Tag Archives: pain

Depression or A Yellow Pill Day

Today was a yellow pill day.  Before I opened my eyes I knew I was already on edge.  These days are triggered by hormonal changes and by fluctuations in my serotonin level. 

My depression is normally controlled by my daily Wellbutrin, but there are days like today where the monster inside my head is rattling the bars of her cage.  I’ve blogged about this before http://www.healingjourneyblog.com/2014/04/20/lost-day/. An event doesn’t trigger it.  I just wake up and my depression is roaring in anger.

Some days I’m not aware of my unusual depression until something pisses me off.  It could be something as simple as a can opener not working or Ernie innocently teasing me.  I can feel the rage bubble up and burst through my emotional fences and I feel hot tears threatening.  My throat closes and my heart races.  I tremble.

Stupid little inconsequential things throw me into an emotional whirlwind worthy of the cartoon Tasmanian Devil.  I hate myself on days like this. My depression takes over my personality and I am not fit for human consumption.  I lose the entire day waiting for the rage to pass.  I can feel the anger trembling through my body, coursing through my veins.

I frighten my dogs and irritate Ernie on these depression breakthrough days.  The only thing to do is quarantine myself and wait for the day to pass.  The extra yellow pill I have been given, Clonazepam, smooths the frayed edges enough that I can be at home alone safely and let the day pass.

My 3 fur-children, from L--- LeeLee. Molly and Maggie

My 3 fur-children, from L— LeeLee. Molly and Maggie

There was a period a few years ago when my anti-depressants weren’t working and my psychiatrist turned me into a human guinea pig in his efforts to help me.  I tried every type of anti-depressant, finally setting on the yellow clonazepam for daytimes and the white Atarax for night.  I can still function and drive and talk to people on the clonazepam.  The Atarax knocks me down. It’s what I use for a sleeping pill on those nights when my ever-thinking brain refuses to shut down.


My beloved Ernie

My anti-depressants usually do a solid job of controlling my anger and depression.  Luckily days like this don’t happen as often as they used to before I took anti-depressants. Also I have a career where I have time flexibility and can take whatever time I need to heal.

Also, I have gone through enough days like this to know that “This too shall pass.”  Like Scarlett O’Hara, I know that “Tomorrow WILL be better day.”

One kind of new beginning, one with its own risks and rewards

One kind of new beginning, one with its own risks and rewards


Changing your relationship with food

Changing my relationship with food has been a lifelong journey.








I have always struggled with my emotions and food. When I was growing up my father would dish out food depending on how he felt about you. My older brother was his favorite, so he got the biggest and the best pieces of meat. I was given mostly starches like rice and potatoes with a little bit of meat. We were not poor; my parents owned three houses and there were two late-model Mercedes Benz in the driveway. It was about my father having control. As an adult I still sometimes struggle with anger when I feel like there is not enough food or there is nothing available that I like to eat.

whiskey bottle







My mother was an alcoholic. She would walk to the local Stop-and-Go to buy a jug of Gallo wine, cigarettes and beer. She hid her alcohol purchases from my father and would bring us chocolate candy bars to keep us quiet. I learned very quickly that food is a reward. I still think of food as a reward for “good behavior” and have to remind myself that food is for nutrition.

I was a preemie so I got sick quite often as a young girl. I learned that this was the time I would get my mother’s undivided attention so I must admit I got “sick” a little more often than I really was. My mother would make me soup and I would lay on the couch under a blanket and watch soap operas with her. My mother and I had an extremely fragile relationship. She was a paranoid schizophrenic who had tried to smother me with a pillow when I was four years old, so I was always very careful around her. But she was my mother and I desperately needed to be loved. When I was upset my mother fed me mayonnaise sandwiches to soothe me. Yes, mayonnaise sandwiches. My mother lived in Europe during World War 2 when meat was seriously rationed and this was what she learned to eat. She would slather Best Foods mayonnaise on Jewish rye bread and feed that to me. Only Best Foods and only rye bread.

Best Foods MayonnaiseJewish Rye BreadI learned that food represented love and it was one of the few things that connected me to her. Years later whenever I was sad, angry or anxious I would reach for a mayonnaise sandwich. When she died and cut me out of her will (my sister told her I was plotting to kill her) I ate an entire loaf of mayonnaise sandwiches in one sitting. It took me a long time to stop eating those. It wasn’t the taste, it was the connection to her that I craved. Today I no longer eat mayonnaise sandwiches even in my most emotional times.

My mother would making huge batches of cupcakes. There were times I didn’t want to eat “my” cupcake but I knew that my brother or sister would eat mine, so I would lick the frosting in front of them and then put my cupcake back in the fridge. Sometimes my siblings would eat my cupcake anyway, so I learned that I had to eat it even if I wasn’t hungry. To this day I can get very territorial with my food, kind of like a dog that growls when you come near his food bowl. I spent many years mentally beating myself up whenever I over-ate, ate emotionally and didn’t take care of myself.

The truth is I had no idea how to take care of myself. I was taught to abuse myself, not nurture myself. With counseling and coaching I have learned to be aware of these destructive behaviors and to stop myself most of the time. Do I slip? You bet I do. But what I have learned is that slipping is not a moral flaw. It doesn’t make me a bad person, and I can forgive myself and make better choices next time. I could not have learned how to do this by myself. I needed a coach.

If you struggle with any issues like this or others, it helps to have a professional who can guide you to make better choices and change your habits and your future.  This is no different than any kind of training; you need to learn from a professional who has tools that you don’t.  There is no shame in this; professional coaches care about you and your future.

Windshield Wiperblades and Abandonment

Abandonment seems to be a recent theme in my life. I blogged about it on February 24th http://www.healingjourneyblog.com/2014/02/24/abandonment/ and it kicked back up again today. It’s amazing to me how quickly and easily abandonment issues can cloud seemingly simple situations.  I was leaving the parking lot of my office and noticed that there was a small leaf stuck in the windshield wiper.  We were in the middle of a storm and there had been a lull, so I got out to lift the windshield wiper to remove the leaf so I wouldn’t have a streak on my windshield driving home.  I lifted the windshield wiper, and it came off completely. Here’s what I was worried about driving in. rain video

This is what I was afraid my drive would look like. Image courtesy of designtaxi.com

Now, this is a seemingly simple thing, right? Oops.  Pull into a parking space and reconnect it, and go home.  If  you don’t struggle with abandonment issues, that’s probably what you would do.  However, my heart clenched, my throat closed, and old fears of being lost and alone rose up, paralyzing me.  What was I going to do? I couldn’t figure it out! My stress level instantly spiked and rage engulfed me.  I needed to get home, and now I couldn’t.  I called my husband, choking back tears and raging at him what do I need to do!?!?!? My beloved Ernie, well used to and unaffected by these tear storms other than to comfort me, told me to take a deep breath and drive to the local car repair shop. Other fears kicked up….I didn’t want to look stupid.  Dumb woman who can’t put a simple windshield wiper back on.  It’s amazing how your self-talk can beat the living crap out of you without anyone seeing it on the outside. I drove to the mechanic, and sat in my car for a few minutes, trying to calm myself down and let the tears subside. I went into the shop and the kind manager tried to fix it for me, but no go. He couldn’t figure out the mechanics of the connection either.  Is it terrible to say I felt a little bit better and a little less stupid right then? He asked me to pull into a service bay and called a few mechanics over.  Another man tried and he couldn’t figure it out. Then they called in their heavy hitter.  He worked on it, trying to figure out the lever. Finally he got the mechanism open and fixed it.  I almost burst into tears. I could make it home now!windshield wiper He shook my hand. I kissed his hand and then kissed him on the neck, thanking him profusely.  He smiled, embarrassed and said it was no big deal.  He was probably puzzled about why this woman was so overwrought over a broken windshield wiper. I stressed the entire drive home, praying that the windshield wiper would hold and I could get home safely to Ernie.  When I got home I collapsed on the bed, the tears that had been threatening the entire drive finally able to release. I sobbed and Ernie, wonderful Ernie, held me in his arms and told me I was safe, that everything was okay.IMG_1625 Abused children grow up to become adults with deep abandonment fears.  They are not logical fears, yet they are 100% real fears.  It wasn’t the windshield wiper that was worrying me. It was that I couldn’t go home, that I didn’t know what to do.  My life had shrunk in a few seconds down to the size of a windshield wiper blade. It’s not rational, but it’s real, and it’s a horrible feeling. I also blog at www.SusysMusings.com and check out this other blog on abandonment http://www.susysmusings.com/2014/03/06/sentri-pass-healing

What Depression Feels Like

Today I woke up depressed.  It’s not one of my angry-depression days, it’s one of my ennui-depression days. People talk about ” feeling depressed”, but I thought today I would talk about what it actually feels like for me, in the hope that it might help you with someone who is depressed or your own situation.

It’s not sadness, although that is a component to it.

It’s not hopelessness, although that too is a piece of the puzzle.

It’s not boredom, although in a way it sometimes feels like that.

Dejection plays a role —- I’m not worthy, I’m a nobody, I’m a failure.

Angst is part of it, a feeling of inner turmoil.

The closest I have ever come to a word that truly describes depression is Weltschmerz, which in German roughly translates to the psychological pain caused by sadness that can occur when realizing that someone’s own weaknesses are caused by the inappropriateness and cruelty of the world and (physical and social) circumstances (Thank you Wikipedia).

A “What’s the point” feeling comes over me.  I don’t want to go to my business, I don’t want to talk to people, I just don’t care about anything.  I want to curl into a little ball in my bed and cry and bemoan my life—which is actually a good life—-and think about what a pathetic loser I am. I know, those of you who have read my other work are sitting there going, Huh? But that’s what it feels like.  Utter pointlessness.  Existential angst. What is the point, what is the point, what is the point, why bother? Who cares?  Nothing is that important in the world, it doesn’t matter what I do, we are all going to die.

Now, I have done enough therapy and reading and releasing to know that this is just a chemical imbalance in my brain, that the emotions will pass, but it makes the day ahead of me difficult, to say the least.

Now, everyone can suffer from a case of the doldrums or a temporary depression brought on by life circumstances.  Divorce, job loss, death, financial bankruptcy—those things can all trigger a depressive state, but I’m not talking about that.  I’m not talking about a situational depression.  I’m talking about a chemical imbalance in the head that attacks at inopportune moments and has no basis in ‘reality’.

You can’t explain it to anyone who doesn’t suffer from it.  The closest example I can give is migraine headaches.  I was recently sitting in front of a coffee shop and a gal and her friend walked in, and one complained “I have such a horrible migraine!” as she walked rapidly by me…no sunglasses, nothing.  Now, I have suffered from migraines, and from the outside looking in, she sure as heck wasn’t suffering from a migraine.  A migraine is a debilitating headache accompanied by nausea, dizziness, a painful reaction to light and sound….you pretty much have to lie down in a dark, quiet room until it passes.  You are not walking around in broad daylight.  She probably had a wicked horrible headache, but trust me, she didn’t have a migraine.  So you can go through a depression without actually being clinically depressed.  It’s a state of being versus a state of mind.

The Mayo clinic states: More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out” of. Depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment, like diabetes or high blood pressure. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counseling or other treatment.

There are no words to dig you out of it, no pep talk available.  You just…have…to…get…through…it.  Period, end of story.  For those of you who love those of us who suffer this way, if we ask you to leave us alone, leave us alone (as long as we’re not suicidal).  If we want a hug, give us a hug.  If we snap at you, forgive us.  If we planned something and cancel at the last minute, give us forgiveness.

This doesn’t mean let us take advantage of you (see enabler) but give us our space and let us know you love us.  It is up to us to do the work to get through it.