Breaking through

November 25...the last time I posted here. Here's some updating.

That illness in November was the start of a three month cough, resulting in chest and back pain. 

I saw three different doctors over that time.  The first agreed it was a flu and gave me codeine cough syrup.  The second said it was post-nasal drip and gave me nose spray.  The third said I had a throat infection and gave me antibiotics.  Then I gave up.

I lost my sponsored gym membership because I wasn't been able breathe without coughing.  No cardio, and weights hurt too much.  I also lost a lot of my singing voice and am still trying to work my lungs back up to taking full breaths.

On December 20, my doctor said I could not to take escitalopram it at the same time as codeine.  I tried to start taking it in the morning, which was not my routine.  After missing three days, I decided not to bother.  It wasn't helping anything anymore anyway.

The withdrawal was long and slow, but not too violent, since my "regular" dose was already the lowest dose one would taper to.  First I just wanted to sleep.  Then I had trouble falling asleep.  My mental and visual clarity slowly returned and I realized that taking escitalopram kept me in a fog, making me tired and pressing me down. On it, I was exhausted in the afternoon - enough to need to nap.  Off it, I wake up not groggy in the mornings.  I can see better and think better.  I don't need an afternoon nap anymore.

Life has not been easy this past while.  Our teenager is not out drinking, drugging and sexing, but he is refusing to go to school many days.  He is being disrespectful.  He is not doing projects...I'm pretty sure he hasn't handed in any school work this year. His passion is music, but he has started letting down friends and family by not fulfilling music commitments.  He loves marching band, yet when I told him he will have to pay half the registration for next year, he said he will not be doing marching band next year then.  He and I see a psych to try to work through all this.  I want him to know that he can seek help from people outside of our family if he is not comfortable speaking with us.  His last visit required his father carrying him to the van.  The psych did a 30 min session with him in our van.  This was visit 7 and the first time the psych didn't see a calm, put-together, intelligent boy with all the right answers (her words).  He didn't speak.  I don't think it's working.  I'm dreading visit 8, but have found comfort in a parenting teens group that I set up on Facebook.  I'm so thankful for friends in the same age and stage as me. 

Our home has still not recovered from not moving.  Stuff is still piled and is still too much.  Space is not enough. Angry teenagers (and preteens looking to rile them up) are everywhere.  The basement is now a bedroom, rendering it unusable gathering or escape space.  My home "office" is our desktop computer on our dining room table, so we can't even eat together without being on top of one another.  School breaks are incredibly unproductive times for me.  While we have made GREAT strides in paying down debt in the hope that we can list our house way too low and sell it that way, by the time we are able to get out of here, we will have to replace the bathroom, and all of the bedroom doors.  Which means we won't be able to afford to leave.  Stuck in this mud.

Work has been busy.  First year-end and T4 season for me, and now tax season for hubby.  I'm in the middle of a job transition.  Slowly transitioning from one to the other.  My days are way too full now, but one job seems like a job and the other doesn't, so hopefully things slow down before that changes.

We gave up our flyer route.  I couldn't handle the stress anymore.  It wasn't fun for the ONE child who stuck with it to the end to do it all on his own.  He was sad to lose the money, but glad to get back the time. The "boss" said we were amazing and anytime we want a job with him, he will gladly hire us back.  I've heard that at most (all?) jobs I've left, which is good, I guess, but a reminder that I have been searching, wandering, for so very long, and along the lines of "it's not you, it's me", my theme seems to be it is me, and it's me.

Since November, I have gained 10 lbs.  Two days ago, I bought some pants with pockets so I can carry my phone with me at new job.  Size 12.  I remember one year not too long ago searching high and low for a size ZERO that was small enough to fit me.  This weight gain depresses me.  It feels like not so long ago that I was healthy, strong, confident, content.  I wish almost constantly that I could go back.

I've been noticing lately that anything I ever say always comes back to haunt me in some way.  I've told people that to be joyful is a choice, and have learned that it's not.  I've said, if you want to exercise, you MAKE TIME to exercise.  Time is not always available to be made to do as we please.  In response to people saying, "I don't know HOW you all live in this tiny house," I've said, "It works great - there are enough rooms for each of us to go into one if we need to be apart."  It's now been proven to me that that is no longer accurate.    What I am learning is to just keep my mouth shut, and I do that a lot now.  I don't socialize at church coffee time, I don't seek out other parents at school events, I don't try to set up girls nights, despite my desperate need for a break from everything.  When the kids were small, we taught them that patience is to "sit quietly".  I'm trying my best to focus on patience.

For the past week or so, I have been plagued with nighttime anxiety.  I am absolutely panic-free until the second I lay my head on my pillow, and then my heart starts POUNDING, and my blood pressure shoots up. I can't lay down fully, and I can't take a whole breath without forcing it.  On Saturday night, I started having heartburn, which is extremely rare for me, and a loss of appetite.  Before I went on escitalopram, my digestive system would cycle through this weird state of hungry and feeling great all the way to the other extreme of no appetite, and the only thing I could consume was water, because it seemed that my digestive system completely shut down.  We are talking, anything I ate seemed to sit in my stomach and not move beyond there.  This week, I was taken right back to that time. I've noticed, since the onset of my panic attacks, that before I even know an illness is coming, my body will switch into panic attack mode.  This time around, Sunday was the worst bit of it; I was on worship team for church, ill, tired from my sleepless night, and a touch nervous to introduce a new song.  It all combined to make me nearly break down on stage, which is probably up there with my other worst nightmares.  I never want to cry in front of anyone, especially not in front of a room full of people looking at me.  I was thankful for the reclining chairs that day; during the sermon, I was able to lean back and take some pressure off my belly, which was telling me very strongly that I should be home in bed. So, all this panic and weirdness this week, with me trying to choose between going back into the fog of escitalopram or suffering through and hoping to find a non-prescription answer...and hubby starts complaining of symptoms similar to what I was experiencing.  And then teen starts complaining of the same. And I realize that I just need to listen to my body...panic means illness is on the way; be kind to yourself.  Ativan rescued me one night, and an herbal supplement another night.  Last night I was able to go to bed and fall asleep with only my hot pack as a comfort.  BUT, I also stayed up way too late last night working, which just might be the key.

This has been a very long update.  Finishing off with 10 highlights...

Having our pup has changed our lives in great ways.  I'm so thankful for him.

My parents bought us a new fridge for our anniversary.  This is the first time in 10 years that we've been able to keep veggies in our refrigerator for more than one day without them freezing!  I've started eating a lot more Greek salads.

Teen auditioned and was accepted into a performing arts program for high school.  This is a situation surrounded in prayer.

My new job is on a casual day-to-day basis, and I was able to secure a posting where I will go to the same school for an entire month.  And they welcomed me with open arms and are all so amazing there.  The whole thing is kind of a miracle to me.

Our income tax return allowed us to pay off a large chunk of our Line of Credit.

Hubby is currently on track to be done school by October, after a long 8 years of difficult coursework.

My mom traveled here and stayed with us for a few weeks during T4 season.  She caught up and kept up all of our laundry and dishes, which is one of the best gifts anyone could give me.  It was great to have an extended amount of time together.

We've set up a weekly family meeting that starts off with a game, ends with everyone picking chores and making the meal plan, and is filled with family business in the middle.  I believe it is changing our family.  Everyone is pitching in around the house, and I haven't cooked dinner (other than assisting) since we started!  I'm really liking the way it's going.

Family paint nite - I set up the first one and now everyone is excited to do another!

Spring has allowed me to wear a light coat all week long!!  :D

Until next time...


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