My Next Fight

Well, I’ve been surprisingly quiet about this. I’ve been trying to process it all. But I’m putting it out there a little now because I can use all of your positive thoughts.

Some of you know I had a life threatening medical issue 11 years ago. I thought it was part of my past.

I found out Friday that it’s back, and worse. I’m seeing a Thoracic Surgeon Tuesday to find out more. What I do know is I will be having major surgery soon. I’m just not sure which one yet.

I don’t want to lose my arm, and more importantly, I don’t want to die. I’m trying to stay calm, but yes, I’m scared to death.

I’ve fought for everything my entire life. It’s never been easy, but I ALWAYS fight. And you bet your ass I’ll fight this too.

On Tuesday, I will be celebrating 17 years of sobriety – on the same day I find out what happens next with my arteries. Getting sober was a fight I still fight every day, so celebrating 17 years of that huge fight is pushing me to fight this next battle too.

I’m thankful for so much. My family, my friends, and my amazing boyfriend who is by my side and holding my hand.

Another fight for another day. Please send positive thoughts. Everything helps.





Okay, so you all know about my 100% commitment to spreading the word on MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS, Breaking the Stigma, and getting help to everyone and anyone who needs it. This is an epidemic, and society needs to wake the hell up about these topics because people are dying every minute of every day because not enough people understand the disease, have the compassion or empathy to reach out and help others, and the stigma surrounding this is intolerable.

As you all know I am sober, and the one thing I’ve been hit with most last year is the number of addicts and alcoholics – both sober and using – that are mentally ill on some level. I firmly believe that many people who drink or use do so to numb the pain and “feel better”. Those lucky enough to survive addiction and get clean or sober very often find themselves using or drinking again, or, God forbid, not being able to deal with the underlying causes of why they did so in the first place – depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia – or any other mental illness. Sadly, many end up committing suicide.

I know that this is not the case in every situation, but I do believe it happens more often than considered. I got sober in a 12 Step program that saved my life, and I still live my life by the principles I learned there. The one thing I do know is that there is a lot of negativity around using mental health medications – which are just as life saving and necessary as diabetes medication, heart medication, etc. And, having a system of sobriety, the right doctors, and even medications if necessary is what has kept me alive this long.

So, I’m taking a huge leap of faith, and I know it seems ridiculous on a lot of levels – but I need help. I need to get the attention of someone huge, someone with reach, who also has heart and compassion, and most of all has been affected by all of the things I have spoken about here.

DAVE GROHL – You’re a man of heart, compassion, one of my idols, and I know you have been touched in your lifetime by addiction and suicide. PLEASE HELP ME!! I’m not asking to meet you, or for anything for myself. I’m asking that you help spread the word on MENTAL ILLNESS – how it kills good people every minute of every day. Maybe with more people talking about it, we will all come to understand more, and save more lives. You have the voice, the reach, and the heart to help me. Please Dave – help me do this!!

If everyone who sees this shares it, re-posts it, tells someone, etc., maybe this idea will reach someone, even Dave, who can help get the word out. Let’s make 2018 the year that we made the most difference and saved more people from unnecessary pain, suffering and death.



Ending 2017 – The changing faces of Anxiety & Depression

Hi friends…..! I know I haven’t written since I ended TMS last June. There is really no good excuse, other than to say life gets busy. I also got horribly sick on August 4th and was out of work for 46 days. Losing that much of life “normalcy” tends to throw me for a loop.

There have been a lot of changes for me. I finally got off of Cymbalta after years of being on it and almost a year of wanting to not take it. It took a long weaning off process, but I’m glad it’s gone. I started taking Buspar, which was highly recommended by two very respected doctors, but it was a roller coaster for me. It’s supposed to be excellent for people with major depression and anxiety, but I had allergic reactions, mood reactions, and ended up stopping it. This caused my depression to resurface, and I’m not take a VERY low dose of Buspar along with my Viibryd. I’m still taking Xanax for anxiety when needed, but it’s usually only .5mg once or twice a week.

I’ve had a rough holiday season. I LOVED the holidays as a kid, because my grandparents made them magical. Over my adult life I’ve had a love/hate relationship when they arrive. I look forward to it every year, but the stress, money, planning issues, etc. end of making me a train wreck. This year was the one that made me decide I am never again doing Christmas the way anyone else thinks it should be done.

Additionally, I cut off any “normal” relationship with my mother in April. I love her dearly, but she is an alcoholic who never really wanted to be a parent, and made it clear my entire life that I was a bother to her. I’ve readjusted my boundaries with her countless times, and I finally realized that I just can’t communicate with her on a regular basis. This, sadly, has worked well for me. I hadn’t seen her in a year, and we all (my family) saw her for Christmas. She’s shriveled down to 92 pounds, still smoking and drinking, has the worst case or psoriasis I have ever seen – and will NOT listen to anything anyone says. She believes every doctor knows everything, and that she has no need to get a second opinion, or let any of us help her. Stubborn does not begin to describe this woman. I almost had a nervous breakdown the entire week prior to her visit and collapsed with the flu and emotional overload yesterday after dropping her off. On the way home from taking her home, my aunt calls to tell me that the entire family insists we get my mom to see another doctor, etc. I have tried this until I bleed from my eyes for YEARS, and it only lead to my mother and I not having a real relationship. I ended up telling my Aunt that if she wants to try to get my mom to accept help, she will have to talk to her, because I will not let that woman abuse me any more in my life, especially when all I’m trying to do is keep her alive. How do you handle the feelings of loving a parent and wanting the best for them, and yet not letting them emotionally abuse you any longer for your own protection?

Surprisingly, I’ve been in a relationship since August. He’s a wonderful, giving, loving, understanding person and he actually showed up in my life when I was at my worst – when I was sick for the 46 days over the summer. I’ve never had any man in my life that supported me like he does. What I have learned over my life is that there have only been 3 people ever that loved and accepted me completely – 100% of the time – no questions asked: my grandparents, and my best friend David. My family and friends love me, but my anxiety and depression – and the moods they bring about in me, along with overwhelming feelings, etc., make it really hard to totally relate to me. I either come off as bitchy, isolating, feeling sorry for myself, unfeeling (when I’m trying to protect myself), or just plain misunderstood. I know now more than ever in my life that finding someone who can be understanding towards this condition and respectful, tolerant, and everything else, is not only not easy – it’s almost impossible. That is why I tend to isolate when things get hard – it’s too hard to explain how I feel on a level that “normal” people can comprehend it, but it’s a lot for someone to watch. This last month has been up and down immensely for me – and I realize that even my wonderful boyfriend might not be able to deal with it. It’s not his fault – not even close. But it’s easier for me to be alone than have to shut up, close down, or tried to hide my feelings around someone I’m with constantly. If I can’t be myself, I have to be alone. And me being me is not an easy thing for anyone – I get it. So, I have to lay it out on the table and be willing to accept that he might bot be able to handle it. No fault of his, but I have to put it all out there.

I’m emotionally drained right now. I had to sit down and write all of this because I’m so overwhelmed, that I had to get it out – and as you all know – writing is the only way I can do that. I still get panic attacks occasionally when I realize that these diseases are going to be what I battle for the rest of my life, and a daily basis, with no clue as to when or where something might change (meds, body chemistry, situations, etc.), that can send me into a tailspin. Life changes in an instant, for everyone. The thought of having it all be too much at some point is not lost on me.

I love you all, and please – be compassionate, be kind, respect other people’s struggles. We all of different demons we deal with – and just because your demons seem worse, or someone else’s seem like “no big deal, you never know what is going to be too much for someone to handle.

Here’s praying for peace, understanding and love in 2018.


End of TMS Round 2

So, I decided to do the last 5 sessions of TMS – the last week – without updates. I wanted to take the time to absorb it all, process it, and then reflect.

So, again, it was very different from last time, for a lot of reasons. One, I wasn’t in a full blown depressive breakdown since my anxiety is what presented first. And, as I said previously, what depression symptoms were being brought on by the anxiety quickly dissipated and then disappeared. In all honesty, I’m not sure if the TMS really did “wonders” for my anxiety. I do know that it has been made so incredibly better since I started, and that’s what counts. I’ve changed the dosage on my Viibryd, tried “right side” TMS, and learned a lot from Dr. D at the center about anxiety and depression – both together and separately. All of these things combined have made things so incredibly better that I couldn’t be happier. I know I have options going forward, and that in itself is priceless. I’ve learned how to better manage the anxiety, and learned that I need to deal with it daily just like I do with my depression – and not to assume that one is caused by the other – they are separate and equally deadly – so I have to be constantly monitoring both.

The one thing that has stood out very much to me is that my empathic abilities have skyrocketed over the last few months. I feel in my gut that this is because of the treatment this time. I feel like I’ve been moved to a better understanding of my thoughts, brain activity, emotions, etc., and because of that, I’ve become “free and open” to receive energy and read things in a healthy way. I’ve always had these abilities, but now that I’m learning more about protecting myself from negative energy, how to calm down (so to speak) and listen to what my heart and soul are really feeling and saying to me, I’m experiencing a growth in this “thing” that I now am sure is a huge gift. If I process my feelings – depression, anxiety, frustration, etc. – as they come up, and with absolute clarity, my mind is clearer and I am more able to receive the energy from others that gives me insight. I know it all sounds a little wacky to some of you, but I firmly believe in this because of I’ve had a lifetime of these experiences that I couldn’t explain, started to read about, and that have been proven to me over time.

So, once again, because of this experience, I have been given gifts that I never expected. So incredibly blessed, and a major advocate for TMS therapy. I know more and more research is being done every day to find how it can help with other ailments, and I firmly believe that in the not too distant future this will be helping many more people who are suffering.

Thank you again, to everyone at So Cal TMS………. Dr. Todd Hutton, my wonderful friend/tech Tracy, Doctor D., Stephanie, Brandon……..anyone I’ve come across and worked with. You are an amazing group of people and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. You have all become a special part of my heart since we first crossed paths over a year ago, and I’m sure we will be meeting again down the road.

Much love friends!!


TMS Round 2 – #32, #33 & #34

What a busy week. I even went on a date. WHAT?!?!?!? Well, it was actually a coffee “meet & greet”, but it had a “date” feel. I went out to meet someone I didn’t know, risking meeting someone new, and chancing letting someone into my life. Dramatic, a little. But I don’t take it lightly. It’s not easy for me. It went well, which was nice. Sweet guy who is on a great life path that is very similar to mine. That doesn’t happen often – at all. He’s had challenges in his life, as have I, and he’s turned it all into putting himself on a better life path. I admire that, and I understand it. Bottom line, I’m looking forward to getting to know him more, slowly. That’s more than I can say about anyone I’ve come across in a very long time. I rarely get to the “meet in person” phase. And, usually, when I do, that’s where it ends. No harm, no foul. Knowing I’m willing to get to know him better is a good sign. We were going to get together today, but I’m broke until I get paid again, and I don’t ever go out if I can’t pay my own way. It’s not fair to the other person. Plus, sadly, today is one year ago that I lost my kitty Henry, and it’s hitting me hard.

Yeah…….I said goodbye to my boy one year ago today. In some ways I can’t believe it’s been a year. On the other hand, I think about him daily, and remind myself that he’s no longer in pain, and still with me and Indy in spirit. I even saw him TWICE yesterday out of the corner of my eye. It’s comforting knowing my Bubba is still close by.

My anxiety is MUCH better. I didn’t even take Xanax yesterday! It was a hard day, memories of my boy and all. I slept a lot, but in my defense I had a very long week and I needed to rest up. Still, no Xanax. That’s only twice in 4 months. But I can feel the anxiety symptoms dissipating, and that makes me happy.

I only have 5 more TMS treatments – Friday will be my last one. I’m so grateful for this entire experience. It’s also amazing to me how different it all is from last year. Since this all started with anxiety instead of depression this time, it’s been a different path. What depression symptoms were presenting because of the anxiety started being alleviated quickly. And, I’ve learned so much about my illness – the ties between anxiety and depression, how they are so intertwined, and my options – things I never saw coming. Up until this phase, I never realized how much anxiety I had. I’ve only dealt with anxiety over the last few years, whereas I’ve battled depression my entire life. I always thought my anxiety was caused by my depression. Now I know they are separate issues, and yet can be triggered, aggravated, and made worse by each other. I have to keep a close eye on both of them, daily. One is not necessarily a side effect of the other – they have to be watched carefully – both together and standing alone.

I’ll write this week about my last treatments. And, as always, I will continue to blog about my illness in my daily life. I will always strive to be a loud voice for those of us who suffer, because we deserve to live good, happy lives – and I know how difficult that can be.

Love you all…………


TMS Round 2 – #30 & #31

Well, it’s official – I only have 8 more treatments after today. My last treatment is a week from Friday on 6/16/17. Even Tracy said this round seemed to go by so fast! And it’s really funny to me because it is sooooooo completely different than last time. Not in a bad way at all, just different. This time, my anxiety presented first, which started pushing my depression buttons. And, I had experienced relief from the depression before, so there weren’t any big surprises. But, this time, I slowly started seeing differences, over time, proving any and all symptoms I had of my depression lingering in the background have dissipated, and then disappeared. My anxiety has dropped dramatically, and I’ve had some really informative sessions with Dr. D about what next steps we can take as far as medication, if necessary down the road, to help with depression AND anxiety together. I HAVE OPTIONS!!! Not having options is something that has terrified me for years, knowing that I have become so medication resistant. But we’ve done the “deeper dive” into my brain, uncovered the severity of both my depression and anxiety combined, not to mention how intertwined they are. And, this whole thing has given me another level of mental illness to learn about that I can share about with others. What a great thing!

I never thought I would be the person that would be excited about any of this. Having Chronic Major Depressive Disorder which almost pushed me to suicide so many times, being an alcoholic/addict (recovering – amen!), having the walking problem I was born with, learning and adapting to very difficult parental situations, losing the use of my right arm and being disabled for two years while getting gangrene and almost dying because of inept doctors/insurance companies, etc…………none of this EVER made sense to me. I’ve had the thought several hundred times that I MUST have been a serial killer in a previous life to deserve all of this – it’s the only reason I could ever come up with as to what I possibly could have done to have “all of these things” given to me. Then, last year, thanks to TMS, and everything that followed – it came to me; like a BOLT of lightening – all of “those things” brought me here, where I am today. If I hadn’t had to deal with, “go through”, learn from, and grow in spite of all of “those things”, I wouldn’t be exactly who I am today. I LOVE who I am today. Do I have work to do? Of course! And I always will! I will never be done learning or growing. But I know in my soul and heart that everything I experienced – the pain, tragedy, fear, hopelessness, sadness – it shaped me. It gave me the ability to see exactly what I was supposed to see – and gave me the confidence, strength and courage to be proud of it all. I wear my flaws and scars like a freakin’ badge of honor!!! How many people actually get to the point in their life where they can see that? Not many, or at least not many that I know. I know they exist, and now I know why they exist. We, all of us – every single one of us has a purpose here. But, very few of us dig deep enough to get to “it”. I’m lucky enough to have found my purpose at 47 years old, and I’m not wasting another minute of my life where I’m not doing everything in my power to share all or any of it, with anyone who it may help. Sometimes, all any of us need is to know that someone else has been down the road we are on and that they made it. I, my friends, have made it.

I’m looking forward to life now – wherever it takes me. I’m not afraid of the future, or change, or the unknown. I welcome it – all of it. Because I truly believe that even if it looks painful, baffling, horribly frightening, or any other god-awful thing – I’ll make it. And the reason I will be put there is because it’s meant to teach me something.

Seeing life through these new “eyes” is the best gift I have ever received. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve received so many generous, loving, thoughtful, amazing gifts in my life – but this one – finding my purpose – is something I wish for everyone!

Love you all.


TMS Round 2 – #28 & #29

So, I think maybe my anxiety is getting better. I talked to my regular psychiatrist on Wednesday, and we are going to officially up my Viibryd to 30mg a day instead of 20mg. I’ve been taking 30mg since Wednesday, and I do feel a little less agitated. It could be the higher dose, it could be the right-side TMS, or just TMS in general – who knows. But I do feel like it’s getting better.

I even went out on Friday, and didn’t get to bed until 2:30am. Keep in mind, I had been up since 4:30am – that’s 22 hours wide awake!! And, I had a great time! Which is perfection!

I’m still taking the Xanax, but I’ve only had .25mg both today and yesterday, which is better than the usual .50-.75mg. None of these are high doses, by any means – but any chance of me not taking any type of “benzo” is a win in my book.

I did sleep a lot yesterday, but I knew I would. When I’m up for that long it takes a lot for me to recuperate. And today I even ran a few errands and went to visit with my Aunt.

Another note, which I really think is huge, I finally got an appointment to go see my “female” doctor so that I can have a complete physical, and have my hormones checked for the “menopause” thing. Sorry for the TMI, but I just started my period again today – which is the 3rd time in 5 weeks. I’m over it!  I’ve been reading a lot about menopause, especially with how it relates to depression, and it can absolutely have a HUGE impact. If you take my depression, and add in hormonal imbalance, that’s not a good combination. And I have every other sign/symptom of menopause as well. So, maybe this whole anxiety thing is really hormone related? Or at least it’s a major contributor? I’ll let you know. If I have to do hormone replacement therapy or whatever you know I will – I can’t afford to let anything – no matter what it is – effect my mental health in any way.

I’m not sure, but I think I have anywhere between 4 and 8 more TMS treatments this round. I’m going to get the clarification tomorrow, and I’ll let you know.

That’s it for  now friends. I’m tired, and I really need to take a shower. I’m yucky/sweaty/gross!