Do I stay or do I go?

Two things are causing me enormous stress at the moment: my job and finances. I need one to pay for the other, but what if it’s also making me sick?

I’ve almost quit my job so many times. I’ve never worked with such conflict before, and interpersonal conflict is not my strong suit. I’m constantly stressed and my psoriasis has flared up again, always a physical warning.

And I’ve been feeling so hopeless.

I’ve tried working things out with my colleague, but things improve for a few days and then turn more sour. I just don’t believe things can change anymore. Since starting this job I have:
– needed to increase my medications
– suffered from poor sleep and felt constantly tired
– increasingly withdrawn from everything around me as the job leaves me so exhausted I don’t have energy to do anything else
– had my whole head break out in psoriasis
– had so much tension I needed two sessions of massage therapy and yet the pain remains
– felt that I was going to have a nervous breakdown
– thought things would never improve and that it may not be worth living.

Only the love of my cat and not wanting her to be homeless is keeping me going. I’ve fallen so far from the optimism I had this spring.

The job isn’t the kind of work I want to do and it’s well below my abilities. I only took the job for access to internal opportunities and stability. But I’m feeling anything but stable, so more and more I’m coming to this conclusion: I have to quit.

It was a long weekend and after venting to everyone I thought maybe I could stick it out a few more weeks. But I’m home sick today because I can’t bear to go into work. This is also a really bad sign and not something that has otherwise troubled me in the past year.

So more and more, I think the answer is that I need to go. This will be a huge financial strain but I can move, take a lower paying job for now… But my health? It’s so much more important.


Stressed and cracking

I’ve been feeling really stressed over the past week and today it was really starting to show.

The root is financial, as a new kink appeared in my never ending job saga. A contract I was relying on was cut short leaving me in quite a bind. I have a permanent job coming in the fall, but no idea how I will pay the bills until then.

Secondly, I have a first date tomorrow. Which is a great thing, but at the moment my anxiety is so high that I’m freaking out. I’ve been chatting with him for a while and I know he is a really nice guy, but all my insecurities are coming up and my psoriasis is going crazy. Now, to top it off, I don’t even have a job.

And today I snapped at a friend and sent some sharp text messages when she left me waiting again. All of a sudden, I felt so taken advantage of by this friend. I feel sometimes like she just takes and takes. I know she has had bad luck with jobs and that the one she finally found is low paying, but I have lots of financial problems too, plus many more financial commitments. This is the friend who asks to stay at my place for a weekend and stays for weeks, who doesn’t chip in for groceries or anything to help out, who comes to my place all the time for air conditioning and HBO, etc. This time it was another favour that she asked of me. I did it yesterday but then I had to wait around for her to pick it up at some general time today. She was late and not answering her texts and I sent a snarky message saying forget it, I was done waiting.

Then I went to bed with a headache and horrible tension throughout my body. I almost felt like I had to get up and run to blow off steam, but I’m too stressed about running for that to appeal today. I was shaking and feeling like I had definitely lost my balance. While I went to yoga twice this week, It seems that I need to make it a daily practice to keep myself in check.

I napped, again, because that’s been my solution this week’s stresses. I feel a little calmer now. Regretful that I was so abrupt with my friend.

I hope I can get my finances sorted soon as I feel like they keep pulling the rug out from under me and my progress.

The aftermath of stress

This week I put myself through a lot of stress. And it caught up with me today.

As I mentioned, I had to teach my first ever yoga class this weekend. I had to create my own lesson plan and then teach my fellow students.

I was really worried about not being good enough and so I procrastinated.

I felt really tired throughout the week and slept instead of preparing. In my mind, I think that was meant to be helpful, but really it was avoidance.

And the problem with avoidance is that it doesn’t make things better, it just leaves you with more worry and less time to address it.

So I was scrambling to prepare on the morning of my presentation, still changing my routine and not well practiced. I obsessed so much about timing that I didn’t take time to simply become comfortable with the routine.

After all that, my presentation went really well. It was a lot easier than I had made it out to be in my head. It was my routine and I chose the poses I was most comfortable with and that I liked the most. It was a natural program for me.

I received really good feedback. My routine was well structured and the poses went well with my goal. My voice was well heard at the back of the class. I had a soothing presence and calming voice. My instructions were easy to follow.

Where I have room for improvement relates directly to my worries and obsessions. I was so concerned about sticking to the schedule that I kept checking my notes to make sure I didn’t forget something and the timer to make sure I stayed within the time limits. And I was so concerned about showing and explaining poses that I didn’t spend a lot of time just watching my students. Basically I got caught up in my head.

I’m so glad to have completed my presentation. It showed that I can do this and have good instincts. I just have to work more on trusting myself and being present. Not just remind my students to arrive and leave their worries off the mat, but remind myself too!

I continued working in the evening after the full weekend of training because I have another yoga presentation in two weeks. So I didn’t allow myself the opportunity to really relax and decompress.

I noticed that my psoriasis was getting bad and that I was constantly scratching all weekend with my stress. So I took a warm bath and a scalp treatment. But today, all the stress still caught up with me. I was really jittery and exhausted all morning. It was hard to focus. I had a bigger coffee than normal to try to compensate, but it just made things worse. In the end, I had to take the afternoon off because I wasn’t functioning. I think this was also due to my stressing over the wait to hear the news on if I will get the new permanent job. I’ve been obsessively checking. I noticed an actual painful wound had developed on my leg from psoriasis, an extra big flag about stress as I normally only have psoriasis on my scalp.

So today I broke my perfect attendance.

I’m not happy about that, but I am compassionate about it. It’s the first time I’ve called in sick for either of my last two jobs. That is a record and one afternoon off doesn’t make me a failure. I just went off track with my worries and it caught up with my body.

This week, I think, will be about personal care. Trying to find balance so that I can do what I need to do without crumbling to stress.

I still have a headache now and my scalp is calling out for me to scratch it. I will be conscious but try to just move on while taking my new lessons to heart. Believe in myself. Stay in the moment. Worries don’t help anything and make things seem so much worse than they are.

Well, I don’t know if this post makes sense, but I’m glad to simply get my thoughts out of my head. Inhale, exhale.

The Worst Anti-Depressant Side Effect

Today I was bothered by what I find to be the worst side effect of anti-depressants: excess sweating!

It doesn’t seem to matter which drug it is, they all make me sweat. Though the worst by far was Effexor.

It is unbelievable how much I sweat. I’m not talking about a little sweat at the armpits. I sweat on my face, even by my eyes, behind my neck to the point that my hair gets wet, and all down my back. My forearms, my legs, just about everywhere except my palms, though they do kick on when I am nervous. It is extremely disruptive for someone with general anxiety and who already is challenged by social gatherings.

I’m not bothered by sweat when it is warranted. When I am running for a sport or in a race, of course I will sweat. What bothers me is sweating while I walk to work at a relaxed pace. I’m bothered when I’m doing the same yoga practice as everyone else, and yet no one else is even sweating, let alone dripping with it like me. Last week I slipped on the sweat on my yoga mat! I sweat when I wash the dishes or when I’m blowdrying my hair. And no, I’m nowhere near menopause. It’s also not a weight issue, because it has affected me even when at a normal weight.

Between the sweating and the psoriasis, I’ve had to adopt a whole new wardrobe. I need to stick to white or off-white shirts as anything else could lead to very embarrassing situations. Black would be okay for the sweat too, but the psoriasis rules that out more often than not.

It has a huge impact on my lifestyle and comfort around other people. Yet, it’s something most doctors don’t take seriously. They also don’t know what kind of specialist to send you to. One understanding doctor sent me to a dermatologist, but he was no help at all. “Some people just sweat more than others.” Yes, I understand that. But this is beyond excessive. I wish they could just accompany me for a day and see how little it takes for me to drip with sweat.

My psychiatrist asks if I think it will make my friends like me less. No. But my discomfort is being in the workplace and embarrassed by sweatiness. Or the impact it has on anyone who isn’t a close friend but whom I still interact with. It makes me physically and emotionally uncomfortable. When I’m not sweating, I’m shivering!

Okay, this is a rather gross posting. But I wonder if anyone else is having similar reactions to anti-depressants. Have you found a solution beyond changing your wardrobe?

So frustrating.

Rise and Shine!

I had a good morning! This despite lack of sleep and the temptation to cancel. Yay!

It was around 2 am when I fell asleep – meditating and blogging too late! 😉 – and my lovely cat woke me at 7 am, an hour earlier than my alarm. Thanks, Kitty!

I was super tired and ready to call off my morning plans. I thought and thought about cancelling. In addition to my fatigue I had my psoriasis treatment on, so I knew washing my hair would be a chore. Another disincentive. But I also reminded myself about all the work I’ve been putting into getting outside daily and gradually becoming more social. Big debate!

Since I had an extra hour, I decided to put off the decision and went for a nice long mineral bath while playing my favourite CD. I thoroughly washed my hair three or four times to remove the nasty psoriasis gel, and was feeling relaxed and somewhat more alert. I decided to go. And I had a wonderful time meeting up at a social gathering with people I did and didn’t know. I was very chatty, social and happy. I hope this means that Prozac will be a successful medication for me. I’m so tired of being alternately apathetic and anxious.

So, I just wanted to record this to remind myself that I can have a good morning and that it is worth resisting the pull of sleep.

Although I did need a nap after lunch! 😉

Anxiety and Psoriasis

I know that my stress levels are getting high because my scalp is telling me so! I’m coming to see psoriasis as an early indicator that I need to do something about my mental health.

One of the physical symptoms of my anxiety and depression is a bad case of psoriasis on my scalp. This is a skin disease where you overproduce skin cells and they form scales and flake off, like really bad dandruff. It’s a vicious cycle because psoriasis is triggered by stress but it also makes me more self-conscious of my appearance and prone to avoiding situations where I feel judged.

I first developed psoriasis as a teenager, when I think I first started experiencing depression. I inherited it from my dad who also suffers from anxiety and depression (and alcoholism but that is another story). No one else in the family has it.

My psoriasis started as a small patch at the base of my skull, along the bottom of the hairline. It would come and go with treatments and my health status, but was generally contained.

In 2009, when I had my breakdown, it extended all over my scalp and for the first time extended beyond the scalp in the form of small round patches on my torso and legs. In retrospect this was a sign of my worsening mental health, occurring at least five months before my breakdown and lowest point of depression ever.

I’m in a stressful situation these days, having lost my job and coming up against increasing financial pressures. And I’m much more aware now that the stress is building up. In the past year or so my psoriasis extended beyond the hairline to the space behind my ears. It’s now getting even worse, extending to my earlobe and the “tragus” part of the ear (I had to look that term up!).

This is the first time that my psoriasis has been on my face and where the psoriasis itself is visible to others, not just the flakes. That of course makes me more self-conscious. But it also sends me a clear signal to watch out as things seem to be sliding downhill.

What can I do? Well there are treatments, but most are miserable so I don’t like to go there unless I have to. The most effective treatments I’ve found are (1) derma smoothe, a peanut oil-based treatment that you put on when your hair is wet and then sleep with it covered in a shower cap [ugh!!] and (2) a gel-based treatment that is so goopy that you need to wash your hair three times in the morning to get it out. Blah. Sometimes I can manage my psoriasis with tea tree oil in my shampoo, but alas this time it is getting so severe that I’ll have to go back to the peanut oil treatment, as miserable as it is. Perhaps I’ll try meditating too to ease the mental side of things.

Does anyone else experience psoriasis as a physical symptom of their anxiety or depression? Any tips on combatting it?