Don’t look at me, I’m hideous.
Today is my oldest son’s birthday. He is 17. He seems to be ok. Not sure how many times I’ve wondered if he or I would make it even this far but today I have realistic hope that he will be a functioning, responsible adult. Someday. Still have miles to go, but I think he’s going to make it. He will need a car to drive, so I’m selling him my toyota landcruiser at half-price. That leaves me looking for a replacement vehicle to be an off-road-worthy, reliable daily driver for somewhere in the $15,000 range.
In my project of re-tracing my journals, I’m up to the end of 2016. Looking back, this time period was more important than my journal even reflects. As a matter of fact, I left something very important out of the journal because I didn’t recognize it to be a big deal then. But now I can see that time more clearly than when I was living it. Odd how that works. I would have thought I could see the present MORE clearly than the PAST, but as it turns out, when I look at the past I can see events in their context and therefore see what was then the future. For example:
By fall of 2016 I had been dealing with the twitches and convulsions that began after a rear-end collision in 1995 (res ipsa 3) for right at 20 years. Almost every time I would unwind at the end of a day, my legs, arms, head, and shoulders would twitch and convulse as though I was having a seizure. It was worst after a stressful day and would sometimes keep me awake for hours into the night. As time progressed, it worsened to the point that the problem would manifest during the day – in a courtroom, at church, while driving even. It would be set off by the click of a pen, the snap of a finger, or even a change in light or air. As annoying as it was early on, I could deal with it by working out or simply focusing hard on something. I just had to NOT unwind; not relax.
But by 2016 it was so common that my family and friends were walking on “pins and needles” trying not to set off my “twitches” and I couldn’t attend a meeting or listen to the music at church lest I lose control of my own muscle activity. At its worst, I couldn’t complete a sentence for stuttering and stammering. When I finally reached a point where I couldn’t function and be productive, I visited a neurologist in Little Rock. I had seen several before: one, in 95, told me to convince my wife it was “sexy” because he couldn’t fix it; another, around 2000, thought it might be Tourette’s, and prescribed a drug to try to find out. That drug was like a mild lobotomy so I couldn’t do it, and I stopped the “ruling out” process. Another neurologist decided it was stress and told me to lessen my stress. I finally gave up and then became progressively worse until the end of 2016, when I realized I was making everyone around me miserable as well.
That’s when I saw the doc in Little Rock. December 6, 2016. The environment in his crowded, noisy waiting room brought me to the worst of my symptoms, so that by the time I saw him I was demonstrating them well, but could not communicate at all. He was not a patient doctor, so instead of waiting for me to stop or just get an answer out to any one of his diagnostic questions, he ruled out Tourette’s and prescribed some medications for depression and anxiety. I did not like him at all, but I recognized that I had dealt with depression all my life and I knew I had anxiety regularly, so I took the meds. They made me jittery every morning, so I began working out to work through the jitters. I had figured out already that sugar intake made the twitches worse, so I also cut out most sugar.
The meds worked wonders, as long as I worked out and avoided sugar religiously. If I slow down or stop any one of these three elements, though, I’m back to normal. I’ve experimented with this and proven it several times over. As long as I am consistent on all three points, I have noticeably less anxiety and depression, and I hardly tic at all.
I still can’t function well or tolerate loud music or snaps and bangs and such, but I am much better due to visiting a doctor that I was sure at that time was a waste of my time.
I am open about all of this for this reason: if you have a similar problem, don’t let your depression or anxiety keep you away from help, or maybe worse yet, convince you that the people in your life don’t give a crap. Because that’s how depression works.
Depression says “you can’t get rid of me and nobody loves you enough to help.”
Then Anxiety says “If you try to get help you’ll just make things worse.”
And you’re sliding downhill. Depression and Anxiety lie. Don’t believe them.
The people that love you really do, regardless of what your brain is telling you.
I know, because mine prove it every day, and on good days, I can see it.