kava kava

Has anyone here tried kava kava for anxiety?

I’ve been on lithium, buspar, effexor, zoloft, paxil, prozac, serzone, klonopin, valium, wellabutrine and wellabutrin sr to name but a few and NONE worked (yes most are for anti-depressants than anxiety, I realise this).

I refuse to go back on prescription drugs … so any thoughts on kava kava?

barnes and noble

Brian (Pauls brother) and I hit barnes and noble tonight for me to get some quality writing in and for brian to get out of the house for awhile. I came across a book in the clearance section called Writing For Self-Discovery. I had brought along my notebooks so I went ahead and sat in the cafe and started reading the damn thing. The first exercise on the very first page (which surprised me as most books go into more theory on why you should write before going to the nitty gritty) was to sit in one spot and write about what’s around you. Pick and object and go from there. This is what occurred:

barnes and noble cafe. people. feeling anxious. left breast has slight pains from being anxious. feeling stupid sitting solo at the cafe table with my white painted fingernails, people milling about. various people studying. remembering the cool cafe in Berkeley, CA where all the CalState kids went to. drank coffee. study. college. missing school. thinking of my father. small silver urn around my neck. thin people. beautiful people. grad school. college university. hard tables/chairs. people still here. sitting with Cathleen at the cafe. her sister Carolyn who was way cooler. why is it that people with “Ca” beginning names are called “cat”? on some people it sounds wrong. on others it sounds right. what can one say about the name lisa? derived from Elizabeth. fear to run. flight or fight. i ‘m in a public place and i’m scared.

dreaming about my father more. i’m not sure but it dawns on me in the bathroom tonight that the dreams are a realization he’s okay. he was younger and happier looking. there were scars on his forehead. “Dad, I say,” where are those scars from?” and he points to my necklace — the small silver urn with some of his ashes on it that i wear daily. My father, close to my heart.

i was watching la femme nikita the other night with brian and i saw what i wanted to be — her. Nikita. she is tall, blonde and perfect. except i don’t want to be blonde, just tall and perfect. and she’s was wearing this long black skirt that hung low over her hips and there was an inch or so of skin showing between her shirt and the damn skirt. with her pale skin and deep blue eyes. she looked amazingly exotic. and that was my inspiration. that is what i want to be. i have to lose 100lbs.

fuck.

i remember when i was 14? 15? I weighed 140? 150 pounds. I was like 5’9 or so. And I remember laying on my bed at night, obsessing about my weight and running my hands over my concave stomach and thinking “i’m never going to be fat. i’m not going to allow myself to get past this point in weight.”

that was 1/2 a life ago!

been reading more journals online again. going through diarist.net and sorting by women and ages and reading generally anything of anyone within my age group. and i realize that the 25-32 age bracket is nearly empty — not empty but it’s like what overcomes people between that age group to not write. i’m looking for a REASON and i’m finding it. Ana Voog is 34. Cheryl Tigs is a mom at 54. She can, next year, legally qualify for the AARP. I have 30 whole years left before I need to. And for once I smile. At the cafe. Where the cute goth girl works.

I’m obsessed about ages. People think i’m 22. Brian thought I was 22 or 23. No one believes I just turned 28. But i’m obsessed with other people’s ages. When someone tells me a story, I almost always ask “how old are they?” so that i can make the comment of “she’s immature” or “he should have known better”. and it’s stupid to gauge other people’s life by my age. at 28 i should have accomplished many things and i haven’t. but in a way, i’ve accomplished more than other people ever will. because i took chances. i took the chance, no matter how stupid, on flying to SF with nothing and making a go of it. and when that didn’t work, of driving cross country solo to another state and trying again. and seeing those stupid “jesus knows” signs along the highway. meeting paul for the first time in atlanta. BUT the thing is, i did it. myself. these are my stories and i know lots and lots of people who don’t have the balls to leave within 50 miles of where they were born.

west texas sucked.
my dad was 45 when i was born.
and today i really like me, imperfections and all.

-finis-

so tonight, when the urge struck me to redesign again (and i really do like this new design btw), i felt it. the cold crushing feeling in my chest. and it’s different from all the anxiety attacks i had before. because this time i was not obsessing about anything — I WAS FREAKING WORKING IN PHOTOSHOP. and i start crying. paul is freaking out because i can’t breathe (or so i say between the sobs). my pulse is normal but my chest felt like a ton of bricks landed on it. i call the 24 hour hot line my hmo has set up and i get picked up on the first ring. i tell the woman, mary, what is going on. she assures me i’m not having a heart attack. “you’re on klonopin” she says. “what’s your dosage?” i tell her i’m taking the bare minimum these days – .5mgs .25 in the morning and sometimes .25 later in the after noon. “did you take a dose?” she asks. “yes, i replied — a few moments ago”. klonopin takes 30 minutes to kick in before it works. she talks to me. calms me down. turns out she has done over 15 years as a coronary specialist nurse. i’m not having a heart attack. i’m so low risk it’s disgusting. ‘but this crushing” i keep telling her. it hurts. i don’t know what to do. the klonopin has been my miracle drug for the last two weeks. tonight was worse because it was fast and furious. and i’m so scared something is going on with me. she tells me if the pain doesn’t stop within the next 15 minutes, take another klonopin. after an hour, if there is still pain call. they are open 24 hours. i can be seen.

within an hour brian and i were at 7-11 buying slurpees and a big bite.

a new psychosis

riddle me this.

What is worse: being sick or THINKING you are sick?

Anyone who has been a long time reader of the chronicle knows about the anxiety attacks I had before I left California, on my way to Atlanta and now the current batch.

Let me start with the latest batch:
My dad died on april 25, 2000. I was a wreck. An emotional and physical wreck. I took two weeks off from work to deal with myself and with the funeral and everything else combined. I laid, literally, on the couch watching the golden girls and crying. After the funeral, we came back to VA where the very next day we left to go to Virginia Beach for my court case against shelly. After coming back from that trip on a Friday (May 5th), I started feeling congested in my chest. I went to the doctor who said i was had a tad bronchitis and gave me drugs for it. Within a few days i felt better. Then starting in late june, i started feeling “weird” again (my only word to describe it). I went to see three separate doctors who said it was stress (and while you are at it, drop a few pounds quit smoking — you’ll feel better). And while that is all well and good — when i’m laid up all weekend due to such a severe anxiety attack I NEED RELIEF NOW!

so we tried Paxil. didn’t work.
and now i’m on klonopin (for schizos actually -teehee) which, after the first dose i slept for 14 hours and felt WONDERFUL when i woke up. But then the paranoia kicks in:
each ache and pain in my body is instant “i’m having a heart attack, i’m feeling sick, i’ve got cancer, i’ve got —-” and so goes in my head EVERY FUCKING DAY!

And going to bed was worse — because i started obsessing with death. oh, this isn’t the old morbid gawf crap — this was the “if i fall asleep, i’m dying. i’m not waking up.” and each fucking nuance of my body made me feel WORSE. and then i couldn’t sleep. and my heart would pick up pace and that freaked me out even more and on and on it would go. and it has been going on for a good month now.

so the other day i wrote about taking charge of my life. and i want to say a BIG THANK you to everyone that wrote me and said that they have gone through similar things because it’s so fucking lonely feeling like i’m the only one whose life is falling apart.

when I first started working at UUNet, a person i shall say became a very good friend said he thought it was remarkable that i was handling a new job, new move new everything with such aplomb. my job is fucking stressful. (sidebar: some nitwit started emailing me a few weeks ago accusing me of being someone else. and claimed something along the lines that we were lovers 17 years ago. 17 years ago i was 11. I kept telling him it wasn’t who he thought it was — i mean any idiot could find out anything about me if they tried hard enough. i’ve never been ashamed in giving out information. then he counters back “i have a few friends at uunet. you don’t work there. my bosses thought that was funny.) my life with paul is stressful. my life in GENERAL is stressful. and my body was saying LISA! WOOHOO time to wake up. And i started and am still taking babysteps in making those changes. i’ve tried giving up smoking (again, tonight, i’m smoking my last cigarette. the coughing and nasty taste in my mouth is making me sick). but what sucks is the day to day crap. because i freak out if my heartbeat accelerates and THEN i start panicking more so.

My doctor told me that when you have social anxiety disorder (or you are just darn anxious about something) every nuance of your body is explamified. Every pull, strain, bruise, tingle suddenly causes me to worry. so i sit there with my stupid “instant stress relief” music cds doing deep breathing for 10 minutes to calm down. and when i don’t? I freak again!

My heartbeat at rest is between 70-80. American Heart Association says normal is between 50-100 (thought chances are more so if you have a heartbeat over 70 of having a heart attack). Sometimes I hit 100 and other times 120. When I hit 120 — i keep thinking like fred sanford “I’M COMING ESTER! THIS IS THE BIG ONE!” and then i sit and have to do the stupid stress relief music and deep breathing exercises to bring it back down. My cholesterol, blood pressure and everything else is PERFECT. (however i am a woman who smokes/smoked and takes birth control pills). i’m overweight. but i’m healthy. i’m too young to be freaking out.

As you can see, my life is full of stressful events. But i started noticing things. When i started writing (shock) even just bullshit in my paper journal — i felt better. when i work out, i feel better. when i stretch my body out just after sitting in a cramped movie theater i feel better. i have to keep telling myself it’s anxiety and stress and that taking care of the issue NOW without living in isolation for three years (which happened to another co-worker of mine at UU. she had anxiety/stress so bad, she didn’t drive for three years and barely left her house — now she’s so easy going it’s depressing). Me. Myself. And I.

I’d like to think there is a reason for all of this. Why me? Why at such a young age? Why am i popping drugs and not looking for healthy alternatives. which prompts the paranoia that i’m gonna STOP shaving my legs, drink herbal tea and chant about my ying and yang. I’m so afraid of becoming a freaking hippie to be well. It’s like the holistic path works — but i don’t want to get caught up in those stereotypes, yo.

i don’t have a reason or a point to this. it’s mindless ramblings. but there is something i wanted to point out — when I used to discuss my past with my friend Michael, i used to get anxious and headachy stressing “i don’t want to deal with this now” because I didn’t. but i never did deal with it. I just went on my normal little way. but see the headaches have grown worse until i write about it (even if it is stupid — which i think sometimes i am — because i can be much more wittier) — and it’s like a fight against me and the world. i know i’m a strong person (nurse at the help line: you don’t sound sick. you sound actually very strong. me: look lady, if a doctor doesn’t see me today, i’m gonna kill some muther fucking someone) and I CAN DEAL with this. but it’s hard.

no one ever told me how hard it was to be normal.
my shrink apt is on tuesday. that should be interesting.

x0x0x0x
lisa