Living with Chronic Pain & Mental Illness: Switching from Sertraline with Effexor!?

(Update of the last blog posted on April 12, 2017)

Topics: New meds & Update on my wellbeing..

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Since my last post, I’ve been… better Emotionally. Psychologically…i dunno. Physically.. ok… I will get on it more below. (If you want to skip this lil intro and get onto my experience with Effexor and Zoloft.. Scroll down to after the brief sum/description of SSRIs & SSNRIs.)

My psychiatrist thinks is that I ended up getting a serotonin imbalance from too much Sertraline/Zoloft. So with that imbalance, I’ve been feeling numb(??) and dissociating a lot. I mean I did feel guilt for not experiencing migraines or headaches and felt empty because of them but I wasn’t feeling much at all. I guess this is what people meant by getting numb by antidepressants… but that just mean it’s not the right dosage or meds for you. So stop that stigma that this meds are crazy meds….

But as a reminder for those just reading my blog, I take serotonin-based antidepressants for my chronic migraines and the stress related to it. But while getting treated, I was diagnosed with little General Anxiety Disorder, big Social Anxiety Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder. Continue reading “Living with Chronic Pain & Mental Illness: Switching from Sertraline with Effexor!?”

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Living with Chronic Pain & Mental Illness: Forcing Wellness Wasn’t Good for Me

I am the QUEEEN of this.

I’m so used to ignoring and pretending any pain I feel doesn’t exist. Although, I’ve become so good at pretending to feel NAAADA for years, what I can’t ignore is the restrictions caused by joint pain, migraines and daily headaches, constant exhaustion/fatigue, (serious) neck ache and stiffness, muscle stiffness, lack of balance, and of course–anxiety and panic attacks that’s caused by this or other way around.. I don’t know but it’s annoying.

I’m in an endless loop.

There won’t ever be a exact reason because I’ve left it ignored for too long. Now I don’t think I could pinpoint or the doctors can find where it all started to help. All they have and I have.. is this huge list of symptoms.

I regret hiding and forcing it for so long

Continue reading “Living with Chronic Pain & Mental Illness: Forcing Wellness Wasn’t Good for Me”

7 Tips for Supporting Your Partner with Anxiety/Depression +1

1. Don’t try to fix them.

You’re this person’s husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, polyamorous partner, not their therapist. (And if you are, stop dating them immediately because that’s creepy and unethical.) They cannot be well for you. It’s unfair to pressure someone to live up to your idea of how they should be, and they may end up feeling like they failed you. It makes your love conditional.Instead, just let them know that you’d like them to feel better because you love them — not because they have to be well in order to be loved.

2. Don’t try to explain to them why they shouldn’t be afraid of something.

Your skittish schmoopity-schmoo likely knows that their fear isn’t rational and/or the bad thing probably won’t come to pass. Making them feel like a jackass about it isn’t going to help. Consider asking them why this particular thing upsets them so much. Often, the act of throwing a deep, dark fear into the spotlight and spinning it out to its worst possible outcome can have the effect of neutralizing it. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t make fun of them for it. Let them be the one to point out how silly it sounds out loud, or you might run the risk of them clamming up and feeling like they have something new to fret about.

3. Be honest and set expectations.

Gonna be late? Call or send a quick text so they’re not picturing you mangled in a ditch. Got a big bill to pay or a medical test coming up? Don’t try to hide it; talk through it. Treating your partner like a fragile child — even if you just don’t want to worry them — creates a weird dynamic in a relationship. And besides, anxious people are pretty perceptive and will sense that something is amiss. Let your sweetum boo-boo-pie in on what is actually happening, or their mind will likely rev into high gear and assume that something infinitely worse is afoot.

4. Be OK with the fact that happiness looks different for different people.

For some, it’s balloons, dancing, party hats or Jaeger bombs at the club. Others, an Instagram snapshot with toes in sand or Deepak Chopra drawn in latte foam. (#bliss #bestlife #blessed) For an anxious person, it might be a day that passes without a panic attack or having to pound down Tums. It might just be having the wherewithal to get dressed and walk around the block. Calm is a terribly underrated emotion, but it’s just as valid as joy.

5. Make them feel safe.

Often one of the greatest fear of an anxious person is that they’re unlovable just because they’re anxious. As often and as naturally as you can, let them know: “We’re in this together and I’m not going anywhere.” In fact, just screenshot that sentence and text it to your sweet cuddlenumpkins (seriously — I’ll stop) right now. I promise it won’t be weird. OK, it might be for a minute, but you’ll both be glad about it later.

6. Live your life.

Ugh. So your partner is going through one of their extra-panicky or agoraphobic phases again. It’s hard to watch the person you love in such pain, and probably even worse for them to be going through it. But it’s your best friend’s birthday party or your niece’s graduation and you can’t or don’t want to miss it. Go. Even if it’s by yourself and you have to tell people your beloved isn’t feeling well. (That’s actually not a lie.) This might seem like a wrenching betrayal, but it’s a healthy thing to do. It’s a relief, both of your partner’s guilt over holding you back or dragging you down into their muck, and of any resentment — it’s OK, totally valid feeling — that might be building up on your end. Just remember to check in and let them know you’re thinking of them and that you’ll be coming home safe and sound.

7. Ask.

Wacky thought here, but your smootchiemuffins (I lied.) might have a few notions about what might ease their angst, and been afraid to express them. Be open, even if you don’t agree, or for them not to have any answers. Sometimes it’s enough just to be asked and know someone is there to listen.

(Source)

 

 

& most importantly…

8. Don’t expect their Anxiety or/& Depression to be Cured Quickly.

Yes…your existence in their lives affects them. It does not mean, your existence cures them from anxiety and depression just in a snap or short time. Your existence…well more like your support definitely, however, affects their recovery. With those tips above, with time… and I mean lots of time and patience… it will help so much. It helps them to open up, feel inspired, feel supported(like they’re not alone), and of course helps recovery–rather than grow in anxieties and experience more discomfort and disorders.

 

 

 

 

Living with Chronic Pain & Mental Illness: The Growing Agoraphobia

Before all of this…

the symptoms, the diagnosis, the attacks…

I was quire normal… just shy and maybe a touch of paranoia. I loved exploring. Though I lacked the funds to do so but it used to never stopped me. I’d call up a friend and we just go take a walk and talk. Days I do have the money to.. I went to cafes alone or bookstores because they are heaven to me. I just read or wrote in my journal whilst drinking a nice sweet drink as an incentive. But I admit most times, it was the reason why I went out and I’d award myself with another before I leave.

Most days now…

I sstill go out…ish… at least for sure with company.

However..in going alone..it’s a problem. I mean I still go out and my reasoning or reward was to get that Starbucks or a whatever I’m deathly craving that’s near by.

But as much as I hate it, I hate going out alone now. But even with someone/support… I’m happy to be with them, but depending where we go..I loathe it. My reason?.. People. Crowds. I get panic or anxiety attacks now when I am in large crowds. Especially passing people, I get into a fight or flight mode which I sadly can’t control. And so, I think because of that, it is my reason why my agoraphobia got worse.

I FEAR getting an attack outside. My attacks are physical. I would have symptoms of queasiness and nearly passing out. Alhough, my body may be reacting like this, my brain would be like saying “Don’t look at me~ I didn’t say anything this time.. I just wanted to __  with you”.  So yeah.. it’s really messed up and weird. I’d feel fine, excited to explore and go wherever I was supposed to; but then all of a sudden, hello sickness. And I’d have to rush home or I vomit and lose feelings in my legs and sight.

It’s hard because, I’d love to go see my psychiatrist or my specialist for my migraines but it’s hard because a lot of times, I’d cancel last minute because my uneasy feeling(anxieties) and fear of it starting again comes again. The anxieties would start from three or two days before I start freaking out..officially. And worse thing is, when I go… I would be a clusterfuck..(pardon my language) because I’d be forgetting my route though I been going to this hospital for months now and when I’m there I’d be only thinking about being away from crowds/people and so whatever relevant questions that is asked to me or that I wanted to ask… and that’s important in why I’m there is just..forgotten. I can’t answer it nor can I ask to tell any concerns or how I’ve been feeling.

Continue reading “Living with Chronic Pain & Mental Illness: The Growing Agoraphobia”

Living with Chronic Pain & Mental Illness: Relationships

Here’s what you can do to maintain a healthy relationship rather than a relationship overwhelmed and steered by mental illness.

    • Know the illness and treatment options. Mental illness is confusing for everyone involved. You might think your spouse is being lazy, irritable, distant or distracted. But these supposed character flaws might really be symptoms of the mental illness. Also, make sure your partner is receiving effective treatment.

    • Find out how to help. “Learn from a mental health professional what role you might be able to play in the treatment plan,” Duffy said. Not knowing how you can help can be frustrating for both partners. Find out how you can best support your spouse during his or her treatment.
    • View the diagnosis as another challenge. “Healthy couples don’t allow mental illness to run their relationship but encounter diagnoses as just other challenges to the relationship,” Sumber said. Challenges can be overcome.
    • Work on your marriage as you would without the mental illness intruding. “Honor and care for your marriage as you would without the presence of the mental illness,” Duffy said. He often sees “couples fail to attend to their marriage through dating, talking and sharing, creating feelings of isolation, which compounds the stress of the illness itself.”

      He recommended carving out time when “you both can fully enjoy one another, at least for a few hours.” This also helps couples become more resilient during tough times.

    • Maintain positive communication. “In my experience, couples who continue to say ‘I love you,’ or to check in during the day via phone calls or texts, tend to fare much, much better in terms of relationship longevity,” Duffy said.
    • Admire each other. Stress is a common and overwhelming challenge for couples coping with mental illness. According to Duffy, “there’s some very good research that suggests that, regardless of the level of stress, couples that sustain a sense of admiration for one another co-create relationships that tend to survive.”
    • Check in with each other. Every week, sit together for 15 minutes and talk about your “needs and intentions for the coming week,” Sumber said. Start with “appreciations and affirmations from the preceding week,” he said. Healthy couples “spend a large amount of their focus on appreciating their partners for even the smallest things.” This helps keep couples accountable for their relationship’s wellbeing, he added.
    • Practice self-care regularly. Many people see self-care as selfish but “you need to have a lot of energy to help your partner manage such an illness, and taking care of yourself is critical,” Duffy said. Not focusing on your own health increases the risk “the disease will pull both people in” and jeopardize the marriage, Sumber said.

      Be sure to get enough sleep, eat well, participate in physical activity, spend quality time with loved ones and engage in enjoyable activities. “For the best self-care plans,” Duffy suggested Cheryl Richardson’s books, especially Take Time for Your Life and The Art of Extreme Self-Care.

    • Don’t expect your partner to meet all your needs. In fact, this is normal. “Couples that split up are typically stuck in the paradigm that their spouse is here to make them happy and meet all their needs. These couples distort personal needs into projected expectations and then become resentful and angry when the other person doesn’t meet their needs,” according to Sumber.
    • Avoid blaming. Both experts often see blaming on both sides, which can go beyond the mental illness. “The ‘healthy’ spouse runs the risk of blaming everything that goes wrong in the relationship on the other person, which is also typically not the case,” Sumber said.

      This becomes an “unhealthy dynamic for a relationship,” Duffy said. His suggestion is to cultivate understanding. “Express curiosity over judgment.”

      “Ask open-ended questions about the illness, and really listen to the answers,” he said. You may not like the responses, but understanding is better than ignoring the reality. Not knowing how your spouse is truly doing can be detrimental. “You want to understand them, even this difficult side.”

    • For instance, if your spouse struggles with bipolar disorder and tends to act out, try to “communicate your concerns, feelings or anxieties in a non-blaming way so that communication is the process that keeps the relationship flowing,” Sumber said.

      Also, remember that “both people need to be responsible for themselves, their healthy responses to situations rather than unhealthy reactions, and their intentions and picture for the marriage,” he said.

    • Seek individual counseling. If you can’t “communicate your feelings in a nonjudgmental or blaming manner,” voice them in individual counseling, Sumber said. This way, you can process them in a healthy way when you’re with your partner.
    • Seek couples counseling. “Counseling provides perspective, balance and guidance in a situation that can easily become imbalanced under the wrong circumstances,” Sumber said. Because the mental illness can drive your relationship, couples counseling can be a tremendous help.

      Many people say that counseling isn’t in their budget. But, as Sumber said, “just as we require gas and electric to make our daily existence run smoothly, a good therapist is a nonnegotiable expense for both people.”

    • Learn from the struggles. Ask yourself what lessons you are being offered in the situation and if you are learning them well, Sumber said. Specifically, consider: “How are you responding to the challenges of your life? Are there ways you can do it better or different?” Think about “the person you truly desire to be.” “We choose partners that will challenge us to grow and this is no exception,” he said.

Remember that every relationship has brief periods of drama, and it’s easy to let these hurtful moments overshadow your entire marriage. “The truth is that if two people love one another and are willing to make things work, they can with good process and impeccable communication,” Sumber said.

Source

Living with Chronic Pain & Mental Illness: Shameless & What we need and (silently) ask for

We often talk about our pain and we’d have days where we need to be selfish or let the damn disease take over. I’m sorry for people around me and not having the energy most of the time…the canceling.. just so many emotional outbursts and sudden lifelessness. Continue reading “Living with Chronic Pain & Mental Illness: Shameless & What we need and (silently) ask for”

Wellness Plan & The 3 Zones Worksheet(+1)

To start off..

The Wellness plan is a way of noticing signs of distress early to help you to take steps to eliminate or reduce the level and duration of distress. It can also help you put preventative and/or coping plans into place to return to wellness as quickly as possible.

(For new people…) Triggers… are external situations and internal experiences that may produce stress and very uncomfortable symptoms. Reacting to Triggers are normal, but if we don’t recognize them and respond to them appropriately, they may actually cause more harm, and make us feel worse. The Triggers could be…

Continue reading “Wellness Plan & The 3 Zones Worksheet(+1)”