Overall, things are pretty good.
My doctor is taking me off of Clozapine and starting me on Abilify injections. I had my first injection earlier this week, and so far I feel alright. I haven’t had any hallucinations in about a week and a half, which I am very grateful for.
When I was taking a higher dose of Clozapine, I slept for at least 15 hours a day. I was basically nocturnal and hardly functioning. Now that I’m only taking 1/2 of what I was previously prescribed, I wake up around 8:00 AM almost every day. Being awake in the daytime rocks! I love going over to my parents’ house to have coffee with my mom in the mornings, and having time to do things before work or whatever else I have planned for the day.
The only drawback to this medication combo is that my anxiety has skyrocketed. The two things that make me the most anxious are driving and work.
Driving is nearly unavoidable. I make it a point to leave the house every day , to get out and interact with people, and to change out of my pajamas and put on real clothes. I haven’t driven on the highway in a long time, and I avoid busier roads in town. I feel like I’m 16 again, in Driver’s Ed, and terrified to get behind the wheel.
As for work, things are getting better. During my last few shifts, I’ve been frustrated with how the front end has been run. Lines of customers get backed up, and I worry that people are angry about the wait. I’ve had to take a step back and realize that the entire front end is not my responsibility. It is my job to ensure that every customer who comes through my line has the best experience possible. The rest of the registers, baggers, and cashiers, are not mine to worry about.
Yesterday at work was the most relaxed I’d been in quite a while, which was surprising considering it was the 4th of July. Quite honestly, I was dreading going to work. I kept telling myself, “Remember: holiday pay! Holiday pay!” However, the store was not as busy as I expected. Sure, we had a few moments of long lines, but we were well-staffed and things went pretty smoothly. I even got a customer compliment card from my manager that described me as “friendly and helpful.” I was so proud of myself!
I’ve also had some major victories over my eating disorder. In the past week, I’ve cooked several meals for myself and gone grocery shopping a few times. Sometimes I just slap a sandwich together, and other times I go all out and make something more elaborate. (The other night I had shrimp and kale pasta.) It feels so good to make my own food just how I like it. I don’t know why I stopped cooking for so long. I felt like it “wasn’t worth it” to just cook for myself, but I am worth it! Plus, I love to cook. I have so much fun tweaking recipes and finding new things to eat.
I have noticed that I feel better about myself when I put a little effort into my appearance. My hair has grown out from the disastrous buzz cut I got three years ago. It’s almost down to my shoulders now, and I can put it in a ponytail or straighten it. When I put on makeup and a nice outfit, I actually feel pretty.
A few nights ago, I was feeling extremely anxious. The anxiety wasn’t quite at panic attack level, but it wasn’t pleasant either. I was just sitting around, listening to music, so I decided to change the music to something more relaxing and happier. (I love Badflower, but perhaps songs about heroin and suicide are not the best choice when I’m emotionally compromised.) I put on The Mamas and the Papas because my dad and I used to sing their duets in the car when I was younger.
My mom had suggested doing something physical to release the anxiety. If you know me at all, you know I hate exercise, so I wasn’t about to go for a run or head to the gym. Instead, I picked up all the dirty laundry that was lying on my bedroom floor, and washed it. Then, I vacuumed my bedroom. By the time I was finished, I was ready for bed and I had a clean room!
I’ve also found that fixating on my anxiety makes it worse. If I’m at work, driving, or even at home, and I start telling myself, “Oh man, this is awful, I’m so anxious, I’m so, so anxious!” I feel worse. If I tell myself, “I’m safe, I’ll be okay, I’m calm, I can get through this,” I actually have confidence in myself, and I find that it relaxes me a little bit.
I’m trying to take better care of myself by eating regularly, limiting caffeine, and keeping my spaces clean. I feel like I’m finally starting to become stable.