Friday, November 22, 2013

"Where the hell have you been?!"

I’m getting that question a lot and for good reason- it’s been a few months since I’ve updated the blog and several weeks since I last posted anything on Facebook or Twitter. Rest assured there’s nothing tragically wrong with me so no need to worry.

The first thing that happened is I got a job in early September. I started The Dragon’s Vanity when I was unemployed and looking for something to fill my time while I was waiting to hear back from potential employers. Staying busy kept me sane. But once I got a job, it demanded more of my time than I had realized.

I am the Counter Manager for both Clarins and Elizabeth Arden at my local Younkers store. I had never used any products from either of those brands before (I had never even heard of Clarins before). This is my first retail job, my first sales job, the first time I’ve had someone working under me, and my first cosmetics job. Needless to say, I had a LOT to learn in a short amount of time.

Clarins sent me to Chicago for 2 days in October to learn about their product line, and they had several online training courses to go through to learn further. I had been hired on just after the last Elizabeth Arden training class, so the Account Executive stopped by my store to give me training on their products, gave me training material to review on my own, and they also recently got some online training courses up and running.

I was studying and learning both brands on the fly while also learning how to sell products in a retail setting and manage a part-timer under me. I spent many nights doing ‘homework’ on the products and brands I was responsible for selling. It’s been a lot but it’s also been very rewarding.

My skin care and makeup routines have changed now that I get Gratis from the brands I sell. I don’t think I will talk much about work or the products I use because I don’t want that conflict of interest here, suffice it to say my Rosacea is happy and my skin looks great.

The other thing that’s taken some of my time is Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. If you know anything about these illnesses, you know they can be terribly debilitating. Even a crowbar can’t get me out of bed some days. I spent most of 2010 in ‘The Danger Zone’ of this illness and have been working with professionals to manage and control it.

After 3 years of coping with this, I can now manage and control it without medication during the summer months. I use meditation and self-talk techniques that were taught to me by my Psychiatrist and Therapist. I also spend an hour each day in direct sunlight. I can’t put sunblock on for these therapeutic sunning sessions because that prevents the UV rays from penetrating the skin to produce natural Vitamin D, which is the whole point of this for me. Since I’m a Ginger and burn very easily, I break my hour up into 10-20 minute chunks.  I also take a daily Multi-Vitamin with 1,000 IUs of Vitamin D.

But from mid-November to mid-April, all of that just isn’t enough (and it’s too damn cold to sit outside in a t-shirt for an hour). I need medication to chemically balance me. It took almost a year for my Psychiatrist and General Practice Doctors and I to find the right combination and dosage of medications to restore the balance in my brain. Every person’s own chemistry is different, and that’s why there are so many drugs on the market that work differently to treat the same things.  It takes time to get it right.

The solution we finally found was a combination of Sertraline (Zoloft), Buproprion (Wellbutrin), and Buspirone (Buspar) every day, and a low dosage of Propranolol (Inderal) as needed.  The first 3 balance and maintain my mood, and the last one is literally my “Chill Pill” for when I feel an Anxiety Attack coming on. It’s actually a blood pressure medication, but when prescribed in low-doses as-needed for Anxiety it prevents the heart from racing and therefore stops the panic before it gets out of control.

In late-October I start easing myself onto the medications. I take ½ the normal doses I am prescribed to get my system used to the effects. Most of the Serotonin receptors are actually in the stomach. These medications increase the activity in the stomach, thereby increasing acid production. If I jump right in and take the full doses I’m supposed to, I get so much acid in my gut in just a few hours that I have to throw it up. It literally feels like I’ve swallowed battery acid. Not fun. So after the ‘transition’ period I step up to the full doses. I do the same when I come off them in the spring- for the last several weeks I take ½ the amount of medication before stopping altogether for the warm, sunny months.

This year I started my transition a bit later than I should have due to financial concerns. This week I finally stepped up to the full doses of medication, but of course these things take time to build up in the system. While I haven’t been back to ‘The Danger Zone’, I haven’t been functioning in day-to-day life either. Luckily my manager understands the challenges one faces when dealing with MDD and Anxiety, so she has been working with me while I readjust for the season. I wish more people were that understanding.

All that to say I’ve been working, and lately, depressed. I decided to go in to all that just in case it can offer hope and help to anyone else out there battling this.

Anyway, I haven’t done much nail art, though I still do my own clear acrylic nails and color block manis and pedis. I also do my mom’s clear gel manicure every 2 weeks. I’m slowly looking in to possibly going to school for my Nail Tech license, but finding funding for it has been challenging. I’ll keep you posted if/when anything develops on that.

I have been working on a post on my new hair style and the products and tools I use to maintain it, but I can’t guarantee when that will be up.

Thanks for sticking around. Regardless of what goes on in my life, The Dragon's Vanity will always be a part of it. I hope you all have a great holiday season. {Hugs}

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