Living in colour once again

13 Aug

I am now more than 30 days free of my antidepressant.

Yes, after 7 years and a very long weaning process, I am off and feeling fantastic.

I can once again cry tears of joy, as well as tears of sorrow and frustration.

I feel like I’m living in colour again.

I have also noticed that I don’t have the same manic reaction to alcohol that I did before. I can have one glass of wine and not crave more.  It’s been oddly amazing. After spending much of the year (mostly) sober, I was wondering if I would be able to have the occasional glass of wine. Amazingly, it appears to be so. For the past two months, I have had the occasional drink with no side effects, no overdrinking and more importantly, no desire to overdrink. Over the past year, I’ve set up the habit of drinking fake beer and non-alcoholic drinks. My friends no longer see me as someone to party with but still seem to love me all the same.

Now, I need to get back to the diet and exercise. Curse you, Hot Summer Nights and your lazy days with lots of yummy food and no exercise.

I am looking forward to  getting back to work in September. As much as I love vacation time, I crave routine.

Now, off to bed.

(Did I mention how much better I sleep without the anti-depressant? Bliss.)

Use your words, ladies. Why we need to stop worrying about being embarrassed.

6 Aug

We all need to find our collective voices and say, “Enough is enough.”

suburbanprincessteacher

writing113Today is the day San Diego Mayor Bob Filner starts his two weeks of intensive therapy to help cure what he called the “monster…inside me.”

A few weeks ago, the man known as Headlock Bob found himself in hot water over his alleged instances of “unwanted sexual touching”. It seems Big Bad Bob likes dragging women around the office in a ‘friendly’ headlock while asks them for a little love. He has also been known to ask the women in his office to come to work without their panties. To be fair, perhaps he feels this will help them type faster or something…sort of like swimmers who shave off all their body hair in order to shave off a few seconds of time.  (Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time my panties have slowed me down at work, well, I’d be sitting on a beach in…uh…nowhere because I’d…

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I just ate a bag of BBQ Crispers. That was stupid.

4 Jul

Soooo, I am on Day 10 of no-alcohol, Day 30 of the antidepressant withdrawal (which means I am down to pretty much nothing but 5 mg every second day), AND I am supposed to be on a diet.

Since I am not Wonder Woman (despite the similarities in our physiques), something had to go.

Fucking Crispers with your fake BBQ seasonings and your crunchiness. Yeah, I hate you.

writing113

 

 

Breathing through the anxiety

28 Jun

My father was here last night. He lives far away and only came to town for my son’s high school graduation. We generally see each other twice a year for a week at a time.

He drove here, taking a few days to make a road trip out of it, with his girlfriend.

My mother died 6 years ago and since then my father and I have worked to establish a ‘new’ relationship.

My mother and I were very close and he and I clashed more often than I would have liked.

Last night, things were great. I wasn’t drinking (Day 4 of the 100 day challenge!) but I noticed he was. I couldn’t tell how much because there were lots of people here for the graduation party.

Whenever I have a party with alcohol I always check with people before they leave to make sure they are OK to drive.

Because I knew he had had at least “a” drink, I asked him if he and the GF had sorted out who was driving. He reacted quite defensively and asked what I meant. I said I was just asking if they needed someone to drive them back to their hotel. Was he OK to drive?

Very brusquely he replied, “Yes, fine. I only had 2 Corona.”

I dropped it very quickly as my father doesn’t lie and rarely drinks to excess.

Things were OK as they left. We talked about a few things we might do the next day (they are only here for a few days) and I asked them to call the next day so we could make a plan.

Well, today came and went without a phone call. I left 2 messages on his cellphone and haven’t heard anything.

I don’t know if he ‘s upset that I questioned him or if he’s suffered some medical issue (he’s 72). I don’t know anything.

But that hasn’t stopped me from having 100 conversations in my head where he berates me for embarrassing him in public (ie. privately, in front of his girlfriend only) and I try to defend myself.

I know this is a dangerous spiral for someone with anxiety and depression, so I am writing it down in hopes that this will stop the imaginary conversation.

(On a side note: I hope everyone has a great Canada Day weekend…even those who are not from Canada, eh?)

Falling off the wagon (and bouncing down the trail)

25 Jun

writing112I gave up drinking for a month, then tried to drink moderately. That worked until I drank an entire bottle of wine in one sitting.

Then I decided to go for two more months.

No problem. I was a great sober person.

So, I thought, hey, I can drink moderately, like a normal person.

That worked OK for a week or two.

Then it didn’t.

Last night, on my husband’s birthday, I was anxious and edgy because we had people coming for dinner. It was a hot day and I am still going through the withdrawal symptoms from coming off my antidepressant after 7 years. (Yes, I like a challenge.)

So, I had a beer while making dinner.

Then I had a glass of wine when the guests arrived and I started serving appetizers.

Then I had another glass.

Next thing you know, I’m on my third glass of wine (which is a lot for me) and I’m telling everyone, my children (17 and 14) included that I am pretty sure the lady who did my manicure is a hooker in the off hours.

My children are shaking their heads and saying, “Oh my god. Stop talking, mom.”

Our guests are lovely people and great friends and they were kind and sweet and laughed through all of my stupidity.

I wasn’t horribly, fall down drunk, but I was drunk enough to sit on my BFF’s husband’s lap and not see anything weird about it.

After they all left, I immediately felt terrible for drinking too much. I was embarrassed and posted on Facebook that I was a terrible person. (I deleted the post at 5 a.m. after reading a few very kind messages and realizing it was a very stupid, self-indulgent drunken thing to do.)

I watched some TV with my youngest before apologizing profusely to my ever-sweet husband and falling to sleep. I only slept for an hour at a time, waking up each hour in a state of panic and guilt.

Now, 24 hours later, I know I didn’t do anything horrible or awful. Stupid yes, but not earth-shattering or dangerous. My friends all laughed today and my BFF said she couldn’t wipe the grin off her husband’s face.

I know I’m lucky. My family is forgiving and they keep me safe from myself.

BUT, I also know I can’t deny it anymore.

Maybe I’m an alcoholic, maybe not.

What I do know is that I can be a terrible drinker. Occasionally I can drink like a normal person but when I fall off that wagon, it’s a hard fall.

It scares me to think I can’t drink anymore.

But it scares me to think that I might do THIS for the rest of my life.

I’m tired of THIS – the guilt, the anxiety, the shame.

I need to stop drinking.

Help?

The more posts I read, the more I love my dog

12 Jun
Is that true or is that just the (lack of) drugs talking?

Is that true or is that just the (lack of) drugs talking?

Oh.my.god. I hate people.

I don’t know if it’s purely the result of withdrawing from my antidepressant but I have to stop read on-line comments from trolls or someone is going to get punched in the face.

I’m not getting this nasty feedback on my posts (thank you sweet readers).

But when I read posts from Huffington Post or on-line newspapers, I want to scream.

Today I got into an email bitch slap with the popular radio host of our local call-in program. He was basically saying teachers didn’t write personal comments on student report cards because they “didn’t want to take the time” (ie. they were lazy and uncaring).  Then he got people to call in and they all agreed that teachers were the root of all evil in the modern world.

I almost drove off the road I was so mad. (Disclosure: I am off work this year from my job as a public school teacher. I am on unpaid stress leave following a year from hell. I will be returning p/t in the fall to a new school and a new job.)

In my district, teachers have no say over how report cards are written. We are pretty much given a template and told to follow the directions. Any variation from the norm is struck down by the administration when they check our work before it goes home to parents.

I told the radio announcer that if he had bothered to check his facts he would have known that teachers have no control over this issue and that if he wanted to blame anyone it should be the Department of Education.

After 3 or 4 back and forths, we figured out that we were actually, pretty much, on the same page and he asked me to come on his show and discuss the issue. I said no.

It’s taken me a year to regain my mental and physical health. Going on the radio and letting a bunch of anonymous callers denigrate me and my profession doesn’t seem like  smart idea.

Does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with the hyper-mania that seems to be accompanying my withdrawal? I cut my Cipralex from 15 mg to 10mg over a 2 week period and I just started yesterday with 5 mg. The drop to 5mg has been severe. I have been hyper all day. My husband is thrilled (!) because I made two suppers, three desserts and scrubbed the laundry room floor by hand. (I think he thinks he might get lucky tonight. Men.)

Any-hoo, yesterday seemed better because I went for a run in the middle of the day. That seemed to help burn off some of the nervous energy.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks friends.

p.s. No trolls need respond.

I’m (finally) the boss of me. (I think.)

5 Jun
Three cheers for me!

Three cheers for me!

It took a year but I think I finally know who’s boss.

It’s me! Yeah me!

This time last year I was, more often than not, trying to get by in a puddle of tears or a rage I could not shake loose.

I finally lost my mind and passed in my leave of absence request. I no longer loved teaching. As a matter of fact, I could hardly bear it. My students were suffering because we had too many students with too many needs and no way of getting extra help for them. My principal was useless and my class parents were losing their minds, mostly at me. My students deserved better. I deserved better.

So I took the year off – without pay. The first few months I just fumed. I was so mad at my boss and the system that it made me angry and sad about everyone and everything. When summer ended and everyone went back to school without me, I slept.

My children and husband would go to school and some days I would sleep until noon.

In October something in the news hit me as being ridiculous and unfair and I decided to blog about it (not on this blog – this one is private). The feedback was great and my heart and mind started to tentatively open up again.

Once my mind opened again, my body decided to follow.  I decided it was time to get back in shape. I had gained about 20 pounds over the past few years and was drinking every day. I didn’t (usually) over indulge (although there were a few parties where I was a glass away from dancing on a table with a lampshade on my head); generally it was just a glass or two while making dinner. But it had become a habit that I couldn’t break. The drink was controlling me, instead of the other way around.

I started exercising in earnest before Christmas and after the holidays started Weight Watchers. I cut out alcohol for 3 months before I felt ready to add it back in. I am in charge of it now…it doesn’t control me. I don’t crave it. I treat it like potato chips – OK for a treat but not something I can indulge in every day or binge on. I don’t keep white wine in the house. I know it’s my weaknesses. And I’ve developed a liking for fake beer. If it’s really, really cold I can’t even tell the difference.

Slowly but surely the pounds have started coming off. I’ve lost 5% of my body weight and I’m aiming for 10. My clothes are loose. I can see the difference and I like it. I don’t crave a glass of wine every day at 5 p.m. when I make supper.

People have started noticing.

“You look great! Have you lost weight?”

“You seem happier, more content.”

They’re right.

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to wean myself off the anti-depressant I have been on for 7 years. I started it when my mother got sick with cancer. She died 5 years ago this summer. I finally feel strong enough to come off it and with the help of my doctor and a psychologist, I’ve started weaning down. I added in a heavy dose of Omega 3 Joy and Vitamin B12 and so far, knock on wood, no side effects.

I know I’m making it sound easy. It hasn’t been easy but then again, it hasn’t been that hard.

I am blessed with very easy-going, happy children, a supportive spouse, a line of credit that can withstand a year of no salary, and friends who help me laugh at myself and them at every turn.

Tomorrow I am headed out to the job fair that will determine my teaching position for next year. Thankfully, I’m ready.

What a difference a year makes.