The Rooted Wanderer

Grounded with a Free Spirit

The Rooted Wanderer Blog

Prozac, Prozosin, and Buspar, Oh My!

I just read a Facebook post that is being copy/pasted at 4 am that seriously made me cry. Y’all I’m talking like tears flowing down my cheeks, through my hair, and onto my pillow. Sometimes it is so damn hard to explain what I am going through, so when someone else’s words do it for me, I feel seen. I feel heard. I don’t feel so alone. 

It is difficult for me to explain my emotions to my loved ones and this post (shared below) spoke words that I have trouble admitting or saying. 

I am on two of the medicines listed at the beginning of this post. I am on four of all together for PTSD, racing thoughts, social anxiety and depression. I probably should be on meds for ADHD but we aren't even there yet. I have fought taking medicine for the last 20, yes TWENTY, years. But it became a abundantly clear this year that sleep, well wishes, nutrition and exercise was not enough on its own for me to function. 

I’m still not balanced completely. I still make medication adjustments monthly. I’m still discovering what works and what doesn’t. I might always be adjusting and that's just part of my life now.

Without these medications, I can’t function. Literally. I will never be able to have meaningful relationships. I won’t be able to put my whole effort into a career. With them, I have hope. I have a chance. Without these medications, I feel worthless.  I feel like I don't deserve anyones time, commitment, love, support. With them, I am learning to accept that people genuinely do care about me. 

Not everyone deserves to hear my story, but I’m going to keep sharing it anyhow because I want you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Medicine is NOTHING to be ashamed about. I want you to know you are stronger than you believe and you have it in you. I know you do. I know I do. 

The first time I went on medicine for depression, I was 14 years old.  I stopped within a couple years because "I didn't need it." Since then it's been a roller coaster of maybe I need them.  Maybe I don't. I'm fine without them. I'm broken. Exercise and diet will "fix" me.  But the fact is, I'm not not in need of "fixing." I am in need of balancing what is not balanced inside my brain.  It IS an actual, real, illness.  No I don't have a broken bone or wounds that you can readily see, but I am fighting a daily battle with a disease. I'm not broken.  I just have an illness that needs attention like a diabetic needs their insulin, I need my meds. 

And kids, I got this! I know I do.  

Here is the post! Also if you know who originally wrote this let me know so I can give credit!!! These are not my words but I certainly can relate. 


Anxiety Led Me to Quit a 6 Figure Job and Sell Nail Polish

The title sounds a bit like click bait doesn't it? But it's true.  Let me tell you a little story.  Back in December 2018, I found out my place of employment was closing. This place was my family, my friends, and my paycheck all rolled into one.  Literally. My brother and cousin worked there.  

But let's not get off topic too much. Though my ADHD may make that a tad difficult. 

With 9 years of mortgage experience, that I never expected to have, and a recent graduate degree in project management I had to figure out what was next.  I wanted to make something of myself and do something grand. Something prestigious.  Something that would make my family proud. Something that would make me feel like I was on the same level as my closest friends who were all lawyers and physicists. 

So I got to thinking, "what can I do with this experience and this degree?" And it dawned on me. A fortune 500 company that employs hundreds of project managers to work on mortgage projects. Perfect. Maybe out of reach but let's give it a try. It was the dream job.

Over Christmas break 2018, I applied to said company. I figured it was long shot.  I don't have a degree from a fancy school. I don't have actual project manager experience. But what I do have? So much knowledge about the types of projects I'd be working on.  I can have a long conversation about a crazy variety of topics like how to read an insurance policy, get grant money to buy a house, how your student loans will change your ability to purchase a home, or what affects mortgage rates if you really wanted. But let's be real, that's not fun.  

I got a phone interview, they flew me out and put me in a hotel for an in person interview and I got the job. Everything was going well. So well that I was offered more than double what I was making at my current company. It was SIX FIGURES people.  SIX.  Little me from a tiny little south suburb of Chicago was finally going to make something of herself. I thought that was what was most important. To make a name.

So I relocated 700 miles away from home where I knew no one. What I didn't anticipate was isolation that would come with Covid-19. I remember getting the email that we were not to return to the office.  We had been bringing our computers home every night just in case.  I remember the feeling in my chest like I couldn't breathe as I looked around my bedroom and realized this was it. For who knows how long, it was me, my two tailless black cats, and these four walls. Trapped.

I started getting sick during meetings and didn't know what to do.  I was convinced it was Covid.  But turns out it was anxiety.  Full on panic attacks. I had two before in my life, but never did they make me physically ill so I was fooled.  That is until the day I hadn't eaten anything because I thought I had the Covid or the flu.  When the anxiety couldn't manifest itself as a physical illness, because there was nothing in my stomach, it decided it would show me who was boss.  

Two weeks into working from home, I fully cracked.  I know people don't like that term but I went from a functioning human to a blob laying on the middle of the living room floor staring at the ceiling trying to convince myself to do the most mundane of tasks like eat, drink water, or maybe just sit up. I cried for hours at a time and couldn't get myself together.  I took a couple days off work as the anxiety usually manifested during rather important meetings.

The night before I returned to work, I couldn't sleep. My thoughts were racing. I couldn't convince myself to eat. I took a shower and didn't even notice I was just standing in there so long the hot water had run out. I laid down and tried to sleep but my mind was not having it. Ruminating thoughts. Restlessness. Feeling like I couldn't breathe. I ran out of tears and just watched my plain boring white ceiling.  I couldn't function.

I asked for another week off and got into a therapist and psychiatrist rather quickly. I started on generic Prozac.  After a week I was doing okay.  I went to Chicago and decided to go back to work half time until I had everything together. Monday went okay. Tuesday was a little difficult. Wednesday I had trouble focusing. Thursday I cried as I worked.  Thursday night as I had dinner with my family, I was present but not really there.  I stared off into space. Friday I couldn't clock in. I was hysterical. Crying. My 10 year old niece was consoling me.  It was a petrifying feeling to not be able to control my emotions. 

I called HR and figured out how to go about taking a leave. I didn't just leave my job temporarily but I moved back home. Well as home as home gets.  I moved into an RV on my bonus family's (step family, but I don't like the negative connotation of step) 120 acre farm. Yes. I was 34 and living in an RV in my mom and bonus dad's back yard. 

For four months, I focused on my health and burning down tree stumps that were left behind when the trees on the farm died.  I cleared out a 20 foot circle where a pool was to make way for a fire pit.  I ripped out the front porch. Let me tell you, if it's super random and can be done on a farm, I did it! At times I had an overwhelming sense of sadness, ruminating thoughts, or any random combination of depression and anxiety symptoms. My psychiatrist and therapist quit me as they weren't licensed in Illinois.  I found knew ones and lucked out. They are fantastic and with me to this day.  

My medicines adjusted frequently. We added in a little Buspar for Anxiety. Some Prozosin for nightmares and PTSD, and eventually a little Gabapentin for ruminating thoughts. My health seemed to slowly improve. I was doing okay for the most part.  I could rock my job. I could do it. I think. So I started discussing returning with my therapist.  It was on my radar when I realized some people thought less of me since I wasn't working.  That was the motivation I needed.  I was going back to work the day after labor day 2020. Virtually, of course. 

It took 6 business days but I found myself, again, taking three hours to get into a shower.  I, again, was forgetting to eat. On the 6th business day, I realized I hadn't been feeding my cats or cleaning their litter box.  I hadn't been cleaning up after myself.  I stopped sleeping and started spacing out and crying again.

Sure I was motivated to get my job done.  I had a new fancy project that I was actually really excited about.  I spent my days learning everything I could related to the project and pulled documents to start preparing the kickoff. But that job, to keep the energy I needed to make that job work, meant to take the energy away from taking care of myself.  

If you have never personally dealt with mental health, it's hard to understand.  You can set as many reminders, leave as many post it notes, and plan ahead as much as you want, but in the moment, life isn't logical in the slightest. 

The other problem? This particular job took a lot out of me.  For someone with newly diagnosed social anxiety to be required to be on her toes and ready during meetings with staff of all levels, it took a lot of attention and focus. It took every ounce of mental capacity I had. 

To fit into the role that was required of me, I had to lose very important pieces of myself. I took two days off of work and thought long and hard about my life.  What was important to me. I had maybe my largest panic attack to date. And it dawned on me. My health is more important than my wealth. My well being mattered more than my paycheck.  Life had gotten scary. 

But I had to make a living doing something. Back in November 2019, I decided to join this sales company to meet some new people.  I was fairly lonely in my new city and looking for a way to connect with some new people.  I got thrown into this party my friend was hosting and thought nope. I'm not girly. Dry nail polish isn't for me.  Then I saw the application video.  Then I hosted a party and ordered eight sets. Then I joined after two weeks of wondering what people would think of me. 

I just joined to get a discount and maybe make some new friends, but what I found, was a community that I think most find through church or sports or whatever.  A connection I had been missing since leaving my previous job. These nail slingers gave me energy and I found myself quickly promoting through the company and loving every second.  This non girly-girl who doesn't even carry a purse was doing alright selling nail polish.  Crazy! 

The friendships I made through this side hustle carried me through my PTSD, social anxiety and depression.  It helped me through the loss of a loved one. They let me lean on them when I couldn't fathom taking another step forward.  But MLM's have a bad rep right? Selling for one makes you less than, right? If I quit my job and just do this while I get healthy, people are truly going to think I'm off my rocker. 

But I made a decision to put myself first.  To stop trying to fit myself in a mold of what I should be or what I was supposed to be, and just say my health matters. My life matters. My sanity matters. And I quit my 6 figure job.  Now I'm blogging. Selling nail polish. Taking care of my two cats and my farm dog. And for the first time in years, I feel a kind of peace that I'm not sure how to explain. 

Of course, I'm in a particular situation where I don't have rent or utilities. My car is recently paid off. Most people don't end up making the kind of money with an MLM they can live on alone, but some do. And I'm determined that with a few other odd jobs, that this is where my heart is. Slinging nail polish. Building up other women who want to sling nail polish. Putting my health first and only doing activities that compliment my crazy. 

So here I am! Judge me or support me.  Choice is yours but for the first time in my life, I could care less what people think of me. I plan on living my most authentic life from here on out and doing what brings me joy, peace, and happiness. 

ADVERTISEMENT: Want to see what exactly inspired me to put myself first and take the leap? Check out the Middle Finger Project!