Sunday’s Sundries: 4 Years of Blogging

On April 4th, I celebrated my 4th blogiversary.  I had intended on writing something about this special occasion, but a whole lot has been going on in my life outside of this little world of books I created four years ago.  I didn’t have the emotional energy to write anything.

I’ve only talked very briefly about my mental illness, and I’ve only ever mentioned a small part of it.  Frankly, I didn’t see my Depression and Anxiety as anything to talk about.  My view was that what I was dealing with, while requiring medication, was still your average, run of the mill, Depression and Anxiety.  However, what I never said out loud is that I also have Dermatillomania.  I never mentioned it because I didn’t admit it to myself for quite some time, and I wasn’t even aware of it being a thing for even longer.

It turns out that for most of my life, I’ve had some type of BFRB (Body Focused Repetitive Behavior) or other.  I didn’t truly notice any of it or understand that the things I was doing weren’t “normal” until I went on Paroxetine.  It was like I was seeing myself from a slightly distanced point of view and I suddenly began realizing so many things that I had been living with as if everyone else does too.

My denial, or blind spot, for my Dermatillomania was so bad that whenever I read something on The Bloggess, I could relate to a lot of what Jenny Lawson has been through in regards to mental illness, but all I thought when she wrote about her BFRBs was that I was grateful I didn’t have it “that bad.”  So when I realized that I did have it “that bad,” I also realized that I needed to get care that involved more than just medication.

Well, that sounds great, doesn’t it?  It would have been great if my mind didn’t immediately get defensive and convince me that I was ok, my skin picking wasn’t creating scars, I didn’t do it very often, no one else ever brought it to my attention, I just needed to stay on the medication, and everything would be alright. *sigh*

Fast forward to the Boyfriend and I moving out to San Francisco.  I went to the VA to get a new primary doctor, and what I thought was just a formality turned into me not only seeing her but also having an appointment with a psychologist immediately after.  While the VA in Austin is amazing, the VA here in SF takes health care to a whole new integrated level.  Anyone I have an appointment with there is in communication with my primary so nothing gets overlooked.

To make a long story short, my psychologist has a way of getting things out of me that I didn’t even know were in my brain.  While that’s amazing, and extremely helpful in my progress towards better mental health, it’s also caused my Anxiety to spike.  With my increased anxiousness, the skin-picking has increased as well, and battling with all of this uses up a lot of spoons.  Hence, the lack of a proper celebratory blogiversary post.

Sunday’s Sundries: Anxiety

Sundries - Dominic Hartnett
Image: Dominic Hartnett

For those of you who regularly read the posts I write here at Fortified By Books, you probably noticed that this past Friday I did not post my weekly Fit Readers check-in.  It’s the first time I haven’t posted a check-in since I joined Fit Readers.  I simply didn’t have the spoons to look at my FitBit stats and write about what has been going on.  Instead, I chilled out on the couch with my cat and watched Parenthood.

As many of you know I have dealt with Anxiety and Depression for years.  I’ve considered myself lucky to not have to be on any kind of medication for over a decade.  That changed this week.

Until Tuesday afternoon, I was feeling pretty good.  I’ve got a great boyfriend who’s family is amazing.  I’ve got a job that, while it’s not my dream job, pays the bills.  I’ve got friends, and this blog, and a hundred other things in my life that are either great or at least going well.  So why did I have an anxiety attack at work?  Why did the panicky feelings continue into the evening and then on into Wednesday?  For the first time, I have no idea.  Usually, my anxiety escalates during major life changes, not when my day to day life is stable.

For the first time since my first anxiety attack when I was a teenager, I was scared for myself.  I knew I had lost control and needed help.  I called my Doctor.  I said “Yes” when I was asked if I was open to medication.  I took my new meds for the first time on Thursday morning, and while I’m doing pretty well, SSRIs are not the kind of pills you just take and then everything is magically better.  Hence the lack of spoons to write a simple weekly blog post.

While I can’t promise that I’ll definitely have a Fit Readers post up this Friday or any other post for that matter, I’m slowly adding back in all the activities I normally do as long as I feel I have the energy.  I’m not going anywhere.  This blog and the community of book bloggers I’m a part of means too much to me to shut it down.  So, I’ll see you back here as soon as I can.