Let’s Talk About Heartbreak

It might not be your favorite topic, but heartbreak is a key aspect of growing. It helps you realize what you want in a relationship by showing you what you don’t want. That being said, it still hurts like a bitch.

My closer friends know that I just had a pretty wild summer. I moved to Kansas for love, intent on spending several years there before coming back to California. For one reason or another, my life did not follow the course I had set for it. Maybe setting a course was my first mistake. Either way, I ended up back in Northern California on October 1st.

My best friend and her husband took me in right away. She even got me a same-day plane ticket home. She heard my desperation and heartbreak through tears in my eyes, voice, and heart as I told her that things in Kansas just weren’t going to work out. Big shoutout to this amazing human. I love you Christina!

For those of you reading that don’t know me that well, I’ll tell you right now that I’m a pretty private person when it comes to my love life. Don’t expect details or explanations. Don’t expect to hear me talking shit or bashing my exes. Every single decision I make in my life, good or bad, has taught me something. Every experience has opened my eyes to new perspectives. Every relationship I enter teaches me more about myself as a partner, friend, and lover. I am a pupil of life and love and heartbreak is just another subject to study. No regrets ya’ll!

If you wanted drama, go ahead and click away from this post. If you want to start a conversation about growth, shout it out! Here are a couple (okay, a bunch) of things I learned from heartbreak this year:

  1. See the blessing in EVERYTHING- life is meant to test and teach us.
  2. Without darkness, light has no value. Without shadow, there is no highlight. Without sunset, there is no sunrise. Appreciate the lows in life and let them come and go so you can focus your energy on the highs.
  3. There are no wrong decisions in love as long as you follow your heart.
  4. Don’t be afraid to make decisions on a whim. This goes along with following your heart. If something feels right, go for it. Don’t give a single f*** about what others will think of your choices. Adventure is so damn fun and will teach you so much. Embrace it!
  5. Don’t be ashamed when a relationship doesn’t work out (even if you told the whole internet and everyone you know that you were gonna end up marrying and having babies with this person) You can’t predict the future and it’s okay to accept that this one just didn’t work out.
  6. Just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean you did something wrong. Sometimes two seemingly compatible people are at such different stages of growth that their vibrations cancel one another out, leveling both parties.
  7. Don’t try to force something to work. You will end up sacrificing your own energy and personal growth trying to be a better match for your partner. When two people are meant to share their lives, it will happen naturally and bloom like a beautiful flower in spring.
  8. Hold onto friendships and relationships with an open hand. Sometimes people need to drift away from you to grow themselves. Try not to take this personally. (I like to view this as giving people the space they need to be the best version of themselves. Otherwise, you aren’t being a good friend to them and really, who wants to be a bad friend? Not me!)
  9. I can’t stress this one enough, so listen up!!!!!! —No matter what someone says to you, no matter how nasty, how mean, how hurtful, never react with that same energy! — Nine times out of ten, when someone is being hurtful to you with their words, it is a reflection of the pain in their own heart. Never wish someone pain in these situations. Wish them healing. Wish them love. ❤
  10. Never treat someone as “bad” as they are. Treat them as good as you are. Responding with negative thoughts and energy will only drain you and make you feel worse. Be the bigger person. Spread love around like avocado on toast. (And sometimes you can sprinkle a little salt on top for flavor, but be careful- there is definitely such a thing as too much salt)
  11. Don’t let an ended relationship set you back. Feel the pain, let it consume you, release it and move on. You have so many things to do in this lifetime. A true friend wouldn’t want to see you suffer endlessly over them, and an untrue friend is never worth suffering over to begin with.
  12. The only person you “need” in life is yourself. Feeling needed can be sweet, but it can also be overwhelming and suffocating if you don’t feel worthy of being needed by someone else. (I’ve always wanted to feel “needed” as a way to prove to myself that I’m worthy, but I realized recently that all I need is love and the love I get from others is dependent on the love I have for myself and the love I project into the universe.)
  13. You get what you put out. Seriously, read that again. Over and over. Get that shit tattooed on you if you can’t remember it. YOU CREATE YOUR OWN REALITY. The physical world and everything in it is only a mirror of your own self. If you are negative, the whole world is negative. If you show love, you will receive love. It’s that simple.

Life will go on. Time will heal you. Love will nourish you. You will prevail. You will survive. You will thrive.

Always with love- xoxo Dee

Brain Zaps Are No Joke Ya’ll

On November 5th 2017 I decided to withdrawal cold turkey from the only antidepressant that’s every “worked” for me. I had been taking 150 mg daily of Sertraline (the generic for Zoloft for those who don’t know) for about 3 years with little to no noticeable negative side effects. Things seemed to be fine until I visited my psychiatrist earlier this year.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen a talk therapist or had a doctor that did anything besides prescribe me pills for my DSM-V diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety. I feel a bit like a christmas cookie from a cutter that lost its shape in the oven.

Anyway, I was getting ready to move out of state and I wanted to make sure I’d have enough medication to last me for a little while so I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. My doctor is a tall, thin, foreign woman, but incredibly warm in the face. I sat down in her little office and she asked me all the usual questions. “How have you been? What are you doing for work? Where are you living? How are your symptoms?” I rattled off the usual answers out of habit.

As I was getting ready to leave, a question of my own popped into my head and I blurted it out without overthinking in my usual manner. I looked up at my doctor and asked: When will I know I’m ready to come off the drugs?

The question came so quickly that I didn’t have any time to overthink how she may answer me or what reaction she would have – a coping mechanism I developed over the years so that I was never too surprised by extreme emotions or confrontation. She looked straight at me with the warmest expression and said “You’ll just know when it’s right to wean yourself off the medication.” That little bit of encouragement was enough to plant a seed in my head that would follow me around for the rest of the year.

In July I began weaning off slowly. I cut my dose by 1/3 over the period of a few weeks. After that, I cut my dose by another 1/3 for a week or so until I started getting increased anxiety attacks and decided I needed to move even slower. I went from 150 mg to 100 mg, briefly to 50 mg and then back up to 75 mg for the remainder of the summer. I started to doubt my ability to tell the difference between what my normal brain was doing and what the medication was doing to influence my brain.

By summer’s end I hit a low that brought me back to my comfortable “normal” dose of 150 mg daily. I was discouraged.

I started doing research on quitting cold turkey and what the possible side effects would be if I went that route. I found a few real live people who had documented their experiences on youtube and it reminded me that I wasn’t the first person to want to do this the “wrong” way.

The list of withdrawal side effects were long and scary-sounding.

Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome:
Anxiety
Insomnia
Vivid Dreaming
Headaches
Dizziness
Tiredness
Irritability
Flu-like Symptoms
Nausea
Electric Shock Sensations
Returning Depression
(source: mayoclinic.org)

With all of this in mind and every professional and non-professional advising me to wean slowly (assuring me it was safer) I just didn’t feel like I was getting the results I wanted. Every day when I took my medication, I wondered what would happen if I just stopped. Would I go cuckoo bananas bonkers? I survived without it for all those years. I just couldn’t imagine that coming off of it would ruin my life. Something inside me just kept telling me I ought to try it cold turkey. The worst thing that could happen is I would have to go back on them again. But how would I know if I didn’t try?

Week 1 was a little tough, but could have been worse. I experienced night sweats, waking up drenched in cold sweat every morning. My sleep was pretty broken, but tolerable. I got a gnarly cold that week – cough, congestion, sinus pressure, the whole nine yards!

Week 2 brought with it so much dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and brain zaps. Brain zaps really are no flippin’ joke. I read about them trying to get an idea of how they would feel. All the other symptoms could be imagined, but brain zaps were something I’d never felt before. They are described as electric-shock-like experiences in the brain accompanied by dizziness, tremors, vertigo and imbalance. The only way I can describe one is like getting hit right in the middle of my forehead with a metal bat and having a shock-wave ripple through my head repeatedly. They came on quickly and completely out of the blue. They usually only lasted a few minutes at a time, but completely drained me of my energy for a few hours. It was much like the energy drain accompanied by a panic attack. Nap time!

Week 3 is when things started getting better. I experienced irritability along with a lower tolerance for visual and auditory stimuli. Going into stores and being around crowds became increasingly overwhelming and sometimes frustrating. I also started getting headaches again. Even with all these symptoms, it was clear that my mood was improving. I was smiling more, crying more, laughing more and overall just feeling my emotions with love and depth that I had not experienced in years.

It’s now been 21 days since my last dose of Sertraline. Yesterday I even went for a run and didn’t get dizzy! I’m noticing new things about my mind and body that I didn’t realize before and learning to listen to my body more than anything else. My gut, my heart, my brain- it feels as if these three important parts have begun to realign to help me guide my life based on what is truly best for me.

I am so glad I finally found a doctor who told me that I was the only person who would know what was right for me. And lo and behold, here I am- moving forward, growing into my own skin, opening my eyes and heart and loving myself completely, flaws and all. I’m so happy I decided to stop medicating. It felt like all the medication did was help me run from the things I wasn’t ready to face yet. It served a purpose, but it feels phenomenal to let go of something so powerfully controlling in my life.

Always with love- xoxo Dee

Welcome To My Bloggedy Blog

Hey world! Some of you know me in real life, others stumbled upon my words through social media, and maybe some of you are just creepy stalkers. No judgment, we’re all friends here. This last year has been a wild and crazy ride and so much has happened to me along this journey. Another year full of adventures and crazy stories has led me to create a blog as a creative outlet for all my blabber-mouthing. Here I come 2018, setting and smashing all the goals!

So maybe you’re wondering what I’m going to write about? Honestly, probably everything. Somewhere over the last few years I started worrying not only what people would think of me outwardly, but also what people would think about my thoughts and feelings. I got a little scurrrred to open up, mostly for fear that I would be shut down for my ideas and opinions. So here I am internet- expressing my deepest, darkest, most vulnerable side for all of you to criticize. The only thing that has changed over the last few years is the amount of f***s I give about what people think of me. Whew, that was hard to type. Honestly, that’s not totally true. I still care, but I’m pretending not to in order to strengthen my own mental health – shhhhh!!

When I say everything, I really do mean it. I’m a Jill of all trades, as some would say. I’m spiritual, intuition-driven and a total freak. Let your freak flag fly! Some of my biggest interests include dogs, behavioralism, nature, gardening, hiking, herbalism, health, fitness, yoga, weightlifting, vegetarianism, anarchy, quilting, meditation & holistic medicine to name a few. Did you make it through that whole list without getting distracted by something way more forward on your brain burner? It’s okay, I forgive you. We can’t all be altruistic :p

Welcome to my cosmic spirit.

I hope you enjoy. xoxo Dee