Crazy-ass family

You just can't make this stuff up

Monday, February 20, 2006

It's Not Just a Title

I've made myself an appointment.
I don't talk about it much on here other than an occasional brief mention, but I suffer from panic and anxiety disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I've done very well with it over the years, and have worked it into my life seamlessly. If you don't know me very well, you'd never guess. I've also learned to recognize when I need to get some help, and this is one of those times!
I haven't taken any medication since I was pregnant with Aidan (and was very scarily depressed), and I've done well. But since I had Liam, I've been feeling myself slowly slide down that muddy slope of anxiety and panic, and I'm headed for that pit of depression that's so hard to crawl out of. My OCD has taken over my days; I obsess over being sick and maybe getting sick and my family getting sick. I mean, it rules my thoughts. The last couple of months of illness hasn't helped. But we've recovered! And I still feel awful. My mental state is translating into physical symptoms...or is it? I don't know what's real and what's not when physical ailments show up, now.
Everything sends me into a panic. Liam's been waking up at 4:30am every morning for about two weeks now, and I nearly cry with worry every time. That "this is never going to get better" feeling has gone from a whisper to a roar, and it's time to get me some good drugs to drown it out.
I'm not sure if it's PPD (I had it with Caleb and it was different) or just a combination of things, but I'm ready to feel better.
I used to be ashamed of these issues. I watched my Dad suffer as I was growing up, and watched my brother struggle for years before he came to grips with his issues. I saw how people reacted when I tried to explain what was wrong, and I see that look on people's faces when I talk about my anxiety. I get that...I mean, it doesn't make sense. I am so lucky...I have so much. Why let my days be filled with worry? Why be controlled by fear when I could be taking advantage of this time I have with my kids before I go back to work? I mean, it's so stupid to be so phobic about throwing up that every meal is a struggle. It's illogical! Why burst into tears every day because I'm so AFRAID...of what? I don't know...that I feel like I'm pulling apart at the seams? Some would say I'm selfish (though probably only those who haven't dealt with mental illness in some way). Some would say I'm just making bad decisions. Some would say it's no big deal and that I should just ignore it. Suck it up.
I know all that. I'm a pretty smart chick. But here's the thing (and this is THE thing that's made me able to accept my problems and get on with my life): I CAN'T HELP IT.
It's not me! It just...is. And I can't apologize for it.
So when I first admitted I had problems, I was sure life as I knew it was over.
But you know what?
It wasn't. Now, I accept my chemical imbalance and I deal with it however I have to to be able to live my life. I talk about it openly, and I recognize when I need help. And when I do, I get it fast.
So, it's a bump in the road. I can say that I feel hopeful because I have that appointment a week from today. And things will get better.
Until things get better, though, I may get the urge to write about it here.
You've been warned!

ps: Happy Birthday to my little brother Jeff, who inspires me every day to be a good person. Jeff, I hope you know how much Jim and I love you and appreciate you, and how adored you are by Caleb, Aidan and Liam. I'm so proud of all you've accomplished, and of all that you aspire to be.

18 Comments:

At 3:42 PM, Blogger MomSquared said...

Man..I read your post and it reminds me how hard OCD/depression can be.
The worst part is that you think about how bad things are going to happen. They will. This is absolutely true. But somehow the rest of the world manages to ignore that while they live their daily lives.
But something in our brain makes that so much harder for us.
And it is really hard.

I'm feeling you, man.

And no I don't talk like that IRL. :)

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger LoriLaurieLauri said...

Oh wow! Are your brother's eyes really THAT BLUE?!? They're gorgeous! Happy Birthday, Jeff!

And Tree-you are exactly right...it's a chemical imbalance. When the chemicals are all wacky in your brain, you will be wacky. When they are all balanced out, naturally or with meds, things are much better! I don't care how they get that way, just get them that way!

I have a big time problem with depression that I've had since I was about 18 or 19 years old; and I started having anxiety attacks a few years ago. They progressively got worse and worse. The worst being last spring, when I was living in Houston, alone with my 3 kids, while Steven was in San Antonio, working. I actually hyperventilated so badly that I passed out. Leaving 3 kids basically alone, to fend for themselves. I was on meds even, so I thought it couldn't get any better. But it actually got even worse, and it was serious! Steven found me a doctor in SA who is WONDERFUL, and together we have come up with a "cocktail" that works great for me! I'm doing better than ever.

Anyway...taking the long way around to my point...you may have to play around with the meds for a while. Different meds work so much differently on different people. I'm on Clonazipam for the anxiety (which has worked miracles with me) and 2 anti-depressants, Wellbutrin and Effexor. They both work differently, and I'm doing SO much better since I added the Effexor.

I'm so glad that you know when to get help, and that you took action on that! So many people don't. So just hang on for a few more days, and feel free to email me anytime!

 
At 5:31 PM, Blogger moxiemomma said...

YOU ROCK. knowing that something is wrong and dealing with it? you get all the points (and lots of chocolate to grow your ass back). seriously--the hubs is bipolar and our biggest hurdle is getting him to acknowledge and admit when he's sliding. i usually know it well before he will own up and by that time we're in the crapper. good for you, tree.

and that brother of yours is a cutie, eh? (that's me speakin' canadian.)

hang in there.

 
At 5:46 PM, Blogger Lena said...

Ok, two things. No, three.

One, I think we're twins. No. REALLY. I had to keep looking at your title to make sure I was on YOUR blog and not mine. I obsess over being/getting sick as well. OBSESS. To a freaking fault. I so completely and unequivocally understand anxiety and panic. Come by anytime. We can obsess together!

Two, I know it will get better. I see a teensy tiny itty bitty light of hope recently.

Three, I so very much look forward to hearing more about this subject from you. So please do not hesitate to post.

That's all...for now. ;)

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger Margaret said...

You're really in touch with how you're feeling and that's admirable. And post away about this... I think almost everyone can relate on some level.

 
At 10:35 PM, Blogger Margaret said...

By the way... your brother. Oh my!

 
At 11:01 PM, Blogger Odd Mix said...

Tree,

I am so sorry you are having to deal with such a tough time. I am very glad you are able to see it for what it is - a PHYSICAL illness affecting your mental state - and go get help. Good on you! I also hope you remain confident enough in the friendships you have here in blog land to lean on us with the weight you are carrying.

My wife struggled with obsession, anxiety, and depression for several years. She had endometriosis, and the severely out of balance hormone levels that resulted had her mental state seriously out of whack. The also caused severe migraines and other issues. Thankfully, after we decided we were done producing litl'uns she was effectively cured with a complete hysterectomy. That road was not without its own set of rocks, but we are much better than we were.

For the last three years I have also dealt with depression personally. I am currently on Effexor and have been quite pleased with the results. There is still room to improve but thank goodness I am not where I was.

Lean on Jim. Lean on us. Do what you have to do to get help. I remember my wife saying that mental illness was just as physical and less our fault than a broken arm - would we be ashamed of a broken arm?

Take care of you!

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger Tree said...

Ok you guys have successfully:
1) Made me cry. I love you! I expected at least one negative comment...but it didn't happen. You guys are awesome.
And,
2) Made my brother walk a little taller. All the compliments? Seriously went to his head, haha! You should have seen his disappointment when I told him that most everyone who reads this is married and has kids. Poor guy can't catch a break!

 
At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Jo said...

I almost feel like it's too late to post a comment .... but I just wanted to say I am in awe of your bravery with such an honest and open post. But you know that! More hugs from here...

Jo x

 
At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey there, just wanted to say a belated happy birthday to your bro, hope you guys are doing well, can't wait to see you guys soon, p.s. i made a link to your blog on my site, if you would like to do the same,
b0bsbl0g.bl0g.com

Talk to you guys soon :)
bobby

 
At 12:22 PM, Blogger Tree said...

Hey Bobby!
I can't make your addy work...? Happy belated birthday to you too, Mister!

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger mama_tulip said...

Happy Birthday to your brother!

And good for you for making the appointment. That's a big step. :)

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger LynAnne said...

I'm so sorry to hear things are so rocky for you. I'm so relieved to read that you made an appointment and recognize that this isn't your fault. Keep bloggin, you're not alone!

Btw: Happy belated B-Day to your brother. My brother has a b-day tomorrow :)

 
At 8:25 PM, Blogger kris said...

I really wish people were more understanding of conditions like anxiety and depression. It makes it so hard for people to come forward and get the help they need, without feeling worse about themselves.

Anxiety is nothing to shake a stick at, and those people who look at you funny should be ashamed.

Feel better soon. Your family is lucky to have a smart, funny lady, such as yourself, at the helm. Go kick that OCD in the butt!

 
At 8:50 PM, Blogger MomToTracyNSheri said...

Talking about your stuff is what your blog is for, woman! Screw anyone who doesn't like it.

You do what you have to do to take care of yourself.

 
At 11:53 PM, Blogger Shana said...

Good for you!!! Is it depression/anxiety week in blogland or what? We're all on the same wavelength... it's eerie. Thanks so much for talking so openly. It can't, as Shevon says, do anything but help -- it helps you by writing it and helps us who read it.

 
At 5:31 AM, Anonymous Dawn Isaac said...

Hi. It's me again. I have depression and panic disorder. For the most part mine is under control. I don't really meet too many other people who have it. Look forward to reading the rest of your blog!

 
At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Layla said...

Everyone's posts are awesome...it's nice to know we're not alone!

Odd Mix - yours were especially significant to me. If you read this, can you post what type of doctor finally helped your wife?? I am having similar problems and truly think it is endometriosis-related...nothing is helping and I'm struggling trying to find the right doctor to go to. OB/GYN is kinda clueless (at least mine is)...just wondering what type of doctor finally helped your wife.

Am very glad she is doing better! What a relief, huh?

Take care all - and kudos to Tree for your bravery in opening this discussion. I'm quite proud of you and have never met you! Isn't blogging a wonderful way to reach people?

 

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