To say a lot has happened in the last few months is an understatement.
I’ve just read through my last post and I had mentioned a little about anxiety, I’ll update on that first.
Well just 2 days after my last post I had an anxiety / panic attack. I have never experienced anything like it before and never wish to again. I can only really describe it as an out of body experience, coupled with heart palpitations / dizziness and nausea / numbness / tingling / trembling all over / an overwhelming sense of fear and loss of control. This was in a shopping centre. I had no idea what was happening.
When I got home I went to bed and slept for 3 hours hoping that I could just sleep it off. I couldn’t. I cried and cried, I couldn’t stop crying. I was terrified.
Some family were due to visit me the following day to celebrate a birthday and I just couldn’t cancel so somehow, I have no idea now, it went ahead and I got through the weekend. I cried at least another 10 times over the 2 days. My mum told me to go to the doctors. I tried on the Monday and couldn’t get an appointment. I went to work on the Monday. I left work in tears about 3pm and didn’t go back for another 2 months. This week is my 4th week back.
Looking back, I do not know how I managed to get through the weekend and work on the Monday. I have no idea. I was a total wreck.
The doctor prescribed me diazapam (valium) 2 tablets 3 times a day. The first dose made me so dizzy and nauseous I almost didn’t take any more. I felt really scared about being on medication although I was told this particular medication was a temporary measure.
For the first 2 weeks I felt numb. I would get up in the morning, lay on the sofa and pretty much not move for the entire day. I didn’t eat or ate very very little. I essentially did nothing. I didn’t shower for 2 weeks. I’m sure I wore the same pajamas for 2 weeks straight. I watched tv and took none of it in. I struggled to sleep at night, my heart would race and my body would tremble.
After 3 weeks I went back to the doctors to talk about a more long term solution. I was prescribed citalopram, an anti depressant also used to treat anxiety. 10mg once a day, the lowest dose. I was also given a leaflet to self refer myself for counselling.
I lowered my diazepam intake to one tablet, then half a tablet a day, then none. The first 4 days of citalopram were horrendous. I felt the lowest I had ever felt. Life seemed pointless and I couldn’t imagine ever feeling normal again. I was so scared.
This eased off ever so slightly over the following weeks but it has felt a long slog to get back to feeling even half normal.
Looking back now I feel so sad for myself. I was in such a bad way, worse than I even realised at the time I think.
I have started counselling sessions and been diagnosed with moderate anxiety. It has affected so many aspects of my life. On the days I feel ok I am fidgety and restless, not able to properly relax always feeling like there’s something that needs doing. On my not so good days I am listless with no energy and no motivation. I get anxious about social events (amongst many other things) even with good friends.
I know I’ve always had a level of anxiety, but I knew myself that over the last maybe 10-12 months it has been getting steadily worse, to the point where I felt myself unable to deal with even the slightest of set backs. If anything started to go wrong I couldn’t cope. I wish I had tried to do something about it before it got so bad.
I’ve had 2 sessions of counselling, CBT to be specific. So far its just consisted of giving some context to my situation and discussion about CBT itself and what the desired outcome will be. I feel this will be something I deal with for the rest of my life now, it would be nice to have some coping mechanisms and strategies for dealing with the anxiety and the emotional / physical responses.
I know I feel better than I did, I have the motivation to get up / dressed / go to work now. But I’m still dealing with the fall out daily. I still get dizzy spells and I still get a racing heart every now and then, and I draw back into myself when I’m feeling down. I have a tendency to isolate myself, feeling not worthy of burdening others with my problems. I hate to feel like a nuisance or a pest. But I need to work on this because my family and friends are there for me and want me to talk about things.
I have to take it one day at a time and try not to think too far ahead. I think that’s the only way I can move forward now.