Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Living in a state of constantly falling apart

So, tonight has found me in the middle of a big, ugly panic attack. For the past four hours, I've been an outright mess. Thankfully, my Hubby has gotten good over the past 13 years at reading my moods and helping me work my way through them, and he hung in there with me and I'm starting to feel a bit better.

I thought I'd sit down and write a bit, maybe get some more of the junk out of my head so I'll be able to sleep, especially since it is now after 1:00 am and I'm on day who-even-knows-what (16 ? Maybe 17?) of terrible, sporadic, almost-no sleep. Seriously, my insomnia situation is starting to freak me out, but that is another post for another time!

I don't know if I've ever shared my mental issues on this blog or not, but they are a HUGE part of my life, going back into my childhood as far as I can remember. I have some depression, most of the time that part is pretty manageable, but my main issue is anxiety. High, uncontrollable anxiety. Panic attacks, chronic worry, obsessive thoughts, a paralyzing phobia. Every day, every situation, every part of my life is wrapped around and pretty much controlled by this, and frankly I'm exhausted.

Oddly, I'm getting worse with time, even though I always expected that with maturity I'd overcome it. It is starting to really scare me, the thought that by the time that I'm elderly I'll be without my Mom and possibly my husband (they are my two rocks throughout it all) and be even worse (!) and I'll not know how to survive it. This is quickly becoming one of my new obsessive fears. Nice.

One of the other things that always tended to help me deal with my mental issues was my spiritual life, but sadly I'm really struggling these days with my relationship with God. Truly, I'm angry and confused, and don't know what to do with those feelings most of the time. I usually try to bottle those feelings up and just have as much faith as I can muster...but then I come to this place time and time again. I can't ignore my questions and doubts and I come to the end of my faith. I just fall apart, and honestly every time I eventually find my way back, but during the lull I feel so lost and alone. Why is this so hard?

Phew. I'm kinda coughing up everything all in one psychotic post! Believe it or not, this is seriously just the tip of the iceberg of my mental illness. The good news is that I am actually feeling better after getting this little bit of it off of my chest! It's now 2:21 in the morning, but these days I'm quite familiar with being wide awake at this hour. I'm just happy that sleep tonight even seems like a possibility to me now...an hour ago I wasn't so sure.

So look...I'm aware that this is showing WAY more of my mess than I've exposed here in the past and I'm not going to edit it for now...perhaps with daylight I'll come to my senses and delete it, perhaps not. What difference does it really make, anyway?

Here's the thing:
1. I'm greatly flawed. Screwed up, even.
2. I'm pretty isolated in my life and don't really have many friends.
3. I can't afford therapy and I'm dealing with this non-medicated.

Those things all added up mean that I need an outlet from time to time, so if it ends up here, who am I to care? Sometimes I get tired of hiding the mess, sometimes I just plain need to blurt it all out. This? Was a bit of a blurt, I'd say. Whatever. I need sleep, obviously. :-)


  1. First of all, your long sickness and sleep loss are certainly factors. Have you been to the doctor about the sleeping problem?

    There are anti-anxiety meds -- a low dose might be enough to get you sleeping again, and you're unlikely to need them for more than a month or three. One Ativan was enough to bring me back to decent sleep during my PPD when my anxiety (and sleep loss) were at their worst.

    If you suspect that there is personal history / baggage influencing your depression and anxiety, I'd look into how you could afford therapy somehow. Finding the right therapist can be a bigger hurdle than figuring out how to pay for it, but if you find someone good the benefits far outweigh the cost.

  2. You're not seriously messed up. You're a blessing and a treasure to your family and friends. You have blessed me in ways that I can't begin to explain and I've never even met you. I can only imagine what you do for the ones who are closest to you.

    That said, I know your issues suck. I know they are frustrating. I know they are real. I know I can tell you to not worry about the future and to be thankful for the present, but I also know that you'll still be anxious about the future. I get it. So, instead, I'll tell you that I'm praying for you. Hard. I will continue to do so.

    As for your relationship with God. Keep in mind that without faith, we'd have no reason for doubts. Think about it. You don't have to doubt something that you don't believe is real. You just don't believe. But when you believe in what you don't see, have faith that He is real, even though you can't reach out and physically touch him, the doubts are normal. Completely normal. Every believer goes through periods of doubt, but that is a part of faith. Just keep walking through this and looking toward Him. It will strengthen your relationship with Him in the long run.

    As for the insomnia, I have a miracle cure. I know you hate medicines, but this is a natural thing. It is melatonin. It is a naturally occuring thing in the body that babies have tons of (so they sleep a lot). As we grow, we produce less and less of it (so we sleep less). You can now go to the drugstore in the vitamin section and buy it. Start with the 1mg tablet. If that doesn't work, you can add to it up to about 3mg a night. Take it 1/2 hour before you want to go to bed. It has worked wonders in this household. Good luck!

    I love you, dear friend. And I'm hear if you want to chat.

  3. Missy, it always warms my heart when you really share deeply. I hate that you're going through this but I love that you trust us enough to share it with us. I have had you on my prayer list for awhile and will keep you on there. I agree with first commenter that finding a therapist can work wonders - and it is worth it even if it's hard to pay for. We've had to do that before and it literally saved our marriage. A lot of therapists will work on sliding scales for your income too. Don't be afraid to check it out - you might be pleasantly surprised. That's going to be my specific prayer for you currently - that you will be able to find a way to seek some help and find a way to help you deal with some of these issues in a way that can hopefully alleviate them. :)

    Hit me up on facebook chat anytime you want! I'm here for you. :)

    Love you!!

  4. Hey there sister, no two people with anxiety/panic disorders suffer in exactly the same way, but I know how exhausting it really is because I have experienced my own version of it for the last 28 years or so. I no longer have the 30 severe panic attacks a day like I did in my 20's, but my social phobia is still the main obstacle that I have to plan each and every day around. I now look at it like this: I was born with a handicap...that's all there is to it...people are born with all kinds of handicaps and God uses them, so he can use me too. I am exactly the way God designed me to be...but it's my job to manage my handicap and enjoy the many blessings and gifts that God has given me. 25 years ago I couldn't walk into a store or even talk to a person without having a panic attack, my future looked pretty bleak, but God has provided for me and used me in ways I am now only beginning to understand. God is good! and so are you. Keep the faith sister!

    Lance (Amy's boyfriend)

  5. Thanks everyone SO MUCH for the support and love. I made it through the night obviously...only a couple of hours sleep, but what can ya do? :)

    I do want to try therapy, but right now money is 'hope we can buy food this week' tight! We've actually looked into the sliding-scale low income type before, but the only thing we found like that in our city was full with a long waiting list, so...

    Life is just a mess right now, both mentally and physically, but I'm sure I'll make it through, I always do. Finding my faith again is important to me, I just need to figure out where to start with God right now. Confusion and anger are at the forefront of our relationship for now, I'm sure I'll get past it somehow.

    Again...THANK YOU ALL. Sometimes a bit of support goes a long way...much longer than you think. :)

  6. I'm reminded of my therapist talking about Jacob wrestling with God, and saying that wrestling is a form of intimacy. There are so many examples in Scripture of folks bringing their confusion and anger directly to God -- Job, Habbakuk, psalmists...

  7. Missy, I haven't been keeping up with blogs for quite some time due to my own anxiety issues. For me, I've been focuse on my pain/surgery, etc. Then I sit down and try to catch up and read yours. We have so much in common. Your 3 things...that's me, too. And even if I could afford therapy, I've tried it in the past and it was not helpful--you have to find the right therapist, something I was never able to do. I'm flawed, I'm isolated, and aside from an occasional Xanax, I go it alone.

    If you ever need to reach out, my email is on my blog. I'd even be delighted to chat on the phone with you. I have free long distance, if that's something you ever want to consider.

    Hugs. Glad you're feeling better. I've been out of it for a few weeks myself this summer, and it stinks, doesn't it! Here it is the end of June *already* and I can't say I've enjoyed the summer at all.

    Email me when you get a chance.

  8. p.s. meant to tell you, too, that I once had a homeschool blog. I gave mine up because of a stalker relative, who is a huge source of my anxiety

  9. this was a brave thing to write. just wanted to give you encouragement. also, we love melatonin here for my son (age 11)