Tag Archives: breathe

breathe.

I watched a woman kill herself and I continue to have flashbacks of it. I haven’t been able to sleep. Because everytime I close my eyes I see her looking at me. She’s haunting me. And telling me that I am just like her.

A friendship that I once thought was so “different”, is currently crashing down around me. And I don’t know if the pieces can ever fit back together.

The girl that set me up to fall for her, did not follow through with catching me. Words seem to have been just that, words. I don’t even know how to put into words what is currently going on with that situation. Except that I fell and am now just lost and confused. With no light at the end of the tunnel. Nor do I know how long the tunnel is.

My sister has cancer. She may also lose everything she has today as her husband is most likely going to lose his job. And he is the sole provider in their family. My nephew and niece, who are the complete center of my world, may not have a home when the sun goes down tonight.

The waves continue to crash around me. Getting bigger and stronger. Pushing me down with each progression. As I struggle just to get up from my knees. And all I want to do is just breathe.

Advertisements

fighting for the moment.

Amy Kay.  Her name always reminds me of Mary Kay, the beauty care company.  But no, she is an actual person.  She is one of my “core” friends.  We have lived hundreds of miles apart for our entire friendship, which spans nine years.  But she is that friendship where we don’t have to talk every day or see each other often to know that we share a bond.  She is one of the first people I would turn to if I needed something.  And I am the same for her.  We have gone years without seeing each other, but our friendship has never missed a beat. She has faced many different types of struggles in her life.  But instead of defeating her, they have only made her stronger.  She has been a model.  A choreographer.  She dreams of going to law school and is one of the most career oriented people I know.  She is also one of the strongest people I have ever known.  And her energy inspires me.  I could never imagine my life without her.

A couple months ago, Amy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  For those who don’t know, MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system).  So far, the disease has been progressing rather rapidly.  She has been diagnosed as Stage Three.  This means that the disease has spread to both her brain and spine.  She currently has ten lesions on her brain and three in her spine.  All of the lesions in her brain are in her frontal lobe.  This is the area that controls movement, short-term memory, emotions, etc.  She has become permanently blind in her left eye and is beginning to have trouble seeing out of her right.  She is having trouble with her coordination and will drop things randomly.  Some days when she wakes up, she cannot move her legs and, therefore, cannot walk.  She has permanent numbness and tingling on her right side and has lost sensation in her fingertips.  This once strong, independent dancer is beginning to become incapacitated.  She is only 27 years old. 

Yesterday, Amy came into town and so she came over to my house to hang out.  On the outside, she looks the same.  But when I looked into her eyes, I saw the exhaustion from the many treatments and hospital visits that she has endured in the last couple months.  We talked about how scared she is.  About how much of an adjustment her life has become.  We both cried and held each other.  When we first met nine years ago, we both had aspirations to join the FBI.  Over the years, our dreams and directions changed.  In most recent years she has discussed going to law school and the steps she needed to take to make that happen.  Last night, we talked about the odds of her being able to walk in ten years.  We also talked about the odds of her becoming completely blind.  This was conversation I never imagined having with her while we were both still in our 20s. 

I remained as strong as possible because I knew she needed that from me.  But inside, it’s killing me.  I feel completely helpless.  There is no cure for this disease and nothing I can do to make it better.  I cannot even offer to be by her side because of the miles between us.  I can’t hold her hand through every treatment or stay up with her at night when the medication she is on makes her unbelievably sick.  I cannot even tell her that everything is going to be ok, because I don’t know if it will be.  And I’m not going to lie to her.  No one knows if it will be ok, not even her doctors. 

The thought of losing her terrifies me.  I have dealt with a lot of loss in my life.  But never someone that I am this close too who is my age.  The rapid progression of the disease is terrifying.  This weekend trip that she took here felt almost as if she was saying goodbye.  Just wanting some final memories to store away.  One of the texts she sent to me the night before she came over stated that she wanted to “spend as much time with me as possible”.  She has never spoken like that before.  Where I currently live is her hometown so she still has lots of friends that live here.  So previously, if she would make trips here, it would all be preplanned and we would try to meet up if it was possible.  If not, that was fine, we would just wait until the next time we would see each other.  This trip was different.  It was completely spontaneous.  And it felt like there was a sense of urgency to see each other and spend time together.  At the beginning of the weekend, she went to one of her favorite places with her best friends from high school.  It was a place that she told me weeks ago that she wanted to visit before she went blind.  She wanted to be able to remember the beauty that the world held just in case she was never able to see it again.  That was the only place they went to.  Then when I got those cryptic texts from her, my world began to shatter.  I began to see her visit in a different light.  And it overwhelmed me emotionally.  

My grandma visited me and my parents three months before her death.  During that visit, I had this overwhelming feeling that this was going to be the last time I saw her.  The feeling was irrational as my grandma was very healthy for her age and had actually just had a physical exam that showed she was in great shape.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with her.  We had also already planned for my grandma to come back to the area six months later.  So it wasn’t like I wasn’t going to see her for a while.  So the feeling I had, I couldn’t explain it.  I remember sitting on the couch with her talking and I just started watching the rise and fall of her chest, thinking “this is the last time I’m going to see her breathe.”  The thoughts scared me.  And I put it off as just me being paranoid and me being irrationally scared to lose someone, as the BPD tends to make me feel that way a lot, especially about the people that I love and care about the most.  I’m absolutely terrified of losing people in my life.  Whether it’s from them walking away or from death, either way, I’m always worried about it.  Next to my parents, my grandma was the only true “blood” family I had in my life and she meant a lot to me.  So I just thought I was worrying about nothing.  Three months later, she was gone.  It was a freak accident.  After that, I couldn’t shake the feeling that somehow I had known something was going to happen.  Because, in fact, that’s exactly how I felt during her last visit.  I felt like I was saying goodbye to her, even though I did not want to admit that to myself at the time.  Well, with this visit with Amy, I began to feel the same way.  I would like to think that I am just overreacting.  That I was traumatized by what happened with my grandma and I was thinking that this was the same situation when it wasn’t.  But no matter what I am telling myself, it still feels the same way. 

I dropped Amy off at the airport this morning.  I am terrified that that will be the last time I see her face.  That will be the last time I am able to tell her that I love her in person.  I even watched the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed, just like I did with my grandma.  I made the most of last night.  We had an awesome time just hanging out.  She loved my girlfriend and, in turn, my girlfriend got along really well with her.  I told her how much she meant to me.  And she told me how much I meant to her.  If that was our goodbye, there is nothing that has been left unsaid.  So I can take comfort in that.  But, the truth is, I’m not ready to say goodbye to her.  I am so scared.  And there is nothing I can do.  I know I shouldn’t be concerned yet because she’s still here.  Nothing has happened.  But I just can’t shake that feeling.  Because what if I am right this time too?


medications.

EFFEXOR XR®

I don’t usually talk about my medications.  To anyone really.  Except the people absolutely closest to me.  Because, while I have become pretty good at taking my meds, I do sometimes falter and I need someone keeping me on track.  But even my best friends only know that I take “meds”.  They don’t know their specific names or what they are for.  I just refer to them as “meds” in the most generic sense.  But today, well today I feel like talking about them.

People have tried to get me on one medication or another since I was 18.  I can’t even remember what they had me on back then because I would only take the pills for a couple days and then stop.  I didn’t think I needed to be on medication.  I had the notion that I could handle things on my own and didn’t need to be medicated.  Then three years ago everything in my world changed.  It started with OCD.  I became terrified of germs.  And it kind of just grew over time.  I had to carry hand sanitizer everywhere I went.  My hands were raw from me using it so much.  And then I couldn’t touch anything for fear of what germs may be there.  I would have to sanitize my entire workspace every morning.  I didn’t want to go out anywhere because I was scared of the germs that I might pick up.  I didn’t want to eat at any restaurants because I was scared I would get food poisoning.  The fear consumed me.  And I couldn’t control it on my own.  It just kept getting worse.  And people would of course notice it.  And sometimes they made it worse too.  Someone would say, “So you’re scared of this, but why aren’t you worried about xxxx?”.  And then all of a sudden, I’d be scared of xxxx too.  I couldn’t function.  So I knew I needed something to help because it was getting out of my control.  And that’s where I believe my journey truly started.

I’ve been on medications solidly for the last three years.  Not the same ones or the same doses.  But the entire time I’ve been on something.  It started with Paxil.  That stuff was just absolutely no good for me.  I became extremely depressed after a couple weeks on it.  To the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed to go to work.  And that’s not me.  I’ve always had pride in myself that I could get up in the morning and be responsible and go to work.  It’s a small feat, I know.  And most people don’t think it’s an accomplishment to just get out of bed in the morning.  But for me, it was everything.  It meant that, for that day, I beat the depression and emotional angst that was begging me to just curl in a ball and stay in bed all day.  But on that medication, I was completely defeated.  I had no drive or motivation for anything.  So after only two weeks on they immediately took me off it.  Then came Effexor.  Which I was on for two years.  And it helped with the anxiety.  I could function again in that basic sense.   But I was still constantly in emotional upheaval.  I realize now that the OCD was a manifestation of me needing to be able to control something in my life.  Because I have never been able to control my emotions or impulses.  And the OCD was my way of dealing with that.  But I always just thought my emotions were normal.  I had never known any different.  But my doctor noticed.  And she wanted to get me more help then she could provide.  Enter my psychiatrist.  I have seen countless psychiatrists and therapists in my life.  But the difference was that this time, I listened.  He immediately put me on Seroquel and changed my Effexor prescription to Pristiq.  So I’ve been on that combination for the last year.  At first it was rough.  I was not really myself at the beginning of taking Seroquel.  I literally didn’t care about anyone or anything.  I feel sorry for what I put my friends and loved ones through during that time.  But I also couldn’t help it.  It was my brain adjusting to new meds.

But I rode it out.  And here I am.  We just recently upped my dosage of Seroquel and I am really happy we did that.  For the first time in a really long time I feel…..good.  And it’s a constant feeling.  Situations happen where I know how I want to react or how I would have reacted in the past, but I have much better control over my emotions.  It is not such a rollercoaster in my life at the moment.  I am much closer to being the even keeled person that I want to be.  Yes, sometimes I can be a “zombie” from my medication.  My girlfriend hates it.  She says that for those moments she loses me.  But for me, it feels amazing just to be able to handle my emotions.  I’m not at such extremes all the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I still definitely have my moments.  It’s not like the meds take everything away and make me all better.  They just allow me to be able to deal with things better then I could without them.  They don’t necessarily make me happy, they just dull the pain of all the negative emotions for the most part.  And with the absence of such constant extreme emotions, I find peace.  I am able to breathe. It’s nice to be able to breathe.