An Unexpected Path

Hello Folks.  I have been bad.  “Wicked, wicked bad”

roadblock2My plan/path/road was to take the blogging201 course.  I think I completed day 1 maybe day 2.  I encountered a roadblock in the form of physical illness.  Actually there had been a couple of illness crap things going on with me.  While I took the time to care for myself, my blog and many other things were put on the back burner. At times, I have had this blog pop up in my brain, but until today I was unmotivated to write.

“What’s been going on you ask?”

“Shhhh, Don’t tell anyone But, One thing happened which led to another thing then another and another. The result being I started writing elsewhere.    And now I am here.”

“Where is here?”

“On my couch, writing this.”

“Seriously????”

“Yes, seriously.”

laughingfreeI am taking part in a research study that involves using a mindfulness App to help people quit smoking.  When this opportunity arose, I went with it.  Part of the process of quitting is writing down your experiences with this App.  Writing ovah there led to motivation to write ovah here.  Hmmmm. Sharing my experience with mindfulness would not be a bad purpose for this blog. I am still looking for one of those.

A year ago I had an experience that felt almost life changing. I will warn you it is a bit long if you choose to read it.  Looking back, I can see that the experience gave me the opportunity to be more aware of what was going on with me.  To be present. To be in the moment.  Not worrying about something in my future that might never happen.  Not ruminating over something I did or did not do in the past. My soul focus was on whether I could get from the couch to the bathroom without help. I was forced to look at right now and nothing else. I was forced to focus on my body and what I could or could not do. This experience was the start of a journey I did not expect to be on.  This experience led me to My Mindfulness Adventure.

This new awareness led me to a new therapist.  He shall now be known as Dennis.  Dennis led me to a true introduction to what mindfulness is and what it can do.  Learning about it and practicing a bit led me to talk about it.  Talking about it led to a friend sharing a link with me.  That link led me to TheMindfulnessSummit.  I am presently calling this summit my crash course in Mindfulness.  From it I am learning exactly what I need to learn to continue my exploration of Mindfulness.  I am becoming aware (there’s that word again) of how practicing mindfulness can make a difference in my life.  My eyes are opening to the possibilities of what practicing mindfulness can do for anyone who gives it a chance.

roadblockfreedomFor instance, I did not know it could help prevent a relapse of depression.  There are things called Mindful parenting. Mindfulness for business. It can be used to help deal with pain.  I did not know there was such a thing as mindful eating.  Which is a tad odd as I recently made a decision to lose some weight.  I was actually losing weight by using mindful eating techniques that I didn’t even know existed.  The extent of my experience with mindfulness consisted of using it to deal with an anxiety thing.

Back to the MindfulnessSummit.  One of the lectures I listened to led me to a local Mindfulness Center that I did not know existed.  That centers website led me to ask questions about becoming part of a research study. That study was being conducted to see how successful a particular App was at using mindfulness to help people quit smoking.  Odd, I have been thinking a lot about how much I really need to make a final attempt at quitting.  Patches, gum, medication, lozenges – none of that appealed to me.   This appealed to me.  Is all of this one rather large coincidence?  It doesn’t matter as it all came together to lead me where I need to be.  quitsmoking

The first time I quit smoking was a bit unconventional.  The last should be as well.            .

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Day 20 – I treasure Awareness, and Family, and dogs, and the ability to pee by myself, etc.

I might or might not know what happened.confused-on-the-computer

I may have accidently hit publish when I 1st started writing this story way back when. That may explain why it says it was published on January 20th, when I published today. It became my First post???? Not my last of writing 101.

With a lot of work I was able to get it to fit with the last assignment.  All I know is that I finished it today. and published it today.

life as seen by me

Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession. Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative. Good luck to all who read the whole thing and I promise never to write this much again!!!! 4189 words

It all started innocently enough.  I first noticed I couldn’t feel my fingers. As things progressed and I told my story over and over again I realized it actually started weeks before.

I couldn’t feel the cigarette smoke go into my lungs.  I remember telling Jax, “I can’t suck. I suck at sucking.”  I was also eating a lot of Tootsie rolls.  Every time I generated some Tootsie roll flavored saliva I would cough, sputter, choke almost.  I blamed these…

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Her name turned out to be Robbie

Day 6 of writing 101therapycopyright

I’ve seen her quite a few times before but she never caught my attention until today. I can be very shy at times. I am not one to just talk to anyone I meet walking down the street, or strolling in a store, or flying through a waiting room.  She flew by once, twice, three times before I said something.  “You really need to think about slowing down a bit. You are speeding through here like a freight train.” She slowed down just long enough to respond.

“Yes” she relied with a big grin, “I do appear to be stuck in fast forward today. I have so much to get done.”

“Hey.” I replied with the devilish grin I reserved for the best of times. “Just be grateful dealing with me is not on your list of things to do today.”.

“Not a good day?” she inquired.

“I’ve had better.” I responded still trying to smile.

“Well I hope it all works out,” she said as she flew past again. She appeared to be hurried, but not panic like. Almost like she had extra energy that needed to be burned up. I felt jealousy slowly creep through my body. I want to feel that kind of energy again. I use to feel it. I miss it. There was something in her eyes that I could not identify during this first encounter. It did seem familiar. Eventually, in time, I would learn what it was.

This was the same day my therapist told me she would be gone for another 2 weeks.  Damn, I thought to myself, she just got back from Italy. I needed to decide if I wanted a replacement person for those weeks or just someone who’s available for me to call if I need it.  I thought about the uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts and feelings I had been experiencing lately.  I was also seeing my therapist almost twice a week. This was so not the time for me to be skipping a few weeks of therapy.

It was best that I go with the replacement therapist, just in case, but only if I get to pick who I see. I am a firm believer that one tends to get what they need.  Maybe I spoke to this “woman in flight” out of the blue for a reason? I went with my gut, I asked about her.

I learned that what I saw in this woman’s eyes was something I once recognized in myself. It was fun, joy, cheer, love of life. My therapist assured me I would laugh if I met with this woman, who I now know is named Robbie.

I only saw her twice, but we talked about everything. Dogs, OCD, stress, horses, conversion disorder, outlooks on life, laughter therapy, doctors, diagnosis, husbands, SIB, depression, showers, anxiety, beer, medication, and so on. We smiled and laughed about most of it. I have never talked that easily with someone I just met, NEVER, EVER.  I came close to a life crisis while my regular therapist was gone and this woman helped me though it. The last thing she said to me was, “you are a very interesting woman.” I think that is a good thing?

I’ve seen her again. Always in passing. We’ve had brief conversations, like, “Hi, How are you?” “your boots make as much noise as mine.” “How is your dog doing?” “You still move really, really fast.”  Circumstances have arisen where I may switch to her as my therapist.  I do not know at this time.  I am going to try and believe that whatever happens is meant to happen. Yes I would like to see what I can learn from her as a therapist, but I will be happy with what I get when seeing her fly by.

She remains the same as when I first truly noticed her.  A very busy person with eyes that smile.

A Bit About Me

My name is Emily (not IRL) and the best way I can think to describe myself is that I am a very honest, relatively nice person with a great sense of humor, but mess with my Friends and I can become unpleasant. Some people love me for my honesty some hate me for the same reason.

I have had OCD since I was a small child. Nothing too bad, but I was unquestionably obsessive. If I didn’t do things a certain number of times or the right way, the Anxiety would kick in. I have suffered from Depression since about age 16,  but was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder.  I remember being a teenager and saying to myself  “I will never worry like my Mom.” Boy was I wrong.   The GAD diagnosis came as an adult.  I experienced some alcohol and drug addiction days. At one time Bipolar and ADHD were thought to be a problem as well.  I’m not sure if the BPD was ever a diagnosis or just phases I went through. Charming!!!!  Writing this is making me feel ancient and a bit baffled. perplexed2

I have tried virtually every medication available for Depression. I’ve been labeled ‘treatment resistant’. Through a lot of hard work and a lot of help and support, I have experienced some relief from Depression.  Unfortunately, when “I woke up” this last time, the Anxiety seemed to surge. Today I battle Anxiety, OCD, and have a lot of new feelings to get a handle on.  Including feelings of nothing.  I do believe that feeling nothing is better than those horrible, gut wrenching feelings of Depression.   I am still learning.  I recently had an alarming experience that ended with a Conversion Disorder diagnosis.  It was either that or a dreadful medication interaction?  The Doctors disagree.  It doesn’t really matter, because I choose to listen to all of them and do exactly what they all say.

Today I find myself taking life one feeling, one problem, one appointment, and Seamusbarooone barking beagle at a time. 

I ended writing here.  I’ve come back to it a few times, but had nothing to add.  I was stuck.

Today I figured out what to do.  It just came to me.  It became a meddlesome, obsessive thought, but it was one of the good ones.  I will end my story.

I know what I am going to write about.  It will be about how a young happy child went from being a scared, confused, lost little girl to the strong, grateful, somewhat independent woman she is today.  I do not know what I will write about or when I will write, but I will write.  I may not write every day, or every week, or even every month, but I will write.  Someone I trust suggested that if I record my thoughts, I might be able to understand more and figure things out a little better.  One thing I have learned in my long lifetime is to take some of the suggestions given to me.  The person might actually know something that I don’t.10378937_10203274237429971_2997557858446709925_n

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Day 20 – I treasure Awareness, and Family, and dogs, and the ability to pee by myself, etc.

Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession. Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative.

Good luck to all who read the whole thing and I promise never to write this much again!!!! 4189 words

It all started innocently enough.  I first noticed I couldn’t feel my fingers. As things progressed and I told my story over and over again I realized it actually started weeks before.

I couldn’t feel the cigarette smoke go into my lungs.  I remember telling Jax, “I can’t suck. I suck at sucking.”  I was also eating a lot of Tootsie rolls.  Every time I generated some Tootsie roll flavored saliva I would cough, sputter, choke almost.  I blamed these things on a sore throat and slight fever.  Little did I know that these simple, little things would turn into what it did.  I went from dead fingers and a throat I couldn’t control to not being able to hear what I say and my brain not communicating properly with my body.

My brain doesn’t always register what my fingers type, but knows if it’s right or not.  Sometimes I care sometimes I don’t.

At Christmas dinner I noticed one thing.  I couldn’t feel myself swallow.  I was still not concerned.  I did not think anything of it. I just thought it was some weird freaky strange thing. Nothing to worry about, It would go away. I slept well that night.  The next day was different.  I woke with no complaints.  I still couldn’t feel my fingers, and was still not concerned.  I thought to myself, “I will mention it to my doctor when I see her next week.”

Within a few hours I couldn’t open the sliding glass door to let the beagle in.  BUT, I could open the refrigerator to get a bottle of water.  I started thinking that maybe something was wrong.  If I can’t open the door for my dog or light my own cigarette, there might be a problem.  Jax and I both thought it would be best if I called the doctor. Of course this was the day after Christmas and the office was closed.  The doctor covering  was actually closer to my house and they wanted to see me at 2:30.  This is when I began my first lesson of this whole experience.  2:30 was a long way off, I would learn how to wait.

At 2 PM I could put on my sweatshirt.  1 hour later I could not take it off.

All I thought about was “it is the day after Christmas, in New England and I am only wearing a sweatshirt. The sun is shining bright and the temp is reasonably warm.  The fact that my arms don’t move doesn’t really bother me.”

We didn’t stay at the doctors long, they wanted us to go straight to the ER.  I must briefly mention this doctor’s office.  For a place I had never been before I felt very comfortable here.  There was a Dustin Pedroia “fat head” on the wall and I knew the medical assistant.  I knew I had to be a bit nervous as I repeated over and over again, “it should be Kevin Millar on the wall not Dustin. Kevin Millar, not Dustin. It should be Millar not Pedroia.”  The medical assistant talked to me. She kept me calm. This was the first incidence of thoughts coming into my head and straight out my mouth.  The doctor I saw a week later described it as me “losing my filter”. I basically spoke without thinking.

When leaving the doctors, I noticed I was walking very slowly. Whatever was going on was progressing and I was starting to get a tad concerned.

At the ER 5 minutes later, walking was very hard. Jax had to fill out the paperwork as I could no longer write.  Very little waiting here. They got me right in.  I was amazed at how quickly they started to care for me.  I have never seen a small town ER come alive as quickly as this one did. One nurse was drawing blood as someone else started an EKG.  I was getting nervous and asked for Jax.  It took 2 hours for him to find me. They never went and got him. OH well, except for this, they were taking very good care of me. Plus their focus was on me, not on finding him.

While waiting (there’s that word again), I sensed I had to pee. I couldn’t feel it, but on some level, in my head I knew I had to go.  I didn’t think walking was an option at this point. Bring on the bed pan!!!!  After quite a while of trying to relax parts of my body I could not feel, I only managed 3 drops.  Plus, peeing while lying down is not that easy when you are in control. Forget about it when you have lost that control.

Later without thinking, I made a slow trek to the bathroom.  I got part of the way there when it was suggested I ride the rest of the way.

You have no idea how proud I was when I peed.  I announced it to the whole ER.  Remember “no filter”.  It was good that I peed as they wanted a sample.  They also did a cat scan which showed nothing.  At this point I could lift my arm to scratch my head, but couldn’t put my arm back down.  The doctor did some neurological tests like follow my finger, now squeeze it.  I don’t know if I passed.  This ER knew they couldn’t help me so it was off to the big city hospital. By way of ambulance.

On the way to the big city, I lost the ability to talk.

What a trip this big city ER was.  A nurse said it was a calm night, but boy was it ever busy.  There were people everywhere.  Voices on top of voices on top of more voices.  Patients never stopped coming in the doors.  I liked my ‘room’. I could see it all from my vantage point. My ‘room’ was the hallway.  Two people occupied the stretcher down the hall a bit.  I don’t think this was another space issue, I think it was love.

I still couldn’t talk and was very scared. I never realized how frustrating it could be to not be able to talk. Until it was taken away from me,  My name tag did not have my name on it.  I was incapable of telling anyone.  Finally by way of frantic hand signals, nods, and shakes of my head, a nurse finally understood what I was trying to say.  They gave me the right name.

Jax arrived quicker than expected.  I saw him from a distance and was able to wave.  Couldn’t do that at the other ER. When he got here, I had already seen one doctor. It was very frustrating trying to tell this Doc. all that had been happening.   All I could get out  was “Call the other hospital.” This Doc. knew everything any way.  He just wanted me to say it all again.  Wicked not funny. I must say, “Jax, not the Doctor, is a very smart man.”

Jax noticed almost immediately that if I didn’t try hard or think too much, it was easier to spit words out.

The neurologist was next.  He was difficult to understand as he was definitely not from this country.  I pointed to my ear every time I couldn’t understand him.  Jax was right, if I didn’t try, it was easier to do things.  We told the neurologist this.  With much effort and little thought, I was able to add, “my sense of humor is one of the best and I am doing everything I can to keep it.”  For some reason I felt this was more important than whether I could squeeze his finger or not.  I have never spent more time with one Doctor.  His questions and tests lasted forever.

At one point I don’t think this Doctor appreciated my humor.  He wanted me to remember three things.  They were auto, bowl, and New York City.  Being a diehard Red Sox fan, my brain would not allow me to say New York City.  It kept saying “Yankees suck”.  He laughed the first time this happened, but not all the other times.  I was trying so hard to be good, it just wasn’t happening. I was freakin’ out inside and laughter helped.  Finally after doing more and more tests, he left my hallway.

After a short bit the original ER Doc came back.  He had good news.

“There is nothing wrong with you.  You passed all the tests we have and we couldn’t find anything wrong.  You’ve seen the best neurologist. The best Doctors.  Had every test.  We put our heads together and came up with conversion disorder.”  He explained a bit of what this was and continued, “You can go home. See your psychiatrist as soon as possible.  Here are some names, numbers, and instructions for weakness of unknown origin, depression, and suicidal thoughts. There is nothing we can do for you. You can talk to a Psychiatrist here before you go if you’d like.”

This was all a tad shocking.  As far as I knew I still could not walk.

How was I supposed to function without the ability to move?

I had a feeling he was going to come up with a psychological reason for this crap.

I am having trouble believing my brain is capable of this.

After a short bit they sent a Neurological Psychiatrist dude down to talk with me.  I think I wanted him there to convince me that yes, my brain was capable of completely shutting down my body in this way.  This Doc made sure I was ‘not at risk of harm to self’ and left.

Impossible earlier, I again had to sign some papers.

With Jax’s encouragement I was able to write my initials. It took a long time, but I did it. I figured if the doctors were right, and there was nothing physically wrong, I could sign my name.  I just didn’t know I could do it.  I had already walked to the bathroom with help. I was so proud that I was able to pull my pants up by myself.  I didn’t think about it, I just did it.  Still “no filter” as I announced this small feat to the whole ER.  The nurse who discharged me rolled me to the door, said Good Luck, and left me.  Eventually Jax found me.

When we arrived home, I felt gratitude that there was no snow on the ground as my feet were covered in just hospital socks.  I would not have enjoyed walking in snow.  It was just too hard to think about putting my shoes back on.  Without thinking too hard, I struggled up the few steps to my back door.  I kept telling myself that there was nothing wrong and I could do it.  I trusted that I could do it.  Funny, this was how I got through an anxiety provoking situation a few weeks prior.  I just kept telling myself that I could do it and there was nothing wrong.  Hmmmmmmmm, The power of the mind comes up again.  There wasn’t much to do once we got home.  Jax helped me smoke a butt, (which is something I really, truly wanted). And I went to bed.  Didn’t even waste time peeing.  Couldn’t be bothered.

The next day was interesting.  I woke up before Jax and went straight to the bathroom.  I didn’t think about it, I just did it.  I was so proud to tell Jax what I had accomplished all by myself.  Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad after all.  The big city Docs recommended I see a psychiatrist for follow-up.  Luckily I already had an appointment scheduled.  I have a history of depression, OCD, and anxiety. I am being treated for all and am or thought I was feeling better.

On Saturday I was able to do a few more things….  stand up, walk to the door, smoke (with help), and pee.  Getting TP was very hard, but someone how I managed.  I am also noticing that I can do stuff, I just don’t know I’m doing them. I am not sure how to better explain it.  I basically just went on with my day, did what I could, trusted that I was doing what I thought I was doing, and went to bed.

My constant thoughts were “I can’t handle this waiting thing anymore. I am getting too much practice with waiting. I should be better at it by now. I can’t wait to see my shrink. I just want this crap gone and I want it gone NOW!”.

Sunday morning was the best.  When I awoke, I immediately announced to Jax that I was back.  I had walked to the door without a problem and may have even opened it. A few minutes later, after fully waking up, I noticed that I still couldn’t feel my fingers. I didn’t care that much, I HAD HOPE.  Hope is pretty powerful.  Just like the brain.  My symptoms slowly returned throughout the day.  I was having trouble turning on the bathroom light and getting TP was still a tough chore to tackle.  Jax suggested we take a ride.  We ended up going to NH.  I could walk slowly and get into a car.  Dealing with the door handle and putting on a seatbelt was not happening.

It is these simple, little things that I am grateful I am able to do today.

Monday was Monday.  I couldn’t do much.  Jax was very helpful, yet I sensed he was tiring of it all.  I know I was.  Jax kept me fed.  He did a fine job with this.  Eating was still very hard, but I managed.  I could talk, but couldn’t hear myself talk.  I was constantly asking Jax, “Did I say that out loud? Did you hear me? Did I say that?”

Tuesday was Mom’s day.  Jax was getting a break from me and got to go to Work.  Technically, there was nothing wrong so I couldn’t ask him to take another day off from that joyous place.  He really does love it there.  I don’t blame him, It is a fun place. I had already spoken with my mom and explained what was happening.  I assured her that I was okay, I just needed some help.  Jax had left the slider unlocked and I was able to open it all by myself.  This was tremendous progress.  Mom’s job for the day was to get me to the doctors.  This is the Doc who has the dog.  I think it is way cool that my doctor has a dog with him.  How can I not trust the man?  We got to the doctors early so I got to experience waiting again. I didn’t care anymore, I was getting real good at it.  I couldn’t talk to the receptionist, so Mom helped me.  Jax had written down most of what had been happening just in case I lost my voice again.  I’m glad we thought to do that. It was less stressful that way.

I ran into my doctor in the hallway.  He apologized for being a few minutes late and would be right with me. I tried to respond, but again could not talk.  I handed him the paper Jax had written out.  I tried communicating that I could not talk, but couldn’t get my point across.  I figured if anyone could relate to my struggles, it would be him.  He is deaf and uses an interpreter.  He also uses a very cool dog for help.  That dog makes everything okay at our appointments.  I once told my doc that I didn’t come there to see him, I only came to see his dog.

Humor is so important in my life.

This Doc asked a lot of questions.  Sometimes I could answer, sometimes I struggled with answers, sometimes I could not answer.  He checked out my body, looking for any physical reason for what was happening.  He did notice Parkinson like symptoms.  He said I was shaking a bit.  I couldn’t speak so telling him that I shook all the time was not possible.  I couldn’t get it out.  I like a doctor who knows and admits when he doesn’t have the answer.  Makes them more human like.   He needed some time to look some stuff up.

He asked his dog to sit with me.  I loved this. I love dogs.  At one point the dog put his head on my foot.  Things were still weird for me and I wasn’t sure if this was actually happening.  After asking the interpreter “Did I say that?” numerous times, I asked if the dog did in fact have his head on my foot.  He did.  This was important because of what happened later.  I told her I tried using the few signs I knew in the ER when my voice failed me.  No one understood what I was doing so it didn’t make a difference.

Communication has become very important to me.

When my doctor was done with his research, he gave me his diagnosis.  He decided that a medication I take for OCD was reacting with one I take for heart burn.  It didn’t matter that his diagnosis was different from the doctors at the hospital.  I was willing to do whatever I had to do to feel better.  If that meant decreasing a medication and a recurrence of OCD, I would deal with that.  Obsessing over some numbers and recurring intrusive thoughts was nothing compared to not being able to wipe my own bum.

Wednesday was Mom’s Day again.  I needed a ride to see Joan.  Joan is my therapist.  I had called her earlier in the week and left her a message.  “Look up conversion disorder and become an expert by Wednesday. Hope you have a nice day.”  I figured if the doctors couldn’t fix me maybe she could. I had never heard of conversion disorder before so I figured I’d give her the heads up just in case it was new to her as well.  When I first saw her I asked if she had read my file from the day before.  She had not.  It would have been good if she had as I really didn’t want to have to repeat myself again.  I wasn’t even sure I could.

Anyway when I first got in her office she told me she had looked up conversion disorder.  The site she read stated that it was caused by trauma.  I was told it was caused by severe anxiety.  I have no trauma so I am going with anxiety as the cause. Looking back, I realized a nurse at the original ER had asked me if I thought this could be anxiety. I thought about how the anxiety I had been experiencing had been gone for over a week. I said, “No. It is not anxiety.”

I always need to sign a form when I get to therapy.  I took one look at it and told Joan I was having trouble doing stuff like writing, but I would do my best.  It took me 20 minutes, but I did it.  This is important.  Even a little progress was very important to me. I cannot expect perfection.  Every little step I took was important.  I did my best to tell Joan what was going on.  It was a struggle, but with a lot of patience on her part, I got it all out. I was talking better than the day before.  Still not great, but better.  Progress.

Thursday was New Year’s Day.  Jax worked in the morning.  Mom and I made tentative plans for lunch, but I wasn’t up for it.  I spent the day doing the best I could.  I still wasn’t sure when I talked.  I couldn’t quite hear myself speak.  Simple tasks were getting easier.  I still had trouble believing I was doing what I thought I was doing, but I was doing it.  My body and brain seemed disconnected somehow.  I take supplements.  I could open the bottle and pour the pills, but needed Jax to tell me how many I had in my hand.  Eating was hard, but I did it.  I still couldn’t feel my throat.  I quickly learned to chew very well.  I couldn’t feel myself chew and was afraid I would choke. Today, even though all symptoms have subsided, I still find myself concentrating on chewing.

I never really thought about chewing before, now I do.

Friday I became more confidant.  I had spent plenty of days asking for reassurance that I was actually doing what I thought I was doing.  Today was going to be my day of just doing.  I felt good.  I felt like I could get things done.  It had been over 3 weeks since symptoms began.  Exactly one week since I became concerned that something was wrong.  I was given two diagnoses.  Conversion disorder and medication interaction.  I did not know who was right.  I did not care.  I was getting better.  I would listen to all the doctors and do what they all said.

I continued to feel better. Each day I was able to do a bit more.  I shuddered to think it might happen again.  If it was the medication, problem solved.  If it was anxiety, I could work on that.  Anxiety can be tricky.  Ever since my depression got better, I noticed an increase in anxiety.  Almost like I woke up and bang, FEAR.  A lot of fear.  I was more aware of feeling anxious and was getting more practice dealing with it.  Here too I was looking for progress, not perfection.  Despite feeling anxious, I would still do things.  I would not let anxiety stop me from doing what I had to do.  I figured everyone felt anxious at times.  I may feel it a bit more, or a tad stronger, but that shouldn’t matter.  I could walk through my fears.  I thought this was dealing with anxiety.  I was able to overcome the anxiety, but never realized I was still feeling a tremendous amount of it.

I was in the middle of making a major life decision.  I was feeling very stressed about this decision. Finally after weighing all options, the decision was made.  The stress was gone.  There was no more anxiety. The knot in my stomach had disappeared. I felt relief.  I almost felt manic.  Manic-like is the only way to describe how I was feeling. Maybe ecstatic is a better word.  I didn’t know at the time, but the anxiety I had been feeling was turning into a monster.  A monster I never saw coming.  I didn’t know that within a week that anxiety would take over. Completely take over.

I have learned a lot from my experience.  Yes, I learned how powerful anxiety can become, but I have learned so much more.  I know how important it is to be able to do the little things.  I can talk.  I can walk.  I can see.  I can drive.  I can write my own name.  I know how easily all of this can be taken away. It was all taken away from me slowly.  It was given back even more slowly. Today, I do more.  I talk more.  I feel more.  I believe more.  The bottom line is I feel gratitude every time I pee by myself.

There isn’t a lot of information about conversion disorder.  I read numerous descriptions of what it was.  Differing ideas on how it’s caused.  I’ve learned it is not as uncommon as one would think.  The one thing I couldn’t find was how to fix it.  Mine went away.  It took time, but it went.  I had a lot of family support.  I would not have gotten through this without them.  I am afraid it may return.  If this whole experience was medication related I have no fear. The problem is solved.  If it was all caused by anxiety, I worry.  I am now very aware always of how my fingers feel at all times.  I think about whether I can feel myself swallow or not.  I had a brief experience where I felt disconnected from my body. I immediately realized I was feeling anxious.

I  took a deep breath, said  “LIFE, it happens” and went on with my day.

I almost forgot.  The dog putting his head on my foot was important to my beagle.  When I got home that day all he cared about was the fact that my foot didn’t smell like it should.  It is the little things in life that really matter.  Ask a dog.