Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog over the years. I am, however, no longer posting here. I will keep the blog up for those of you who wish to read the posts and the wonderful comments. I will not delete this blog.
To reach me: email@example.com
Thank you all for the support I so desperately needed over these past few years. I hope I was able to offer a bit of encouragement as well.
Life is looking up for me.
I hope you all feel better and start laughing again. No more worrying, okay?
I’m still here, wanting to write because so many things have evolved since first starting this blog a couple of years ago.
I am still bald.
I am now back on benzodiazepines to help with my anxiety and panic attacks.
My depression is still around, not chronically, but often enough to be concerned.
I’ve made a move to start teaching ESL again, at home, but still it’s a step in the right direction.
I’ve adopted a dog.
I’ve lost 40 pounds, and I go to the gym regularly.
I can drive alone to many places.
I can go to the doctor alone.
I still can’t do the grocery shopping alone, among many other things….
So, you can see that many things have changed. I am eager to share my thoughts and feelings with whomever is still around. I have so many emotions about starting to take meds again. I just need to vent.
I am also angry and frustrated that I am still anxious and depressed. There are no antidepressants left on the market that I haven’t tried. I am considered “treatment resistant.”
Last week, in session with my psychiatrist, the last two alternatives treatments presented were
I am anxious and scared. And mad. At myself.
Tomorrow, my husband has plans to attend a conference. It’s very important to him, and I know that. The problem is that I am terrified. I’ve hit a rough patch over the past couple of months, and I don’t trust myself alone all week. I feel like hiding in a closet. Of what am I so afraid?
Of course, he usually goes to work, but this time it’s different; he’ll be (more) out of reach, most likely totally engrossed in the keynote speaker’s address. Translation: I will be on my own to fend off the panic attacks.
Over the past 15 years, he’s been there for me. He’s learned how to relate to my panicky episodes, my lack of self-trust, my fear of abandonment, my issues with my social phobia, my fantastic imagination, etc. He’s been there.
Lately, however, I see it changing. His voice is, overall, getting louder. He’s sympathy is dwindling. Tonight, he told me my agoraphobia has made him a prisoner, too, just as it has made me.
I gasped. My breathing stopped. He had said the magic words I’d been dreading to hear.
I had never heard him so mean and unsympathetic. He speaks as though he’s never heard of panic disorder before. He says things like “That’s illogical.” And, “Yeah, and maybe some robbers will break into the house and murder you while a meteor hits.” You know, things that a mad person yells. He shouts that I should also worry that a plane may hit the house, just in case I hadn’t thought of it yet.
So, I am in new territory. I hate being dependent upon him to eat, to have a job, to accompany me to the doctor and the shopping mall. I hate myself for being so screwed up with these thoughts and phobias and horrific images.
I want him to travel even if I can’t join him. I want him to go to this conference even though I will be here frozen in fear.
I can’t join him when I am down like I am now. I just can’t.
But, can’t he be more sympathetic? Less loud and mean when he speaks to me? I gather he’s just up to his neck in frustration with my “problems.” My never-ending fricking problems. Yeah, I get it. I just don’t think I would be as cold if my partner had what I had and I was as functioning as he.
Maybe I should let him be free. I should let him find another partner who can do all the things I can’t do. Maybe he’s already made the same decision. It really feels like he wants out.
I hope I can make it tomorrow and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday without losing it.
Any of you who suffers with panic disorder and agoraphobia knows how I feel. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse.
I am just in a worse part now.
I must remember it passes. It always does.
If you are reading this during the week of June 8, 2009, please send me a little strength, if you have some to spare.
I have been trying to decide whether or not to delete my blog. On one hand, a neglected blog is anything but pretty. Yet, at the same time, I still get some amazing comments now and then which encourage me to keep it alive. So, for now, it will remain intact.
As would be expected, many, many things have changed since I started this blog two years ago. These are changes I would really like to put out there and share with you. Feedback is so helpful. And, the encouragement… One can’t find much better encouragement than in the blogosphere (well, at least in the circles I run in ; – )
So, here I am inspired to share my latest change: I’m bald.
Yes, you read it right! I am completely bald now, and, you know what? It’s not so bad!
First let me post some photos showing the progression of my alopecia areata.
As you can see, my balding pattern was slowly progressing into a “snake-like” pattern with two large bald areas over each ear and one large bald area in the back.
Here are some photos a reader named Pearl sent me a while ago. She also has ophiasis pattern alopecia. Thank you, Pearl, for sharing your photos with us!
I got fed up with trying to “hide” my bald spots. I became a master of head movement, able to change head position with just the slightest breeze. God forbid if the wind exposed my bald spots!
I bought hats – lots of hats. Swimming was the tough one though. Or yoga. Or hiking. Any activity that made me sweat made trying to cover my bald spots even more of a hellacious task.
Then, I found a support group called Alopecia World. What an eye opener! I was thrilled to come across a support group on Alopecia World called “Sisterhood of the Women Who Shaved Their Heads.” What an awesome group of women!
They talked about finally getting sick and tired of hiding their baldness. They talked of the freedom and the empowerment they felt once they gained the strength to just shave off the remaining bits of hair.
They talked of sexiness. Ooh! How sexy and feminine one really feels after taking the plunge and shaving.
I was more than inspired. I was ready to take the razor to my head and tell the world, “Hey look! I am bald and I am beautiful!”
On February 2, 2009, I shaved the last remaining bits of hair off my head.
I was crying with joy. I was free. I felt like a sexual goddess. Really, I am not kidding!
My husband told me he would have encouraged me sooner to shave had he known how empowered I would feel.
He has been so kind, so supportive. I am grateful for him every day.
Of course, I also was fitted for a cute little wig, too. It’s really pretty, but super itchy and uncomfortable. I will wear it from time to time. Sometimes I wear bandana-type things, too. Or a hat. I like hats, too.
But, NOTHING feels better than being totally natural. I can move in the wind without worrying; I can hike without apprehension; I can swim without self-consciousness.
I am free.
It’s ironic that someone with Social Phobia, Panic Disorder, and Agoraphobia would be so willing to “stand out” in a crowd, isn’t it? This, I cannot explain. But, I feel like me again. I’ve suffered since I was 12 years old with alopecia. It took me until I was 41 to take charge of it.
Better late than never! Just to be clear, there are moments (of course) where I feel shocked and pitiful. I wish I could have a full head of hair, but I don’t. If it grows back completely, I will be thrilled! But, alas, I am not convinced this time it will. And, that’s okay. It’s even okay if I choose to only wear wigs some day. Maybe I will. But, for now, I love the option of being bald, being free. Or even wearing a wig like a hat. I don’t try to hide the fact I’m bald. My wig is just another hat.
My alopecia has gotten worse, but I am a 1,000 times more positive about it.
If you have alopecia, please don’t despair. There is some amazing power in being bald. I wish I could bottle the feeling. I’d be a millionaire!
I received a comment today, and I am not sure how to best answer it.
I was hoping community members may be able to better give advice than I.
Here is Ashla’s comment:
i am new here and i am very nervous, i have big problems , i found out i was pregnant two mths ago or two and half , we didnt know if we would keep it, i got stressed , found valium, i was on valium low dose for about four or five weeks, stopped for two days, decided we want the baby i am 38 but now i want the baby, i had to get an hiv test and freaked out as i am an addict, embarrased to say, i havent used iv in yrs but havent had a test either, i am also on subutex which is a no no with benzos , i am also on probation, when i had to get my hiv test i freaked and bought benzos xanax and was taken one to two mgs for about two weeks now, i took my last today, and i am scared, i am afraid i will have a seizure or something, and the baby will die, if i tell the obgyn i am addicted , they may try to put me in rehab , then probation finds out, also the subutex dr will, i have been on low dose benzo for about two mths and a week now, i dont know what to do, i have been so freaked out reading on the internet for days and that is all i do worrying about this, i bought valerian root mellanonin today and gabba today to help me tomorrow, i am really scared and have noone to turn to sorry for being so long winded ashla
It’s in cases like this I wish I were a doctor or a psychologist.
We are on your side, Ashla.
Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated by Ashla, I’m sure.
Wow! Two posts in one day. It’s a record.
Speaking of records, you must check this out.
It’s a song written especially for when you’re feeling anxious or panicky.
I love it! Really clever. Catchy, too.
What do you think?