Friday, February 7, 2014

A Health Update of Sorts

Ugh!  I wish I could just say that and it would communicate all I need to say so I could be done.  But it doesn't.  It's taken me so long to update because things still feel so undetermined and it's so hard to do.  But it's important, so I will.

I'm still not leaving my house much.  Many people in my life are aware of what I'm going through and worried about me.  And it's so difficult to communicate in person, so I'll try to do it this way.

I'm not sure what I've told whom so I'll do a short recap.

I've been in a bad way since about the beginning of the year.  Not really depression, although that's certainly an element.  Severe anxiety, but beyond that.  Such emotional pain that it's manifesting physically.  And being with people hurts.

When I met with my therapist, we tried to find a psychological cause.  Was it connected to the trauma work we've done or something else that came up recently?  Not that we could find.  It doesn't feel that way this time.  It feels physically based.

We came up with a couple things to try.  I went home, tried those things for a week, and returned to see my therapist in just as bad a state as before.  He'd been worried about me.  We talked about what helped and what didn't.  I could tell after my recap and a few questions from him, at about twenty minutes into our session, he had no idea what else to do.  I suggested a different approach medication-wise.  He liked it.  We discussed why.  My idea was to take a lower dose of medication more often.  The idea was to retrain my body back to what it's supposed to feel like.  To calm my neurological system and hold it there for a week or two to help it find my homeostasis again.  And part of this plan was that when the medication helped and I felt better I needed to engage in healthy self-care activities.  If I felt good, I was supposed to do things that have helped me psychologically in the past.  And I needed to go to the doctor to get a different prescription in order to try this.  My therapist asked how long until my next appointment.  Two weeks.  He said if things got worse to call him; two weeks is too long this time.  I said I would, knowing that if things got much worse I wouldn't be able to.  But I would do my best.

I went to the doctor a couple days later.  I love my current Primary Care Physician.  I feel like he really listens and wants to help me feel better.  I read him the part of my blog that described what I'd been feeling (which he said he really appreciated because it helped him understand).  I told him about my visit with my therapist and what we wanted to try.  And then I asked for a lower prescription and for just seven pills.

Apparently, he doesn't often get asked for a lower dose or fewer pills.  It's usually the opposite.

He said he was willing to go that route, but there might be a better way.  He suggested a different anti-anxiety medication, one that was longer-acting.  He also suggested an anti-depressant I haven't tried before (I've tried many and none have worked, except to sometimes make me worse).  I told him I wanted to try what my therapist and I had agreed on first.  If it didn't work, I'd be willing to try the other.

One thing that both he and my therapist pointed out is that I shouldn't continue to hurt so much just because I am afraid of becoming an addict (which I am afraid of because addiction runs in my family).  They said it's their job to keep that from happening.  I need to worry about feeling better.  It's not okay for me to remain in this state.  (My therapist pointed out that not stopping the pain when I can is still a form of self-harm, which I have a history of).

So I tried the approach my therapist and I agreed on.  It helped take the edge off, but didn't really calm me.  And it didn't last more than a few hours.  I tried it for four days.  It was just absolutely not working.  I called my therapist and told him what my doctor had suggested and asked how he felt about it.  He said to go ahead and try the longer-acting anti-anxiety medicine the doctor had recommended and we'd discuss the anti-depressant when I saw him again.

I contacted my doctor and asked him for the meds he'd suggested, which I got.  That was Tuesday.  Now it's Friday.  How are things going?

I wish I could say wonderful, but they're not.  Before all of this the anxiety and pain was horrendous about 80-90% of my day, with a few moments of okay.  That's reversed some.  I am settled enough to be with people about 70% of the day, even though there is still an underlying anxiety.  It's not as painful, but not really joyful.  Still a lot of worry about everything.  I still have trouble separating myself from the emotions of others.  I still cry for almost no reason.  And now I have the side effects of the medication.

I've been having nightmares recently.  I'm less mentally clear.  I get a rebound headache every evening; last night's was horrible.  I feel unsettled within my skin (yeah, sorry I can't be more clear on that).  And I still have moments with waves of anxiety that seem to come from nowhere.

I'm trying to do my part.  I'm sleeping more (lots more because of how tired the medication makes me).  I'm trying to remember to eat, although that one's gotten worse on this medication.  And I'm trying to connect with others.  But that's hard.

I went to book club last night, because I felt like that would be what my therapist would want me to do.  I enjoyed listening to the discussion, but didn't participate much.  It was kind of hard to be in a room with that many people.  And I'm sure it was hard for people to have me there.  I am usually very participatory at book club, contributing a lot to the conversation.  Not last night.  Last night I was mostly silent.  That's a big red flag to my friends that I am not okay.  Maybe I shouldn't have gone.  I feel bad that I made people worry.

My husband is checking in with me regularly because I asked him to.  Any medication with a sedative effect tends to throw me into a deep depression after a few days or weeks.  I need help recognizing that because I am usually so deep before I notice that I no longer care to do anything about it.

Right now I'm playing a wait and see game.  I'm still taking the meds my doctor prescribed.  I'm hoping some of the negative side effects will wear off as my body acclimates.  And that it will do so before I'm lost in the darkness again.  I'm trying to do things that make me happy when I can, but I'm so tired. 

I love the Olympics.  I'm hoping they help.

I know this wasn't much of an update, but it's the best I've got to offer right now.


Semicrazed said...

I wrote a real long comment and somehow managed to delete it...but short version of it: Don't worry about the others while you are struggling...they are mentally healthy (I hope so) and able to deal with a little worrying about you. But you shouldn't spend your time worrying about them worrying...if that makes any sense :)
It's important that you tried to be a part of the book club meeting, in whatever way possible for you at that moment...when struggling with severe anxiety, it's all about trying. At least it is for me. And even tiny baby steps are a small success :)
Keep it up, I know what you're going through and you're doing so well!!! (honestly I mean it!!!)


Bonnie said...

I know it's not much to offer, but if you ever felt like you wanted to sit in a quiet chair on the other side of a room you're not usually in, you'd be welcome to come over. My anxieties tend to run toward rooms full of people, so I get needing space and quiet. Offer's open, anyway. Love you.

Rubye Jack said...

Robin you do such a great job of describing anxiety and pain--thinking back to your last post on your health also. I have never heard anyone talk about it so well and so have always felt I was different. Thank you for sharing this. I respect your tenacity in working to be around others. For me, I suppose I've given up and find life is okay without others. But you always keep pushing yourself and never give up. I admire that in you.

Kristin Leamy said...

I can relate to so much of your experience with anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds!! I'm so sorry you're going through all of this. You are stubborn and tenacious, and I love that, because you've GOT to be to fight these monsters. You are an amazing person, and I don't comment enough here to remind you of that, but you. are. amazing.

Feather Story said...

Hi. I'm sorry about the dissatisfaction you're having with the state you're currently in. I can imagine that writing about it helps and it sounds like you're trying your best and have a support network. I don't think you should feel bad about people worrying, you didn't MAKE them worry, they worry if they care about you, that's a good thing. I wish you the best. (visiting from Sitssharefest)

Diane Clancy said...

I hope things even out. There are times my body gets too weird. My fibro is more under control and my doctor also assures me that this does of stuff will be ok. So I can certainly identify with that ... and trauma for sure.

I hope you get evened out and that your body and mind are able to be flowing together in a peaceful way.

One thing that I don't know if it would be helpful ... some people say some very strong powerful transformation of energy happened on Jan 1 ... and it hadn't been foreseen. I felt it.

But sometimes since then I wonder if I need to open more to this new energy and let it support me more. It helps me. Just in case this could be useful to you, I wanted to share.

Good luck!! ~ Diane Clancy

Anonymous said...

Prayers are being sent up for you from South Carolina. I'm always happy to see your posts and glad you felt like writing! I pray that moments of calmness and joy return to you each day until they arrive in fullness to overcome the darkness. You are loved!

Anonymous said...

This may really sound ridiculous, but when you feel like it, would you consider changing your profile picture to something that represents happiness for you. The picture you have looks exactly like I would expect the demon that torments you to look. Let's get rid of him. Welcome the peace and joy that belong to you. I'm following your story and praying. This is your year!