I Desire to Desire

There are eight posts stored in my draft box, and I have no intentions on finishing any of them.  My inspiration has run dry, much like my sex drive.  I can live with temporary writer’s block; however, I can no longer live with a lack of sexual desire.  For the past six years, I have been on Citalopram which is an anti-depressant/anxiety medication. Citalopram is the third anti-anxiety medication I have been on over the past 15 years.

My med journey started with my favorite, yet most dangerous drug — Paxil. Oh how I loved Paxil.  Paxil was my little pink pill of happiness.  I had no cares in the world: I didn’t care about money, my weight, my job, my relationships — nothing.  On Paxil, all I cared about was feeling good.  I did whatever I wanted no matter what the consequences.  I smoked weed daily, abused alcohol, and engaged in constant satisfying sex.  A lowered labito is a common side-effect on SSRI meds; however, I experienced the opposite on Paxil.  After a string of men, a miscarraige, 40lb weight gain, and a drinking problem, I decided I needed to stop taking my meds (2 year after starting).  I went cold-turkey, which resulted in 3 months of unbearable withdrawals.  Vertigo was the worst symptom, and then there was depression, anxiety, the shakes, and migraines.  The only good thing that came from my detox was the weight loss.  I lost almost all of the weight I had gained in the first 2 months.

I was 3 months off my meds when I was hit with another major blow.  My job of 10 years was closing it’s doors, and I was faced with the possibility of a financial crisis.  My major anxiety trigger is a lack of security.   I received this news within weeks of going through a mis-carriage, so my emotions were not at their best to begin with.  I ended up taking a job that paid well, but one that I hated.  My boss was a micro-manager, who did everything in his power to make me feel stupid and useless.  Right around the same time as taking this job, I met Sean.  I have only mentioned Sean in my previous posts as my abusive ex.  I have not mentioned his name until today.  I will leave the full story of Sean for another post, but I can tell you that from day one, he broke my spirit and destroyed any self-respect I may have had at the time.  Needless to say, I returned to my doctor.  I was broken and anxious and I needed help.

I was unwilling to go back on Paxil, so he tried me on Wellbutrin.  Wellbutrin and me do not mix well.  It not only increased my anxiety levels, but also added a dash of paranoia.  The year on Wellbutrin is somewhat of a blurr for me.  My drinking hit an all-time high, and when I drank on Wellbutrin I always blacked out.  I made a complete ass of myself, or at least that’s what I was told.  I remember waking up after a night of drinking feeling completely terrified of what I might have done.  I was embarrassed and more anxious than ever.  After explaining my behaviour to the doctor, he decided to try me on Citalopram.

What can I say about Citalopram?  I guess I can say it takes the edge off a little, but certainly doesn’t elimiate my anxiety.  It does lower my levels of “highs”, which I do not like at all.  Basically, nothing really excites me in life.  I can feel happy from time to time, but usually I feel “neutral” with a side of depression.  I have stayed on Citalopram because it has caused me the least amount of side-effects.  However, I am starting to think my lack of sex drive relates to this drug.  For years, I believed I didn’t want to have sex because of the person I was with.  Sex with Sean was unfullfilling, and usually left with a “dirty” feeling.  My relationship with Sean ended 3 years ago, and in that time I have had sex twice.  Both times, I did not get off.

I do not think about sex, and I do not get turned on.  I want to want to have sex.  I am 41 years old, but feel 90.  I have not met a man I’m attracted to in ages, and it’s really starting to bother me.  I miss feeling sensual and sexy.  Men tell me I’m sexy, but I do not feel it.   Yesterday, I made an appointment to see my doctor.  On May 9, I will walk into his office and tell him I want to try something new.  I want what other women my age have — SEX.  I’m terrified to change drugs; I’m scared of the possible risks of alternative side-effects.  I fear withdrawal and craziness.  Fear has held me back for too long, however.  I am stronger than that, I am strong than my Anxiety Disorder.

“I haven’t Failed… I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  Thomas Edison

Messy Mind Trip

It’s an ordinary Thursday morning; I have nothing unusual planned for the day.  No big meetings; nothing pressing to do at work, yet, today, I woke up to a messy mind.  This is what I call it when my brain is overloaded with thoughts that I can’t quiet.  These are the days when my meds don’t seem to have any affect, and my anxiety takes control.  It’s only 8:00am right now, and I’m already exhausted.

It started as soon as my alarm went off at 5am.  Before I even got out of bed, I was taking a mental inventory of all the things wrong in my life.  Getting dressed was the next challenge.  When I have messy brain days, nothing is easy.  I put on my running tights, and then forget what came next.  Socks? Bra? Top? Shoes? What comes first? Where do I start?   I go looking for my running shoes; still just wearing my tights.  I find them in my gym bag and put them on top of the dryer.  Socks, I need socks first.  No wait, I should put on my bra because I’m cold.  Where is my running bra?  Damn it.  I stop and realize I still need to brush my teeth, so in tights and socks I head to the bathroom.  I look in the mirror and before I can do anything else, I need to fix my hair.  Fast forward–I’m finally dressed.  I head to the kitchen and go through my morning checklist.

#1 – take meds:  I try to open the little blue prescription bottle and my meds go flying across the floor.

#2 – put water in the dog bowl: my hands are shaking and water splashes across the floor.

#3 – still need to put on my runners: OMG where are they?  2 minutes of searching the house and I find them on the dryer.

#4 – pack dog poo bags

#5- put dog on the leash

#6 – I can’t remember what comes next – forget it, I’m just going to leave.

My dogs is whining at the door ready to go, and I have no tolerance formessy her impatience.  As soon as I get in the car, the radio hits me in the face with an 80s song that makes my skin crawl.  My friend is waiting for me at our designated meeting spot, and I’m suddently not in the mood to talk. My shoes feel too loose; the dog is annoying me, and I just want to scream.

The chaos and frustration of my morning are the result of the rush of negative, uncertain, and confusing thoughts playing in my mind.  It’s like channel suffering on speed.  I can’t turn it off — I’m constantly reminding myself to breathe and just get through it.   I understand what is happening, but I’m unable to stop it.  On day’s like this, my seasonal allergies seem worse, my chronic neck pain is front and center, and I’m in a constant state of “FRAZZLED”  I hear everything– the sound of my car’s running engine, the hum from my computer at work, the buzzing fluorescent lights — everything.

My mind is in a tizzy, and all I want to do is drown out the noise.  I’m tempted to call my Doctor and tell him I need new drugs.  These ones aren’t working, and I need him to fix me right now.  I’ve put it on my to-do list for the day, which I know I will re-write 100 times throughout the day.  I will accomplish nothing but what I have to today; however, I will create multiple PRIORITY To-do lists.  I will search the internet for self-help advice, and research new anxiety medications.  I will be completely mentally and physically spent before the sky turns dark.  Thank you anxiety for reminding me you are still a part of my life.

OK “day” — give it your best.  I’ve been through this before, and I survived. I’d give anything for just a small amount of peace and quiet.  A moment to catch my breath.  I’m off to face what ever this day gives me, and I will tackle each obstacle with the knowledge that this shall pass.

 

I Raced Myself, and I won!

A sea of red could be seen for miles across our city on Sunday morning.  On your mark, get set, go…. and we were off.  Thousands of bodies trying to cross the start line; eager racers jetting to the side in an attempt to pick up pace.  Slowly the mass begins to separate as each finds their place and the race is on.   I pick a spot near the middle; I put my headphones in and start my place list.  “Thunderstruck” by ACDC gives me a beat to find my rhythm — two breaths in, one out, two breaths in, one out.  I repeat this mantra; ignoring the urge to stop before I begin.  “Keep it slow and steady”, I remind myself.  “Don’t go out too fast, or you will burn out too soon.”

Capture

Right in the middle with my headphones in…. breathing 

I fight the urge to pass the girl to the right.  She is clearly 20 years younger than I am, and she has her game face on.  I stay two strides behind and keep my focus.  Breathe – Breathe – Breathe.  “… working double time on the production line…” song number three begins, and I’m warming up.  My pace has quickened and I’ve left the 20 year old in the dust.  I spot my next competitor.  If I pick up my pace just a bit, I can pass him on the left and cut in front of him.  Here I go, the speed burns my quads, but I push on.  I’m right on his trail; I move to the left, and I pass him.  “Another one bites the dust…”  I can see the water station coming up; should I stop?  No, too soon.  I buzz by, leaving a thirst group behind me.

Heel to toe, heel to toe — my feet have their groove, as my arms pump in unison.  I’m running alongside the river now, and I spot a log drift slowly in waves.  My eyes lock on the log and count how many steps it takes to pass it.  One, two, three, four — it’s gone.  Up ahead I see a group of walk/runners.  They are on their walk cycle; I pick up my pace and skirt around them.  “You may be right I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic your looking for… ”  I wave at the familiar faces standing on the sidelines.  They cheer me on, and put out their hands for a high five. Slap one, two — I’m floating on air!

Can this be right, the turn around already?  It is!  Volunteers cheer and wave me in the right direction.  I’m on my way back, and I maintain my pace.  There’s a man to my right, he’s inching ahead of me.  I let him go by — I watch as his legs propel him forward.  I keep my eyes fixed on the back of his head.  I’m counting again.  I count the bobs of his head, up one, down two – one, two, three.  I’m beside him now, and I move in front.  Not by much; can I keep this pace?  How far behind me is he?  I think I can feel him right on on my tail.  I pump my arms and tell my legs to move.  Faster, just a little faster — I need to gain some ground.

Here comes the final climb.  It’s slow and gentle, but my tired legs can feel the incline.  “Focus on breathing; the faster you go, the sooner you’re at the top” my internal voice repeats itself over and over until I reach the peak.  It’s all down hill from here.  There he is, he’s coming up on my right again.  I can see his picking up speed as we start the decline.  Little does he know, I can fly down hills.  Should I?  How much further is it to the finish line.  If I pick it up now, will I still have enough for the final push?  I go for it.  Pump, pump, pump my arms.  I drive my knees up, and he’s gone.  Behind me know.  I must keep up the pace to keep my lead.  I see the last turn only meters away.  I’m at full speed, as I turn and see the crowd surrounding the finish lane.

“Pump, pump, pump… breathe, breathe, breathe – go, go, go – don’t stop” I chant myself through the gates, I only have a few seconds until I’m there.  “Keep pushing, you can do it” My feet hit the finish line, and adrenaline rushes through my entire body.  Every inch of me is alive with excitment.  Someone puts a finisher’s medal around my neck, and I shuffle out of the finisher’s circle.

This is not my first nor my longest race; however, it was one of the most satisfying.  The older I get, the more I appreciate what I can get my body to do.  I’m not a top placing runner; I usually finish somewhere just above the middle of the pack.  For me, it’s not about placing — it’s about pushing myself.  I came in at 57:30 minutes in this 10km race.  I’m 41 years old, and that is the same time I had when I was 30 years old.  To me, that’s a win!  My internal dialogue is what gets me through the finish line.  I don’t care if I actually pass my targets; however, they are what I use to challenge myself.  With every pass, I build my confidence, and I move further and further ahead.  I’m so proud of myself and everyone else that made it from start to finish on Sunday morning.

A race is like life; you must keep going and push yourself to the finish line.  Each pass is a goal achieved, each marker a moment of realization.  My hope is to come to my life’s finish line full of pride and excitement for all I accomplished — I raced myself, and I won!

 

 

 

Do Bloggers Lie?

In February, I started my blog as it was a requirement of one of my university courses.  Ever since, I have been following and reading as many blog posts as I can fit.  Today, I was reading a blog that claimed bloggers often lie.  I have not once pondered the idea that the posts I read daily may be false.  Reading this person’s belief that many blog posts are full of either half-truths or outright lies bothered me.

If this person is right, my first question would be “why would a blogger lie?”  Secondly, “What do they have to benefit from it?”  Our posts are faceless words on complete stranger’s computer screens.  This is the perfect platform to be completely honest without judgement.  I am naive to this world, and maybe I’m missing something.  When I sit down to write a post, it’s because I have something to say, and no one to say it to.  I can release my voice to the world and be heard.  My writing is no where near perfect, but I don’t need to worry about that.  No one is keeping tabs.  Some of my posts suck, while others I feel express exactly how I was feeling at the time I wrote it.  No matter what I write, I write the truth of what I am thinking and feeling at the time.

I understand that some blogs are fiction, some are interpretations, and others are metapfors, but this does not make them lies.  This has me thinking, if I knew a blog post was completely false, how would I feel about it?  Most likely, I would wonder why it was false?  Was the writer trying to attract readers?  Possibly the writer was uninspired by real life and wrote from his or her imagination?  I think I would feel the same way I would if I learned my lover had cheated — I would feel shocked, but then want to know why?

I guess it truely doesn’t matter.  If I read a post I like, I may never know if it is truth — and I choose to be ok with that.

A Storm To Remember

Anyone who was a fan of Prince was shocked by the news of his death yesterday.  I was writing out an incident report at work when I received a text message from a friend informing me of his passing.  The morning started out promising with clear skies and sun; but clouds rolled in sometime around 10:00 a.m.  Just after lunch, the rain started to fall; first a drizzle and then a down pour.  The thunder echoed loudly through the valley, as strong winds rattled the windows of my office. Watching the rain arrive

My mood changed from apathy to melancholy.  By mid-afternoon, a local warninMore fentanyl-related overdoses in Kamloopsg was sent out, as six people were admitted to the hospital due to a fentayl overdose — all within hours of each other. It felt like the storm was a result of all that was wrong in the world yesterday.

My emotions were as dismal as the weather.  After work, I drove home to prepare for my evening fitness class.  Last night was my first night back to teaching, and I hadn’t even planned out the class yet.  I put on my music and began preparing the warm-up, and then the rain started again.  The smell of wet pavement walfted through the open windows.  It was intoxicating.  My spirits began to lift.

The class went perfectly, and the energy in the studio was exhilirating.  Aftsweater class, I hopped on the spin bike for a quick 30 minute ride before returning home.  It was late by the time I got home, close to 8pm.  I started dinner before jumping into the shower to wash off two hours of workout sweat.  The feeling of warm water washing over my aching tired body was pure heaven.  I took my time in the shower, allowing my body and mind to relax.  Then I threw on a tank top and shorts, poured a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and sat down for dinner.

I opened my kitchen window and sat down to eat.  The rain had started again, but the air was crisp and the breeze felt good.  I turned on the radio; the DJ voice was somber as he talked about the passing of a pop icon — next he plays the song “Purple Rain”.  This song has always moved me; it’s one of those songs you close your eyes to and just drift with.  I turned back to my dinner, and took a sip of wine.  My dog was resting her head on the top of my feet, and all of a sudden a flash of lightning spreads across the sky.  I felt the hairs on my arms rise, and I began to cry.  “Honey, I know, I know, I know times are changing…” tears and wine lingered on my tongue.  I can’t even explain the rush of emotions I was feeling.  The lightning storm was at it’s peak, and the rain was falling in rhythm with my tears.

Lightning storms are common at this time of year, but yesterday’s storm is one I will remember forever.  RIP Prince.

Office Snacks

snacksAbout once a month, a girl from our office makes a trip to costco and stocks up on office snacks.  She is a lovely lady, but she goes a little overboard on the snacking items.  She buys over $1000 worth of snacks a month, and then she hoards them in her office.   In her tiny 8 x 8 office she cramps $1000 worth of chips, chocolate covered almonds, granola bars, cookies, nuts, dried mangos, hard candies, soft candies, hot chocolate, chocolate caramel pretezel bark, noodle cups, and suckers.  It’s a dieter’s worst nightmare.  I’m not a dieter, but I am careful about what I eat.

You know it’s her shopping day when she pops by everyone’s office and asks “Would you like me to pick up anything special while I’m at Costco?”  When she gets to my door, I always say “No thank you.”  In saying this, I kid myself into believing I won’t be tempted to grab something when I’m in the middle of a stressful project, or when my carrot sticks are just not cutting it.

I’m the type of person who needs food structure; otherwise, I will eat a whole bag of chocolate covered almonds in one sitting.  I don’t mean to; it starts off with just a couple of almonds.  A couple won’t hurt, but once the sweet taste of chocolate hits my tongue, I’m doomed.  If I don’t go into her office I’m fine, but we are co-workers and sometimes I need to go to her office.  The stack of sweets sitting in the corner of her office stick out like a sore thumb.  You can’t miss the jumbo size bag of gummy bears — I think I’ve actually heard the pint sized bears call out my name.

Her shopping day was yesterday, and I was so good.  Not once did I go to her office to check out the new stash.  YEAH me, I made it through the work day on salad, chicken and an orange.  It’s hard to eat healthy when your putting in two hours of strenous cardio a day.  Last night I did an hour steady-state run followed by a 40 minute spin (bike).  Tonight is two hours on the bike and weights.  This morning, I ate my oatmeal and egg whites, chicken and quinoa for lunch, and an apple for a snack.  I also consumed a handful of chocolate covered almonds and a good serving of dried mango 😦  WHY!  This would not have happened if I had stayed away from the office of temptation.  Damn you willpower — where are you when I really need you?  You come and go from my life like a careless lover.

I purposely keep this kind of food out of my house.  My house is stocked with lean proteins, veggies, and healthy grains.  I can go a whole weekend without one little slip up, and then Monday comes around again.  Another week to test my discipline.  Unfortunately, my discipline has a mind of it’s own.  If only I could find a full proof plan to keep my sneaky little fingers out of the cookie jar — literally.  My little indulgence today is going to cost me an extra 30 minutes on the damn bike.  I’m pretty sure I can feel my butt growing as I sit here and type.

A little advice to all the well-meaning snack buyers in the world: please stop; stop now.  It’s hard enough for some of us to get through our clean eating day without having a constant reminder of all the things we’d rather be eating.  Please, for the love of God, think of us weak food sinners and lead us not into temptation.

The time has come for this girl to tie up her big girl laces and work off her sins.

 

 

Does the Tortoise Really Always Win?

 

Most people have heard the popular store of the Tortoise and the Hare.  The story is about a race between a slow and steady tortoise and a speedy careless hare.  The hare is so sure he will win the race because he is so fast.  In the end his cockiness loses him the race.  I have always admired this story, and I think it somehow influenced the way I live my life.

When I set my mind on something, I become totally obsessed with it.  I carefully plan out my every move so that I make the best decisions along the way.  I way out all my options, think about what the consequences of each choice may be, I talk it out with friends and family, I GOOGLE it, I sleep on it, I make lists, etc.  Basically, it takes me forever to make a decision because I’m afraid of making the wrong one.  This only goes for my personal life; my work personality is completely different.  At work, I can quickly do a risk assessment and make a decision as soon as it needs to be made.  I am more confident in my work decisions than I am in my personal ones.

This is probably because I make a lot less mistakes when it comes to work.  Business has rules, there are right and wrong ways of doing things.  My personal life, however, doesn’t seem to have a set of rules to follow, and this is what causes my apprehension when making decisions.  My current battle has been finding someone to love.

I know this sounds like it shouldn’t be a decision, but it is.  I have had two major failures in the world of love.  The first was my 10 year marraige, and the second was a five year toxic relationship with an emotionally abusive man.  I have had a few other somewhat long-term relationships, but they were not significant enough to influence my life.  My two failures effected me in different ways.

The end of my marraige left me with guilt and fear of myself.  I was young when I married, and I made a lot of mistakes.  I really didn’t know what I wanted back then.  My anxiety disorder had not been diagnosed, so I blamed my husband for my feelings of discontentment, anger, fear, and loneliness.  I wasn’t happy, and I blamed him for it.  I blamed him even though I knew he had done nothing wrong.  He was a good man, and I hurt him when I left.  The guilt was what ended up breaking me to the point of seeking professional help, and finally getting my diagnosis.  I can’t say if things would have ended differently if I knew then what I know now, but I know for sure I would have handled things a lot better.

The guilt and fear I was left with from my marraige carried forward into my next relationship.  I didn’t feel worthy of love, and I was terrified of hurting someone else.  When I met my last boyfriend, I was broken.  He treated me terribly, but I thought I deserved it. Every time he treated me badly, I thought to myself “You need someone who will put you in your place.”  I gave up everyone of my needs and wants to be with this person, and in the end I no longer knew what my needs and wants were.tutle

In the three years since the end of my last relationship, I have veto’d every man I have met.  I don’t know what the right guy even looks like, but I know I want to find him.  I found out about six months ago that my ex-boyfriend met someone new.  As soon as he found out I was dating, he immediately found a new girlfriend.  Eventhough he had been horrible to me, I remained friends with him because he would get so depressed every time I tried to detach.  This would make me feel guilty, and if I’m being perfectly honest, I think I became co-dependant on his abuse.  One evening, we had been having a few drinks together and I told him I had been going on dates.  He became angry at first and then he acted jealous and hurt.  Within a few days he put up a profile on a dating site and met someone new.  He claimed he still wanted to be friends, but this was what I needed to be able to finally cut him loose.

Eventhough I know I shouldn’t feel this way, I feel like he won.  I know that love is not a game, and that is why I am so careful this time.  But what if he won in a different way?  What if he took away the part of me that can trust and love another man?  I feel ashamed that it bothers me he met someone.  I imagine in my head that he treats her so much better than he treated me.  I imagine he is the man to her that he wasn’t to me — and maybe he is.  Regardless, I should feel glad that he is someone elses problem.  It should free me of his constant criticism, but it hasn’t.  He insulted my cooking, told me how to do my hair, told me to wear more make-up and shorter skirts… nothing I did was ever quite right. Now that he has someone new, I hear voices in my head telling me he found someone better.  I imagine the two of them making fun of me.  My rational and intelligant mind knows better, but I can’t seem to silence his voice from my mind.  With every passing day that I don’t meet someone, the voice gains strength.  IT tells me I’m not good enough, and I will be alone forever.

I can’t let that voice win.  I am a tortoise in a race to win love.  I am not in a rush, as I know I will get there by respecting myself.  My singleness is not a reflection of who I am, it is a choice I have made.  My quest is to meet a great man — not just any man.  I want someone who will love me and treat me with respect.  My failure to meet someone is not because I’m not good enough, it’s because I deserve the best.