad thing? Speaking of the O’Hare’s, I think this family, especially the outspoken Madeline just wanted to be perceived as something bigger then life. Perhaps untouchable and powerful. Maybe she felt a vulnerability where she had been hurt or mislead in the past.  If so was trying desperately to get over that in the form of power so that no one else could hurt her. Although seemingly misguided in her approach in my opinion because of my quest for understanding and not the fear and sense of wanting to intimidate others that I see from her. I mean if you have to shoot people down what must you think of yourself? Pretty low, huh?

Do any of you remember Madeline appearing on Donahue back in the day?:
She may have been on a few times. I remember her so well. When I heard she was missing or possibly murdered I was pretty surprised and almost felt sorry for her....

Sometimes I wonder if people have the 'wrong' view of crime. I mean here are some strange things I keep hearing over and over again. “Oh____couldn’t have killed so and so, he went to church” Or “She’s a good Christian” when anyone can go to a church and sit in a pew. It’s awesome if you feel a connection to the congregation and it is like your family and it brings to do good service, but people from ‘good families’ commit crimes and murder as well. Just look at all the mass killings in the states lately. Or is that a gun issue…anyways…

I haven’t been to church in a couple of years and when I do go it’s a Quaker Church here in Ottawa and there is no minister. We sit in silence but can stand up to speak if something moves us. This is my connection to people and to the divine. Even though I haven’t been in a couple of years I’m still feeling just as connected spiritually as ever. 

Do I believe in God? I don’t use that name often. But I believe in something greater then myself and this seems to be what other non God religions are based around as well.

All in all we seem to be advancing in the world through education. In proportion to how many people are in the world now our crime rates are down in many areas. News reports through every medium so it doesn’t seem like it but we seem to be doing OK, really. 

Its really important to stick with people who bring you up. Otherwise you get sucked into all that negativity which is fear (well working on this anyway ;-). Or, at least find ways to reach out, ask for help and find yourself in peace.

Sending Hugs.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Suicide Hurts The Ones You Leave Behind...

No matter the reason Tony Scott killed himself it was selfish > for him. Not thinking or empathizing how his family, his kids would feel having such a sudden and traumatic event in their lives and how powerless and lost that feeling may be for them…

I used to be called an overdose Eddy by the ER staff because I was there so much back in my 20s. I’m 38. Most of this time I felt I was in control. I just wanted a break. I took only a certain amount of pills that I had taken before etc and just before I had a seizure or blacked out I would feel a high off it.

Mom was really freaked out. Even after I got help in the form of rehab for drugs and alcohol abuse I still wanted to harm myself so I cut and swallowed stuff that could kill me. I only thought of me, my pain, me needing a break/distraction from life. How funny it was that I was ‘in control’ and still alive. I knew what I was doing and look at all the attention I was getting because I craved that so much. But I only thought of me…and my brain was so messed up in this I didn’t see what I was doing to others even though I was ‘trying to hide it’ and also somewhat ashamed.  Well, I must have hated myself to be able to have hurt myself so much…

I never came too realize that there were people all around me until a year after I quit using…or was that when I decided I could use normally? I think so, and, because I’m an addict I once again lost control…

I finally got sober nearly seven years ago, although I then turned to anorexia and that could have harmed me more then it did but I was able advocate for myself and get help, or enough to stabilize my health in the eyes of my doctor…

Now I try to eat healthy. I have good days and so good. I suck at self care but I try my best and I feel that I have a future even on my dark days. As my worker Jenn says when I’m depressed “Lisa you always look forward too tomorrow when you get another chance to feel better” and this is so true. Instead of worrying about my death I plan to live till I’m 120, ok?

I don’t know how I would feel if I still felt that powerless and lonely feeling inside; if I was still afraid to talk and tell people my inner most secrets; if I didn’t have such a wonderful support network. I don’t know. All I know is I have had an ex who committed suicide and we were ‘estranged’ and yet I still felt if I could have helped more, done more, stayed around…then maybe he would be here because it I feel the need to help  people even though I also know my boundaries and there is still so much I am scared about, but I do my best!

I need people, all people,  to understand that its ok to ask for help. Start the journey. Be creative. Laugh a ton and it doesn’t matter if you are the only one who’s laughing. Just remember a lot of people do care. You may not be aware of that but its human nature so remember that. You can’t read peoples minds (my worker keeps reminding me of that). 

You matter! 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

It's OK To Matter!

Codependency…I am meeting with silence whenever I mention this topic to friends. I am feeling that people think that Codependency is something that ‘other’ people have when really I believe that most of us are codependant on some level to varying degrees…

I am pretty excited now because I just started rereading Codependent No More – How to Stop Controlling Others And Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie 5 days ago and I am already on page 42! This is huge because I have been ‘whining’ that I have not been able to sit down and read a paper back in 2 ½ years. I know my anxiety has been crazy out of control and that is my ‘excuse.’ I really can’t sit for stuff like paperbacks, or I couldn’t, I guess, hehe. I guess it really speaks to me. I had it sitting on my book shelf and had read it ten years ago but I forget what I read by now! I think I’m just ready to work a bit. Sometimes you have to be ready you know…I know I hold onto stuff and have all my life.

I told my homeopath/nutritionist Phil that I am tense 100% of the time except at the moment when I am actively engaged a relaxation exercise or something…Phil said this is not normal. But how do I let go? This am I tried tightening my upper arms/shoulders and then relaxing. I did that a bunch I times because I know this is supposed to help but I never really see any benefit to it…I do other things as well but I bounce back to anxiety so I better keep reading, lol…Also it is really important to try different things. Today I also turned on dance tunes and danced around trying to loosen up. Then I remembered that my cousin Tamara is visiting tomorrow and my place is a mess so I better clean – and then I started reading ‘the book’ again and now I’m blogging but this is my issue I don’t focus…but I’m working at it!

So if you are interested in knowing what a codependent is, here goes: a codependent is someone who works hard but feels they never have enough time for them! Codependents are often excessively preoccupied by the needs of others. If you are codependent you often feel happy only when the one you are close to etc feels happy. If they feel sad or angry you feel the same or are worried with stress! Codependents tend to act passive and feel oppressed so not heard. As a result they tend to carry around anger, rage and resentment while also being too afraid or guilt ridden to change their behaviour or the situation.

Since codependents love care-taking then tend to be drawn into helping professions or living with an ill spouse, child parent. They seem to thrive on this and want to stay in this set up or then feel their life is perhaps meaningless.

 I started off working with babies and kids and then worked with the elderly. I loved it but it got to much when I started taking work home with me. That was 8 years ago. I haven’t been able to work since. I did some volunteer work which lasted four years but I chose to do light admin so that I didn’t have to worry about people or the responsibility that put on my shoulders. Unfortunately my stress came knocking, again via panic attacks and I realized I couldn’t handle leaving my house most days.

We need to remember who comes first! Before we can really help another we must help ourselves! Remember that scenario of when an airplane is about to crash who gets the oxygen over their face first, mom or child? It’s the mom. I know I got that question wrong at first as well but it makes sense doesn’t it? Mom has to save her child so she has to be well herself!

So life is a school. It’s a work in progress and I’m game! I have a ton to be grateful for and I don’t have to think hard to find it!  Signing off with something cute I found on Facebook...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why You Don't Want To Go Off Your Meds > Bipolar's...

I have been following the story of the flight attendant who went off her bipolar meds. I worry that her actions may have potentially caused post-traumatic stress in passengers some if who may have been afraid to get on an airplane in the first place…I feel for these people.

As you know I too have bipolar disorder. Unfortunately it took my doctors till I was 28 to get this diagnosis confirmed. Incidents of psychosis for me started at 20 years of age. At that time I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. This was accurate at the time but the docs failed to realize that I was not coping because of bipolar and PTSD and other anxiety disorders. I think most people have attempted to get off their meds. We have a love hate relationship with this things right? I have tried, once, in an attempt to get manic. I am depressed mostly on my meds the only think it does is keep me from getting loopy. I wanted the happy part of mania. So, I took a friends antidepressant. Instead I ended up in the ER, brilliant right? That was the only time I tried that, lol. I did not hurt anyone. I just had a racing heart it scared me. I was living in a group home.

I have talked to multiple people who have stopped bipolar meds because they feel ‘fine’ or ‘better’. But does it ever occur to people that they feel better because of the meds? If someone with bipolar disorder wants to be weaned of their meds they talk to their doctor who will do so s-l-o-w-l-y and safely…

I worry this story makes people with bipolar disorder look like demons. That’s what I thought when I heard the scream on the video. I use to think I had a demon in my head to when I was 14. I didn’t want to say anything because I felt that mental illness was a weakness and I know some people still feel this way. Stresses often set off an episode or psychosis. We are more sensitive perhaps but on our meds we fit right into society and its genetic, its not our fault we have this...some of us are highly intelligent and able to work...I can't see this lady ever being in the air as a profession again but it will be interesting to see...

I definitely want to get to the underlying issue of why I am ‘this’ way. I am aware of the signs that I might be getting sick from my bipolar particularly the upswing/psychosis: I don't sleep, I am fidgety, can't sit still, can't stop talking, talking to myself, feeling I am one with 'God,' hearing things, feeling high and other stuff. You probably get the idea > loopy. How could the staff have missed this on the pre-flight?

Luckily I have an anti-psychotic Zyprexa that I can take as an extra med if I feel the 'signs'. This is the med the doctors always gave me in the ER when I would go when I was manic/psychotic so its great I don’t have to worry about going in again and I love it! I haven't been to the ER for any med related issue in 5 years.

I really hope this flight attendant is OK.

People its just really important to take your meds if you need them. Don’t ruin your life. Live the live you are given. Its really ok to have a mental illness but you have to take care of yourself as do we all…

What do you think?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

When Numbness Isn't A Choice

I was chatting with my mental health worker Jenn yesterday about how I feel numb all the time and that this had been going on as long as I can remember. Jenn said it is normal because I have had trauma starting at birth. So this numbness is not really a choice. It's like being on a really scary roller-coaster where your hands are so tight on the bar you can't unclench them without it hurting. The last thing you want is to hurt. I can function. This numbness helps me feel safe. But it’s also frustrating because sometimes I want to ‘wake-up’ and I feel I need to hide out of fear of panic attacks and anxiety I guess.

‘Hiding’ for me has been quite common these last couple of years. As I think back to what I did to get so agoraphobic for instance, I think of how a few years back I was doing yoga daily and practicing stills to self soothe on a regular basis. It was pretty ritualized and obsessive-like unfortunately. My goal was to cure myself of mental illness, to be ‘normal’ and go far in life. This plan hasn’t panned out, yet.

I ended up stopping all the ritualized self-care rather abruptly because I started having panic attacks during my at home yoga DVD sessions. I was even having attacks during bubble baths. As I think back I wonder if maybe I ‘should’ have pushed through and embraced this shift as stuff coming out the way it was supposed to. Maybe this would have been a way of empowering me and helping my self-confidence eventually. Or maybe I needed to stop and go inside myself a bit.

I have been having vivid dreams in the last few weeks. These dreams are of having grand mal seizures over and over again or having committed a violent act and having the cops after me. I have woken up after dreams of hearing screaming then fearing I am going to end up in the loony bin! It’s been eight years since I’ve been in-patient and I really want to keep it that way!  When I told Jenn about the dreams she told me it was the Bowen therapy, the body work I have been doing. That’s what I had been thinking.

I have missed the last two weeks of Bowen because two weeks ago my Bowen Practitioner Casey had the flu and then I had a really bad cold this week…But we will get back on track. I am also wondering if my 3 colds since February are Bowen’s doing since I had successfully outwitted (very proud too grinning from ear to ear) my mom’s flu and cold and my step-dad’s two colds between November and January. Yet when starting Bowen I have been sick most of the time since. Maybe I jinxed myself through my overconfidence, LOL…we all need to be humbled sometimes, no?

It was at this time and with my Homeopath Terrance that things were shifting inside of my mind. I had lost the rage I had carried with me all of my life. Unfortunately now I didn’t feel like doing anything except watching television and staying around the house.  Terrance seemed to think this was just a normal state of the process that would pass but here I am 2 ½ years later and I’m still sitting at home, nesting. The cats love it though…

I’ll start again, slowly, to try to figure out what I can do that is doable. I have started a second twitter paper on paper li. Called “Learning Self-Love Daily.” Here is the link:  There are tons of articles on the subject. I choose the search settings but don’t write the articles. I love this topic because so many people who are excellent at taking care of others are not as good at taking care of their own mind/body (myself included, of course)….but it’s a process. I fell off the wagon but I can get back on again. It won’t be quick. I still hold a lot of fear in my body/mind but I will figure out a workable goal in time…

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

If All Else Fails, There Is Television, Right?

My cat Speckle is a real ‘nut!’

Last night I was ‘making’ cat food in the basement apartment I live in at my folks place. Upstairs Bob and Speckle must have been playing but then I hear a crash! I didn’t hear anything after so I continued what I was doing. My folks were in bed already but apparently they didn’t hear a thing because the cats were in a back room. When I went upstairs, finally, I saw an overturned ceramic plate that had been pushed off the table by Speckle (Bob is old and doesn’t climb up on tables anymore as far as I know). Nothing broke miraculously. It was a plate of fruit cake which was still covered over by a plastic bag...I don’t know about Speckle sometimes. She’s a true nut! She’s a 6 ½ year old Tortie and still very kitten like…is this a Tortie thing or something?

As for me, I can say I’ve been depressed more then I’ve been happy in the last nine months since moving out of Kerri’s place. Kerri and I are still best friends. We do talk on the phone a lot but she is in BC and I am here in Ottawa. Its not the same as seeing her all the time and we do have a really close connection because we were girlfriends for 9 months a few years back before becoming best friends...

I have tened to watch a lot of TV in the last 2 1/2 years since I’ve succumbed to agoraphobia. TV seems my answer to everything. It is a pretty good security blanket which I can control and almost create my world and moods.

 On the worst of days when my anxiety gets to the max I wonder why I have to live like ‘this.’ As a spiritual person I wonder what is after this life. That is when you find out 'why' and everything is supposed to make sense. I try my best to be kind because I want kindness shown to me in return and maybe that’s what the ‘boss’ on the other side wants of me…the only thing I forget, quite often is to let stuff go once in awhile. Isn’t that why I’m so tense? I’m holding onto everything that ever happened to me? When people say ‘let it go,’ I don’t get it. It’s like telling an anorexic (and I still have that tendency) to eat. It’s Greek! I don't speak that language. I don't get it!

Even before I could write I remember verbally dictating to my father my dreams. Dad would write them down for me. I still continue to do this. And I still have all my dream books too, lol. Now I discuss my dreams with my therapist Cindy and use the dream dictionary on-line as a reference. I pay attention to the feelings that come up and when subjects repeat.

I have recently started Bowen Therapy (The Bowen Technique). This is a body work healing therapy. Most of the literature/on-line videos of Bowen are for physical ailments for people or animals but Bowen Practitioners have clients like me for mental healing as well. Its all about pressure points on the body. I have had only 2 sessions. I will have ‘at least’ 8 and can have as needed sessions after that. I want to try to work heal from my anxiety and depression if that’s at all possible…Actually, it must be, right? I just have to keep at it and if all else fails, there is Television….

Monday, January 16, 2012

'Learning' My Rights: It's OK To Stand Up For Myself...

My homeopath Phil tells me to ‘stop depending on the remedies’ and to try to work on myself. What he means here is that I should stand up for myself. I recently had a lady called Casey (not her real name) try to follow me on twitter after I had her blocked. She simply changed her twitter name and made a new account. At the same time I had 2 strange calls one day after another where no one said anything and the call was not traceable. I only picked up the line thinking it might be my worker Jenn as she does not identify her calls from her cell.

I was petrified that this Casey, a lady from my ‘dark’ past was not able to respect me enough and over rid my saying no.  Another friend of mine from the past told her to stop calling her line looking for me millions of times when I had blocked my phone number for 4 years…this whole ‘Where’s Lisa’ game has been going on for 6 years, well, maybe more. I did end up calling the cops by the way. I haven’t pressed charges because I am not really afraid of her I just want her to go away. There is more of course but I’m so tired of this fear stuff I feel.

I did for a few days protect my tweets so that only my followers on twitter and those I choose to come follow me can read my tweets. After chatting with Phil though and him realizing how I love to reach out and mingle on-line. I love the feed back I get and the people who tell me I have helped them in some way...So, it was suggested that I not protect my tweets.  This made me smile. Of course I can protect them if I want some day but for now anyone of you can read them. But I know who is following me. And, if Casey tries to follow me or in anyway contact me in such a fashion that I know about I who I can press charges because I have told her not too! I know I do have some control over my life. I just have to remember this...

I have never had anyone else in my life that has harassed me like this for more then 3 days or so after I said to buzz off. She seems to want me as a friend, again, but an obsessed friend????? This lady has caused me so much hurt both during our friendship and after I said to stop contacting me...its unbelievable but I need to find my voice and I hope I can and will so that I don't feel so much fear...
Tomorrow I have a phone appointment with Cindy, my therapist. We will defiantly have to work on this…maybe a roll play or a preparation for a role play. Sometimes when people get upset with me or do things I don’t like I just freeze. Jenn says this might be also because of my reduced speed of processing, an issue I have had all my life. I know that as a kid in school I had to work for hours to memorize stuff. I had to work harder then most kids. I can work at this though. I can learn! I have yet to see or hear from the Occupational therapist because my doctor hasn’t yet sent in the referral Jenn and I gave him back in September. It’s January! Grrr…or maybe this is good thing. I can work very slowly at my own pace to either go out or not. I just have to hope that life is easy and that there will always be an endless quantity of great shows on TV and lovely people on Facebook and Twitter, tee hee…

 Well, in case you non-Ottawa, Canada, folk are all wondering about our snow situation here is what we got a few days ago:

And tomorrow we are expecting more snow i.e. 10-15 cm's worth!...So glad my step-dad has a snow blower....