4/17/2010

Childhood Fears - Looking Back (PCP)

Freshman year of high school was a turning point in my life. It's usually a turning point in any one's life, right? This is truly where my life changed, though. This one instance changed my life forever. Up until this point, I loved school, my friends, my parents, my life (eventually I'll rewind and cover religion fears), etc.

I had been best friends with Nicki since, roughly, 6th, 7th and 8th grade, going into freshman year. Nicki had other friends I like to call minions or followers. They had been friends for years because they lived in the same neighborhood. I also had a new friend that moved onto my street. She hated my new friend and I didn't really care for her friends because they wanted Nicki to themselves. Paula, Jennifer and I don't even remember the others. They were all bitches. My new friend, Renee, was the nicest person you could ever meet.

Before Nicki and I grew apart and she turned out to be a two-faced bitch, she had this brilliant idea to try pot for the first time. I think I agreed because I figured it was a way to get closer to her again. We also started smoking; again Nicki Chisnall's idea. Back when I was 14, I could go buy smokes; anyone could. So we used to go smoke on the racquetball courts at Arcadia High School. Sugary sweet Nicki was a black sheep. That girl had some sort of a power trip and she also made herself feel better by making everyone else feel like shit.

Nicki conned me, of all people, into finding some pot. She even gave me the connection; Candice's brother. I don't know why I had to buy it. It was her idea! She knew my parents were the strictest parents on the entire planet, too. I was terrified!

So this bitch talks me into trying pot for the first time, making it sound like it was some sort of special pact all of us girls would do together and remember forever. So I end up with the pot, and everyone else changes their mind. Jennifer Mocerino and Amy Wells somehow got involved and offered to "hold" the pot so my parents wouldn't find it. I figured they just wanted to score some free pot, so I gave it to them. They could have it.

Before I gave them the pot, and after everyone bailed on me, I tried a bong hit with my "dealer" Candice. I went to Candice's after school, she taught me how to use a bong, I ran around the apartment complex for a bit, laughing, and then my mom picked me up after work. I believe Jennifer came over to pick the pot up. I don't remember.

Jennifer and Amy have an idea to go to the movies on a Friday night where we can all smoke the pot in an alley and then go see a movie. We sat in a dirty alley where they found a coke can, poked holes in the side, bent the can in half a little, sprinkled some pot on top, lit it and held the can opening to my mouth. I remember thinking that this sure was a ghetto way to smoke marijuana. I also remember they kept making me smoke hit after hit and they didn't smoke any. I just remember thinking it was strange. I wasn't even really good friends with these girls. I was losing my best friend and I guess I felt lonely. You know, peer pressure, blah, blah, blah.

The movie theater is crazy busy. We go to wait in line and that's when it happens. I freak the f--k out. Everything starts repeating itself. Jennifer looks over at me and says "So what movie are we going to see?" And that sentence loops over and over for about 40 times, where everything repeats itself, until I ran out of the theater line. They chase me behind a garbage can where I now think they are demons. I start pinching myself, tearing at my skin because I can't feel myself. I then start pinching and grabbing at them, screaming at them that they feel like rubber. I then scream that they aren't real. I'm hysterical.

Somehow they get me to calm down and get my back in the line. I start hallucinating again and sit down in the middle of the line at the booth, when an officer comes over and asks me if everything is okay. Jennifer then tells the policeman that I was upset and my boyfriend had just broken up with me. At that point, I was freaking out so badly, I walked straight into the theater where they ask for my ticket stub. "I already gave it to you guys!", I screamed. The girl, scared, let me pass.

I don't remember what movie we were suppose to see, but I walked into Dances with Wolves and sat down. "We aren't suppose to see this movie, Tiffany. Let's go!", they whisper. I sat on the isle chair, grasping it with all of my strength, closing my eyes in order to not see anything else frightening. I wouldn't say a word.

However long later it was, the movie was deliberately stopped, the lights came on and about 6 firemen came in to take me out. I thought they were demons wearing hoods and black masks. I thought they were trying to take me to sacrifice me to the devil. So I held on, with all of my might, to the movie chair, as it took all 6 to pry me out of it. I was taken out by stretcher to the ER.

Before Jennifer and Amy disappeared with the pot, they called my mom to tell her I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and didn't know why. Bitches.

The hospital was another story. Apparently with PCP, people may have the ability to show extra incredible strength. I definitely was stronger. I still thought I was going to be tortured and while they wanted to pump my stomach, I clamped my mouth as tight as I could and wouldn't open it. They had no idea what was wrong with me and I refused to talk. In fact, I pretended to be passed out, while super humanly clamping my mouth shut. Makes sense.

You name it and it happened. I thought my doctor was Jesus. They thought I was insane. I was about to be sent to a mental institution. I think my preacher was there telling me that I was going to hell. My mom showed up and said she may send me away. I imagined needles that were two feet long and nurses holding them in front of my face. I hallucinated the doctors and nurses making fun of me. It was an actual nightmare and I thought I'd never wake up from it.

After they finally managed to pump my stomach and clear my system with IVs, I started to come out of it. The doctor told me that I had PCP in my system. Police and doctors said I was a guinea pig. I don't remember what happened after that, who got in trouble or what happened to Jennifer and Amy. I didn't go to school for a few days, but when I got back, everyone was concerned. I even heard that people wanted to kick the dealer's ass. I just wanted it to be over with, so I just didn't talk about it anymore.

And this is the other 50% of why I am afraid to take any medicines or drugs. And this is why I am firmly against the legalization of marijuana.

This happened 20 years ago and even writing this post today makes my heart race with anxiety.

"Farewell to old friends
Let's raise a glass to the bitter end
Farewell to old friends
Will you be the same when we see you again
"

Childhood Fears - Looking Back (Penicillin)

Fast forward to middle school. This was when I had an allergic reaction to penicillin. For some reason I needed an antibiotic. A couple days after taking the medicine, I developed itchy hives. I thought it was from playing outside in the grass. A day or so later, my entire body became sore. I couldn't move any of my joints. Finally my parents took me to the emergency room. My mom had to change the clothes on me and dress me; every movement I made was painful.

The ER thought I had some sort of Valley Fever. They didn't know what was wrong. "Hello? Check to see if I'm allergic to an antibiotic that I just started taking!" Had I been OCD back then and realized it, I could have figured it out for myself. For a week or two later, I had to take about 40 steroids to counteract the reaction to the penicillin. I felt like a real life baseball player.

I had to walk on crutches for about a week and it was pretty embarrassing trying to explain why, since I had no visible cast for people to see. I never wanted to take an antibiotic again.

99% sure this is where 50% of my fear of taking medication comes from.

"It's the goals in your mind that you left behind.
From the glass is a crutch on the path to always losing touch.
If you blur it just enough you might see what you want.
Now the dirt from the yard blew away so far.
Growing more each day 'til we saw it became a mountain range.
And I just stared and blinked, wishing I could change."

4/01/2010

Childhood Fears - Looking Back (A Beginning, Part 2)

Getting back to the second part (and what will more than likely be a continuous analysis) of WHY I have anxiety, or at least where it came from. After the move to Arizona, my youngest brother and I transitioned into the public school system and my older brother to high school. In Missouri we attended a private Christian school, which I happened to love.

We settled into an apartment right when we arrived in Scottsdale, AZ, waiting for the sale of our house to go through. I remember, if I recall correctly, we started school mid-year. I was in 2nd grade and met a wonderful little friend named Alice, who was Japanese. What I remember about 2nd grade were the crazy amount of girl scouts. I didn't get it. My parents were definitely way too busy for that sort of nonsense. Besides the millions of girl and boy scouts, I liked school. 2nd grade never presented a problem; I mean, it's 2nd grade. However, my best friend Alice moved away and I met another girl, Violet, who lived down the street from me. Convenient.

Skip to 3rd grade. Mrs. Cook was the sweetest teacher I could ever ask for. I guess I had some balls on the first day of school, because I walked right up to Violet, who happened to sit in the front row because she wore glasses. I said, "Hi Violet, do you want to be best friends this year?" and she replied with "Yes". There. My year was all set; I had a best friend.

Very soon after beginning 3rd grade, I got sick. And I'm not talking about my teeth. Okay, I can explain that one. First of all, I can't even begin to explain the ridiculous events that took place in that grade: lice checks, which weren't done in private, but right smack dab in class (not that I was worried)! God knows some lice would've definitely caused some future anxiety if I were sent home with it. But no, poor Jeremy was "the one" who caught that bug; bad rep all through grade school. Back to my teeth. We had a dentist come to our class for some sort of "health week". One would think a dermatologist would make it, considering we were kids and all we did in Arizona was swim. But no, a dentist and someones parent, I'm sure. How embarrassing (for me anyway) to get in a line and watch everyone say "Ahhhhh!" while the dentist blurts out "You have about five cavities, Tiffany" and then have everyone look at you in disgust. "I already know that. I DO have a dentist", as sarcastic as a 7 year old could respond with.

Despite semi-passing health week, like I said, I ironically became very ill. I thought it was a cold; a REALLY horrible cold. Mrs. Cook noticed that I was trembling and that I also couldn't keep enough Kleenex nearby, so she sent me to the nurse's office. Next thing I know, my aunt has me at the doctor's office. It gets a little blurry from here, but at some point I had a really high, high fever. Maybe this explains why I can only recall bits and pieces of the order of events. I think I went to the doctor and then straight to the hospital. But I also remember being thrown into a bathtub of cold water, by my dad, in order to reduce my high fever. There were several tests/testing and never will I forget the horrible experience I had under anesthesia. My "dream" was of me running to the center of a flashy spiral - and the devil was chasing me. Right before I reached the center of the spiral, I woke up. This should have been a clear sign to never try anything hallucinogenic.

Fall of 1984 I was admitted into the children's hospital and spent the next few months there. My homework was brought to me, I had the best visitors (like clowns that made animal balloons) and my roommates were kids with their tonsils taken out, complaining they (felt like they) were dying. "Uh, hello? I was dying!" I don't know who was in charge of assigning kids to rooms, but seeing several patients go home per day, sure didn't brighten my mood. Oh yeah, I was diagnosed with some sort of rare kidney disorder that I think I was born with? I don't even know. I just remember my doctor didn't know what he was doing and that I was dying. I really wasn't scared about death. Well maybe I was. I'm sure I was terified. I asked a lot of questions about death and I certainly didn't want to die. I do know that I was scared of sleeping alone in that dark, lonely hospital bed. Sometimes my parents didn't spend the night, so my (new) doctor would come in every night and hold my hand until I fell asleep. I loved him. Not only because he saved my life, but because his name was Dr. Katz. Even back then I was a cat lover. I was released shortly after Christmas.

I'm not really sure if I have Post Traumatic Stress/Panic from this event, but I do know it's a very important part of my life. If we had not moved to Scottsdale and dealt with some really extensive testing/treatment, I do not believe I would be alive today. However, I do believe this is just the beginning to my fear of dying, as well as my fear of anything medical related.

So now that I was out of the hospital, we got right back to focusing on those cavities....