“I of the Storm”

Lately, my anxiety and obsessive compulsions are hurricane force.  Previously, I would just board up the windows, get under covers, and await sunrise.  Not this time. I earned this power and I am taking it. I plan to funnel my energy and create one path at a time. Today and yesterday, I allowed my worries and repetitive thoughts to whirl only around this writing.  Let’s hear it for FEMA  (Funneling Energy Muse Approach)

Storm watchers may be interested to know the generating factors.  Here is my Hurricane Barb conversation with SS (Smiling Shrink aka “Lois”):

L = Barb I see you are struggling with biting your arm frequently and breaking your classes.

B = Impressive. Did they teach you that in school or did you catch glimpses of my gnawed wrist or perhaps the excitement of you darting around the room to avoid my grabbing lunges finally registered?

L = All the above.  Do you want to talk about it?

B = Desperately, but typing may have to do.   Ill save the biggie storm surge for last.  But here are few things that picked up wind:

My beloved house manager recently quit smoking.  This is a good thing I know but not without blows of irritation.  Plus, my parents scheduled a “home inspection” this week.  Which is the official business term for when my parents snoop all through my home every few months.  I rather enjoy the open house and extra attention to detail. But the exercise does raise the staff’s stress considerably.  Which means we all feel it.

My house manager made sure all was in order and passed with flying colors…except for a little bathroom issue which is all on me.  Here in an except from inspector Smother’s report:
“secondly your bath time, I was appalled to know that you slosh the water around so much that you have damaged the tiles on the floor with all the water.. the PA’s apparently let you play like crazy and slide back and forth, pour water over your head, etc.. and much water goes out of the tub.. when did you start all that? I am going to write a letter to all the PA’s about NOT letting you do all those shenanigans…not flooding the bathroom with water.. please stop that before we have to put a new floor in..and why do you do that anyway, I will ask them to just get you out if that continues..you can splash around in a pool.

The house looks beautiful. and you are very fortunate to have (name redacted for privacy) taking such good care of it and she says you help too!!
Now let’s get these things addressed please…”

L = So what do you plan to do about “bath time shenanigans”?

B = I see a bigger tub in my future.

Now, back my weather forecast.

My muse work is really picking up.  I am not used to so many people counting on me.

L = You are taking on a great deal. Finishing your book this month is a daunting project – 60,000 words is a lot for anyone. And planning two big time LOUD MUTE RADIO shows featuring Donna Williams and then Dr. Temple Grandin is international high performance stuff.

B = Donna Williams and Temple Grandin are my heroes. Work is a godsend and as it should be. I have always been good at being; I need to get better at doing.

If that were the all of it, we would be looking at a topical depression – but there is more.

A few weeks ago, Smother told me my insurance would soon no longer pay for my antidepressant/anxiety medicine.  Raised frugal, stoic, and feeling more happy and clear headed than I have ever been, I thought– now is the time to just say no to Lexapro. Sorry Nancy Reagan, it often takes me years to process slogans.

L = Yes, I remember you told me you were going to quit Lexapro cold turkey.

B = Well, I’ve never been a fan of turkey and cold recipes bite. So I tapered off.

L = But, you still had bad withdrawal symptoms?

B = Bingo. Remember that no Barb Sunday morning?

L = Yes. You did not show up to work with me.  I went over to check on you and you were still in bed and typed “I’m sad but will trudge through and leave bread crumbs for others to find their way easier – plus I don’t need the carbs.”

B = Right, that Sunday morning I did not officially wake up because I did not sleep.  I was in a sticky smog-jam of confusion and sleepy restlessness.  Autistic fires burn faster and hotter and the smoke stings and occludes like fear gas.  This was different.

You know how I love my morning bowls of Cheerios.  No more.  I lost the attraction and several pounds already. I gained 15 pounds when I started taking Lexapro years ago.  Serotonin must be heavy.

And remember when I got back to work I told you, “Lexapro has done something with my personhood.  It sucked the life out of me like a Kennedy Chappaquiddick drive. It is time to cut my seatbelt and break the window. Ill free myself and tell the world how.”

L = I do, so you think you are ready to share?

B = Well, I can’t cant take credit for musing a solution about the sleeplessness or irritability.  Sleeping just got better passively in a few days. As for irritability… recommending biting and breaking eyeglasses seems ill advised.

Below is breadcrumb debris that may be worth salvage.

Practical Implications:

1.  Hypnosis helped.  I asked SS to hypnotize me before this writing. I was overwhelmed and needed to calmly focus my attention on clarity and patience. Normally patience is my virtue.  But I got swooped up in my perfect storm. Time to reset.

I process best when I isolate my senses.  SS loaned me a hoodie so I could better focus during hypnosis. When I listen intently, I go into my half-shell.  If no petite, bull-dykie hoodie is available, I pull my shirt over my head or if feeling unusually puritanical, I lower my head into my hands or a lap pillow so my vision processes only internal stimuli. I would simply close my eyes, but they do not reliably stay shut as “simply” is as uncommon in my design as fatal bowling injuries. I use all my energy to process heard words into visual representations and file accordingly.

2.  Embrace the eye floaters as pets.  For me eye floaters were an unexpected but not unwelcome Lexapro withdrawal side effect.

I adopted a previously concealed translucent sea horse named Calypso and now visit much more frequently with my old friend “Go Go”, a thick folded floater worm with a florescent green stripe.

3.  Focus on one thought at a time.

This helped me manage my anxiety overload better than anything else.

I start every workday with SS touching one finger to my back to push my apraxia manual override button so I can solo type what I want to do and in what order. I usually type a paragraph or two to get started. Then as I accomplish, SS flits here and there talking about related but additional tasks scampering across her nat brain. I need to work differently now. I explained it in redneck terms I knew SS would understand, “stop the shotgun info blasts and laser focus with me.”  She did. Then, I typed only one small thing. I did it and only it. And then I typed the next thing.

Med MD tells me “Some people feel normal within a few months of quitting the drug.” Stay tuned for upcoming miracles.

Love more organic B


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