One thing I try to live by is a quote from Erich Kästner “Nothing good happens unless you do it”. If I can, I like to help. But when I promised a friend to walk her dog while she recovered from a minor surgery on her toe, I had bitten off more than I could chew – and it was just a week.
One aspect was the time I spent driving between our homes and walking the dog. But being responsible for a pet I don’t really know was the hardest thing for me. I shouldn’t have worried, our friend’s dog is a wonderful granny (about the same age as our Janet) and much more easier to handle as our Sam for example. When walking her I always felt tense and wasn’t able to enjoy it. The dog on the other side had fun and was absolutely relaxed. Everything went well, but I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if something had happened.
At the same time my husband was on holiday, we had to do work in the garden and put away the wood for the winter. I wanted to please and help everybody and put myself last. This happens often to me. Panic attacs started to bother me, and after the week I just felt tired and like a failure, because I thought everybody but me can handle such a situation without breaking a sweat.
Luckily this stressful time was too short to cause real damage. I recover slowly. But I should really take this seriously and learn to take better care of myself. I still fall into traps I could avoid. That made me think. But this time I got off easy.
I would have called it a disaster. My sister-in-law entered the living room, her six month old baby on her arm, and I just broke down. I waved goodbye, said I would be upstairs, and fled – into the arms of my dubious friend, the razor blade. After that, I took my as-needed-med and went to bed.
Later, my mother came to check on me and suggested we take a walk. So I changed and we walked through the rainy night for about fifteen minutes. This calmed me down. Then my mother went back to the party and I went to bed.
On Sunday I just felt miserable and stayed in bed.
Yesterday I felt at least a little bit better. But I knew I need some rest. So I cancelled the OT appointments for this week. I just want to calm down.
Today was even better. I put on make up, went grocery shopping and took a break having coffee and cake, before I drove back home.
It also helps that I started my usual “tour de chores” yesterday, like I do every Monday. With every room I clean, I get a little bit of safety back.
And to come back to my husband’s comment: At least I know for sure that I still am not ready to have contact with the baby. The uncertainty before was way worse. Everybody in the family knows where we stand. Everybody knows I need more time. This clarity is a good thing, despite all the pain.
But right know, I need some rest to regain my equilibrium. I have no doubt I will get better, but I need to take it easy this week. Wish me luck!
This Saturday our house will be full of family (including the baby), and we will celebrate my husband’s birthday. I was hoping my anxiety level would go down, but this didn’t happen.
When I talked to my psychiatrist a few weeks ago, we agreed I should try a new as-needed med to calm me down (it’s an antipsychotic and not habit-forming). Right now, I couldn’t do without it. I am still trying to figure out with dose works best for me. It doesn’t help when I feel “comfortably numb”, but can’t get out of the bed.
If I could make a wish, tomorrow would be Sunday, but of course it doesn’t work this way. I also am afraid that I crash hard after the party, but of course I don’t know that yet.
Right now I just try to keep going, but it’s hard.
Planning my husband’s birthday party caused many emotions to come up. Of course my biggest concern is meeting the baby.
I discussed this issue several times with different people. Basically, it comes down to this: Nobody can predict what will happen, and it is my choice. I can’t rely on my gut feeling – my anxiety disorder often tricked me into thinking things were much worse than they turned out to be in reality. My depression whispers in my ear that everything will go wrong. And my Borderline personality disorder laughs in my face and says I am just a little piece of shit anyway. Another part of me is tired of this negativity and doesn’t want to believe everything is so hopeless.
My idea was that I prepare everything for the party, stay at a hotel overnight and come home again when everything is over. This isn’t what my husband has in mind: He doesn’t want to have a birthday party without me. When I am not able to attend, he doesn’t want to have a party at all. And this a terrible thought for me – he didn’t have a birthday party last year, because I felt so depressed. And I know how much he enjoys to have his family around.
So we had to find another solution. My husband asked, if it was enough for me when I retreat to the rooms upstairs in case I feel overwhelmed. I said: Yes, but it has to be clear that everybody has to leave me alone when this happens.
“Your mother will want to check on you”, he said.
“That is something different!” I said, because my parents really have seen me at my worst by now.
“And I also would like to check on you”, he added.
“This is something different as well!” I replied, because… well, see above
One thing is for sure: I felt my husband tried to understand me, and we tried to find for both of us. This is how it should be in a marriage, but it wasn’t always for us, because I often wanted to solve everything by myself. That it was different this time is progress, I guess.
But I am still afraid that I could be absolutely overwhelmed with this siuation. Crossing this bridge takes a lot of strength from me.
My brain still struggles to adjust to the new medication. It is something I remember from the past, when I started taking new antidepressants.
Perception changes, things seem to be of a brighter colour, light is glistening. It makes me feel restless and irritable. This state of mind is difficult to describe. I am very sensitive regarding my senses, because they have to compensate for my bad hearing. That’s why any change frightens me. On a positive note, the anxiety attacks decrease.
Hopefully we reach the next level soon, which would be that I finally feel better. I try to go on with my everyday life as good as I can, so I went to the next city, as I always do on Saturday. Going on with life is something that always helped me through difficult times.
These small victories in my fight against the overwhelming adversary depression may be unimportant to bystanders, but it gives me the strength to continue my battle.
I have been taking Milnacipran for a week now. First it was 50 mg in the morning, then 50 mg in the morning and in the evening since Wednesday.
If I had it my way, I would feel wonderful by now, but not a bit of it. I am very aware of the fact it is way too early to say if Milnacipran is working for me or not, but I am just very pissed and tense right now. I suffer from annoying side effects, especially dizzyness (which increases my unsteady gait) and anxiety attacks (of course the scary ones, that seem to come out of thin air – even though I take more anti-anxiety medication).
This makes life more difficult for me, I don’t trust myself to drive a car in this condition. I postponed appointments when possible, and I wasn’t very sad that occupational therapy had to be cancelled this week because so many therapists called in sick. But it annoys me that some things couldn’t be done, for instance my parents’ tax return.
I rely on my safety net right now, and I don’t like that feeling, although everybody is very understanding. It’s a good thing I have talk therapy and my monthly podiatrist appointment tomorrow morning, a little distraction will make me feel better.
Today I had my quarterly meeting with my psychiatrist. We talk about how I am feeling, dicuss therapy options, or change my meds.
I go to the psychiatric institutional outpatients’ department(PIA) of my local hospital. What I like about it
in case of emergency an inpatient stay can be arranged quickly,
a psychiatrist is on call 24/7,
during day shift, it is easy to get a second opinion from another psychiatrist.
What I don’t like aboout it
sometimes you have to wait an hour or so even if you have an appointment, this happens when many urgent cases are brought in,
doctors often change, because they rotate between outpatient, inpatient and day unit.
In the last months I feel very tired, at the same time anxiety attacks and self harming became more frequent. That shows depression and anxiety often are two sides of a coin. So we agreed to change the anti depressant I take in the morning, and to increase my anti anxiety medication. “We”, because I had the final say in this discussion. Talk therapy and occupational therapy will be continued.
And now I need to be patient, because it takes a few weeks before the brain gets used to new meds. This is the worst, waiting while I just want the inner pain to stop. But this is not how it works. Stupid game!
Yesterday evening my good old acquaintance anxiety paid me a surprise visit. We were already lying in bed, everything was quiet, I was about to nodd off, when suddenly a fuse in my head blew. From 0 to 200 in less than a second. My heart pounded wildly, I couldn’t breathe, the thought “That’s it! I’m dying!” made me get up and stumble away from my bed. I have no idea where I wanted to go, I didn’t get far anyway: I broke down sobbing and blabbering nonsense at the door. Meanwhile, my husband had woken up, made me get up and tried to calm me down. I pushed him away, stumbled to the window, noticed that snow had fallen, and stumbled on aimlessly through the dark room. Then, as if a plug had been pulled, it was over. I could breathe again, and my heart rate dropped. We went to bed again and slept. When it’s over, it’s over, and we both are used to these things.
My anxiety has many faces. Sometimes, she comes over for a quick visit, like yesterday. Sometimes, she stays for a few ours. Or she tells her sister agitation to pay me a visit, who likes to stay for a few days. I don’t know when it will happen. I know that some factors, like stress, make it more likely that I suffer from an anxiety attack. Meds make anxiety attacks happen less frequently, and they help me to calm down, but they don’t make it go away completely.
This short and violent anxiety attacks are the worst. I’m fine, and next thing I know I am drowning in a vortex of emotions. No med works this fast, I can only hope it wears off quickly. If an episode builds up slowly, I can stop it with breathing exercises, Reiki or try distraction. But I can’t fight against an attack from nowhere.
I am used to a feeling of dread from my early childhood. My first real anxiety attack happened in primary school during a lesson of physical education. We were sitting on the floor and listening to the teacher, when suddenly everything closed in on me… I saw one of the open windows, and I knew I had to get out. The teacher allowed me to step out for a while. The dreadful feeling soon passed, and I wondered what just happened…
Until my sixteenth birthday, I rarely had anxiety attacks. Then it hit me with a vengeance again, when I was sitting in a train on the way to my grandmother. I cant’t breathe, my heart stops beating, I am about to drop dead. Somehow I managed to get off the train, took a taxi to my grandmother, and called my parents to come and get me. Fear gradually took over all of my life, until I didn’t leave home anymore.
Speak therapy, in-patient stays at Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and living in a therapeutic children’s home for eight months pushed the anxiety back – for now. She reared her ugly head from time to time, but I could ignore her.
Until it came back in 2005. This time it took me of guard, while I was driving in my car. All I could do was pull over and wait till it was over. Luckily nobody got hurt. From this day, anxiety refused to leave my side. No therapy, in patient hospital stay or meds made it go away completely. And anxiety brought her brother, depression.
I have accepted that anxiety always will be a part of my life. I learned not to live in constant fear of fear. I will never get used to it, though.