Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Old Enemy Moves In

Several months ago, I wrote a post entitled A Visit From an Old Enemy, and it was more or less summarizing the fact that my anxiety disorder had been under control for nearly a year, but that I was having sudden anxiety worrying about the upcoming minor surgery my little C was about to undergo.

The Enemy: my anxiety, my madness, hasn’t just come to visit, it’s moved in, I swear it. Just parked it there, right in the middle of my living room. What an arse-hole. Unwelcome houseguests are the worst. They take up space, sap all your time and energy…and my little home doesn’t feel like a hearth when my leg’s a jigglin’ and my mind’s racing, wondering how I can please It, how I can placate It so that It doesn’t rear it’s ugly head and destroy my home or myself or my poor husband’s resilience. And how do I please the bastard?
By numbing myself.
And how do I numb myself?
With nothing that is healthy, I can assure you of that.
And I fight it, yes readers, I fight and fight and fight, but I wonder (perhaps too often) how much more I can endure.

And even when I am calm, either with a brief respite by taking Xanax, or if, by some miracle, my brain has managed to calm itself, I always feel uneasy, just knowing that It’s there, skirting the edges, flitting around the living room, waiting until it can move in again and get cozy with me on the sofa, and seize control.

I don’t know if this is environmental, or genetic (damn my crazy ancestors!) or if I just simply drew the short stick in this life, but I’m so, so tired. Of it all.

I want my house back.
I want my life back.
I hate being anxious, EEEEEWWW!

Any suggestions?
I'm still angry about the whole Teletubby situation. Poor Poe.

Oh, and on another completely different note (shutup, it's my blog, I can go from subject to subject just as I please) here is the sweetest pic of my sick little C with his guard dog, Scout.


Sarah said...

It feels inadequate to type, but I breathe.

Yeah, yeah, I know.

I take deep, slow breaths in and let them out slowly. When I breathe in, I imagine being filled up with faith. When I breathe out, I imagine that fear is leaving my body.

Are you still doing yoga?

Nia? *ducks*

love you.

Krista said...

I just started doing this program called "Attacking Anxiety" made by the midwest center for stress and anxiety. I have only done it for a few days but it seems to be helping. The friend that let me borrow it swears by it. She had severe postpartum anxiety with all of her 6 kids and then finally used this program. I can make you copies of it if you want, but they are tapes just so you know. I had to borrow a tape player from my mom b/c we didn't have one ;-)

This is a total side story, but I just remembered it. When I was teaching fourth grade I did a dance unit with my students. I told them that if they brought me a blank CD or cassette tape I would make them a copy of the music to practice at home. One of the little girls came up to me and asked "Mrs. Harrah, What's a cassette tape?" Am I really that old?

it's me, t said...

i know EXACTLY what you need to do. Come to california. :D Cade is well due for a visit to Dland and you could use a tan. Just a thought.

PS get Cade a real bed. he's too old for a fricking crib. Loves ya.


brie said...

T Face, first of all, I don't need a tan, BECAUSE I ALREADY HAVE ONE. And it's beautiful.

And wtf? Cade still needs a crib! He actually rolled off my bed a couple weeks ago, SO THERE.

Sarah, thanks for your response. You always have a calming influence, even through your words.

Krista, you'll have to tell me more about these tapes when I see you on Friday - yipee!

Kathy with a K said...

here are my suggestions (and general words of wisdom following a near lifetime of therapy)

First, everyone gets anxious and has anxiety. Anxiety is perfectly normal in many situations (such as your son having minor surgery).

Next: yes, some people (i'm thinkin' people like us perhaps...)may have a genetic/biological inclination towards being anxious.

BUT: I swear you can change things around (over time...sorry, nothing instant here) by reassuring yourself when you are anxious (as you would for your son).

I think part of the reason it pulls up a couch in your living room is because that's the routine. What if it's not the enemy? what if anxiety doesn't indicate madness but just a feeling?
I did not make this stuff up, it's advice that has actually worked. You can have it for free! :)
I could go on here...but I think that's enough for now.

Brett said...

Well . . . you probably won't like my suggestion, but I work. When I feel stressed or (used to feel) anxious with school, I do the dishes, wash the car, scrub the toilet, or something similar. I always feel much better afterward!

Good luck twin sis.

brie said...

Twin bro 'o mine, you're right. Working, instead of moping in depression or going crazy with anxiety, always makes one feel better.


Since you are as perfect as most can ever hope to get in this life, doing sensible, right things is much easier for you and me. Too bad I didn't transfer some of my mental health suckiness to you in utero. Boo!

But thanks for the advice. When I get home from work, I'll go do some laundry. :)

Love you homie!

jana bananas said...

Ugh, anxiety. Anxiety about anxiety. Anxiety about when anxiety will return when you notice you aren't anxious... I know. It sucks. (How profound!)

So how did you get your anxiety under control a year ago? Was it in a healthy or unhealthy way?

Does it feel kinda manic? It sounds kinda manic. Did your doctor up your Lamictal dose? What does your doctor say about this unrelenting anxiety?

I've been doing a workbook with my therapist called 'Anxious and Depressed' for people with co-existing conditions (hello, you!). You might want to check it out and see if it's something you'd want to work on. Just an idea.

Love you.:)

kristin said...

What I do to calm myself down is listen to a relaxation tape that M let me borrow and I copied. There are two tracks, one with positive affirmations and the other with a guided meditation. It works for me. Maybe getting a relaxation tape would be helpful for you..?

Take care, Brie. I hope that your anxiety eases up.

love, kristin

Laura said...

What K with a K said.

When your "guest" arrives unannounced, stop, breathe, and go on ahead, and welcome him! yes..invite him in...fluff up the cushion on the couch,offer him a diet coke, and ask him, flat out, "So, what brought you here?"

I am a very anxious person. My husband used to go to the ER for his own anxiety attacks. I know the feeling. And it is very unsettling. So this is my new way of dealing...I take control, and I ask myself..sometimes even out loud,because I am crazy and I talk to myself...but I ask, "What brought this on? What happened? What am I reacting to?" Sometimes I know EXACTLY what it is, and other times, I have no clue. But the acknowledging it, and facing it, and allowing myself the time to deal with it, is what works for me.

I like how K with a K said it is "routine". I suggest you change it up. Yes, it is hard. But what isn't?

So go on over to the couch, and tell your uninvited pain in the ass to shape up or ship out!

And hey, when your brother is feeling anxious, can you send him to my place..it needs a really good cleaning!!!!!!!

hang in there...you will be better than great; foodie promises...

Laur said...

poor brett, he has to be perfect. That totally sucks.

as you know I am don't have the solution to anxiety...when you find it please sent it on my way.

takeupyourbedandwalk said...

I had a really cool meditation teacher who used to tell me that when I felt something uncomfortable (well, really when I felt ANYTHING, but I used it most when I felt uncomfortable) that I should say to myself, "Oh, look: right now there is a feeling moving through me, but that feeling isn't really ME. It's just a feeling on its way to somewhere."

After a while I got to where I would just think "feeling," or if I was mentally running something through my head, I'd think, "thinking." It just made me aware of what was going on without having to get all worked up about it. If that makes sense.

Jackie said...

Oh B, you have so much going on right now that I am not surprised you are feeling this way. Your job, writing, weight gain, everything - it is no wonder that anxiety is becoming such a problem. Having the same problem with anxiety as you, I am truly sorry. It is horrible never being able to be truly calm. But once the writing is done and you can make a decision about work, I think maybe the anxiety will ease a bit. I love you honey - let's get together as soon as I get back into town ok?

xo Jax

Emily said...

My anxiety has moved in as well. I control it with the Vistaril, that's some good stuff. Anyways, I know how you feel. Deep breathing and visualization sometimes helps me. My exercise classes helps me burn up some of the anxiety. And, of course, various DBT skills help too.

alana.rachelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brie said...

Lana, okay. I'm so glad we can carpool! I couldn't go alone. And M Smith scares me. Terribly.

This is going to be iffy, my friend.

alana.rachelle said...

wtf- is it in the water?! you know it's bad when both your therapist and your anti-med mother both say "yeah, you really need to get on something for that. you're getting all out of control again." damn anxiety! good luck B. i wish i had the answers but i totally don't. let's be hot messes together at the reunion, yes? i'm totally down to carpool. especially since it's so freaking early in the morning! "but it'll be great!" i keep telling myself that! did you get the update email about JS signing autographs and our favorite T- MS speaking?! wowzers. i'm going to need to be sedated so i don't laugh in the middle of their ridiculously far fetched and entirely unrealistic presentations! woohoo for friday! haha xoxo B. ciao bella!

sorry, i had to repost with a little editing- i felt bad putting their names in it! i have nothing against them... except that one's a b and the other one's so incongruent i could puke (metaphorically of course). sketch indeed dude, but i think the two of us being there together will make it phenom! haha and lastly miss B, what right do you have to be scared of her? you HAD her! at least my N will be there to represent as well! :) word!

KC Elaine said...

Sorry, anxiety is SUCH a tough one, especially when it's hard to endure. I hope you're able to cope w/o relapsing. :/ What helps me is...focusing on breathing, my lovely Abilify, and we made boxes in treatment where we put special objects in them and labeled them with what they meant - things like strength, curiosity, patience, etc - and I used it last night when I was FREAKING OUT and it actually helped.

loves! tell that nasty visitor to go to hades'

brie said...

You have all given me such wonderful advice. K with a K, loved what you said - LOVED IT. Thanks so much (and you to L to the aura) about helping me not fear my anxiety so much. It's helpful.

So, I need to breathe and not be afraid and not relapse. I think I got it...

Brooke said...

Hang in there and I will too. I have been thinking all (seriously) all of those thoughts today. Why won't all of these un-wanted "things" just leave me alone to be a NORMAL functional mom and wife and friend. I'm sick of the lurking also. Let's hang on together. Again, today, I don't have any answers of help...just so you know you are not alone.

Kathy with a K said...

You're building a new road, making a new path. The old path is familiar, well-worn. You go down it without even thinking. Automatic pilot. "oh, anxiety, madness, can't handle it, relapse, i'm goin' under!"
New path will take time. Not familiar and the unfamiliar can be scary (even if you know it's the better way).
Yeah, take a breath, you're having feelings. They tend to be more intense when they're used to being numbed or suppressed. Your having feelings and they come and go like the wind and the waves.
(gee,that almost sounds pretty!)

emily said...

Ah, B. I hate our mutual acquaintance. Anxiety, that is. Lest anyone think I hate them. I work out, it helps. Well, it's preventive anyway. Everyone is different.

But we all love you long time :)

Heather said...

Holy shmoly. Anxiety sucks. Mine has gotten worse even from when YOU knew me, and it was pretty bad even way back then! I wish I could offer some word of encouragement...but alas, I'm experiencing much of the same. My general belief is that it can be overcome...but HOW, dang it! If you gain any new insight, please send it my way. Just know I'm thinkin' of you and that you're not alone.