What the Heck is an Impact Statement?

I really know how to open up a can of worms and create all sorts of uncomfortableness for myself.

I haven’t posted much lately because I’ve been a trainwreck. I wish I could put it more delicately but I like to shoot straight. Let’s just call this what it is.

Depression is hard and I’ve dealt with a fair share, but recently the anxiety I’ve experienced feels like something out of an apocalyptic horror flick. Sleep isn’t even the safe haven it once was. This shit jerks me out of REM and deludes and confuses — I’ll be sleeping soundly one minute only to be snatched back to the land of the living the next, sweating profusely, quivering as I attempt to decipher where I am while simultaneously talking myself off the ceiling. Good times I tell you.

I consider myself fairly high-functioning, which is good…until it’s not. I have a hard time recognizing the little things that lead to this really bad place until I’m knee-deep in the bad place. I’m also good at masking these struggles — I look very normal. I stay home during my worst spells and if I must go out I take great pains to make sure I look like I’m holding it together.

I’ve been communicating with my therapist, and at one of my recent appointments, she said, “You HAVE to get some better meds.”

To which I answered, “Well, I’m only taking Adderall right now and a very low dose and I keep forgetting to pick up my prescription so I haven’t taken it for over a week.”

As I was saying those words, I recognized how problematic they were and only as they were coming out of my mouth did I realize that this is a huge part of my problem. Sometimes my lack of awareness is shocking to me.

Actually, I’m usually VERY on top of this sort of thing. I’ve learned the hard way in the past. The problem arises when I have too much on my plate. Getting to doctor’s appointments and sticking with a medication regimen along with all the trial and error that goes along with it, not to mention the expense, just becomes more than I can manage at times.

I stopped Strattera after Christmas because it seemed to have stopped working. My doctor suggested that we increase the dose slightly, since I was way below what’s considered therapeutic, but I felt worse rather than better, so I decided to take a break and reset. Just typing this out, I’m realizing that it’s nearly four months later; I’m tempted to go back to the Strattera.

Instead I went in two weeks ago and agreed to try Lexapro.

Horrible!! I know this medication works well for many, but I’m apparently NOT in this camp. The anxiety got worse — panic-attack worse. I haven’t had panic attacks of this nature in years, but these seemed to come out of nowhere. They became gradually worse every day that I took the Lexapro. On Day 6, I called my therapist who reassured me that this was not normal — I should not be feeling worse. Side effects were possible, yes. But this was way beyond that.

I felt better almost immediately after skipping the next scheduled dose.

But where does that leave me?

I did pick up my Adderall prescription and have been trying to take the full dose of that — 15mgs, twice a day. That actually helps with anxiety. Evidently, those of us who benefit from amphetamines don’t get amped up; they actually have the opposite effect. My problem is the comedown. Depending on what I have eaten, my body metabolizes Adderall differently. What this means is that one 15 mg pill might last four hours one day and six hours another day. Once it completely wears off, what I experience feels like what I imagine is similar to standing on the ledge of a burning building — trying not to fall and trying not to freak out that the fire is going to gobble me up in a fierce swoop — ANXIETY city.

The other problem with the Adderall is my weight. It’s low. I already have a poor appetite, but the Adderall suppresses it further. I know no one likes to hear this, and truthfully I’m fully aware that this is a better problem to have in many ways than the opposite — never feeling full and wanting to eat all the time, but trust me…I wish I had a healthier relationship with and could enjoy good food. The grass is not always greener in skinnyland, but that’s a topic for another day.

I’m toying with a few medication possibilities, having some bloodwork on Friday, but here’s what I know: a LOT of what’s going on is situational and it’s all wearing on me. I had a good appointment with my fabulous therapist, Eve, on Monday, and as often is the case, three days after our conversation I’m continuing to have insights.

There are some really really really hard things that I’ve experienced in my past. I’ve dealt with many of them. I’ve peeled layers of that damn metaphorical onion, but there are more to peel. I haven’t properly grieved the death of my father which set the precedent for every loss I’ve experienced since. I am a TERRIBLE griever. The year anniversary of my dear friend Kitty’s death is approaching, and again, I’ve not grieved well.

I’m not suggesting that this anxiety is the result of this one thing — not properly grieving, but I absolutely believe there are some connections. I’ll turn 40 in June, and what I am certain of is that as long as I continue living, I will experience death and loss. It’s part of life. I need to figure out how to do it or it’s going to keep biting me in the ass by rearing its nasty little head at the most inopportune times.

Eve gave me some assignments and suggested that we dig deeper into some of this. She also pointed out that I tend to chat away about everything other than what I need to discuss which is why she suggested more writing work. I’m sure she’d find it comical and slightly ironic that I have a blog called “Grief Happens” where I’ve managed to blab about everything other than grief for more than three years. Sigh…

So here is one of my first assignments:

Write an Impact Statement — specifically, I am to discuss how my dad’s death impacted me and how it shaped my life and I’m to be as specific as possible.

My plan is to write it all out and then tidy it up a bit here or maybe I won’t. I haven’t decided yet. Maybe I should write it out here and not edit. Sometimes I gain the most clarity when I do that. Maybe I’ll slightly edit — like free-write, set it aside and then clean up the writing but not the ideas for the blog. Ugh. Obviously I’m a bit torn on how to go about this. Anyway, you get what I’m dealing with. I also DON’T want to do this which is why I’m posting here. I need an element of accountability.

What losses have you had that have created the biggest impact? It doesn’t have to be a death. It might be a divorce, infertility, anything really.

What methods have you used to deal with those losses? I’m sincerely curious — they can be emotionally healthy ways or the complete opposite. I’m listening. I learn best from others. If I were answering this question, I might say — I’ve avoided dealing by staying busy, working too much, over-exercising, starving myself, helping others with their problems often to distract me from my own (not always the case, but it happens), perfectionism. You get the idea…

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11 thoughts on “What the Heck is an Impact Statement?

  1. “I’ve avoided dealing by staying busy, working too much, over-exercising, starving myself, helping others with their problems often to distract me from my own”

    What an eye opener to read this because this is exactly how I have been dealing with my husband’s death… And it’s been 8 months… !

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m truly sorry for your loss. Eight months isn’t a long time in the world of grief, but I understand that sometimes just to make it through a day, these coping mechanisms are what we have to do. I was in no way ready to tackle certain parts of my grief eight months in. I’m sure you’ve had to stay busy to a degree. It’s interesting revisiting this post after writing it nearly a year ago. I ended up writing an impact statement in a private journal, and I DID find it to be quite healing. If nothing else, what it did for me, was re-acquaint me with some buried grief that I wasn’t ready to confront years ago. I do feel as though I’m on more of a path to healing now. I wish you the best as you continue facing such a tragic loss, and I hope there are some spaces of peace amidst the pain.

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  2. Pingback: Impact Statement – Musings of a 20-Something-Year-Old

  3. Thank you so much for this post! If you don’t mind, I am going to take your four questions and reflect on them with my own responses on my blog. I think doing this will help me see my grief and the progress I am making in healing/coping with it. I think this is definitely something I need to do. I will give you credit for the questions! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well I am the worst at most of this so I’m not much help. I’m the biggest stuffer of emotions there ever was – maybe we could get a group rate at the therapist…

    Seriously though, don’t discount your eating issues just because you’re thin. You’re right…the grass is always greener but an unhealthy relationship with food us just that – unhealthy. You deserve to be healthy.

    It took me a long time to get my meds right and I have to have them tweaked every once in awhile. I don’t deal with anxiety (much) but depression kicks my ass. I used to put myself last a lot and would miss things like refills or go off the meds completely (without telling the doctor) because I thought it was too much trouble. Now I think it was some kind of self-sabotage to tell you the truth. Anyway, I finally realized that I’m no good to anyone if I’m not whole. I’m much better about taking care of that part of my life now. (It’s the other parts I’m still working on!)

    Keep working to find the combination of meds that are right for you. I love your therapist – she sounds like a great fit for you. You know where I am if you need me.

    Sherry

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    • Thank you, my dear! You are SO right (again!). How’d you get so wise? I’m learning that the school of hard knocks turns out the best and brightest — I’d say you’re proof!

      I agree that not following proper meds and going off without telling my doctor is a form of self-sabotage. I have certainly been guilty. However (and I’m also aware that I might be totally bullshitting myself here) I think that right now, it’s more a result of frustration and not only NOT getting results but feeling worse rather than better AND feeling like not I’m being heard by my doctor. She’s not being thorough — only offering different meds and telling me it’s not an exact science. True…and I get that, but let’s look at this more broadly, please, and how about you do it since you’re the doctor rather than waiting for me to suggest what tests I want. I’m not in a good place to do that. This is likely why she wants to get my meds straight but still…it’s a lot. And I’m testy…chop chop. I’m done being patient.

      Since I posted this I went to my old OBGYN/Midwife Group, which is beyond thorough…look for a post on that soon. I had LOTS of blood drawn yesterday and I feel like I’m on the path to figuring this all out. I agree that the right meds are key, but I’m at a point where I’m sick of trial and error. I’ve done enough of my own research to understand that other doctors are trying different things and people are getting good results — not meaning tossing all meds, meaning taking a more personalized approached and doing a better job scientifically looking at various genetics and individual makeups to determine WHICH meds are actually best instead of relying on complete trial and error. Just taking this step and having a good appointment with someone who legitimately seemed to listen and get it made me feel remarkably better.

      And yes, Eve is amazing. And isn’t it the truth about getting a group rate at the therapist… I’m beginning to think I need to just move her in with me.

      Onward and upward. Thanks again for your insight!

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