Breakdown Town, or Break. Downtown.?

Either way, there’s so much going on in my life that I need to talk about.  I am not going to have a nervous breakdown because I can’t afford one, so I figured blogging all of this would be better.

I’m currently undergoing a taper plan to radically reduce what was once a very high, 12mg, dose of Xanax.  It was doctor prescribed and I wasn’t aware of how truly addictive it would be, or how difficult it would be to stop taking it.  I am currently taking 5.5mg per day.  How I got there is a short story which only started 2 months ago, really.  Never taper that quickly.

My sister is going through some sort of psychotic episode and I don’t know what to do.  I’ve had anxiety for over two decades, but rest assured that I’m not “crazy.”  At least my doctors tell me that.  My sister, however, is fucking crazy.  I’m 43 years old and at this point I’ve decided to try and disable the “sister” feature in my life.

I am currently housing two young boys who I had never met before they came to live with me.  Their mother and father got a divorce and they decided that they didn’t want to move away from their friends with their mother.  The father got in some trouble, got evicted, and now I’ve got the boys.  They are 12 and 14.  The 14-year-old’s girlfriend is a big part of his life, and her mother makes MY life a living hell.

I just lost the first job that I’ve had in 2 1/2 years through no fault of my own.  I had worked for my sister for two months as she was taking over a company, and I did that with the promise of getting paid “in September.”  She had a breakdown and it was very ugly, and I left work.  I can’t, and wouldn’t, ever go back.

I’m currently undergoing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for agoraphobia and a driving phobia.  Losing the chance at that job has put a serious crimp in my progress.

I am about to start three lawsuits against three different entities.  My (now fired) anxiety doctor, or “provider” for prescribing such a high dose of medication without seeing me in person for more than two years. My doctor’s office for drawing blood on two separate occasions in 2009 and not telling me that I had diabetes (Type 2), and my only finding out from my OB/GYN in 2014.  And finally, oh – the last one isn’t a lawsuit, but a possible application for disability for my acute anxiety and the extraordinary difficulties that come along with tapering off of xanax.  (Please, don’t ever take xanax for more than 3 weeks in a row.  And certainly not for 24 years.)

I’m not sure about the disability, though.  It seems like a huge cop out.  I certainly feel able to work most days.  I have severe anxiety and hideous short term memory from the withdrawal, though.  My new, professional and well-educated professor/psychiatrist has informed me that it will be a three-year process to completely stop the xanax.  Starting now.  Also, that I haven’t even gotten to the “hard part” yet.  That’s scary because it’s already been really, really difficult.

I have three sons.  All of them are gay.  I don’t care that they are gay, just that they’re happy, but 2 out of 3 of them are not happy.  The oldest is hidden away in his stepmother’s house (who is currently committed to a psychiatric hospital after 14 years of military service and severe PTSD which has led to her becoming psychotic.)  He has severe anxiety and PTSD from his (stepmother’s) house being taken by a flood and his only having mere moments to get out of it safely before it was taken.  My youngest son has ADHD, is bullied constantly at school, and has extreme phobias and general anxiety.  My middle son is a fully functioning, happy, and well-adjusted young man.  I still worry about him.

My husband is overwhelmed.  He’s just got that zombie look that many middle-aged men get.  He used to be so vibrant, but our lives have worn us down.  He takes care of too many people without any help.  He is the most intelligent man I have ever known, and I love him so much.  It’s incredibly painful to see him living his life like this.  He uses food and alcohol to numb the pain, although he is not an alcoholic like my father – who died suddenly at a too-young age, was.

Other medications that I take for my anxiety don’t allow me to lose weight even though I haven’t had carbohydrates in over a year.  When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes I weighed 300 pounds even though I never ate and wasn’t completely sedentary.  I have lost 85 pounds, but in four months I have not lost a single pound more.  My doctor says it’s the Effexor XR that I take causing this.  However, if I could not take that I’d lose weight, and losing weight is very helpful for people with Type 2 Diabetes.  My cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels are all fantastic due to my strict diet, but the weight just doesn’t want to move downward.

My dog is starting to bite people.  She bit me one time, too.  Recently she has bit two people in the face – my youngest son and a family friend who had stopped by to cry on our shoulders after learning that her family’s house had been sold by the bank three weeks prior to them being notified.  Being bitten by a dog she was petting lovingly was the LAST thing that poor woman needed.  I love my dog, and I’m worried about her.  I don’t know why she is so upset.

I smoke.  I have been smoking too much.  I have a problem with spending money online.  I have a problem being able to control myself in a casino.  I love casinos, the slot machines, but I have to leave my wallet in the car, locked in the glove compartment, and give the car keys I have to my husband so that I won’t spend more than $50 – because if I any access to any money in any form, I WILL find a way to get at it and spend it.

My anxiety has been so severe for the past few months that it takes every ounce of courage and determination that I have to leave my office area.  To people who have no experience with agoraphobia that must sound so very strange.  It is strange, really.  It’s stranger to be the one suffering it because you KNOW how ridiculous it is.  I literally can not go into my kitchen without panicking.  I have three “safe” zones in my house, and even in those zones there are zones.  I can be in my bedroom, the toilet and sink area of my bathroom, and my office chair.  I watch “tv” on my computer even though my office is right next to the living room, which is the nicest room in the house with a very large television.  I only really push myself to go into the living room and watch TV when the Seahawks are playing.  So, once a week for a few months during the year.  After a game I’m so exhausted from the effort it took not to panic from being in the living room that I have no choice but to take a nap.  I know these things sound ridiculous, and even when doing them I say “God, girl, you know that these thoughts are completely irrational and that you are furthering your anxiety, right?”  I do know, but still…the adrenaline rushes come, and the panic starts.

So my house is a mess.  My youngest son, who is 12 1/2 years old, can’t maintain focus on any task long enough to help me or my husband.  He is the only son we have who lives at home anymore, so … yeah, messy house.  My husband is too exhausted to clean properly, but he does what he can.  I am very, very careful to not make any messes, but my desk area is like a war zone.

I want nothing more than to get better and be a good wife and a good mother, and maybe even some day a part of my community.  I want it so badly.  I have a beautiful view from my house – it overlooks our cute town and then out across the water to the mountains.  I’d like to visit all of that some day.  And that’s the story of my life.

Everything I want is juuuust out of reach for me.