Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Anxiety: A Beast that Refuses to be Tamed

What I feel is a very appropriate song: Flight of the Bumblebee

I literally can't even listen to that right now - as much as I appreciate it.

Anxiety has been an issue for me for as long as I can remember. In third grade, I was unable to take the statewide standardized test because I became physically ill in anticipation of the test, even though I scored some ridiculously high score on the practice test. I even remember thinking that it was incredibly easy. One of the first questions on the practice test was a simple addition problem with a picture diagram. You literally just had to count the total number of candy sticks or whatever the item was. Still, the day of the exam was just too much for me and my body to handle.

Over the years, my anxiety has become worse.

After my initial diagnosis of depression, I was pretty quickly also diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and was put on medication.

The first medication was effective, but I required such a high dose just to function on a daily basis that it became unsafe so my medication was switched.

I've been on this second medication for years now. I've asked my psychiatrist about lowering or even altogether stopping the medication. He kind of chuckled and said we could work on lowering the dosage but he did not want to see me completely without any kind of anxiety medication. I think that paints a pretty good picture.

About 2 months ago, I had my worst and most different, anxiety/panic attack to date. It just so happened to coincide with a medication change. I began to have significant trouble breathing to the point I thought I was having an allergic reaction to the new medication. It got bad enough that I thought I was experiencing anaphylactic shock. After calling my parents (with great difficulty), because they live nearby, I called 911. With significant effort, I gave the operator my address. As soon as the paramedics arrived, I was magically fine. A little shaken up, but significantly better. I was embarrassed for having called them. They determined it was an anxiety attack and that I was really fine.

Unfortunately, as soon as they left, my symptoms returned. One of my parents came and got me (a benefit to living close to them). At this point, because I was un/subconsciously preventing myself from breathing, my body began to essentially involuntarily snort in order to allow at least some air to enter my body. It was super fun (NOT!).

This is just another reason this whole depression thing is so difficult for me to treat - it's always evolving in some way or another. I've had anxiety attacks before, but they had never presented in this way.

A few years ago, a therapist figured out that each of my depressive episodes is preceded by a period of high anxiety. She was and still is, correct.

I'm going to attempt to make some kind of diagram to explain this and/or steal one I found on Pinterest that I really like:

Begin to feel stressed (rumination, ridiculously fast thought patterns that even I can't keep up with or make sense of, etc.) --> Anxiety --> Debilitating physical symptoms in some form or another --> Feeling like (and to a degree knowing) that I am unable to do/accomplish everything I am thinking about --> Some degree of paralysis --> Depression because I feel useless/unable to accomplish anything --> Things like me spending an excessive amount of time in bed and only doing the bare minimum, if that --> Anxiety because I'm not doing what I need/want to do


Okay, so I didn't make a super cool circular diagram with text boxes and pretty arrows like I initially intended, but I knew to attempt to do so, at least right now, would only frustrate me because it wouldn't be *perfect.* (In case we haven't met, I'm a perfectionist.)

I really like this 'pin' on Pinterest

This is the pin I was really looking for

Thoughts? Questions? Do you relate to any of this? Comment below!!!

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