I guess it’s time for me to talk about what’s been going on around here, because I hope that by sharing someone will convince me that I’m not the only person ever to go through this, and I guess also so that if there is someone out there going through something similar they can see that they’re not alone.
Buckle up, grab a cup of coffee, or whatever you need to do to prep yourself. This isn’t going to be short.
I just want to feel better. I’ve been severely anxious and sick for about 5 days now, more anxious than I’ve ever felt before, and those five days have stretched on to feel like five weeks.
I haven’t slept much, barely at all. I’ve lost my appetite – which, as most of my friends will tell you, is the most bizarre thing ever, and lost about ten pounds. You know, I’ve been wanting to lose weight, but not like this.
Here’s a little back story:
It took me over a year after moving back to RI, but I finally found a primary care physician. I hate looking for a new doctor, and it’s something I seem to have had to do entirely too much over the past few years since my regular family doctor moved away sometime around 2005 or 2006. The first guy I saw seemed like a joke at first, but I was really sick with what we didn’t know was Lyme Disease, and after being sick with something unknown for eight months he figured it out, so I thought he would be a good replacement for my old doctor. He was, at first. He didn’t last long. He went back to his old practice a few months later, and I was back on the hunt for a new PCP. The second guy I saw was in the same building as my old PCP, and to be honest he always made me feel uncomfortable. I felt like he was judging me, which my old doctor never did when I asked him questions about treatment and medication and general well-being. His secretary, too, is a total snob. I felt so uncomfortable going to see them that I just wouldn’t go when I needed to unless it was an absolute emergency. Then I moved to Mississippi, and it took me a few months to get the nerve to see another new doctor, but once I finally did I met someone who didn’t judge me, who made me laugh and made me feel normal and comfortable. It was awesome to finally have another doctor I felt comfortable with. And then he moved away, too. Talk about getting a complex, I’ve been abandoned by every doctor except the one that made me feel like shit, and I really didn’t want to start going back there. Really.
Fast forward to last month, when I finally got in after a 2½ month wait to get a new primary care physician. Keep in mind now that my anxiety has been untreated for over a year, having weened myself off the Zoloft last March and April, so I felt like I was having more problems in that department and that was the primary reason for my acquiring a new doctor. Oddie assured me that everyone there was nice, because that’s where her doctor is and she’s seen so many people there. The new doctor (nurse practitioner, actually) seemed kind of judgy at first, and maybe that’s because I brought Oddie with me because I was scared and I may have come off as an unstable lunatic. She prescribed a new medication, Prozac, and instructed me on when to take them and when to up my dosage, then set up a follow-up visit for two weeks later.
Well, I was anxious about taking the medication. I’m anxious about all new medications, and I’m constantly calling pharmacies to ask questions about them and over the counter medications, because I don’t want to mix the wrong meds. EVER. My mother believed that there was a pill for everything, but that’s not something I inherited. At least not now that I’m an adult (30 = adult status, right?). I started on the Prozac and was fine for a few days. About a week or so into taking it, I upped my dosage as my doctor ordered. I’d noticed two things in that first week, though I wasn’t really looking for changes that early. I noticed that I was a little more bubbly and interested in things – which was great because I’ve been so disinterested in just about everything for a long time now, and I also noticed that I didn’t really want to eat. Like, ever.
On Tuesday I had an anxiety attack at work, and it was so bad that I had to leave. I went home, calmed down a bit, and then went to my dental cleaning. I won’t gross you out with the gory details of that visit, but I had another panic attack in the chair. A humongous one. I was more terrified than I ever remember being of every little thing. My body was betraying me. I was sweating and shivering, and I began to lose feeling in my fingers and my whole body was cold and tingly. I felt weak, and it took huge effort to move my arms and fingers.
The last major anxiety attack I had was a few years back when I had Oddie bring me to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack, and you know what? I would have taken that experience over this new one.
After laying me all the way back and getting blood flow back to my brain, we cancelled the rest of the cleaning and I went home an anxious mess. Everything seems to have just snowballed from there. Wednesday was my day off, and I had a meeting with a new therapist before my follow-up doctors visit. The counselling session went well, and I can’t wait to begin cognitive behavioral therapy and delve into my grief and whatnot, because let’s face it: I haven’t exactly dealt with the fact that my mom died last year. Then I went to see my doctor, and I told her about the previous day’s nightmare and she upped my dosage of Prozac and prescribed me a sedative or tranquilizer I was supposed to take when I felt a panic attack coming on. We got along better this visit, she smiled at me and made me feel more comfortable than the last time. I filled the new prescriptions, but I stopped taking the Prozac before I was supposed to take the new does. I was so high strung and sick from the two days of appointments that as soon as I got home I took the new tranquilizer, thinking it would be like taking Xanax – something I’m familiar with. It didn’t help at all. It made me drowsy and groggy, but I was already tired. And it seemed to make my other side effects worse, but at least I got some broken sleep.
I went to work the next morning, fully intending to give work a shot, but after getting there I ended up telling my boss that I couldn’t work and left. I was convinced that I was having adverse reactions to the Prozac, because I felt worse after upping my dosage. I called my doctor after getting home to report on my medications and left a message, and I ended up waiting all day to hear back from her. When she finally called, she seemed to have ‘thrown in the towel’. She told me she didn’t feel like she could help me, and that if I didn’t want to take the medication she prescribed and was desperate for help I should go to the ER and get a psych evaluation because then maybe I would get the help I needed. Needless to say, that made me more anxious. This woman I had only seen twice disappointed me. What if I did need to go to the ER? What if I went and they told me I needed to be institutionalized? I couldn’t handle the amount of anxiety I was feeling, and so I took a tranquilizer to calm down. The night before it had calmed me down a little and I remembered I didn’t feel as anxious. Then after hearing this news from my doctor, and basically feeling as though she’d given up on me, I decided that the next day if I wasn’t feeling better I would go to the ER.
I called out for Friday, and during the morning the doctor’s office called me. Another physician wanted to see me ASAP, so we went. She was so understanding, she listened to me, asked me questions, and we decided together that I might benefit from going back on the Zoloft and Xanax regimen.
So that’s where I am, right now. I still feel like shit, but I’m trying to be hopeful. I didn’t sleep again last night, but at least I ate yesterday, real food. My brother made me fried scallops and french fries. And today I took my old medicine for the first time in over a year. I know it isn’t going to be instantaneous, that it’s going to take time and patience (that I don’t have). I really want this to work. I want to feel normal again, and even the normal of the past year is better than the way I’ve felt for the past week.
My husband has been a Godsend. He’s struggling, I know, but he’s done everything I needed him to do for me these past few days. He’s been my touch of normalcy and reality, never wavering, always there, and loving me even though I can’t feel anything positive about life right now.
So now can someone tell me that they’ve been through something similar? Is there someone, anyone, out there who can tell me that they know from experience that everything is going to be alright? Can someone tell me that it isn’t going to take long? I hate this. I hate every second of it, and I don’t see how it could possibly make me a stronger, better person.