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  • Adam 9:25 pm on March 20, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: anxiety, changes, , normal, , wagon,   

    Normal and I are Barely Acquainted 

    This is the first time in a while that I feel something like approaching normal. I think I’ve learned an important lesson about mixing pharmacology.

    A while back weed was made legal in California and while I’ve never really gotten into it, I’ve done it several times and had fun. My partner smokes on a regular basis and slowly over time I decided to start giving it a shot. Because I don’t drink or do pretty much anything I decided I could do with a ‘light vice’ in my life. At some point I was smoking about 3-4 nights a week. Not a ton, just a bit here and there.

    This went on for about 1-2 months and was seemingly very helpful. I was sleeping better. It was helping my mood. It made a slow day go by a lot better. Then, the anxiety started. In the past 2 years of Wellbutrin / Antidepressants, I’ve experienced a good deal of anxiety. It’s often triggered by stressful situations. When I was with Alessia her anger and threats to pull away would have my anxiety through the roof. Since then I’ve just had days now and again where I feel very anxious. But other than breaking up with Alessia it’s been not too bad.

    Suddenly in the last month or so I started feeling it whenever the slightest thing went wrong. Because this honestly is not completely out of the ordinary I did my best to cope, remain centered, and I would smoke a bit here and there to help as well. Slowly over weeks it got worse and worse.

    It was massively triggered when I went through a lot of stress with Jessie. Her decision to start dating several people at once, jealously issues, the fact that she seemed distant and to pull away all had me in a state of panic. To be fair, this would make me feel this way anyway. But it was like 10 hours a day of blinding, chest-racing, something is terribly wrong panic.

    I couldn’t stop talking about what was going on. I was word vomiting to my friends. Complaining. Inventing grievances. Re working the same issues 100 times over. It felt like my relationship was slipping away, that Jessie hated me, that Bonni hated me. That I was going to be alone and to ruin the only shot I’ve had in 3 years at “Love”. My best friend Matlock got mad at me for making everything about myself and for stressing him out with constant anxiety.

    All I can say while this was going on I never really assumed that the meds were ‘at fault’ – I felt a certain way and I assumed that I was justified in feeling that way. So if I was anxious – there was something wrong. Because there were things wrong I fixated on those and made them 1000 times bigger in my head. Honestly I acted paranoid and kind of like a crazy person.

    This went on for about 7-8 days getting worse by the day until I realized that I needed help. That I couldn’t keep living like this. Because my first instinct was that my relationship was causing this anxiety, that Jessie must the reason and that I’m just so afraid of losing her that I was going to lose her. I thought about ending things 100 times. I ended up taking space, distance and stepping away from the relationship. I thought that the only way I could keep things going was to match her distance and be barely in contact. This was kind of stupid but in retrospect it may have helped because it removed a factor from the equation.

    I spoke to my psychiatrist and she gave me some light meds for anxiety. I tried them, they did NOTHING. Meanwhile I’m crying every morning and night and I’m miserable and scared. At this point I had realized that it was probably my medication at least in part. After a week i quit smoking weed. After 7-8 days I had to stop caffeine, and a few days later I hit a bottom.

    I was sitting at home on a sunday. I slept in, I could barely get out of bed. I cried in the shower for 20 minutes straight. I watched TV for hours. It finally hit me all of a sudden that things are most definitely not right. I didn’t have a solution or an answer. I just thought back to what I did last time. I worked out every day. That helped a lot. So I decided to work out. I took a long walk up a huge hill. I was sweating and miserable and could barely breathe. My heart was pounding so much I thought I was going to faint or pass out. It took me 20 minutes to catch my breath. But I did it. When I got back home sweating and feeling like I’d run 10 miles instead of walked 2. I laid there in bed. Thoughts drifting.

    I felt better for having done some exercise. I felt like some of my energy was burned off. I felt… clearer. I decided that I should go back to working out daily. That I should cut my meds in half-doses immediately.  The next day I took half my usual dose, and I worked out again. The next day I did the same thing. and again and again.

    It’s been 2 weeks, 14 days. I did some reading a couple days ago and I found out that Weed and Wellbutrin are NOT at all compatible. That it can make all the symptoms worse, cause paranoia, psychotic behavior, extreme anxiety. I realized like a sledgehammer blow to the stomach. I did this to myself. I added in my own form of ‘medicine’ and as it built up over months I got worse and worse. Not realizing what was causing it, I would smoke more to ‘calm down’ or to sleep. Giving temporary relief but making the overall problem much worse.

    Jessie and I didn’t sleep together for a month (which for us is crazy) and we had arguments and I kept asking her for things that I couldn’t define or explain. Finally last Saturday we had an actual good, normal day. We both worked out and hung out all day. We laughed, made love, watched a movie, joked around and stared into each others eyes. It was like coming out of a tunnel and looking behind me and thinking “what the actual fuck”? Now I can have coffee in the morning.

    It’s taken weeks to calm down. I still feel wound up sometimes but it’s 10 percent panic instead of 90 percent panic. It’s the closest thing to normal that i know. I’m nothing but happy about working out for 14 days, I want to keep it going. I feel better about myself, I feel better about my relationship, and I just feel better. Apparently, I shouldn’t smoke pot. I should also know better than to just start taking a mood altering drug when I’m precariously balanced already.

    Everything isn’t perfect. There’s still some distance between Jessie and I that I could do without. I’m still worried about finances, and life, and my job, and dating. But I’ve never been so happy to just be worried in a normal way about normal things. I’ll be watching myself closely in the coming weeks to make sure I keep moving in a positive direction.

  • Adam 11:18 am on September 29, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags: anxiety, , collapse, , guilt, , mistakes, , ,   

    Phase 10: Full Circle 

    That kind of brings us to now. I have always had a high sex drive. I’ve dated people I didn’t like and done things I’m embarrassed about. Before I met Carrie, I had awkward one-night stands, weird relationships, marathon porn sessions. Most of that stopped after Carrie and I started dating, well everything except the porn.

    After a few years into our relationship, we started trying ‘swinging’ with another couple. And it was two nice attractive people who seemed to like both of us physically, even though I was not looking so great. For a while it was a balm to my ego and it made me feel like not only can we handle this, but that it’s good for us. It made me feel wanted, and made me feel like there was someone else who would also sleep with me.

    I couldn’t be that bad could I? I mean TWO women are willing to sleep with me on occasion and they’re both gorgeous. It’s something I clung to night after night when Carrie would roll away from me, annoyed at my fumbling attempts to just ‘get off’.

    Oh do my problems stop? Nope. I’m a womanizer.

    Not in the classic 1950’s sense of “A man who treats women poorly or engages in multiple sex-based relationships” more like “A man who flirts constantly, gropes women, and generally acts like he’s single when he’s not”.

    When I was younger I used to just be a flirt, maybe a little over-confident at times, and fairly notorious when I was drunk. But I never thought of myself as someone who made people uncomfortable. I’ve found over time and over the years, that I got worse and worse. More and more bold with people.

    I’ve gotten warned away from people’s girlfriends. I’ve had to make awkward apologies. It got to the point where people would warn other people before meeting me. He’s “Handsy” they would say, or “Doesn’t have boundaries”.

    It’s taken me a while but as I got more and more heavy, more unattractive and more unhappy. I would reach out more and more to everyone around me. If I could grab-ass a little and kiss the girls I must still have “it” right? I felt so bad all the time about how I looked the only way I could get through the weekend was to push boundaries and feel sexy. Most of the time I did this just as readily in front of Carrie as behind her back. It seems like I’m scum, but I honestly did want her to know. I’m not doing this as a secret. This isn’t a “cheating method” this is a just me being me, and if I’m not hiding it from own wife, how much harm could it really do?

    Carrie would tell me how embarrassed she would get at parties when people would ask her “Why do you let him do that?” and she would shrug and say “Oh he doesn’t mean anything by it”. I guess frankly I didn’t. I didn’t want to sleep with everyone, I just wanted to feel like I was the same old Adam who used to break hearts and change women frequently. The Adam that didn’t have a weight problem and people thought was dashing, handsome and charismatic.

    I do at least assure you, I was all those things at some point.

    I think eventually I got by on pure charisma, and then eventually I got by on feeling up women and breaking boundaries.

    One month came along where Carrie was gone for four weekends in a row. She was off showing her prize goats, which she loves to do and it made her happy. I was feeling particularly low when she sat me down and told me that she would be gone for four weekends in a row. Because of our work schedules we didn’t see each other much during the week and I knew with her gone during the weekend that I would be largely alone for an entire month.

    I actually welcomed the solitude. There were times where I was depressed and I just wanted to be alone. These four weekends I actually took the time to be by myself and for the most part I enjoyed it. Things had been strained between us for a while, maybe a break is what I needed.

    For the first few weeks I lazed around and enjoyed myself and it wasn’t so bad. I even got some thinking done about my life. On the fourth weekend things it started to get old and I found myself missing her more and more.

    I remember resenting that she was gone for so long and that she didn’t seem to mind that I wasn’t with her. She seemed preoccupied with what she was doing and all I could think about was that I was by myself and no one seemed to care.

    That weekend I proceeded to get drunk at home by myself. I put away a few glasses of whiskey and started texting with people one of them was my old coworker Liz who told me that she was going to quit drinking and that this was her final day to drink. I guess at that point I kind of knew what I was doing although I definitely had some liquid courage in me. I invited her over and we ended up drinking even more together.

    A lot of it’s a blur but I remember making a move and having it reciprocated and things quickly escalating. we ended up in the bedroom and thanks to alcohol, there wasn’t much I could actually accomplish. It’s safe to say that I basically embarrassed myself – and while it was wholly inappropriate – it didn’t go well.

    The whole endeavor took about 20 minutes and afterwards sobriety came crashing in. We both stood there awkwardly, she asked if we could still be friends, I told her yes that we could be friends and while it was clear we both regretted what we had done. We mutually agreed to put it behind us and pretend it hadn’t happened.

    About two months went by and in that time I experienced a lot of guilt I thought about telling Carrie in 1000 different ways what had happened. I even thought maybe if I came clean the right way that she wouldn’t be THAT mad – that she might understand. We had had these experiences with other people and maybe she was open-minded enough to see that this wasn’t as bad as it could be and it was just a mistake.

    I actually started to clean up my act. I think it was the first glimmer I’d had in a long time that something was seriously wrong and it wasn’t going to go away on its own. I started helping more and volunteering more. For a while I actually felt like maybe I was starting to change and be a better husband. Maybe that’s part of why I kept silent.

    Ultimately I was afraid. I knew there was every chance that I had blown everything and if there was a chance that it would ruin everything I couldn’t risk it. They often say that confessing an affair is often relieving your own guilt and putting the burden on the other person and I guess I thought maybe I was doing her a favor or the right thing.

    As most secrets do – It all came out and in a single hour – and in a single day my life collapsed.

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