Sunday, October 17, 2010

Medication Update

Thanks for all your support, fellow bloggers. I am still on my lower dose of SSRI, and all is well. I feel I have a slightly thinner skin when it comes to some of my usual triggers like cat food in the sink, raw meat, expired food. But, I've been able to take a deep breath and just "act as if" it is ok -- ignore my brain, and know it is the OCD.

I did see my PCP and she did some lab work. I don't have the results yet. I made a decision not to put any energy on obsessing about them. If a doom and gloom thought comes up, I just let it sit on the sidelines. I don't join in. The good news is that although my GYN isn't scheduling pap smears until April, my PCP will do one, and I got an appointment with her for early next month. So I will have that taken care of. I will also get my mammogram.

Looks like I am working that fine line between taking care of my health needs and obsessing about my health. It feels good to hold myself to the normal standard. Perhaps if I do this I will have less obsessions of the "you have a fatal illness" which is really my better brain saying "get your ass in gear about your health maintenance appointments."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Living In The Gift

Sometimes everything seems hard. I was at an Al Anon meeting today where some people were sharing about feeling awkward, ungrounded and out of sorts. I've learned that in my life of recovery, the hard times are when growth and change have their opportunity. If I allow myself to stay with the discomfort I will learn something. This is true for staying with the pain of not doing a ritual, as well as not masking or numbing out through distraction, food, alcohol, etc. What I've found these past 5 - 8 years in recovery (for alcohol and OCD, respectively) is that I inevitably emerge on the other side of the distress. Something shifts. There is a resettling and then relief and respite. That is the gift. Today I am living in the gift.

Medication Change

Sixteen days ago I decided to try to wean down my citalopram (Celexa). At one time I took as much as 60 mgs, synergized with clomipramine (Anafranil). For about 2 years I've taken 30 mgs, which is a pill and a half. Twice in the past, I had tried to wean down to 20 mgs. But, I would start having powerful and disturbing obsessions. I didn't want to tolerate them, so I went back up to 30 mgs, and they went away. Yesterday, was day #1 of symptom "pop thru". I've been worried about accidentally contaminating my food. I have felt "not clean enough" after washing. Last night I felt bloated and my mind brought me to ovarian cancer, stage IV, of course. I was already planning my goodbyes.

Here's the gift, the fruits of doggedly trudging my cobblestoned paths of recovery. I told myself
1. It is probably your OCD and not cancer. 2. There are many reasons to be bloated, and all are more likely than ovarian cancer. 2. I am late with my gyn annual exam and mammogram, and cholesterol screening. Perhaps it is me telling myself to get on the ball with that and stop procrastinating. 3 - and here's the real change in me, the spiritual recovery - Even if I do have ovarian cancer, i will make the most of it. If this is the place my higher power has put me, then it where the gifts are for me. I will suck the marrow out of whatever life I have been given.

With my head on my pillow and my arms wrapped around my sleeping beloved, I felt at peace, despite my concern. I know I am loved by my partner, my parents, my children, and the Great Spirit. I know that everyday people face, accept, and shine under conditions of great duress. Somehow, somewhere, deep within me is a peaceful core. Last night I tapped into it and drifted off to sleep.

This morning I know in a "non-OCD way" that I need to make those appointments to take care of my health. I know that I probably don't have ovarian cancer. I also know that one day I will face a health crisis, I will face my mortality, and I will pass on, leaving loved ones behind me. It is not something I need to ward off with rituals. It is a reality I can accept and live with.

For someone like me, with a history of years of ferocious hypochondriasis and an intense fear of death, it shocks me that this is my reaction. I think I may make it through this med change.