The power of having a “Dr.”

I was told today by a therapist that I was going to have panic attacks for the rest of my life. I could take all the medication I wanted, do all the tricks, but I was going to have panic attacks for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, I pretty much blanked out any other “helpful” advice she had to give for me.

Why? Because now I was freaking out about how I was going to be able to have a job, have a successful marriage, have children, have grandchildren, how the fuck I was going to remain happy in my life with the fact that someone with a “Dr.” before their name told me that I was going to be suffering with panic attacks for the rest of my life.

I burst into tears as soon as she told me where the bathroom was. To tell a patient that they’re not going to get better, EVER, is basically the last thing they want to hear when all they want to do in life is get better and to be rid of the things in life that ails them. It doesn’t matter if  you have depression or a physical illness. No patient wants to be told that all of their efforts are futile.

Now, I’m exaggerating because I’m clearly upset. She didn’t say that no matter what I do wouldn’t help. She said despite all of the medication I will take, my panic attacks will get immune to them and come back regardless and that I’m constantly going to have to think of new tricks to combat them. For the rest of my life.

Maybe she was trying to be frank. Maybe she was trying to be honest. I guess she was trying to help in some way. Either way, it wrecked me. The worst part? I believed her.

I don’t think some doctors truly understand how much power their words can have on their patients. We come to them for help and we take their words and their advice very, very seriously because they went to school for this for numbers of years, so they must know what they’re doing. So when a person with the word “Dr.” before their name tells me that I’m going to have panic attacks for the rest of my life, of course I’m fucking going to believe her.

Despite this, I talked to two very intelligent people while I was still having my winged eyeliner running down my cheeks: my flatmate and my mom. My flatmate has gone through many similar experiences as I have and more  and has been super helpful in guidance and just helping me know that I’m not alone. She was shocked that a professional told me that and shared her experiences with other doctors who had told her unhelpful and even harmful advice as well.

My mom set my record straight. She looked at me and said, “Thats ridiculous. Of course you’re not going to have panic attacks like this for the rest of your life. Anxiety? Most likely. Panic attacks? I’m doubtful.” We had a very long chat about how these kinds of things tend to move in waves and that this may change, but no matter what, I was still going to be successful and would always have her support. She reminded me of the other two doctors I’ve had (and still have in Portland) who have helped me achieve great strides in my mental health who are convinced and have told me multiple times that I will get better. I have had so many people tell me that panic attacks are mostly temporary. Why did I believe this one stupid woman then?

To be honest, I’m in a vulnerable state right now and I went to a therapist grasping for help and gasping for a breath of professional “YOU GOT THIS GIRL HERES SOME SHIT THAT WILL HELP YOU IN THIS STRESSFUL TIME LETS GO KICK SOME MENTAL ILLNESS ASS WOO!!” and I got the exact opposite. I got what no one has ever told me before. That I will. not. get. better.

But fuck that.

No honestly fuck that. I sat in class for 3 hours thinking about how I’ve been battling with my mental illness for years and how that has made me a stronger person.  I thought about where I was with in my panic attacks 2 years ago and how much progress I’ve mad in combatting them, learning from them, and helping myself.  And you know what? I have gotten better. I have bad days, horrific days, and some days I think this will be the day that I hurl myself in front of those subway tracks. Today was one of those days I’m not going to lie to you.  But you know what? I’m really fucking glad I didn’t. I have worked so hard and I’m not going to let it go to waste on some metal. I have made progress and I am going to continue to make progress.

You know what? I’m not just going to keep making progress. I am going to grab my life by its testicles and say, “LISTEN HERE MOTHERFUCKER. WE ONLY GET ONE CHANCE AT THIS LIFE AND IF ITS FULL OF PANIC ATTACKS, DEPRESSION, AND ANXIETY, SO FUCKING BE IT BUT WE’RE GONNA LIVE IT AND ITS GOING TO BE REALLY RAD BECAUSE ITS ALSO GONNA BE FILLED WITH LOVE, AWESOME EXPERIENCES, AND MAYBE A COUPLE OF KITTENS AND PUPPIES.” And my life is all gonna be like “DID YOU REALLY NEED TO GRAB MY TESTICLES FOR THAT JESUS CHRIST ALRIGHT!”

So when a therapist, a parent, a person, anyone says you ain’t getting better,

PROVE. THEM. WRONG. 

cuz thats what I’m gonna do. 🙂

Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

 

Strange Encounters: January/February

Oof its been a while. Sorry about that. Its been a rough couple of days for little miss Zoey over here. I think I could use a laugh and all of you could use a laugh, so lets laugh at the weird shit that has happened to me thus far. These aren’t necessarily in chronological order because I’m remembering them as I go.

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1. The Proposal

I went to Glasgow, Scotland with my group two weekends ago. It was wonderful and Glasgow is a truly cool city when its not kinda scary at night covered in drunks, but its really awesome besides that.I had to leave late because of a meeting I had for my almost had job (long story) so I got on a train to Glasgow at 5 and didn’t get there until 11:45. Within that large span of time, a couple of things happened:

  1. I lost my train ticket
  2. I met a really nice guy who had the thickest Scottish accent I ever heard and he kept asking me why people liked Donald Trump.
  3. I was proposed to.

Here is how 3 happened.

*Zoey walks out of the train station. Looks at her phone trying to figure out which way she is supposed to go. She picks a direction and looks up.*

Cue a random guy walking on the street. 

RANDO (while making direct eye contact): MARRY. ME. *he walks away* 

*Zoey stands there confused* 

Keep in mind the entire time he did this he kept walking but maintained direct eye contact with me. Lets just say it was quite an odd welcome to the city.

2. Sometimes interviews get a bit weird

As you may know, my project while I’m across the pond is to interview strangers about art (CAN LIFE BE BETTER???) and while I do get a lot of great answers, sometimes I get the strange ones too. Here are some things that have happened when I asked people about art.

1.Me: Ma’am, where does your eye go first?

Her: The eyes.

Me: Why?

*Looks at me directly in the eyes* Her: Because the eyes are the window to the soul my dear. You can see a lot about a person by staring into their eyes. *Kinda bobs around while she says this* 

2. Me: Sir, why do you look at the light in the painting?

Him: I don’t know. Ask Vermeer. *walks away* 

3. Me: Sir, where does your eye go first?

Him: Did you know that this painting is made of pastels?

Me: Um yes it says so-

Him: It was done in 1760 and he is such a brilliant painter. He is the best French painter to come out of this era. I think…*He continues to trail on and on about the painting, basically re-explaining what the info card says* 

Me: Thank you sir, but where does you-

Him: Thank you, you’re welcome, goodbye. *walks away* 

3. I finally got hit on

Its not often that I get hit on, for whatever reason. Sometimes, I think its really awesome, and other times its kind of sad. This day, was not one of those days I didn’t get hit on. In fact, it completely made my day.

I was sitting in the Tate Britain taking notes on Ophelia and waiting for this large group of art students to leave so I could interview people about it. As they start to leave and I start making my way towards it, this happens :

*girl runs straight at me *

Her: Hello uh hi hhello! I just think you’re very beautiful and I couldn’t stop staring at you so um okay heres my number just call me okay?

Me: Oh thank-

Her: I got to go to class bye!

*Runs away* 

Although I couldn’t call her to thank her for the compliment, I did find her on facebook and thoroughly thank her for the compliment and sadly break it to her that I am in a relationship but I would like to be friends with her. Haven’t heard from her sense. *sigh*

Anyway, sorry about the wait. I will try and post twice a week from now on.

Have a great day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

 

 

A conversation with my anxiety

At a Gaelectronica concert (yes this actually happened and yes it was for a class) 

Zoey is seen dancing away having a great time with friends. 

Anxiety: Hey…hey.. this bass is kind of loud.

Me: Yeah but its okay. Lets feel it out. I’m sure it’ll be okay.

Anxiety: Yeah but its like…I feel it in my heart. Thats kind of scary.

Me: It’s gonna be okay don’t worry.

Zoey continues to dance

Anxiety: So… its getting louder.

Me: Yeah its a little concerning but don’t freak out. Lets keep going.

Anxiety: I’m starting to freak out.

Sex conscious: Hey that violinist is really cute.

Anxiety: Can you not right now? They are playing so loud.

Me: Yo its gonna be fine.

Lights start strobing

Anxiety: I CAN’T SEE. I CAN’T FUCKING SEE.

Me: Hey, hey, its fine-

Anxiety: AAAAAHH SO BRIGHT HELP OH MY GOD THE BASS OH MY GOD THE LOUDNESS HOW COULD YOU MAKE ME STAND THIS AAAHHH. HEART RATE YOU WITH ME?

Heart rate: Yeah man lets do this.

Me: Hey lets not get into a panic attack please?

Anxiety: SUCKS TO FUCKING SUCK WE’RE GONNA FREAK OUT. HEY LUNGS LETS NOT WORK OKAY?

Lungs: Sounds good to me.

Me: No, no please can we not-

Anxiety: HEY NERVES LETS GET THIS SHAKING BUSINESS GOING ALRIGHT? LITTLE MISS PARTY PARTY OVER HERE THOUGHT SHE COULD STAND THIS LETS MAKE HER SUFFER.

Nerves: A’ight man whatever you say.

Me: Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Zoey is seen running out of the club.

Me: Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Zoey collapses in front of friends

Me: can’t breathe can’t breathe can’t breathe can’t breathe can’t feel can’t feel can’t feel can’t talk can’t talk can’t talk oh god help help help help help help..

Anxiety: LETS GET RID OF THAT ABILITY TO TALK OKAY? ITS PANIC ATTACK TIME AND ITS ALL THANKS TO MR CLUB YOU STUPID BITCH WHAT MADE YOU THINK YOU COULD OUT DO ME? YOUR WORST ENEMY? MUAHAHAHHAAHAHAAHAH YES HYPERVENTILATE. THERE GOES THE FEELING IN YOUR TOES. YOU MUST BE DYING. YOU PATHETIC LITTLE GIRL. NOW LETS GET MR. DEPRESSION IN HERE TO PUNSIH YOU SOME MORE. THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN STOP ME I CONTROL YOU AND NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO. MUAHAHAAHA

Zoey takes medication to stop panic. 

Anxiety: MUAHAHAHA oh. We’re calming down. Alright. That sounds good. But you’re not going to get the feeling back in your legs for a while because you hyperventilated. Have a good night.

Me: Fuck…you…

And thats pretty much how it goes every time I get a panic attack. Y’know. In case you were wondering.

Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

I’m not confused, I’m just bi.

My blog is all about revealing a lot of things that are hard for me to say so that others can relate to it and feel supported. So, here’s another rather personal post that for once actually doesn’t have to do with my mental health.

I have been thinking about this for a few years, but never seriously considered it until very recently. But, I have made my decision.

I am bisexual.

No, I’m not confused, I’m not experimenting, I’m not going through a phase. I do have attraction for both men and women.

You may be thinking, “How did you come to this conclusion?” “Why now?” “Are you still with your boyfriend?”

To answer that last question, yes, I am still with him and this decision had nothing to do with anything related to our relationship. (It is going very well despite the distance.) I did not have an affair with a woman to figure this out nor did any sort of other experimentation with another woman. I simply came to this decision through a lot of thinking and assessment and through talking to some close friends who are bi or gay.

I’ve always found women beautiful and have found my self staring at their beautiful faces and breasts, but I never considered myself bisexual because I thought that if I wasn’t exactly attracted to vaginas, I couldn’t be bisexual. But, I realized that when I had my first boyfriend, I wasn’t exactly attracted to the idea of a penis at first either. I was with him because he is a really wonderful guy who is incredibly intelligent and has a heart of gold. It wasn’t until we were ready did that come into play and I realized okay yes I am into this. I have never had a sexual encounter with a woman because I’ve been in relationships for most of my life and they’ve always been with men.

Why now? Well, I have a lot of time to think while I’m in London. I spend most of my time alone in museums and those tube rides home give me a lot of time to think. Plus, I’ve always been hit on by women and rarely by men. I had always thought about why women were more attracted to me (mainly because of my short hair), and thought y’know, maybe if I’m single I may actually take that opportunity. However, I am not exactly trying to jump on the band wagon now or anytime soon.

I am embracing my sexuality and I’m really excited to be part of a community of really awesome people. I am really happy to say, and I must thank them, that my family supports my decision with happy hearts, and my boyfriend completely supports me and has helped me come to this decision as well. In the words of my mother, “Well we don’t care who you choose to love (as long as they’re nice to you).” My brother said, “You’re my sister, I support most of your decisions unless I think they’re life threatening or stupid. This is neither. I still love you all the same.” I am so so so so thankful to have such incredibly supportive people as my family.

I realize that others are not as fortunate as I when it comes to admitting their newfound sexuality to their loved ones. To those I say, I am here for you and I love you for exactly who you are, even if I don’t know you. You can love whoever you want. Follow your heart. Fuck those homophobic assholes. In the end, it is your decision and it is you who matters the most. You only have one life to live and you should be able to love whoever you want in that life.

Have a great day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

Q&A Part 3: a lil superpower

I have a super power.

Except for the fact that I didn’t know that I was unique in this until I was 18 years old. I have a condition called synesthesia. Synesthesia is the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body. So to put this in normal people terms, I see color when I hear music, and sometimes when I hear voices or sounds. But synesthesia isn’t limited to this. Other people associate color with numbers, letters. Some people feel instruments in their limbs or taste music.

So I asked the kind people of Facebook and twitter (and my flat mates) and here are your questions about my strange condition being answered!

What does it look like?

So think about when you zone out. Y’know how you kinda see and kinda don’t see whats really there? My synesthesia is in that same part of my mind. The color moves with the music and tends to change color with the key. For voices, its more sharp and sudden, but still has a warm glowy look to it.

How does that affect you?

It makes music significantly more enjoyable. Again, I didn’t realize that I was alone on this until I was 18. Every note on the keyboard has a color, but once you start combining notes into chords and triads, the color suddenly changes so its impossible for me to truly have perfect pitch just through my synesthesia. Sometimes its really overwhelming.

Do you think you view the world differently?

Absolutely! I think I see the world in a much more creative way. Its making music much more magical. I also feel like I’m seeing music’s secret identity. Like I’m getting a 360 degree view of what music is.

Does it freak you out at all?

Sometimes. When there is too much dissonance, I can’t see color at all and instead it looks like static in my head. Seeing color for people’s voices completely freaks me out and when I do see color for every sound, its terrifying.

About that seeing voices thing, how does that happen?

I only see people’s voices when I’m either high or having a severe panic attack. I don’t know why either of those things triggers it. Possibly because my mind is more active? I’m not sure. When I’m high its a very pleasant experience but when I’m having a panic attack, I literally see the color of every person’s voice and it is completely overwhelming.

What was your first experience with synesthesia?

I guess when I was super young. My parents played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for me every night before I went to sleep and I remember those pieces always having color. The first piece was always a light blue and then got darker and moved to orange. I remember the first time I realized I had synesthesia, we were listening to John Coltrane and my mom was talking about synesthesia. When I mentioned I’ve always seen color for music, she asked me what color the song was and it was navy blue.

How has this affected your study of music?

Its been incredibly useful. Since every individual note has its own color, I’ve been paying more attention to it so I can tune better. I can see when a piece is starting to get out of tune when the color of the piece starts to change hues. I’m working on my pitch by focusing more on the colors of the flats and sharps of notes.

Are there any negative effects?

It can get overwhelming. Sometimes I get sensory overload and have panic attacks and I have to be in complete silence for a while. But thats only happened every once in a while. Its a very enjoyable experience otherwise.

What notes are what colors?

C: White. D: Blue. E: Red. F: Orange. G: Green. A: Black/brown. B: Purple.

Thank you all so much for your questions! Please continue to ask me. I am an open book. (or open blog..)

Have a day filled with kittens, okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

Q&A Part 2: The toughies

So to preface round two, I want to say that no two people experience these disorders the same. Everyone’s experience will be completely different, but we all are united by having these disorders. So while these answers may not be true for you, they are true for me, and they may be true to others. This also took me days to write. I was unsure what to say and how to say it but here it is.

Let’s go.

What is it like having anxiety? 

Anxiety…anxiety is like having someone constantly at your side pulling you away from everything. Its like having an overprotective mother that won’t let you go on the jungle gym because she heard about that one time some kid cracked his head open and god forbid that happen to you because it totally could. Anxiety is a chain wrapped around your wrists and your ankles thats constantly tugging you back into darkness.

Having anxiety is living in constant fear. Fear that people don’t just not like you, they hate you. Fear that you’ll get a panic attack at a moments notice. Fear that it will never end. Fear that you’ll lose everything you love because anxiety will eventually drive everyone and everything away from you. A fear that doesn’t make any sense. You know in your heart its not sensical, that it lies, that it can’t hurt you, but your brain believes it anyway.

Anxiety is a buzz kill but its also dangerous. Its the voice in your head telling you to drink more when you’ve clearly had enough, but it is telling you to do it because it promises it will shut up when you have just one more shot. It tells you to do another hit on that bong because it promises the anxiety will go away if you get more high than you already are. It lies.

Anxiety makes you question everything you know. It questions yourself, it questions your beliefs, your loved ones, the things you hold dear, your friends, everything.

In summary: it sucks. I don’t wish it upon anyone.

What is it like having depression? 

If anxiety is chains, depression is the ball at the end of it. Its a ball you constantly have to drag with you. Some days, you are fortunate enough to be given permission to leave the ball home so you can feel what it is like to be rid of it. Other days, you are forced to have the ball put back on your constant chains and have it weigh you down.

Depression is the voice in your head who convinces you, no promises you,  you’ll feel better, if you kill yourself. It tells you sweetly and kindly. It tells you you’re a worthless piece of shit and no one likes you when clearly there are loads of people who not only like you, but love you.

Depression is your worst bully, and then it is your only friend. It chains you to your bed, pulls your smile down, and gives you the mask so that no one knows. No one can know. “People will leave you if you’re anxious and depressed.” It says. “Hide it. Be the bubbly person that the world wants you to be. No one will ever know.” But they do know. And they don’t ever try to leave you, they try to help you. But sometimes the comforting makes it worse because you feel like you’re wasting their time and then you feel worse.

Depression sneaks. You’ll be having a great time, grateful for everything and everyone around you, and somehow it convinces you otherwise. It jumps up, surprises you, and then clings to you and never lets go.

What is having a panic attack like?

So imagine this. You’re having a cup of coffee. The sun in shining, you have a newspaper or a good book, whatever. The moment is nice and refreshing. Nothing is stressful, its just a time to relax.

Then suddenly, your heart rate goes up. Its not the normal heart rate going up because of the caffeine from your coffee. It feels like your heart is having a race with yourself. It feels like it could stop if it ever slowed down. Because your heart has suddenly decided to sprint, your breath gets knocked out of you. You suddenly find it difficult to even take a simple breath but somehow your mind convinces you that hyperventilating will work. Because you’re hyperventilating, you get light headed. You think you’ll pass out. But there is no possible way you’ll pass out because your heart is going at the speed of light. The hyperventilating also makes you lose some feeling in your extremities. Your hands start shaking. You can’t hold your cup of coffee because your fingers suddenly can’t grip and the coffee sloshes with your quivering hands. You can barely speak because you can’t get a good breath. If you manage to speak, it comes out in a quivering whisper where you can barely get a word out without stuttering.

While all of this is happening, your mind is freaking the fuck out. It is convinced you must be dying, that you need to be taken to a hospital, that you’re having a heart attack, a stroke, some sort of terrible disease. It is telling you that you’re weak, that this is why you’re not strong, your relationship will be ruined because of this, you can’t go out because of this. It strikes fear into your heart.

Imagine this continuing for about 20-40 minutes. This is just a normal panic attack that I have often, sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month, sometimes multiple times in one week for multiple weeks. There is one trigger I have figured out and that is being overwhelmed and exhausted. Most of the time, it is for absolutely no reason at all. Sometimes it is worse, where I see color for peoples voices (I will get to my synesthesia in another post) and I want to claw my skin off, and sometimes its not so severe and I can walk home and lie in bed until it goes away.

So what do I do when I have one? I often try to get alone as soon as possible or have someone rub my back while I tremble and just wait it out. Sometimes its so bad I need a benedryl to physically reduce my heart rate back to normal. This puts me to sleep which is fine, but I end up exhausted either way.

 

So…now ya know.

Have a day filled with kittens, okay?

Zoey K.