Friday, January 30, 2015

Week 2 and 3 update - Self medicating social anxiety

Okay, so I'm going to do an update on week two and three because I didn't do week two, two weeks ago or week three last week. My laptop was being repaired and I really didn't want to write this on my cousins tablet that I've been borrowing. I did the the last couple of posts on it and its really annoying because its broken and only allows me to touch half of the screen and I have to keep flipping it upside down. But now I finally have my laptop back. I haven't used it since October, but I had to get it repaired because classes started again and I have two online classes this semester. Okay on to the update!

Week Two:

So a quick update. I am taking Chamomile, Rhodiola Rosea, and Valerian Root capsules daily along with trying eat healthier, getting outside daily, and starting yoga again.

Last week I said that I was taking one 530mg Valerian capsule, two 500mg Rhodiola capsules, and two 650mg Chamomile capsules. Since then I have switched back to taking one Rhodiola capsule. I thought the label said "take 1 to 2 capsules daily" but it actually says" take one 1 capsule 1 to 2 times daily".

I was taking both at the same time with the rest if the capsules. I have since decided to go back down to one capsule because I'm taking the Rhodiola together with the Chamomile and Valerian and I don't to over do it.

I did go outside at least one time a day in the second week and I also did get some yoga done. I did some painting as well which is a great way to calm my mind. I have started to eat better, but I plan doing even better.

Unlike the week before, in week two I actually went somewhere so I got the chance to see the "medication" in action. I went to the mall with my mother and my sisters boyfriends brother, lol that's a mouthful. I was returning a jacket and when I went to talk to the cashier I did notice that I wasn't as nervous (read: terrified out of mind) as I normally am. I also had to find my receipt and sign something and my hands barely even shook.

I count that as win in my book any day. I'm really excited because it seams like the herbs are really starting to take effect. Even if it's just a placebo effect I'm okay with that. Onto week three!

Week Three:

During week three I did get some more interaction with the outside world. I had to send of my laptop to be repaired. I went to the post office looking around for a large flat rate box and when I couldn't find the one I wanted I actually went to the window and asked the lady if they had the size box I needed. I count that as a win. I don't know if I was feeling brave that day, or if it was because the post office was empty, or because of the herbs, but either way I feel pretty good about being able to ask the window lady something while being there all on my own.

Of course when I came back with box and no label and the  lady looked at me like I was stupid when I handed her a label-less box I felt completely and utterly mortified. I had to move to the side and write my label on and this time I wasn't so lucky to have an empty post office.

In my defense I haven't sent many packages where I had to write a label on it. I always just print out the prepaid for ones from Paypal. I thought if i went to the window she would just put one of those labels on the box.

Anyways, I also got some yoga done in the second week. But i think i need to watch an actual video and follow along to get a proper yoga session in because I can't always remember the poses I want to do. I think I'll start the 30 day yoga challenge again that's on Youtube.
Here is the link: 30 day yoga challenge.
I would also like to do some of these poses that are specific to anxiety in this article:

I got some painting done as well. As for eating healthier I think I'm getting there. I'm doing better every week.

I'll have an update of week 4, which is this week we're in right now on Sunday. This is also the week I started school, so it should be an interesting update.

Monday, January 12, 2015

week 1 update - self medicating social anxiety

So, its been one week since I decided to start self medicating my social anxiety. Time for an update!

I have been taking Valerian root 530mg

Last week I said that I would decide whether the Valerian root made me to drowsy, and if I would switch to taking it at night. After a week of using it, I don't feel any drowsiness at all. One con with this is that these capsules are a bit large and I have a hard time swallowing pills as it is. Another con is that these capsules do not have the most pleasant smell lol. I am taking one these daily.

I'm also taking Chamomile 650mg

I really like the taste of chamomile and these capsules are easy to swallow because they are on the small side. They smell great too. I upped the dosage of these to two daily, because its suppose to have a calming effect and I seriously need that. I wasn't feeling like I was seeing any results and I felt like I needed to take more of them. So I am currently taking two daily.

The last thing I'm taking is Rhodiola rosea 500mg
These are also smaller capsules. They don't have much of taste and I don't really mind taking them. For the first couple of days I was taking one of these but I switched to two soon after. Probably not for the best of reasons. I just wasn't seeing any results and I felt like I should up the dosage because I'm really feeling the pressure to get out my sisters house and find a job. So I am currently taking two of these daily also.

So, for the first week of my self medicating I haven't noticed any differences. I still feel just as anxious as before. I know that none of these will be a quick fix. I know that it will also take more than a week for me to noticeably feel the difference. I am still going to stick to this plan. I think I will have to wait until school starts back up again to really see if there are any differences in the way I feel because right now, I pretty much do nothing lol.

As for the rest of my plan, I have been outside everyday. Even if its just for a little while, I have taken the time to go outdoors everyday.

With trying to eat better I will say that I have been doing a bit better but not by much because I still don't feel very comfortable eating the food in my sisters house. I have been doing a bit better though. I just have to keep trying or wait until I move out to reach my goal of eating only fruits and vegetables.

As for the yoga, not gonna lie, I have yet to even start it. I just haven't had much alone time to do it. And I don't feel comfortable doing it while there are other people around.  I will try harder though. I really don't like making excuses, so I will try to get some yoga in this week.

Although I haven't felt much of a change this week I will stick to my plan. I think I should give it at least a month before I decided if this just isn't working and I need to get on Paxil. But so far I am very hopeful that this is going to work.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Beautiful Daydream - Maladaptive daydreaming and social anxiety.

I know that I spoke about coping mechanisms briefly in my previous post and about maladaptive daydreaming. I will go into a lot more detail I this post.

Okay, so this is bit of a challenge for me.
I don't know if its just me or other maladaptive daydreamers feel the same way, but I am very attached and protective of the worlds I create for myself. So to talk about them is a little hard for me.

The reason I am doing this is because I find very little information about this. And I find even less personal stories about it. I actually didn't even know there was a word for what I was doing until a couple of months ago, and that there were other people that did the same thing.

So first, some facts.
Maladaptive daydreaming is excessive daydreaming. Maladaptive daydreamers are usually people who have social anxiety or depression. Maladaptive daydreaming goes a step further than regular daydreaming. The daydreams are extensive, vivid, and intricate. The daydreamers become emotionally invested in the characters and become attached. They are usually not separate daydreams each time, but a one long daydream with, a plot, main characters, reappearing characters, friends, and villains.

Although unlike schizophrenics, maladaptive daydreamers know the difference between reality and their fantasy, they have trouble stopping the daydreams or focusing on regular tasks. Some people have experienced a negative affect in their real lives.

These daydreams are often accompanied by a repetitive movement in the daydreamers along with laughing, gesturing, whispering, crying, and other facial expressions and movements. The daydreamers are trying to emulate the characters in their fantasies.

A big part of maladaptive daydreaming is pop culture and the world around the daydreamer. Anything from a song, commercial, TV show, movie, book, photo, etc can trigger a daydream to start. Majority of the time some of the characters or places already exist in a movie, book, show, or some other form of pop culture.

So now that we're done with the facts, I will tell you about my experiences in maladaptive daydreaming.

I have been a maladaptive daydreamer for as long as I can remember. My first memory of a daydream is what I like to call "the bread and butter bird". When I was about four or five and my aunt would walk me to school she would always say bread and butter when she split a pole. It was some type of weird superstitious thing. Of course me being only four I began to say it too, but as I also had social anxiety I never felt comfortable enough to say it out loud, so I would say it in my head. Thus the bread and butter bird was born. He was a bird that only ate bread and butter but he could only eat if I said "bread and butter" in my head. He lived in a world where they loved to be fat in the summer and thin in the winter. Its silly I know, but I was four! Lol. I still find myself visiting my old bird friend on occasion. He was my main daydream until I was about six.

My second daydream was of a boy named Kevin. He would walk with with me school and play with me when I had no one to play with. I very clearly remember telling my mother and sister about him and being very clear that he was my imaginary friend but it was alright, because I knew he was imaginary so I wasn't crazy lol. He was my main daydream and stayed my main daydream from then to present.

Kevin started out as the main character I guess you could call it until about middle school. He then was demoted into second main character, and "I" was introduced into the picture. Before this I, as in my actually self would interact with my daydreams and they would interact with me and the going on's in my life.  When "I" was brought into the picture my actually self took a step back and I became the main character in the form of a girl named Iiolana. Iiolana (Alana, don't ask me why I spelled it like that) was Kevin's best friend. This is the time when pop culture began to have a big impact on my daydreams. I don't feel comfortable going into to much detail, but this is when my daydreams started to get more detailed and more character's.

Later on Iiolana got demoted by the current main character (CMC) whose name I don't feel comfortable saying and I really don't want to get into to much detail about the current daydream. But I will say the Iiolana and the CMC are friends, not best friends, but friends none the less. Kevin is also still there, and him and Iiolana are now in a relationship. What I will say is that my current "cast" for lack of a better word has been here since high school with a couple of add on's over the years. They consist of 8 "main" girls 14 "main" boys and about 25 other minor characters. Pop culture has made a huge impact on my daydream but my main characters "me" are never a part of the pop culture influences.

Although I am the main character majority of the time I do go into the minds of the other characters and act as them form time to time, but majority of the time, they kind of act on their own. Its kind of hard to explain.

Although this has been my main daydream for years I have had a couple of other sub-dreams while I've had this big main one.

There was the two guys Neji, and Hajii. I believe I was Neji. As you can tell this is from when I was heavily into anime. And, no Neji was not the character from Naruto, the only influence I took was the name. They came about when I got my DS and used the picto-chat to "chat" with Hajii. And yes, although I am a girl Neji was indeed a boy in this daydream. They didn't last for very long. Only until about the time that I stopped using my DS.

The other sub-dream was the vampires, as I like to call them. Surprisingly the only influence I took from pop culture in this daydream was the fact that my characters were vampires. They were also a pretty extensive daydream with about 10 characters in total. Which is the most that any of daydreams have had besides the main daydream. In this daydream I was also a guy, named volcad. This was one of my longer sub-daydreams. I liked this one so much that I often times tried to revisit it after it had died down, but for some reason I just couldn't get back into it.

Surprisingly the only other daydream that I have been able to revisit along with my main one is the bread and butter bird. Lol I think I find it hard to let go of the first one I can remember. Its also the most simple of the daydreams and the easiest to get back into. Its like revisiting an old friend.

Now for the effects it's has had on my life I'm not to sure about. I have never been the best at keeping friends, but I think that has more to do with my SA and less to do with my daydreaming. I do sometimes find myself having a hard time focusing on things when I'm when I want to be with my daydreams or when something happens and I suddenly have inspiration to do something in the daydream.

I know that I am horrible at directions because ofmy daydreams. Because of my SA I don't have a drivers license so I am either on public transportation or being driven by a family member. Most of the time I use this time to daydream. Its not like I do it on purpose. Its like my body can't even help it. I have to actively make myself pay attention and stop myself fro daydreaming if I really want to know directions but even then I still get them wrong. I think my daydreaming contributes to my bad sense of direction but I think that might just be something I would be bad at even if didn't daydream lol.

Most of the time I can incorporate what I'm doing daily into what I'm doing in the daydream. Like if I'm going shopping then the me in my daydream is also going shopping, of I'm taking a shower then the daydream me is also taking a shower etc.

The most time I daydream is either right before I go to bed or right after I wake up. I have a hard time getting to sleep but I'm not sure if that's because I daydream at that time or if I daydream because I have a hard time falling asleep. On average it probably takes me about 30 minutes to fall asleep. Which gives me plenty of time to spend with my daydream.

As for the facial expressions and the gestures and what not, I do find myself doing those a lot. Never when I'm around other people. I will laugh, whisper, cry, gesture, and make facial expressions as if I'm actually the daydream "me".

I find myself having a hard time letting go of my daydreams. If I could get rid of them with a majic pill I don't think I would. I am too attached to them. I am very emotionally invested with them. I don't think they have a detrimental effect on my daily life or that they would on my life in the future. I don't just sit in the house all day with my daydreams. I incorporate them into my life so I don't just spend hours at a time just sitting alone with them.

Daydreaming is one of my coping mechanisms. It's what helps me get through my days. I don't know how I would get through my days without daydreaming.

Although I use this blog as a personal diary that I can just express myself anonymously I do hope this post will help someone who is also a maladaptive daydreamer.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pass me the herbs please!

Before I lay out the specifics of my plan with self medicating, I just want to say that I am in no way telling people to copy what I am doing. I have decided to do this on my own with out the help of any doctors or therapists involved.

Now I would also like to say that I know there is no magic cure for SAD. I know that I'm not going to wake up tomorrow suddenly a different person. My goal is to reach a point where my anxiety level is manageable enough for me to get a job. That is my ultimate goal, getting a job and working towards being more independent and moving out of my sisters house.

As I said in my last post, in my research about medication to help treat SAD I came across this article:

After reading up on each of these herbs, I decided to try a combination of Chamomile, Valerian root, and Rhodiola rosea.

I know that there are medications the help with dealing with social anxiety, but I am personally really against medication. So before I try any prescription medication I would like to try a natural remedy.

Part One

The first part of my self medicating plan (SMP) is to take each of the herbs listed above daily.

I ordered these a couple of days ago, and I just received them yesterday. I ordered them from they have free shipping and the prices are really low. I would have just gotten them from Amazon but because I am a vegetarian I had to do a little searching around for vegetarian capsules. The brands I ordered are Nature's Answer for the chamomile, 650mg. Nature's Way for the Valerian root, 530mg, and Now for the Rhodiola, 500mg.

Although the backs of the bottles suggest taking more than one capsule, or taking it more than once a day I'm just going to ignore that lol. Because I am taking these all together and not alone, I think that if I were to take more than one of each I might be over doing it. The only that I might take two of is the chamomile because its the one I'm most familiar with.

The bottle of rhodiola says to take it before bed, because I suppose it makes you drowsy but I think I might do a trial taking it in the morning with rest of them and see how I feel after a week. If I'm to drowsy then I'll switch it to night time.

I think that taking these daily will help decrease my anxiety.
Onto part two.

Part Two

Part two of my SMP is to start to eat right again. I don't think I can fight my anxiety with out getting my mind and body on the right track. I used to eat very good until I moved in with my sister and started to feel like my move was being watched. Now I just hurry up and make what ever will take the shortest amount of time and go back to my room. I Need to get back to the way I used to eat.

Part two of my plan involves eating healthier foods, and drinking more water. A while ago after I did the lemon cleanse I stopped eating preservatives and artificial colors. I would like to get back to this way of eating. My ultimate goal is to eat majority of fruits and vegetables for all my meals. Because I'm already a vegetarian this would not be that hard of goal to reach. I was raised a vegetarian and have never tasted meat or fish in my life.

The only problem with this is that I don't feel comfortable eating the food in my sisters house, so I'm going to figure out a way to be able to pay for the fruits and vegetables I want to eat.

I really think this combined with the herbs will go long way in reducing my anxiety.  I think that I'm going to have to work from the inside out to get the results I want, and that's going to start with eating healthier.

Part Three

Part three of my SMP is to start doing yoga again. For me, yoga works as a way to calm mind.

I used to do yoga all the time until I moved, and the house was to crowded, and I didn't really feel comfortable doing it in front of any of the members of my family. So I stopped. But now that we moved into this bigger house and I semi have some privacy in the room I share, I think that I would be able to find the time to start again.

The only way I'm going to be able to get a handle on my anxiety is to calm my mind. The three things that work in calming my mind are yoga, reading, drawing/painting, crafting and other art related stuff, and daydreaming (maladaptive daydreaming to be exact, but we'll get into that another time). Because I already do the other two I think I need to add yoga back into the mix.

Not only does it relax my mind, but it also relaxes my body. Which will also be big help because my shoulders are always so tense because of my SA.

I really believe that that these three in combination will help me with my anxiety.

Part four

The fourth and final part of my SMP is to go outside at least once a day, even if its just to walk the dog. No matter how short the amount of time, I need to get outside everyday.

Not only do I feel like I need to get sunlight everyday, I don't think me spending days at a time in the house is doing me any favors. Even if I don't interact with anyone while I'm outside at least I got some fresh air for the day. I think this is another thing that help with calming my mind.  I don't think staying cooped up in the house is helping at all, infact its probably making me worse. So I plan on going outside everyday, even if its just for a little while.

I think that with all of things working together, and with trying to improve my outlook and setting a goal ( getting a job, so that I can move out of my sisters house) will really help me to get a better handle on my anxiety.

When I came across the article I mentioned earlier I was in a really bad place and I think finding that article helped me to dig my self out of that spot. I think I have hope now, where as before I has none and I had basically given up on ever getting better with out using drugs (prescription or recreational).

I will be posting weekly updates on how this working out for me.

I really think this is going to work. Fingers crossed.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Self Medicating Social Anxiety.

So I have been missing for a while.

A lot has been going on lately and I haven't had time to just sit and write.

I finished a semester and a half of college and I only have one semester left to graduate, go me! But that's not what this post is about. I will have a post later on talking about being in college while also dealing with social anxiety. And I also have new insights into my "fake it until you make it" post. But that will all come later.

Right now, I want to talk about self medicating.

I have always steered clear of drugs (prescription and recreational) and alcohol. I feel that if I were to start partaking in some fun with them I would turn into an addict. Not because I have a particularly addicting personality, but because I think for just a little while they would help alleviate my anxiety. I would then want to get more and more of that feeling and before I know it I'll end up being an addict or alcoholic. And I do not want that to happen. So just to be on safe side I have never done either. Also alcohol tastes like pee to me lol.

Now, prescription drugs I have been against my whole life. For me personally I feel like even although they might help the problem right now, they will cause even more problems in the future. I also think they they are slowly killing people from the inside out ( but hey, what's not these days?). So because of my views on this I knew I had reached a breaking point when I decided that I wanted to start on Paxil.

What brought me to this point was a number of things. But I suppose I should start at the beginning. This is going to be a long one.

Two years ago my mother was laid off. I had not been in school at the time, hadn't had a job, and was completely dependent on my mother. I knew there was a problem with this because I was twenty and never had a job, was not in school, and needed my mother for everything. Very quickly, my mom loosing her job became a problem.

I have two sisters. My older sister that we'll call Paris, and my sister this is only one year older than me that well call Ally.
Ally lived with me and my mother when my mom lost her job. Paris lived about two hours away from me and my mom. When Paris found out that my mom lost her job she suggested that we come live with her. In her two bedroom apartment, with her 5 year old son. But I don't exactly have room to complain seeing as I was jobless and not able to help out in any way what so ever. So within about a week we were all packed up and ready to go.

Ally could not come with us because she was still in school and Paris' house was to far away. So she stayed with my cousin. And this was a big blow because me and Ally are best friends and she understands more about my SA then any other family member. But there was nothing I could do about it.

Living with Paris wasn't really all that bad. Except for having to share a room with my mom and nephew. We all got along pretty good. An then of course just as I was getting used to living in a new place, starting school again for the first time in four years, and getting comfortable something happened.

Paris' boyfriend moved in with us. Now I was never the biggest fan of her boyfriend. To be honest I don't really like him. If he wasn't my sisters boyfriend, he is not the type of person I would even associate with. I tried to give him benefit of the doubt and just get along with him but he would always do something that pissed me off. For one, he is one of the most sexist people I have ever met, he talks to my sister any way he wants, he's not brightest crayon in the box, and he has anger management issues.

I couldn't exactly voice my opinions though because it was not my house and I wasn't paying any bills so I didn't have any say in the matter. We all lived together for a year, and it was not the most pleasant of times. I was always being watched when I ate stuff because apparently if I wasn't paying for the food I had to be watched to make sure I didn't eat to much of it. They always wanted to know exactly what I was doing, why I was on my computer so much. It was a mess and I wasn't just imagining this because of my SA, I actually heard them talk about this stuff when they forgot I was in the house. And I guess I can't blame them, I was living in their house.

About a year into living together my sister and her boyfriend decided they needed a bigger house because she was now pregnant. You can imagine the joy I felt at this news that her boyfriend was now a permanent fixture in our lives. (that's a sarcastic voice BTW). So the plan was for all of us to get a big house that we could all comfortably live in. At this point the job my mom had was not paying her a lot and she was paying the lights, and cable bill, plus buying food for the house.

One day suddenly they (my sister and her douche face boyfriend) dropped the bomb they didn't want us to live with them anymore. They said they only wanted it to be their little family. So that ruined a lot for me and my mom. That meant she would have to find a better paying job or a second one. And that I would too have to try to find some form of employment which, just the idea of it sent my anxiety into overdrive.

About a month later it was decided that we could stay with them because it was clear we could not survive on our own (my mom had been looking for more work but was not finding anything). But then it was awkward because we now knew they didn't want us there. About three weeks ago we moved into the new house. It's a four bedroom house which would have been ideal except my sisters boyfriend moved his little brother in because where he lived was not a good place for him to be. I actually like him. He nice and not like his brother at all and we get along great. The only problem is that now, he has one of four bedrooms. My nephew has the other and my sister and get boyfriend the third. Which only leaves one bedroom left. So me and my mother are now sharing a room again.

It's not so bad, at least there is more room in this house than the other one, but it's still not where I want to be. They are both still watching every move I make to the point where I feel like I have to sneak around the house just to eat( and I don't eat a lot, I'm 5'1" and 105lbs, some days I forget to eat!) . I understand that me not having a job is inconveniencing them and that I'm probably a burden to majority of the family, but its not like I do absolutely nothing. I tried to start my own online business making handmade jewelry and home decor but that is very sporadic and only brings in like $30 a month. I clean the house daily, I work for my sister when she needs me to, for free (she also has her own business, but hers is successful). I watch her son whenever, no questions asked. When I got my refund check I gave them money to get us into the new house, bought food, threw her a baby shower with my mom, and paid for stuff around the house.

I'm just uncomfortable living here where I know I'm not really wanted. But the thought of me getting a job nearly gives me a heart attack. And this is why we are back to the Paxil. Last week I decided that I need to get a job and move out of here. But that still nearly scares me to death. Not that I'm suicidal, but it scares me so much that the thought of doing it literally made me want to kill my self. I just don't want to have to be afraid anymore. I know that's like giving up and letting my SA win but I just didn't care. I'm not strong enough, and I just wanted to give up.

I then decided that if I was going to have thoughts like that then I might as well just suck it up and get on some medication. Even though I believe the medication is bad, so is living a half life, to afraid to do the things I really want to.  That's when I started to research Paxil.

Some how in my Paxil research I ended up coming across this article:

I did some more research on all the herbs listed in the article and I decided to try a combination of Valerian Root, Chamomile, and Rhodiola Rosea. I will be documenting my experience on this blog probably weekly. I'm really hopeful that this is going to work. The last thing I want to do is get on medication, but if this doesn't work then I will have no choice but to because I can't live here any more.

I will make another post shortly after this one explaining my plan in more detail and more specifics about what I plan to do to with self medicating my self.

I'm hopeful.