Friday, 8 January 2016

Weirdos and Basket Cases

This is my 1000th blog post.  I figured it made sense to write about this topic for this post, since I've been meaning to get around to it for some time and I was stressing about something appropriate to mark this occasion.  When I started this blog it was August 2009.  I was engaged and living in a small apartment in London.  Now, my life is totally different.  I have Vivian, I live in Strathroy, I have a cool dude in my life.  Those drastic changes in my life have unfolded to some degree over these 1000 posts.  I love this blog.  It's not always as clever or as fancy as I'd like it to be, but I've stuck with it this long, and people still tell me that they read and appreciate my outlook on things, and for that I'm forever grateful. 

For this 1000th post, I thought I would write about a change I made a few months ago.  I've always been quirky - a bit of a basket case at times.  I've written before about my quirks - how I don't like unfamiliar convenience stores, how I count stairs whenever I go up or down a flight, how I like my rituals, how organizing things calms me down.  And all of that is fine - we're all weirdos in our own way.  After I had Vivian, things were a bit harder.  If I'm being honest with myself, I probably had a postpartum depression, and I didn't do anything about it.  It was a rough couple of years, but I'm stubborn and spiteful and have a hard time asking for help.  It wasn't until this October, when I was dealing with the aftermath of the strike, being in school part-time, freelancing part-time, working full-time, and trying to be a mom/daughter/friend/coworker/girlfriend that things started to really pile up.  I didn't feel like myself.  I didn't feel like I was reacting to things in the way I should.  I was obsessing over conversations that had taken place weeks and months ago.  I felt overwhelmed and impatient.  At one point there was a phone call I needed to make, and I didn't want to do it.  I don't like talking on the phone at the best of times.  This wasn't a scary phone call - just a normal one.  I wasn't in trouble or anything, and yet I just didn't want to do it.  I avoided it for days, and then finally decided it needed to happen on a specific day.  When that day came, I set parameters and rules for myself.

"It's too early to call - I'll wait until after 10:00 a.m."
"I'll finish this off, then I'll call."
"I'll call after lunch."
"I'll call at 3:00 p.m.."
"I'll call at 3:15 p.m."
"It's 3:16, I can't call now.  I'll wait until 3:30 p.m."

I knew I was being nutty.  I finally forced myself to make the phone call, but I knew I needed to make another call. 

Once I made an appointment with my RN, she asked me what was going on.  I told her that I had already gone over and imagined this conversation in my head about 50 times in the last couple of days, if that gave her any indication of where I was at.  I was paranoid and anxious and tired.  She agreed that I was having a rough time - and it might just be situational because of the stress I was under, or it might just be me.  In any event, we decided that some medication would help.

I've been taking a low dose of Cipralex since October, and it's really helped.  I still feel like me - I'm still sensitive and neurotic and anxious and weird, but I feel like I have a handle on things.  I'm still doing all the same things, but I don't feel as overwhelmed.  I can manage my time better because I can focus on things more efficiently.  No more, "I only have an hour to do this.  That's not enough time to do anything!  I might as well do nothing!"  No scaring myself by reading conspiracy theories and No Sleep threads on Reddit because I feel anxious and want to have an outlet for it.  (When I'm anxious I often turn it into paranoia because I feel like it's better to have a reason.  This would often lead to me being afraid of going down to the basement by myself because I kept imagining what would happen if I walked down to the basement and there was someone sitting on the couch.  This kind of thinking isn't conducive to me getting laundry done, to say the least.) 

I feel good.  I feel like I can use my words and tell people when something is bothering me rather than bottling it up all the time.  I feel like things are doable, and nothing is ever as scary as it might appear.  I feel like myself. 

Why am I writing this?  It's certainly not for headpats or pity or anything like that.  I'm writing it because I know that everyone struggles with their anxieties and complexities to some degree.  And if it's really starting to get to you, there's no shame in popping that pill every day.  It's cool, we're all weird.  And hey, maybe you can manage anxiety with something else like colouring or exercise or meditation or Legos or puzzles or any number of things.  And that's awesome!  For me, for right now, this is helping.  Maybe when things settle down a bit I can focus on some other methods to stop being such a basket case.  But for right now, this is what works.  And that's cool, and I'm proud that I did something about it and so pleased that I had so many people who were cool with it and supportive about it.  Seriously, you wouldn't believe how many people told me, "Oh hey!  I take that too!"

We're all weirdos sometimes, but that's what can keep things interesting.  Take care of yourselves, friends!  I'm trying to take care of myself.  We'll see what changes may come over the next 1000 posts!


Anonymous said...

Way to go Ashlie!! Glad to hear you are enjoying life. I have finally gotten to a place like that and it is glorious to be happy. To let yourself just be happy. To stop being so hard on yourself for things that don't matter.

Just for the record though - I always thought you had it all together. You always appear that way. :)

Aunt Jill

JennM said...

Thanks Ashlie:)

Your words do affect people. In a positive manner:)