Monday, 3 December 2012

Insurance Company Hell...

Before I declined the settlement offer from my insurance company, I blatantly asked them if they'd make my life a living hell for declining. They said no; things would continue as long as I had a doctor's note stating I was disabled.

Guess what? I probably should have accepted the settlement offer... They are making my life even more of a living hell than it already is, something I didn't think could be possible.

First... They assigned a new Wellness Counsellor to me. Wellness? No. He is an Anthony Robbins wannabe, who doesn't understand that getting better isn't about how I phrase things. (In fact, the way I phrase things became worse - much more negative - over the last  several months BECAUSE of shoddy treatment from the insurance company.  My angst level has increased many, many times because of their antics and lack of true empathy..).

Anyways, I digress. Back to new guy. The 'vibe' from him is NOT good. In fact, I'm terrified of him. He's one of the 'big guns' I guess. You know. The type that thinks they can fix people overnight. I do not trust him with my well-being. He doesn't seem to get it. Platitudes do NOT make effective support.  And, once again, he didn't LISTEN to me.

The way he was speaking (he didn't say it directly) he expects me to be back at work... oh... within the next month or so. And, get this, at my old job at my previous employer... (Just typing that increased my anxiety levels CONSIDERABLY). I told him I was bullied there... and he wants me to return to the place of my torture.

Why doesn't he get it? I can't return to the place where my self-esteem - my self worth - was stomped on and destroyed. Contract or no contract. He did advise that I won't have to return to my hellish former work environment if I get a doctor's note saying it would be detrimental to my health.

Of course, he giddily said my former employers were 'nice' and they were anxious for my return. Maybe the contact was - and to be fair, the contact is lovely and she likes me - but not my boss. My boss who has tried to get me to resign many times since I went on disability. And, folks, it's the same company that fired my former coworker the day after she returned to work after taking a week off because of stress. To return would mean hell... and subsequent firing when they were 'safe' to do so.

I explained to him: I don't want a back to work plan. I need a plan to get BETTER. Then, once I'm even marginally better, I can start thinking about returning to work  No one wants a suicidal, zombie with panic attacks to work for them. D'uh.  I even told him that. Not listening. Just barging through.

(And, why am I more suicidal over the last several months? Stress from the insurance company. Why do they have to add more pressure to my already hellish life? I WANT to get better. I NEED to get better. There's no way that's going to happen if I don't feel safe. Otherwise the anxiety takes over and no progress is made. Dealing with the insurance company has made things much, much worse.)

He did say that he'd arrange for a cognitive behavioural therapist (CBT), who will be paid for by the insurance company. I've been hoping to try CBT to see if it makes a difference. At first, I was relieved... I'd be getting help faster than I can in the health care system.

Upon reflection... the idea is not so cool - especially because he said that there would be 6-8 sessions, and more if I required them (tone of voice: you won't need any more because you'll have returned to work and been 'cured').

And, I can't help but question the ethics of someone in the 'system'. How can I be assured unbiased help when the psychologist is buddy-buddy with the insurance company? (Makes me nauseous just to think/type it).

My gut is that 'Wellness Guy" is in cahoots with the counsellor, and I'll be forced to return to work without feeling any better... further entrenching my depression and anxiety. Of course, I'll be out of their hands, so they won't care; it won't be an issue for them any more.

When I spoke to the counsellors I've been seeing, they suggested that I needed a deeper form of therapy - one that focuses on self-acceptance. They said that CBT will not be particularly helpful because I know the vocabulary. When I emailed this to "Wellness Guy", he 'tut-tutted' me, saying that he would take that into consideration when selecting a psychologist.  I don't think Mr. Know-It-All (yes, he comes across that way) actually has a clue.

Second... (Finally... the first was a bit long winded). In a typical insurance move... my monthly disability payment has not gone through yet - despite assurances to the contrary.  I really think the insurance company's goal is to make my life a living hell, to force me to either kill myself or return to work before I'm ready. Both options lead to their desired goal: me off their system. It's pretty sickening.

I called my contact at the insurance company who advised that it was an honest mistake (and I do believe her), and I was assured I'd receive my payment the next day... Three days in, and I haven't  received any money. I'm upset. But, given that it was an honest mistake, I can live with it (despite being unable to pay my day home/maxing out my overdraft etc.)

However, I do believe that the insurance company doesn't care for my well-being. All they care about is their bottom line. I feel betrayed by them. And, I can never regain that trust.

How can I get better when I no longer feel safe? Will I be forced off insurance before I'm ready and end up worse off than ever before? I don't know. I'm overly anxious about the entire thing. Thank goodness I see my doctor this week.

She's the one who warned me that the insurance company might make my life even more of a living hell if I didn't accept the settlement offer. Little did she know the truth in her assumptions.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Is anyone listening? Not my former Psychiatrist... Sigh.

Ever since being diagnosed with Major Depression, I feel like what I say is dismissed. That I’m being dismissed by those around me.

I wonder if people look at me and say, “Oh, she’s depressed [whispered with a ‘knowing’ snooty smile]. Don’t mind her. Just ignore what she says because we know better than she does.”
I feel this way when I talk to doctors. I feel this way when I talk to counsellors and psychologists. And, I felt this way when I spoke to my psychiatrist.

Like what I was saying doesn’t matter. Like other people – in their infinite wisdom – know better than I do about my condition.

I’m not entirely stupid. I know the condescension. The snickers, the sneers, the ‘poor thing, she doesn’t know any better.’
It’s frustrating. And, it adds to my feelings of invisibility. Today's entry is about my now former psychiatrist.

Example One, most visits with my psychiatrist:

I say, ‘I’m feeling dizzy, nauseas, headachy and tired most of the time.’

The psychiatrist, ‘It’s just a side-effect of the anti-depressants.’

‘But when will those feelings go away?’ I ask.

‘They will,’ he explains. ‘It’s just a side-effect.’

The medication is done, and I still feel sick: dizzy, nauseas, headachy and tired most of the time; I’m barely able to function on most days. So, I go see a walk-in clinic doctor at my new doctor’s office.

‘Doctor, why do I still feel this way?’

‘I don’t know,’ the doctor says. ‘I think I should order more tests.’

‘Thanks!’ I say. Relieved to be heard and praying they find something and wondering if the Effexor was masking or creating other health problems.

Example Two, ALL visits with my psychiatrist:

‘I don’t feel anything.’ I say to the psychiatrist.

‘Oh, yes you do,’ he says. ‘I see emotion in you every time you visit. You’re not flat.’

‘You don’t understand,’ I start to cry. ‘Yes I get upset, but I’m just a ghost in this body. I do things, but I’m just a ghost.’

‘But you’re crying,’ the psychiatrist says. ‘That means you’re experiencing emotion.’

‘I don’t though,’ I try to explain. ‘I don’t feel any normal emotion. I haven’t been able to mourn the deaths of those around me – like a normal person should. I don’t feel any happiness, just sadness. I am a shell.’

‘See,’ says the psychiatrist. ‘You feel things. You don’t have anhedonia. Besides, do you really want to feel more sad?’

‘I just want to feel normal. Have normal reactions again. Or be happy. Experience life again. I’m tired of being a ghost.’

The psychiatrist nods and smiles like I said nothing.

I am still a ghost, faking my way through life and life’s situations.

Example Three, ALL visits with my psychiatrist:

Me: “The medication [Effexor] hasn’t made a difference. I still feel the same as I did before I started taking it.”

Psychiatrist: “No. You’ve improved. I see improvement.”

Me: “Huh? I don’t feel any different or any better. How can this medication be working?”

Psychiatrist: “It is. You are much better. Trust me.”

Despite being off the medication, I am still the same. The Effexor had little – if any - impact on my psychological well-being, and perhaps was detrimental to my health.  Groan.

Thankfully, my psychiatrist ‘fired’ me, so I don’t have to see someone who doesn’t listen to me any more (I hope). And, my doctor will refer me to a new psychiatrist (waiting list CRAZY long).  Sigh.

Of course, the psychiatrist isn’t the only one  to dismiss my symptoms, but you get the drift…

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Insurance Company Woes

I finally made a decision. I was going to roll the dice and continue with the long term disability.

It came after a fright... My line of credit wasn't paid by the insurance company. I really FREAKED out. I was terrified. How could they do this without telling me? It was horrible. I am still reeling. I was hysterical. Can you imagine? Stopping making payments with no warning. No WARNING, SICKENING. Still no proper explanation.

After this happened - my greatest fear happened - I thought I would have  to confront my insurance company. If it happened once, who is to say it won't happen again.  So, I called and was reassured that they wouldn't do it to me - stop payments without warning.  I told her I couldn't accept their settlement offer because I wasn't feeling any better than I was before. I was the same - despite the lack of medication. (How pathetic... I was taking medication for eight months, getting sick from it, and now feeling NO DIFFERENT! The doctor didn't listen to me enough to realise the medication wasn't working!!! What's this health care system about.) She said as long as I had doctor's notes saying I couldn't work, I'd continue to receive payments. Well. I hope so.

All of this sucks. Why does the insurance company treat me like dirt, making things much worse than I already do? I'm already in rough shape. Why do they torment me? Add more to my angst. I really wanted to end things. But, thankfully, I had an appointment with counsellors and was able to hold tight and survive to live another day.

I really think the insurance company wants me to die, so they don't have to continue paying me. That, or push me out before I'm ready. Sick. Sick. Sick. And, to think I honestly thought they were trying to help me. That they were in my corner. Now, in addition to trying to get better, I have to deal with the sneaky, underhanded, manipulative way they are handling my case. Yup. I'm paranoid. But wouldn't  you be?

How am I supposed to get better with this threat hanging over my head?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Is Keeping Up with the Jones' Making us Sad?

What is normal?

The fact that my psychiatrist thought I was ‘normal’ enough to just see a regular family physician and the insurance company thinks I’m mentally healthy enough to return to ‘any occupation’ by mid-July has got me thinking…  What if being a zombie who experiences panic attacks is the social norm?  Is it possible that being happy is abnormal and being unhappy, angst- ridden and ghost-like is the norm?  I mean, why else would my mental health professional and my insurance company be so anxious to get rid of me?
Maybe all those years of happiness, punctuated with some downs too, was an abnormal way of life. Maybe that’s why I never quite fit in. Maybe that’s why people thought I was strange.  Laughing until I cried, being proud of my accomplishments, sharing adventures with my family and friends, and just having fun… Maybe these things are not normal for most. Maybe the overwhelming, heart-swelling joy I experienced was more proof that I was ‘wrong’ somehow.
Think about it. Maybe I’m right. Maybe misery is the norm, but we don’t necessarily see it because ‘successful’ people don’t share their miseries, only their successes. (That's what makes them 'successful', don't you know???)
Realistically, we don’t understand other people’s emotions. We only see what people choose to share with us; what’s socially appropriate. Most people present only positive emotions in public – at coffee-time, on Facebook, while shopping etc. We don’t see or hear all those things that make people feel bad – the negative emotions. Of course, when we compare ourselves to these images, we come up short. No one can always be that perfect. That happy. All. The. Time.
Why do people present more positive than negative? Easy. They want to appear to be ‘winners’, in control and successful in life. No one wants to be the ‘loser.’

People, obviously me included, tend to consciously or unconsciously supress their negative emotions for fear of being ‘different’. Presenting a positive public face is a form of self-preservation. It's a way of 'keeping up with the Jones'" If you’re sad or frustrated and in any way ‘imperfect’, you’re showing signs of weakness – at work, at home, or in with friends. And, if you’re not perfect, well there’s something wrong with you. You’re not fitting in with what you think society expects you to be. Unfortunately, this means that wherever you go or whatever you do, you’re wearing a mask and not revealing your true self – just the shell, the superficial outside. (Sadly, there are those who are perfectly content with knowing your superficial self... Try to minimize those types of people in your life... Too many can be toxic).
Social media – such as Facebook or Twitter – perpetuates this mythology. Generally when posting, or ‘liking’, people want to present themselves in the best possible light. We tend to avoid people who consistently make negative comments in their Facebook posts, leaning towards the positive. Of course, when you’re reading only good things or see people sharing experiences that you want in your life, you might think ‘good for them’, but inevitably, you end up wondering why your life can’t be like that – why your life is coming up short…

When skimming through Facebook, we tend to forget that everyone has their own journey. Everyone has their trials and tribulations. Did you ever think that maybe what you see is an illusion, a façade? Your friend may have got the dream job. But you don't see the hours of hard work, heartbreak and sacrifice that made it happen. Yes, that frenemy might be on vacation somewhere exotic, but you don’t know if she is fighting with her husband all along. What about the couple with the beautiful home? Maybe the wife is addicted to gambling, and they are in danger of losing that home.  What about the parent of kids who seemingly can do no wrong? Maybe the there is more to that too. All you see is the good. You don’t necessarily see or know the background into these so called perfect lives.
The casualties of this social Darwinism, or survival of those most socially adept, are people like me. People who know how to present the façade so well that people don’t even notice there is something wrong. These are the people who desperately need help, but don’t have the strength or courage to ask for it, for fear of being narcissistic (too many folks like that on the internet, sigh) or judged harshly. (That’s one of the reasons I’m kinda like Gossip Girl: “Who am I? I’ll never tell.”).  If we ask for help, we live with the worry that we’ll become social pariah.

In my case, I’ve told a few friends about my situation. Thankfully, most of them have been extremely supportive. Some of the people I haven’t told might understand, but I fear the majority will not. Actually, I know the majority will not. I will be forever labeled as ‘depressed Mom’ and unable to escape the stigma of mental illness.
I wish I could be one of those people who feel comfortable enough in my own skin to share my issues more often – both in person and on-line. Let’s face it. If I had cancer or was in a car accident, I wouldn’t be as reluctant to share. Okay. I probably wouldn’t want to share that either, but I would be less frightened about what people would say and how they’d react. Less afraid of being ostracised. Illness or accident are more socially accepted than mental health issues.
I generally don’t ask for help. I think that’s partially why I’m where I am. My mask is so thick, that I don’t even connect with myself. Perhaps that’s why I’m a zombie with no positive emotions. Ever.

My mask – my social persona – has formed my outward reality, while my insides are dead. Form without function.

The solution? Allow yourself to be different. Allow yourself to share things that make you happy and sad. Be true to yourself – both on the outside and the inside.

I wish I did that more often. Maybe then, I wouldn’t be stuck in this world of darkness unable to escape.

Monday, 22 October 2012


Sadly, sometimes it takes a tragedy to make people stand-up and pay attention to an issue.  Amanda Todd's suicide on October 10, 2012 tragically brought cyber-bullying and bullying into an international spotlight.

I've been following her story since mid-October, and it's made me sad. Not just for Amanda and her family and friends, but those in situations like hers.  Her heartbreaking life and death started me thinking more about bullying and the impacts on my life.

The more I contemplate bullying - and the role it's played in my life - I realise that I have played both roles: victim and bully.

When I think of my life as a 'victim', I think about my childhood and how I was bullied because I was different. I was considered smart, and I never really fit in - sometimes by choice, other times by circumstance. Sometimes I'd defend and befriend those being bullied, and other times, I'd turn a blind-eye so I wouldn't fall prey to bullying too. As a kid, you want to fit in - even if it is to a small degree.

As an adult, it's taken me a long time to realise that I've been a victim of workplace bullying - most recently my former boss. It might seem odd, but I didn't see her as a bully until I started looking up bullying. I found a website, , which speaks to bullying. 

As indicated in one of my earliest blog entries, How I became depressed Mom - work, my former boss would dismiss my ideas (unless they were presented by someone else). I would feel like everything I'd learnt throughout my many years in my industry were useless. I remember driving home, feeling sad about my need to be ethical and do things right. Of course, my right and her right were completely different (her standards were much lower than mine).

I remember going to a meeting with my then new boss. I thought it went okay, but she spent a half hour telling me that 'she'd never been more embarrassed in her entire life.' (in hindsight, REALLY??? REALLY???? Never so embarassed???). We were meeting with a consultant who was exceptionally good at what she did. What did I do? I shared (not over-shared) some of my experience to provide her context and an understanding of my background. The consultant didn't seem offended. But, my boss raised heck afterwards, and wouldn't stop even after I'd apologised. I remember thinking I should quit. And, I should have started looking for work right away. Obviously, I didn't. And, it wasn't until my self-esteem eroded completely that I realised there was something wrong with my boss' 'leadership'. (BTW - other people noticed her treatment of me and commented on it in private. No one stood up for me though).

Philosophically, I'd never been one to think that 'I'm all that.' I've always looked for ways to make my work better. I've never been the person to take credit for other people's work. In fact, I've been known to give away credit for things I've accomplished. So, as my boss started demeaning my work and my accomplishments, I didn't think twice. I'd already been doing it for years. Why would I notice when she was doing it?

Looking at the bullying website's section on workplace bullying, my boss' tendency to bully me are even more apparent.

Here's an excerpt from the page 'What is bullying?' My comments are italicised and bold.
  • constant nit-picking, fault-finding and criticism of a trivial nature - the triviality, regularity and frequency betray bullying; often there is a grain of truth (but only a grain) in the criticism to fool you into believing the criticism has validity, which it does not; often, the criticism is based on distortion, misrepresentation or fabrication (check)
  • simultaneous with the criticism, a constant refusal to acknowledge you and your contributions and achievements or to recognise your existence and value (check)
  • constant attempts to undermine you and your position, status, worth, value and potential (check, check, check)
  • where you are in a group (eg at work), being singled out and treated differently; for instance, everyone else can get away with murder but the moment you put a foot wrong - however trivial - action is taken against you (check - remember me being 'shushed'?)
  • being isolated and separated from colleagues, excluded from what's going on, marginalised, overruled, ignored, sidelined, frozen out, sent to Coventry
  • being belittled, demeaned and patronised, especially in front of others (check)
  • being humiliated, shouted at and threatened, often in front of others (check - except the shouted at part...)
  • being overloaded with work, or having all your work taken away and replaced with either menial tasks (filing, photocopying, minute taking) or with no work at all (check - I had to do the menial tasks the junior person didn't want to do)
  • finding that your work - and the credit for it - is stolen and plagiarised (check - my comments were 'ignored', until my boss took ownership of them as her own).
  • having your responsibility increased but your authority taken away (check - I was always working with no authority and very little credit)
  • having annual leave, sickness leave, and - especially - compassionate leave refused (no... instead, when I became too sick to work, she INSISTED I not return)
  • being denied training necessary for you to fulfil your duties (check - she would ALWAYS suggest I take additional training, but never give me time to take them or allow me to take courses that the junior person was encouraged to take... even though my skill-sets were a more natural fit for that type of training)
  • having unrealistic goals set, which change as you approach them (check - she would create bizarre arbitrary deadlines for things. Suddenly, projects had to be done 'yesterday.')
  • ditto deadlines which are changed at short notice - or no notice - and without you being informed until it's too late (check - see above)
  • finding that everything you say and do is twisted, distorted and misrepresented (well, not so much... she just ignored my ideas until someone else suggested them)
  • being subjected to disciplinary procedures with verbal or written warnings imposed for trivial or fabricated reasons and without proper investigation (No... Despite her treatment of me, she was always complimentary to my face during evaluations. Her big exception? The junior person. She always wanted me to be nicer to her. I couldn't. I was polite to her, but I couldn't be more inclusive...She wasn't nice to me, and I didn't want to include her more in projects she wasn't a part of. Does that make me a bully too?)
  • being coerced into leaving through no fault of your own, constructive dismissal, early or ill-health retirement, etc (check - my boss REFUSED to allow me to return to work early in my illness, when I thought I should return; and she started sending me settlement offers when it looked like I was about to return).
So now you see why I don't want to return to the place of torture.

Of course, reading the list, my conscience hurts knowing that I too have been a bully. Not on purpose; more out of pressure on my shoulders to deliver and a frustrating realisation that some people didn't have the skill set or desire to get the job done.

Am I just as guilty as my former boss? Maybe. Probably. Yes. On some days to some people.

Was it intentional? No. Well, sometimes.

Self-preservation? Yes.

Retaliation for being bullied? Yes. Sometimes.

Do I regret it? Yes. Yes. Yes.

I wish I could have done better. Been better. I did the best I could with what I had and the pressure I was facing. I was just trying to make my life easier, so I could get the tasks done. I would apologise and explain, but doesn't change my initial actions.

Can I change? YES. Now I know better and will try harder to be cognisant of my actions.

Do I think my boss will ever change? No. She is too narcissistic to change. Although she asks for feedback about her leadership skills, your words go in one ear and go out the other. I don't think she thinks she's ever wrong; she doesn't have that level of introspection.

In the description of a bully, she definitely meets these criteria:
  • when called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression
  • often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate person, in contrast to their behaviour and treatment of others; the bully is oblivious to the discrepancy between how they like to be seen (and believe they are seen), and how they are actually seen
So what have I learnt?  I've validated the fact that I've been bullied by my last boss so much that I've lost all confidence in my skills and ability to work in the industry. I don't think I can EVER return to the industry I've worked in for 20 years. Faith in myself and the industry is irrevocably shaken. I'm no longer 'X' the 'X professional.' I'm depressed Mom. Perhaps that's all I'll ever be.

I've also learnt that anyone can be a bully, even though it can be unintentional. And, perhaps bullies need understanding too. Recent research has linked bullying to mental illness. (But that's another story... and perhaps another blog entry). Maybe I'm more of a bully than I think I am.

One thing for certain: bullying exists and is a complex social issue. Amanda Todd reminded us of that. I am grateful to her for that. But, she shouldn't have had to pay the ultimate price for it. She deserved better.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Making Decisions and More

Decision about Long Term Disability
I made a decision without making a decision. The stress of the long term disability settlement offer has been overwhelming. I've been experiencing this veil of anxiety for months, not certain what to do.

After talking with my doctor and my lawyer, I still didn't think I could make a decision... So, I asked my employer and the insurance company for an extension.  No word yet. But, I just can't make a decision without knowing a bit more about my mental and physical health.  We'll see what they come back with.  Thankfully, there is no worse-case scenario in this... Or at least right now I don't think there is.  If they give an extension, then I have about another month to see specialists, take my tests and decide. If they don't, then I go back to the insurance company...

Okay, I am totally paranoid about them making me jump through more significant hoops and making me even more stressed and sicker, or decide to stop making payments. I don't want to have to use my lawyer and to fight for something that I'm entitled to.  And, there will be a lawsuit if they stop making payments.  Just because I'm sick doesn't mean that I don't have people willing to help me fight the 'Big Brother' looking over my shoulder...

Let's face it. The insurance company doesn't care about me and my well-being. All they care about was their bottom line. I think they'd prefer me to take the settlement offer, so they don't have to risk paying anything after the 24 month mark. It's sick. They'd rather have me suffer, than continue to pay me to get better.

And, even worse, I am worried sick they'll force me to go back to the company with no ethics and no morals. I would rather do almost anything else than return to the place of hell.  I worry that I will die if I return. It might sound extreme, but if you were in that hell-hole, you'd feel that way too.

Mental Health
Fine. I now admit it. Perhaps the Effexor had more 'positive' impact on my mental well-being than I thought. The generalised angst and the constant panic have returned when I leave my home. And, once again, I wake up from my sleep extremely anxious and afraid.  Not sure how much of this has to do with the insurance company offer, as it got worse when the initial offer was made (while I was still taking Effexor), and now I feel it more often... Okay. Much of the time.

Oddly enough, I'm still a zombie. A zombie with panic attacks.  I am not present. I am not here. I am just existing. Like a ghost. I wish I could be present and experiencing life rather than in this bizarre dream/trance-like state.

To make matters worse, I thought that once I was off the Effexor, I would be able to experience positive emotion. My theory? If the Effexor made me more 'flat', then maybe not taking it would help me experience positive emotions.  Well, sadly I was wrong. No positive emotion whatsoever.

Life without positive emotion is horrible.  There's no positive reinforcement for anything  I do. Instead of feeling happy when something should make me happy, I feel sad and cry.  (Okay, I wasn't doing that on Effexor). On the upside, at least something, somewhere within me knows I should be experiencing a positive emotion... It just comes out wrong. All wrong.

Solution? Don't know. Thanks to our local mental health hotline, I've been set up with counselling sessions starting next week. (I also have an appointment with the counsellor at my doctor's office for mid-November). Should I go back to the anti-depressants? I'd rather not. I worry that I'll go back to the cycle of it not helping me... Getting my 'hopes' up that each pill I take will make me feel better, and then I feel crushed when it doesn't. I'd like to request another psychiatrist. One who listens to me...

And, I am so desperate to get better (deep breath), I'd like to investigate the possibility of trying electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Maybe I'll become better if I 'reboot' my brain.

Physical Health
My health has been driving me nuts. Some symptoms I've been experiencing have existed all throughout my journey with Effexor. I was labelling these health concerns as Effexor side-effects; now that I'm no longer on Effexor, the symptoms persist.  I have to take some tests (yes, I have the forms). I just hope the doctors can figure out what's wrong. My physical health is making it harder for me to want to go out. And, it's been a distraction from my mental health issues. How can I focus on my mental health when I'm not feeling well? When I'm feeling sick much of the time.

Too much. Too sad. Too blank. Too invisible.

Fingers crossed I'll feel better - physically, mentally, spiritually - very soon. Sadly, I don't even know what hope is any more.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Self pity... Woe is me...Boo hoo...

I think the title says it all.

Do you know what it's like to me?  I really, sincerely hope not.  No one should have to go through this hell. Not even me... LOL.

Do you know what it's like to know you're in love with your husband and kid and NOT FEEL A THING? See breath-taking scenery, share stories and hugs with the little people in your life, try to EXPERIENCE the beauty of life and NOT FEEL A THING?

I know.

Do you know what it's like being a zombie (well, a tiny bit less so now that I'm off Effexor), who suffers from panic and fear (more so than when I was on Effexor)?

I know.

Do you know what it's like when you feel panic, rage and fear in situations and circumstances that never made you feel like that before?

I know.

Do you know what it's like to feel manipulated by an insurance company and their 'policies' to accept a settlement package?

I know.

Okay, I haven't accepted anything. But I do feel let down by their sneaky tactics. They aren't looking out for me (like they said they would). They're looking out for their bottom line. Not certain what to do, I did an on-line search. Not good news. Because 'depression' is considered a self-reporting illness, the insurance companies take FULL ADVANTAGE of the grey areas - and try not to pay out individuals beyond the 'inability to work within own profession' - or the two year period. And of course, legally, there's a lot of wiggle room there. Sadly, to the advantage of the insurance company. The insurance companies are making people sick. VERY SICK. No one should be bullied by an insurance company - or an employer.

I know I'm not the only one who feels this overwhelming sense of hopelessness. And, for that, I'm very sad....  NO ONE should feel this way. Let me repeat: NO ONE SHOULD FEEL THIS WAY. Even you - if you're reading this and feeling sad.

Thank you INSURANCE COMPANY. Not only am I sick, but you've robbed me of the chance to even envision a future. Assholes (sorry for the language). How many people have you done this to? How many people have ended their lives because they couldn't reason with unreasonable faces? Sick bastards. How do you fight them? I even read an article about a person who was told that because she was fighting too hard for the insurance, she wasn't sick enough to get it. HOW RIDICULOUS!

Not sure what I can do to end this bullying. HELP!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Depressed Mom - Update

It's been a while since my last update.  Sorry about that.

A lot has been going on.

Insurance Company Settlement Offer
The stress of deciding whether or not to accept the settlement offer from the insurance company and my employer weighs on me heavily.  I keep reading horror stories from people saying that they had significant problems with the insurance company (before and) after they rejected the settlement offer.

I saw my doctor about the issue, and she said she didn't know if I'd be better in a month, or by July, or in a year.  She couldn't project my health.  She suggested that I continue to go through the hoops of long term disability, but ONLY IF I think I won't be forced to endure grief from the insurance company.  Sadly, I am worried that my recovery will be compromised by whatever decision I make. 

WHAT IF I NEVER GET BETTER?  WHAT IF THIS IS MY LIFE FROM NOW ON?  I wouldn't be able to cope.  And, I don't think I would be long for this world.  (Sorry for my frankness, but it's true... I would rather die than endure the torture from the insurance company). I am filled with worry and 'what if's'.

Of course, all of this makes sense.  The insurance company is banking on my fears of being cancelled to force me to accept a settlement offer that I might not be ready for. It is sick... VERY SICK. The insurance companies manipulating people who are sick - making them more sick - for their own financial benefit.

I will wait to talk to my lawyer... See what she suggests.

My psychiatrist dropped me... Of course, I started to cry.  He said he's gone as far as he could with me, so he referred my case back to my doctor (NOTE: first communication with my doctor). Basically, because I wasn't compatible with group therapy and I wasn't getting better/getting worse, I was told that I should visit my doctor for help. I feel abandoned. Translation: being a zombie with panic attacks is considered a cure and/or acceptable by the psychiatric community. Pretty pathetic.

Effexor Withdrawal
If you're depressed and taking anti-depressants, be VERY careful about which ones you take. Do your research before you pop a pill. Of course, if you're like me, you're too depressed to do research and discover the impacts of medication - when you're on it and when you decide to stop taking it.  I learned that antidepressants - which are supposed to be non-addictive - can create depressive symptoms as a withdrawal symptom. This makes you think you're still depressed and need to continue taking the medications.  I'd suggest you read The Anti-Depressant Antidote or Taking Anti-Depressants if you're considering taking or discontinuing the medication.

Tired of being a zombie with panic-attacks, DESPERATE to experience positive emotion, and wanting to know if I could function without them, I decided to stop taking the medication.  I tapered off my usage, and it's been horrible. The physical side-effects were (and are) brutal. And, now that I'm no longer on the medication, I don't know if it made a real difference in my life.  I don't feel happiness (although now I start to cry when something would have made me happy in the past); my anxiety levels haven't increased (or decreased), but the occurrence of anxiety has increased. Groan.  I don't know if it was a good decision to stop taking it, but something had to give.

I don't want to remain on medication forever... I want to be able to move on and live a 'normal' life... Whatever that might be.

Physical Sickness
I missed out on one of the nicest summers in recent history because of surgeries and illness. I'm still physically not well. Thankfully, I've enrolled in a pain clinic to help me out with my physical issues.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Zombie with panic attacks...

Okay, I am getting a bit pissed with the offer from my insurance company.  Aren't they supposed to be helping me to get better?  Just a thought.

And, I'm not much better than I was a year ago. I'm still a zombie who suffers panic attacks, anxiety, and sometimes, tremendous darkness and guilt.  Why would the insurance company think I am fit to cancel my policy and accept a settlement?  Yes, I am bitter.  And, they don't even bother to talk to me. Just send these cold letters and emails.  How horrible is that? 

I hate being a number... a statistic for them. Not a person to be helped.  How frustrating.


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A rock and a hard place...

My insurance company and my former employer have offered a settlement.  Translation: the insurance company wants to pay me out for the next several months, and my employer wants to terminate my relationship with them.

I don't feel any better, and I don't know if I'll be able to work... So, if I accept the offer (which is enough to sustain us for the next several months), and I don't get better, we're a bit screwed. However, the benefit of the offer is a lump sum and not worrying about filling out the stupid forms, which costs $$, and being concerned about what big brother the insurance company thinks about my health.  What if they think I'm ready to return to work, even though I, and the health professionals I see, don't think so?  I'll be out of money.  And, if I get better before the 11 or so months are up, the money is 'free'.  If I don't get better, then I'm not entitled to ANYTHING - no more support or assistance - financial or otherwise.

I have asked for an extension from my employer and the insurance company, as my next appointment with my psychiatrist is towards the end of August.  We'll see.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Dark clouds, with rays of hope

I'm feeling out of sorts right now, like there's a dark cloud above my head (so much for following my psychologist's suggestion that I watch how I talk to myself).

First, I have a lingering sinus infection, adding fog and pain to my already foggy head. Second, I've been experiencing jaw/tooth pain, so I had to go in for surgery on my jaw yesterday to remove an infection trapped in my gum line. Not fun. Hopefully, the removal of the infection will make a cyst in my mouth disappear.

Other than my physical complaints, I just feel like everything around me is going wrong (except for my beautiful son, who is becoming a big boy so quickly, and my man, who loves me even though I look like Marlon Brando on one side of my face).  I am more financially unstable than usual; I don't feel like I have any space to myself any more; and I'm questioning my insurance company's commitment to my well being.  I missed my appointment with my psychologist the other day because the pre-surgery medications were making me very nauseous.

On the upside, I have been seeing my psychologist. And, she is lovely.  We've been talking about my negative self talk, breathing better and coping skills. I try to follow her instructions (Yoda's words of wisdom always come to mind when I hear the word 'try'. "Do or not do; there is no such thing as try" - paraphrasing, of course). And, when I remember to follow her instructions, I do feel better.  I also signed up for a pain management class, which looks promising. 

Well, perhaps there is some light shining through the dark clouds....

Friday, 29 June 2012

But, the thing is...

Monday’s session with my psychologist went very well – despite the fact that I was COMPLETELY out of it. I was in such a haze I wasn’t sure what I was saying. It was like I was only partially conscious. Well, at least I remembered the important parts (at least I hope – LOL).

We talked about language and how the words we use to talk to ourselves – and others – shape our lives.
Now, I’ve always considered myself to be an optimist (despite the title of this blog and my recent circumstances).  To learn that perhaps my language has been adversely affecting my life was a bit of a shock.  It’s somewhat like going to Weight Watchers, thinking you eat healthy meals regularly, only to discover that you don’t get enough of the basics – water, veggies and fruit.
Apparently, one of the things I say is ‘but, the thing is’ and then I justify why something isn’t possible or wrong, or why I’ve wriggled out of something.  I noticed I use ‘but’ a lot in my writing, and I’ve been consciously trying to curb that trend; but however, I didn’t realise how often I use it in my everyday language.  My psychologist’s challenge to me is to stop using this ‘justifying’ language.

I’ve tried to be more cognisant of the words I use to talk to myself and others as well. I realised I do put myself down quite a bit, under the guise of self-depreciating humour or some sort of misguided modesty. Why can’t I acknowledge my talents, abilities, skills and goodness?  Why do I downplay my accomplishments to myself and others?  Is it a fear of being ‘un-lady-like’?  Or perhaps, I was told to stop bragging, when I would share stories of my life going well. Even though I know some of the things I said were just matter of fact, sometimes I would brag, out of a need to show that the poor, not-so-little, Hungarian girl, from a modest background was doing okay in this big, bad scary world.
Sometimes, I think my words are about not needing to be the centre of attention all of the time. I know too many people who need the attention focused on them for one reason or another. Those people irritate and frustrate me.  I don’t need to be the star of every event, and I certainly don’t need to share every drama. Perhaps, I’ve taken it too far and stopped sharing my thoughts and feelings – even in my personal life.  I’ve downplayed my emotional and physical pain – sometimes considerably and to my own peril. (I’ve even downplayed my emotional agony on this blog, so even you - mostly complete strangers – don’t know how dark my world can become). Perhaps this repression of negative emotion had a role in creating the complete absence of positive emotion.

Of course, there is an upside to all of this. Now that I’ve admitted I have a problem with my mental and physical health, I’ve been able to take steps to remedy the situation. Obviously, I now see my psychologist, but I’ve also booked an appointment to go to the pain clinic to learn how to cope with my physical pain as well. (I’ve always treated my headaches as ‘background’ pain; now I’ll be able to address the issue head-on).
My homework assignment for the next couple of weeks:
  1. Continue to breathe, focusing not only on the intake of breath, but the exhale.
  2. Remind myself of my affirmation: (inhale) I embrace the now; (exhale) I let go of the past.
  3. Watch what I say. Words are affirmations, and they shape and become my reality.
  4. Write more. Write more. Write more.

‘Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness ‘til it bleeds daylight.’
– Bruce Cockburn

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Visiting my psychologist

About a year ago, I was seeing a lovely psychologist. I thought she was very helpful. But, as loyal readers of this blog know, I was asked not to see her again for various reasons.

Well, I thought it's time for me to take more control of my recovery, so I booked several appointments with her.

At my first meeting last week, I updated her on everything and apologised for my long absence. Yesterday's meeting was a bit more productive. I explained my general anxiety about doing things and my inability to be present. And, her advice was to take a deep, focused breath every 15 minutes or so, just to change my focus to the inside.  Good advice. I've been trying it. (Of course, I forgot when I felt anxiety at the grocery store. Oops!). I hope this will be the start of REAL recovery (recognising that I've probably made some progress, but so small and gradual that I haven't even noticed it).

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Tests, discussions and fighting for my life

It's been a while since my last update. Things have been a bit busy around here, and I haven't had a chance or the willpower/energy to fill you in on the latest up until now.

Much of April was spend visiting a psychometrist. Yup, that word stumped me too.  Basically, a psychometrist is a person who conducts testing to assess your brain functioning and skill level.

Stealing from the definition from the National Association of Psychometrists:

A thorough neuropsychological test battery often assesses a variety of domains including (but not limited to): cognitive functioning, attention and concentration skills, language functioning, verbal and visuo-spatial abilities, academic/achievement performance, memory abilities, motor and sensory-motor integration, effort, executive functioning, and emotional status. A full neuropsychological evaluation often requires 6-8 hours to administer and score depending on the population and referral question.

So, for several days, I felt like BoBo the clown. I participated in tests designed to assess my memory, concentration levels etc. I played with blocks, tried to remember stories, sequences and words.

You see, one of the issues of concern is my memory. I forget common words, although I can tell you what the object is used for or means. I do things out of sequence - like put wrapped butter in the microwave instead of the fridge. I forget faces and names, which is unusual for me. I mix up sentences as I speak and can't figure out how to say what I need to say... And, earlier this week (oh, joy of joys), I forgot how to put a bra on... Something I've been doing almost everyday for the last 30 years.  So, yes, it can get pretty disturbing.

But I digress... back to the testing and results.

Then, I met with a psychologist to assess the results. To be truthful, I felt a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz - when she and her friends finally had the chance to receive the gifts they were searching for from the Wizard. The Scarecrow got his brains, the Tin man his heart, and the Lion his courage... "but I don't think there's anything in your bag for me." And, there wasn't much he could do or say for me.

Here's what we found out:
  • I'm an introvert, who suffers from anxiety, panic etc.
  • I have no positive emotion and spend much of my day in a trance-like state.
  • I am depressed and have suicidal ideation.
  • I am allegedly intelligent (although I don't feel like that anymore).
  • My visual memory is below average, while other functioning is within an acceptable range.
  • It's possible that this issue relates to a head injury incurred in 1991, where I suffered from post-concussion syndrome. The one action, which lead to other health issues, may have been the root cause of all of this... (Can anyone relate to this?)
  • My migraines and headaches are not controlled, so I should see another specialist - this time a migraine pain specialist - to address the issue.
  • The lesions in my brain should be re-examined via MRI to see if they are impacting my situation (highly doubtful, though).
  • I should probably change my medication from Effexor to something else that doesn't impact my heart and health as much.
His solutions? Well, not many. Volunteer or try to do something part-time - not ready for that. I might be ready to start taking classes, though. And, undergo extensive psychotherapy...

Needless to say, I left his office feeling very defeated and wanting to just sit in a corner and cry.

No real answers... My next meeting with my psychiatrist is in a couple of weeks, so hopefully, there will be some solutions there.

Then, I received a letter from the insurance company. It seemed nice enough, but I am terrified. For some reason, it freaked me out entirely. Maybe it was the suggestion I work with them to return to work. Maybe it was just having my life - my strange life - written onto paper by someone else, without emotion - just the facts.

So, now I'm left fighting for my life - feeling alone in my quest. Well, alone from at least a professional perspective.  If 'they' can't help, I have to find my own solutions.

I started meditating and trying to be more positive again, and I will return to my regular workouts once my tooth/jaw situation is resolved (another LONG story. hopefully by mid-next week). I am also trying to force myself to meet with at least one person (not close family member) a week, with the hopes that I become less afraid of whatever I'm afraid of.

The meditation seems to help keep me more calm - not as frightened of everything as I have been lately. And, I have been trying to look for all the positives in my world. Fortunately, there's been lots of good things happening recently, so it's been easier to count my blessings. I've also been working towards changing my inner thought patterns. Switching the negatives to more positive framing and trying to be more optimistic in my outlook.

Unfortunately, a few set backs... I had a tooth pulled, so I'm in pain; I created/got into a car accident (no one was hurt - just my car, his car, my pride and my insurance rating), and I burnt my finger on a hot BBQ coal (stupid).

I think that trying to adopt a more positive attitude will be helpful in dealing with life's challenges. I've always thought I was a positive person, but thinking about ideas, I have come to realise that my 'positive attitudes' were reserved for other people and not necesssarily me. My self talk - especially recently - has been very negative and not life affirming. In an upcoming post, I'll talk more about flipping the negatives into positives.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Be the person you want to meet

Over the last year or so, I can honestly say that I am not the person I'd want to meet. I'd be frightened to meet this person. I wouldn't know how to react to her - what to say or how to interact with her. How can I be the type of person I would want to meet and spend time with? Now that's the question...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Latest update...

So, the panic attacks have returned... So much for feeling no positive and negative emotion.  And, my medication has been upped to 150 mg of Effexor, in addition to 30 mg of Adderal each day.

I'm going to see a psychometrist and a psychologist in April to further refine and label what I'm experiencing (with the hopes of getting better).

My disability insurance lady is going to hook me up - sometime soon - with someone who will help me navigate through my illness with the hopes of full recovery (fingers crossed).

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

This is not what I had envisioned...

As a child, dreaming of my future, I always pictured wonderful career with travel (and me writing... writing... writing), a husband who is my shining soul mate, beautiful kids and being tremendously happy. Tremendously happy.

Part of that is true. I'm with my soul mate and have the most precocious precious son a Mommy could ask for. I'm madly in love with the two men in my life.  But the rest, wasn't as I planned.

If  my teenage, or young self, could have predicted this, they would have been horrified.  I have  become my worst nightmare... Well, not quite. If I gained 100 pounds, took up smoking and drinking diet Coke all day, THAT would be my worst nightmare.

I never wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom... Not that there is anything wrong with that... Because I've seen many ways that stay-at-home Mom's make it work and embrace their inner spirit, continuing to be who they are and blooming.  But, it's not in my nature to be one of them. My nature is more outside the home. Thankfully, we can still afford to send my son to a day home.  It makes my life easier - especially with all the appointments. And, it helps me feel less guilty for not 'being there' as much as I feel I should be for my son.

Now that I'm 42 (or will be soon), I want to have a life I am proud to be living, instead of cowering at home. Ineffective. Embarrassed to be who I am. Embarrassing.

How do I get my life back on track? Be the person I was meant to be?

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I am sad...

... and I don't know if that's a bad thing.

After a couple of months of experiencing NO emotion, I'm starting to feel stuff... Like anxiety about leaving the comfort of my home. Or sadness. The kind of dull sadness that makes you want to weep at the drop of a hat. Weep - not the hysterical cry of a person grieving - just the whimpers of someone who is almost uncertain about how to feel.

This could be a good thing. Maybe I am starting to be ready to deal with all of issues that lead to me becoming this way.  Really. I mean how could I - who had everything anyone could ask for - a wonderful husband and child, a successful career, a beautiful home (in progress, but still...), and adventures at her fingertips - have sunk so deep and become a ghost, wandering through a world, unable to feel or make a difference. Maybe I 'need' to feel sad to confront these demons - to move out of this darkness.

Of course, this new found sadness could be because of a combination of things... I'm supposed to go for a psychological evaluation... which I'd like to do, but I'm scared to do (I still haven't called the psychologist's office back). Or maybe it's because I have to complete a form that says I'm not fit to do any work (this would be for my line of credit insurance). Or maybe, my medication is starting to be ineffective.  Or, the other possibility, PMS.

Don't know.

All I know is that I just want to crawl into a ball and ignore the world. Can I do that?

Saturday, 4 February 2012

My son

My Mom brought my son home from the day home the other day, and I was sleeping in the spare (formerly my) bedroom. As I lay there and he came to join me, I realised that many of his memories of his Mom will be of me lying in bed, not feeling well.  Or, of him saying, "Mommy has a doctor's appointment."

It  scared me. Really scared me. My son should have memories of time in the park or at the zoo... Not of a Mom who is too sick to interact with him.

Okay, admittedly, I did just have a tooth removed ('complex procedure' involving stitches), and I am in a considerable amount of physical pain.  But, it still worries me.  The little guy deserves more.  Now the question is, how can I give him more? Not sure, as right now any time I move too much or get my pulse rate up, I am in extreme pain - despite the pain killers.

I still need to give him more... Now and when my mouth/jaw/gaping hole feels better.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The tooth hurts

Just feeling whiny... My tooth hurts lots, and I'm trying to go see the dentist as soon as humanly possible.  But why can I feel physical pain and nothing else? Not fair.


At least the tooth pain is distracting me from my mental health concerns. LOL

Monday, 23 January 2012

Dr.'s Appointment

Today, I saw my psychiatrist again.

I've been experiencing odd memory loss (i.e. knowing what an object does, but being unable to name it - these are every day objects like a saw, watering can etc.; being unable to remember/follow the conversation I am involved in; driving in the wrong lane (a couple seconds at best) because I thought a street was a one way) and migraines, quite severe migraines, lately.  This is over the past three weeks or so. I shared this information with him, and he suggested I take a psychological evaluation. He also is worried about my driving and threatened to take  away my driver's licence temporarily. But, he said that it was unlikely that I've suffered brain damage (????), so he'll wait until the psych exam is complete... and we'll revisit it.

On the 'good news' side, he did complete my insurance form for my VISA Card.  Yeah! I guess that means my bill will be paid. Whew!

One more nice thing... he did think I was only 33... LOL. Anyone over the age of 35 would appreciate that...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dark curtain surrounds me...

A dark curtain surrounds me, and I wish I could see some light, or even glimpse outside of it.

I don't know why I'm feeling so tired... and an odd thing has been happening. I forget words for simple things - like watering cans. I am so confused. Frustrated.

And my brain feels like it's shaking, when I don't have a pounding headache, that is.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Call from Disability Insurance Folks...

Today, I received my monthly call from the long term disability lady... She seems very sweet.

I realised that whenever I talk to her, I talk in the present... So, whatever I say represents the right now, not what I've been going through over the last month... I share what is true for the moment.

The good news is that I'll be assigned a 'health counsellor', ideally next month. This person would help me navigate the health care process with the goal of easing myself back to work. My intellect says  this is a great thing; I need help to survive this ghost-like non-existence.  However, I am too neutral to care one way or another.

I am still exhausted today... and eating way too much. I hope to get out today, despite the chilly temperatures... I think I am more prone to sit still at home...even with my little guy here.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Exhaustion and hunger...

I don't know why I'm feeling particularly exhausted, apathetic and hungry lately... I can barely stay awake, and to fend off exhaustion, I've been eating.  I wonder if it's the medication... or perhaps something else.  I don't know.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The distracted robot...

I feel like  a distracted robot... Things that gave pleasure, no longer do.  And, I can't keep my focus on one thing long enough... TV shows, movies, books, magazines, games... you name it.  I am a zombie... Waiting for rescue. I think, if I could, I would just sit, stare and sleep... If  it wasn't for my son, I'm not sure how long I could hold out this way.  I don't have the energy to act on anything, though.  Sigh.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

I just can't...

Every day I try... I try to have a quasi-normal life... I try to return to who I was... But I can't.

Today, my husband and I went out to pick out some tile for our bathrooms. I wasn't gone for very long, and I was exhausted... So exhausted and headachy that all I wanted to do was crawl into bed... and so I did... For the entire afternoon.

For Christmas, I received a book I've been desperate to read, but I haven't even cracked it... Too difficult to concentrate. Even magazine articles are difficult to read if they are longer than 250 words...

I can't watch my favourite shows without zoning out or feeling... I don't know... restless... but not quite. Just not there.

How can I become more 'present'?

I wish the answers would come more easily.

I found some quotes to help find hope...
Men's best successes come after their disappointments.
Henry Ward Beecher

The best way out is always through.
Robert Frost

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust

When one door closes another opens. But often we look so long so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us.
Helen Keller

Monday, 9 January 2012


I saw my regular doctor today (needed to renew my birth control prescription... TMI... sorry).  I had to bring up my concerns with my psychiatrist... Things like cancelling appointments, not booking appointments when he says he will, not completing forms for my disability claim in reasonable time, not communicating with my doctor and not following up with me...

The answer... not great.  Basically, my doctor said that most psychiatrists in Canada (or at least in my city) will see someone a few times, then return their file to their family physician.  And, because I already have a psychiatrist, it will be difficult to even get another doctor to see me.

Translation: I can't switch doctors because 1) I might not find a new one and 2) I run the risk of losing my disability claim (i.e. must be completed by medical doctors only).

Unfortunately, as alluded to in one of my comments, I can't even go the route I'd prefer: through a naturopath, because they aren't recognised as credible medical professionals... How much does that suck?

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Yesterday, while I was at my Mom's, she was trying to make a point with my son and kept comparing him to the other kids at his day home... Then I realised all these comparisons throughout my life (and comments like, "What will the neighbours/other people think?") might have contributed to my fear of judgement and social anxiety. Now, I have to figure out a way to stop this pattern with my child, especially when he's around my mother.

I also realised part of my problem might be a lack of problem-solving skills... part of my up-bringing.  My mother has this habit of trying to look at everything with rose-coloured glasses. Not entirely a bad thing.  But when you gloss over things that are bad in life, you don't learn how to cope with them.  You learn to ignore and bury. Not a technique that should be encouraged.  Problems do exist. Pain does exist. I think it's better to confront and deal with them, so you can move on... and not have to stay still. 

There's a blog that I periodically read and I find it irritating... (The couple are friends of friends, so I won't post it here). Everything in their lives is "perfect". No temper-tantrums from their kids (both under five), no potty-training issues, the kids are super-smart and clever, cute photos are consistently posted, even major financial and health issues are glossed over.  (I have no idea how they make ends meet with their lifestyle and one income). The on-line world they've created is an illusion (it would be unnatural if it wasn't)... This is how they want to be perceived. I'm sure you've seen similar blogs or Facebook updates where people only post the 'too good to be true all the time' things.

I think there's a real danger to not admitting problems - especially around kids... Real life can be beautiful and wonderful, but there are challenges and knowing how to deal with them completes the magic of life. Life would be dull if everything were perfect. (Although, I wouldn't mind some 'perfection' here...LOL).

So, the long-winded lessons of the day are:
  • Stop comparing yourself (and your kids) to others. Everyone has a different life path, different talents and skills and different experiences. Be true to yourself and allow others to do the same.
  • Don't gloss over problems. They exist, and they need to be addressed. Work towards making your world a better place - not by ignoring life - but by tackling challenges head-on.


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Appointment... Cancelled...

So after anxiously driving across town to see my psychiatrist, he asks me to speak to him on the phone... He cancelled on me due to an emergency... Well, I thought I was important too. I guess I was wrong.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Appointment tomorrow...

I'm meeting my psychiatrist tomorrow. And, I am filled with dread.  There hasn't been any progress.  I still have panic attacks in crowded places, but I generally feel nothing. My concentration levels suck, and I just want to crawl into bed and sleep most days.

I don't know what he's going to recommend.

I need change... but part of me doesn't care any more...

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Holiday Season

Another year without emotion...


My Grandmother died.  Nothing.  No saddness. Just neutral.  My beloved cousin died.  Nothinng. Neutral. Christmas came and went. Nothing.  Now it's New Year's day... Normally, I participate in elaborate rituals to ensure a good new year. Not this time. I was in bed at 12:05 am...

Not sure what 2012 will bring.  All I know is it needs to be better than 2011.