So today I got told by my boss that the other supervisors in the area think I talk too loud and too much. My boss then proceeded to tell me that I need to be quiet and keep my head in my work while at the same time saying that he didn’t want to make the workplace sterile and that a little talking now and then was ok. Then he says that I’m too helpful with my coworkers and need to spend less time helping them out.

I get it. I have a loud voice and I like talking while I work. I spent a big portion of my childhood being as inconspicuous as possible and being told that my opinion didn’t matter. It took me years to get to the point where I felt comfortable in my own skin enough to join in conversations.

I hate being told to shut up. I hate that my boss didn’t stand up for me to the two other bosses who complained. I’m a good tech and I do good work, I like to keep my energy up by chatting while I work. I don’t talk nearly as much as some of my coworkers, but I get singled out because my voice carries.

I used to love my job, now I’m just counting the days until I don’t need it anymore.

One of the most positive side effects of getting my anxiety under control has been my realization that I should enjoy my life more and not worry about what other people think.

I’m a nerd, I freely admit it. I enjoy a bunch of different fandoms and hobbies. I love comic cons and cosplay, and yes I’ve been a closet Furry for quite a while. My anxiety has kept me from enjoying the Furry Fandom fully.

Something that has bothered me, is that while I was struggling with my anxiety the people who were the kindest and most supportive to me were my friends in the Furry Twitter community. These kind people who don’t know me in real life were always making me smile and telling me things would be ok. I wanted so much to join in and be a part of that amazing community, but my anxiety about someone finding out I was a Furry kept me at a safe distance.

As I’ve learned more about myself in therapy and for the first time in my life gotten on top of my anxiety, I realize that I can be what I want to be and I don’t owe anyone an explanation for what makes me happy.

I’m an accomplished technician, I work on equipment that saves peoples lives daily. I’m a married to an awesome man who I love more than anything. I’m a pug dad to the best little pug in the world. I have a black belt in Karate. I served my country. I always try to help those in need. I volunteer. And yeah, I happen to be a Furry.

I love the artwork, I love the fursuits, and most of all I love the people in the fandom.

I haven’t written a blog post in quite a while now. Honestly, I think it’s because even though life isn’t perfect it has been manageable. My anxiety has been nearly 98% under control.

I seem to really only feel the need to write, when things suck. While things are better, I still feel like I haven’t been able to get things in my life back to normal. I’m not sure if one of my relationships will ever recover.

I just hope that at some point things get back to normal.

I’ve been on Prozac for my anxiety and panic attacks for a little over a month now. I can truthfully say it’s changed my life for the better. I feel more myself than I have in the last couple years. In combination with going to my therapist I’ve turned the corner on my anxiety and I’m pulling ahead.

My boss has noticed a big change in my attitude and has even given me more responsibilities. I don’t feel overwhelmed by the workload (even though it’s been increased). I was thinking about finding another job, but I’m actually…not happy (come on it’s still work)…not depressed by going to work every morning.

Socially I feel I’m much more relaxed and comfortable with myself. I find that I’m enjoying the company of others again.

I don’t think I’m “cured” of my anxiety, but I’m back in control of it. My therapist keeps giving me fantastic coping tools to deal with the situations that normally set my anxiety off. I’d say that I’m probably back to 95% of being completely in control of my anxiety and that makes me hopeful that I can tackle just about anything.

So day one and two were pretty uneventful, some very minor stomach upset which could very well be caused by the cold I’m also fighting and the Mucinex I’m taking. The doc said that it might take three to six weeks to really notice a change with Prozac, so I wasn’t expecting to really notice anything this early.

Today I actually felt pretty good. Things that normally get me really anxious were barely a ping on my radar. A lot of stuff went wrong for me at work today but I just took it in stride and moved on. I wasn’t happy things weren’t working out, I just didn’t feel all that worried about it. Maybe I’m starting to get a little benefit out of the meds, maybe not. One thing I know for sure is that today is the first day in quite a long time now that my anxiety wasn’t in control so I’m marking it a win.

So yesterday I started seeing my psychologist (I didn’t write yesterday because I’m suffering from a nasty sinus cold and pretty much crashed when I got home). He listened to me, asked a lot of questions and gave me some exercises and homework to do.

We talked about treatment options and agreed that the best bet for me to feel better sooner was a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.

This morning I saw my new primary care physician and discussed what my psychologist and I had talked about last night. He agreed and after more questions and discussing a couple different options with me we decided that we’d try Prozac.

It will take 3-6 weeks before I’ll really start to notice if there is an improvement, but I’m optimistic. In the mean time I have another appointment with my psychologist next week and I’m looking forward to that.

First let me start off by saying that I hope my parents never read this, but if they do I want them to know I love them and I’m not blaming them for my anxiety…but I believe they were a factor.

My childhood had a lot of happy moments, but those were often punctuated with moments of sheer terror and self loathing.

My father has a brilliant mind for mechanics and an even sharper mathematical talent to go with it. For fun he used to race my grandmother’s Olivetti Electrosumma 10 key adding machine doing all the math in his head and beat it to the answer every time. Granted the Olivetti had to grind through cogs and gears to come up with the answer but we’re still only talking a few seconds for it to compute even a fairly big math problem. My father was also a functioning alcoholic, he’d come home every night after having a couple beers on the way, and have two or more Black Velvet and Coke (mostly black velvet, and a splash of coke for color and fizz), then the fun would start. My father when drunk is scary mean, he’d argue, demean, ridicule, and yeah sometimes devolve into physical abuse.

This was an every night occurrence. He’d sleep it off and be up for work the next day. Wash, rinse, repeat. The most terrifying thing is you just never knew what was going to set him off at any particular moment…but you knew that once that happened you were in for an hour or more of yelling if you were lucky (if you weren’t lucky you also might get knocked around with the yelling).

One event that stood out for me was when I was in third grade learning my multiplication tables. It had been a pretty quiet night so far and I was at the dining room table working on them and when dad got up to get another drink. He stopped on his way back to see what I was working on and when he saw it was math he decided to get in on it. He grabbed my table away from me and started quizzing me. I did pretty good up through the 5’s but then started faltering. With each wrong answer he got angrier and more worked up. When we got to the 8’s he asked “WHAT IS 8X8?”, I replied “I don’t know we’re only up to the 6’s.”. This proved to be the moment the arming switch was thrown on my dad’s thermonuclear temper and I could see his face getting redder and angrier by the millisecond. “FIGURE IT OUT” he yelled at me, spittle flying in my face. At this point I burst into tears and said “I can’t. I don’t know how.” That proved to be the moment that the clock on the detonation sequence began ticking down from 10. “YOU CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT? AMERICAN ENDS IN I CAN. YOU DAMN WELL BETTER FIGURE IT OUT.” Now I’m crying so hard I can barely breath and in full on panic mode. “TELL ME THE ANSWER”, he screamed. “ARE YOU REALLY THAT DUMB?”. It went on like this for almost 2 hours, him screaming at me and threatening to keep it up all night if I didn’t give him the right answer. I didn’t get dinner that night because the “lesson” went on past my bedtime and I didn’t finish the rest of my homework.

For several weeks after that night he quizzed me relentlessly and I would inevitably choke on one of the answers and then he’d start yelling and I’d start crying. My mother would sometimes try to stand up to my father and get him to leave me or my sister alone, but that usually just made him angrier and started what I like to call the triple play where we’d all take turns getting yelled at and demeaned.

This went kind of thing went on for years. I dreaded the time my dad would get home from work because I knew that it wouldn’t be long before I did something to set him off. I tried to stay at friends houses most weekends to avoid him, or have my friends over because he typically wouldn’t get angry in front of my friends.

In later years my father cut back on his drinking and for the most part we got along. Even still there were often tense arguments between us on a weekly basis.

I’m happy to report that my father no longer drinks (because of a bout with pancreatitis). Though I never wanted him to get sick, it’s been the best thing to happen in our relationship. My father is compassionate, understanding, and damned fun to be around now that he’s sober. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I don’t blame my father. Alcoholism is a mental disease and it’s a damned difficult one to have to deal with.

As I travel down my road to battling anxiety I look back at the kid I was and I wish I could have told him it would get better. That kid went through hell and was terrified all the time. Getting through a rare night without getting screamed at was like a vacation in the Bahamas. When I turned 12 and started realizing that I didn’t like girls and was really attracted to boys that just added a whole new layer to the anxiety…keeping a secret from my family, my friends, and the kids at school. In the 70’s and 80’s being found out to be gay in my hometown would likely have gotten me beat on a daily basis at school and home. Anxiety has been a constant unwanted companion to me for as long as I can remember. Some days I overcome and some days I just survive. For the last few months it’s been a constant battle to just survive, barely keeping my head above water, my arms are getting tired and I keep dipping deeper and deeper into the water.

Wow, I don’t think I’ve written this much since college. I guess the old saying, ‘write what you know” applies…though I really wish that my subject matter was happier, or even entertaining. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or alcoholism get help, you don’t have to suffer.

You know how bacon makes everything just a little better? Put it with anything and it’s just better, man I love bacon.

Yeah, I’m the opposite of bacon. I make everything just worse. Put me in any social situation and I’m going to be the person that everyone wishes wasn’t along. My best friends live in the UK and we barely see each other, and that I suspect is why they are still my friends…they don’t have to put up with me on a regular basis.

I need to figure out what is wrong with me before I chase everyone I love away. Hell, Randy took up golf again just to get some time away from me.

img_0959

Took a little time today to decompress. Went to the beach in Lincoln City with Randy and our pug Ianto. It was nice getting away for a few hours and letting the ocean air take away some of the stress from the last week.

I’m still dealing with the fallout from last Wednesday, I don’t expect that’s going to go away overnight, but I’m doing the things I need to do to make myself better.

For now, I’m trying to stay away from the news (especially anything having to do with the orange buffoon in the Oval Office), and trying to do better at expressing my feelings when I’m having anxiety.

Wednesday I was in a dark place and needed to go to the psychiatric crisis center. My anxiety and an argument with a loved one caused me to have a bit of a meltdown.

I have to admit that going to the PCC was kind of a scary idea for me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The staff was friendly and comforting. My councilor asked me why I was there and listened to me. When I finished talking she asked questions, made recommendations and just chatted with me. She reassured me that everyone needs a little help now and then.

Just because we find ourselves in the dark sometimes doesn’t mean we can’t turn on the lights. Don’t feel ashamed or afraid to see a mental health professional if you need help.

In Salem, OR:

Psychiatric Crisis Center (PCC)  503-585-4949

National:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255