Life is a Battlefield

Grayscale Photography of Woman Wearing 3 Fourth Sleeve Shirt While Holding a Pistol

“We are all fighting our own battles in life” — Smartgirl

Addiction is just another way of saying “there is something controlling me.”  I’ve been controlled by many things: food or lack of it, alcohol, drugs, sex, cigarettes, and last but not least Nicorette (nicotine gum).  I typically jump from crutch to crutch, but nicorette has by far been my longest standing addiction to date. Three weeks ago, I gave it up again.

I seem to be on a cleansing kick — quit my meds; quit my gum.  How Zen of me!!!

This isn’t my first time coming off the gum.  I’ve been on and off it since I quit smoking over 12 years ago.  If it didn’t cost so much money, I don’t think I would be trying to quit again.  I hate being off of it. Now that I’ve quit, I’m chewing between 2 to 3 packs of regular gum a day and I’m craving sweets.  NOT GOOD.  Anything that increases my appetite is an enemy of mine, but my gum chewing habit has to go —  I can’t afford the $60/week habit any longer.

I have always suffered from a constant feeling of needing something.  I have a hard time centering myself without some type of aid. Basically, my brain needs a constant; otherwise, I feel restless and unable to focus.  Meditation and calming exercises help, but only for the short-term: as long as I am doing them.  I’ve yet to find a job that allows for repeated meditation breaks.

My life feels like a constant battle of trying to not do things.  Don’t eat too much, don’t drink too much, stop smoking, stop chewing gum, stop spending too much money, stop worrying so much…. it gets tiring.  I’m tired today.

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Tomorrow is a new day, however, and I can only hope to feel more alert and less restless.  On a very positive note, my toes look amazing after my mom and my spa visit last night.   We had a 55 min swedish massage followed by a 55 min pedi — it was magnificent.

 

A Discontinued Mess

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Arggggg…. my head is complete mush today.  I`m spaced out, have brain zaps, can`t concentrate, feel restless and agitated, and (overshare) I can`t go to the bathroom.  Sounds wonderous doesn`t it!  This is my bodies reaction to tapering off anxiety meds, and today`s symptoms aren’t even that bad.

I`ve been on medication for Generalized Anxiety Disorder for over 10 years now.  I stopped taking them once before around 8 years ago — It was complete hell.  Back then, my doctor told me I could just stop taking my meds whenever I felt ready.  So. I did.  What followed was 3 months of vertigo, brain zapping, increased anxiety, depression, spaced out feelings, migraines, and fatigue.  By the time the discontinuation symptoms dissipated, I had put myself right back into some stressful life events and ended up going straight back on meds.  What a waste of time that was.

8 years later and I`m ready to try this again; only this time I`m prepared.  A couple of months ago, I went to my doctor looking for an alternative to the medication I`ve been on since 2008. Due to the lack of libido my meds gave me, I was feeling older than my 41 years.  I didn`t care that much about sex back when I was with my ex.  As a matter of fact, I was glad I didn`t want to have sex with him… (Squirrel) I’ve digressed… anyway, so I go to the doctor and he understands my dilemma and prescribes me some new meds to try.  For almost 2 months, I tried to adjust to them, but it didn`t work.  Mostly I felt high strung and my concentration was in the toilet.

Last Monday I tossed in the towel and stopped taking the new meds altogether.  During the trial of the new drugs, I was tapering off my old medication.  Tapering is supposed to eliminate or greatly reduce discontinuation syndrome.  I was down to half my dose by the time I decided to call it quits on the new stuff.  Being that I`d still like to get my sex drive back, I`m ready to try coming off meds completely, so I`ve now dropped to 1/4 dose.

 Results:     I feel like shit.

I can do this, I can do this… I can do this — maybe, I can do this.  Maybe now isn’t the time to quit chewing my nicorette?  NO I don’t smoke and haven’t in 12 years, but I’ve been chewing the gum on and off ever since I quit.  Smartygirl here thought “hey, let’s quit the gum at the same time as coming off meds”

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Do you think it’s possible to peel your own face off??? I need out of my skin… I need gum… I need wine — damn it… I can do this — no, I can’t… yes, maybe, I can.

 

 

 

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

I’m a Quitter

Everything is a blur today.  I woke up feeling ok; went for my run; showered and came to work.  Since 7:30am until right now (11:00am), everything feels wrong.  I feel wrong; the world feels wrong, and it’s all because I QUIT nicorette at 7:00pm last night.  I quit out of the blue, with no plan in place, and today I’m practically crawling out of my skin.

I began chewing nicorette gum after my second attempt to quit smoking, which was about 12 years ago.  It worked; I quit smoking.  Unfortunately, I have been on and off the nicorette gum ever since — mostly, on.  I quit for 10 months last year only to develop an extremely obsessive regular gum addiction.  I was chewing about 3 packs of regular gum a day which was killing my gums and teeth, so I went back to nicorette.

Last night I picked up a small package of nicorette on my way home, but I have yet to open it.  Everytime I thought of having a piece last night I stopped myself and said “do you really need a piece of gum?” I would take a deep breath, and I didn’t have one piece last night.  Nothing so far today; however, it is killing me.   I have wanted to beat this addiction for a long time, but it has a powerful hold on me.  It soothes my anxiety, or at least it seems to.  I want to quit, but I also don’t.    I’m tired of wasting thousands of dollars a year on this crazy addiction.  I worry for my teeth and my general health as well.  I’m scared though.  I feel valunerable and naked.  Regardless I will not let it win today – today I am done.

I’m not allowing myself to chew regular gum in it’s place because I have no desire to pick up that habit again.  But right now I feel really terrible.  There is a buzzing sound in my ears, and I’m totally spaced out.  Strangely my teeth hurt; I think I must be grinding them.  That is probably why my jaw and gums also ache.   I have the worse headache ever, and all I want is a piece of damn gum.  Every few minutes, without thought, I reach for my purse to grab a piece of gum.  The only thing I can do is keep breathing.  Deep slow breaths.  All I need to do is make it through today, and maybe tomorrow will be better.

Today’s mantras

I CAN DO THIS – I CAN DO THIS – I CAN DO THIS – I CAN DO THIS

Take a deep breathe – breathe – relax – breathe

The withdrawal maybe excruciating, but I will keep my thoughts positive.  I will visualize myself calm and addiction free.  I will think about the money saved, and picture my savings account getting bigger.  I will remember why I want to quit, and I will remember that I am strong – stronger than the addiction.

I can do this – I know I can.

 

 

Secret Addiction

Addiction is usually a word people associate with drugs, alcohol, or tobbaco.  There are also many cases of people suffering food, porn, internet, or TV addictions.  I on the other had have an addiction (or habit) that is fairly unuasual.  When I turned 27 years old, I gave up smoking.  I quit cold turkey, and I went three years without picking up a cigarette.  Just past my 30th birthday, I left my husband.  It was extremely traumatic for me, and my anxiety hit an all-time high.  I closet smoked for about a year before I decided to try and quit again.  The second time around wasn’t as easy for me.  I was still  going through a lot of emotional ups and downs because of my split up.  In an effort to completely rid myself of my nasty smoking habit, I bought my first box of nicorette.

I’m happy to say, I have been cigarette free for 11 years – my lungs feel amazing.  However, to give up one addiction for me, is to develop a new one.

Hello, my name is Kim, and I’m a nicorette addict.  I have been chewing on and off for 11 years now, and I don’t know how to stop.

 

Yes, it’s true –  I never imagined that anyone could become addicted to GUM.  At first I thought it was just the nicottene I was addicted to, but I think it has more to do with some kind of oral fixation.  If I stop chewing nicorette, I start chewing regular gum at an alarming rate.  I can chew up to 3 packs of 5 colbat blue (regular gum) a day.  I had given up nicorette last February, and I was pretty proud of myself for finally kicking the habit.  That was until my teeth and jaw started to ache because of the constant regular gum chewing.  I chew way more regular gum than I do  nicorette.  So in January, I went back to nicorette.

I’m completely torn, because nicorette is extremely expensive, but I don’t want to go back to chewing regular gum.  If I could control myself and only chew a few pieces a day that would be fine, but that’s not what happens.  With nicorette, I can put a piece in my mouth and leave it there for an hour. I can even go a few hours without needing another piece.  When I switch to regular gum, I need to chew constantly.  It’s maddening.

It’s embarrasing to admit this problem, but I know that being open with myself and others is the first step to finding a solution.  I’m wondering if anyone else out there has had this problem, and if so – HOW did you stop?

I realize there are much worse addiction to have, and if it wasn’t costing me over $30 a week, I probably wouldn’t worry about it.  BUT, I’m trying to budget right now, and this habit is not helping me save money.  Anyway, I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone who has experienced a GUM addiction, as there has to be a way of becoming gum free for life.