Monday, September 30, 2013

True Dreams of Anxiety

So now I'm having panic attacks in my dreams.

Last night I watched a number of bizarre movies: "Black Sheep" (hilarious horror movie wherein genetically modified sheep turn people into sheep-zombie-monsters that eat your face off), "Poolboy" (just watch it - it's horrible, i can't explain. Danny Trejo is in it though, so that's rad), and "Upside Down" (a sci-fi dystopic fantasy with really beautiful imagery and a hokey love story).

This combination of films led to a night filled with some of the craziest dreams i've ever had - almost. Here are a few fragments:

First off, i dreamt of a group of people playing a D&D-type game. The DM found a spell that brought the game to life, so the players were actually manipulating people in a tiny world that they had to protect. Since the characters were real, they continued existing and doing stuff while the DM and players were away. This led to the players spending more and more time on the game so it could go their way. The DM's daughter (who was about 8) grew more and more resentful of her dad being so engrossed and also believed that what the players were doing was wrong. She learned the way to break the spell was to kill her father. So she poured drain cleaner in the mouth pieces of all his french horns - he had like 10. Anyway, i woke up before he used one but he was going down for sure.

Another little snippet involved "Up top" which was one of the worlds in the movie "Upside Down". There was a nightclub where rich people went to do drugs, get hookers, and dance. The drug they did was a type of liquid hallucinogen that was absorbed through the skin. This was administered to patrons by having them enter into a plastic tent where the drug was rained down on them - hence, getting wet. After getting all fucked up they would go find themselves a prostitute. The prostitutes were all naked and divided into 8 gangs. Whenever a girl stole a trick from another hooker clan, an eyeball-shaped tattoo would appear in one of eights colours. If a trick went back to the original hooker clan, the skin would split at the tattoo and bleed the colour out. The hookers with the most tattoos were the most highly sought after.

The final one i feel like sharing involved nearly all my friends at some point. We were on the top of a super tall building having a dinner party - OUTSIDE the building, mind you. On one end was a high brick wall and a partial roof. Two sides had a metal railing, but the fourth side was open. I was sitting at the open end. Most of the dinner went well and we were all delighting in the rushing wind and the horses, manta rays, and sea turtles we could see flying through the clouds above and around us. Then i realized how high we were and i asked my friend Sarge to switch with me so i could be by the railing. Then i got too scared to move and had a full-blown panic attack. I laid down and scooted on my belly to the brick wall and freaked out about the ladder i knew i'd never survive. I closed my eyes and when i opened them i was at my favourite ex-boyfriend's house. He had a new baby girl with his wife and i wanted to play with her. As i sat with her, she grew up. I was so sad that i wasn't her mom that started crying and the whole basement filled up with tears.

I woke up actually crying and decided it was time to get the hell out of bed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'll take none of those and I probably won't call you in the morning

So i have a pretty lengthy history of mental disorder. The diagnoses started rolling in when i was 14. First it was mild depression. Then depression with anxiety. Then Major Depressive Disorder. Then depression-inducing anxiety. Blah blah blah... Until the whopper at age 19 - Panic Disorder. Panic Disorder fucking sucks. It ruins everything, all the time, forever. It makes me angry to have panic attacks looming around every corner. So i get mean. Then i get sad for being mean. Then i remove myself from everything and everyone under the guise of getting my shit together, but really i'm sleeping all day and staying up all night, manic-insomnia-style, worrying about how much i'm screwing up and when will i "wake up" four months or six months later, 60 pounds heavier with no job and sleeping on someone's couch or in their guest bedroom or in their basement wearing sweatpants with fucking elastic hems...

And writing epic run-on sentences.

The bottom line is i haven't had any issues since 2008. That's FIVE YEARS, mang! Before that? 2004. I was certain i had a lid on this crap - without therapy and without drugs (since 2004). In 2000 when i was 22, after i had had my most major episodes (including disassociative amnesia fugues - whoa! My brother died, so sue me.), i started college. My first class was PSYCH 101. My teacher was awesome! I got the tools i needed and learned how to treat myself fairly successfully with cognitive behavioral therapy. I went off anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills for the first time in 6 years. I faltered briefly 4 years later after giving birth at 18.5 weeks. It was fucking traumatic, okay?

I wasn't on drugs long in 2004 because they took away my sex drive and made my ears ring so loudly that i couldn't sleep. It was ridiculous. I lived alone, in a new city where i only knew like 4 people and i couldn't even pleasure myself? Torture. The endorphins you get from sex or masturbating are irreplacable - drugs can not give you those. Not the ones the doctors give you, anyway.

Fast forward to 2008. One panic attack on a severely shitty day. I was on it! No drugs - just good ole fashioned making myself smile for five minutes and not letting myself stop doing all the stuff i normally enjoy. Plugged. No probs.

But NOW? Now i'm so far into this spiral i can't believe it. I'm barely making art, my diet is all kinds of fucked up, i can not fall asleep at night without booze and i catch myself being an uber bitch all the time. I don't even drink coffee in the morning anymore which is one of my favourite things in the world. I've had 3 panic attacks in the last six days! I'd rather sleep than do almost anything during the day. I quit a perfectly good job for virtually no reason. I'm so broke i'm hiding from my landlord.

This shit is getting sneakier. I am not amused. But now that i've caught its scent, i know just what to do. Sleep - that's the first and most important thing. Sleep AT NIGHT. Coffee in the morning, smile for 5 minutes, take my allergy crap and iron pills and maybe some St. John's Wart and art, art, art. Oh, and i need a mantra. . .