Thursday, June 06, 2013

Health Report Update

Well, my earlier diagnoses are official: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Non-Specific Mood Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Agoraphobia. By some definitions, I'm disabled. By some definitions, I'm mentally ill. Now it's trying to adjust to that and to learn to control/regulate/manage this.

I haven't been writing much lately because I feel like I don't have much to say that's very interesting. I'm actually doing really well in therapy, but I do have my days of depression and I still get some bad panic attacks. The old defenses--the unhealthy ones, like being suicidal--are mostly gone, but the new defenses aren't very strong yet. It took me decades to build all that armor, and I'm like a raw nerve without it. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier and more comfortable to crawl back inside of it, but I know rationally that's not true.

A psychiatrist tried to put me on Prozac. I had an intensely bad blood pressure reaction to it and stopped taking it. It also did increase my suicidal tendencies, but in a different, darker way. I started to get this hard, stabbing throb in the vein in my left wrist. It happened over the course of two days at varying times and with varying frequency. After a while, it just hurt so much that I started to think the only way to stop it would be to just cut it open. I stopped myself from thinking that, but that I even had the impulse is scary enough. It's not how I've ever thought of suicide. I've learned that my thoughts of suicide were about trying to escape, and giving myself an emotional release and a feeling of control. But this... this was like an impulse, not something that was born out of trying to escape something that was depressing or scaring me.

So, no on Prozac.

My high blood pressure exacerbates these problems. I'm losing weight again. Trying to ease my physical/medical burden. I want this to be the time I actually lose the weight instead of just another interlude. I feel better and more capable and more in control. It's good because the high blood pressure makes my Panic Disorder especially bad--I have a tendency to go right from the first inkling of fear to outright panic, which can make it hard to recognize the signs and stop myself.

But I am doing better. I'm breathing and walking and remembering to eat. It's still hard to go out and to make initial contact with people. Some people are stressors lately, because they don't realize when they're pushing at me, and my disorders make it hard to rationalize it. I'm still scared a lot of the time. I still overreact initially. But I can talk myself down.

My therapist has her work cut out for her on the self-esteem stuff, though. There's a lot of damage there. Thank goodness they got me on the hardship program, because that's going to take a long, long time.

I know it doesn't sound like it, but I really am doing better.



Roger Owen Green said...

If you CAN avoid the meds, then, by all means, do so. But do what works, of course.

Uncle Burt said...

Regarding blood pressure.
I've written to you in the past, and told you I have diabetes since about 30 years now, and I control it with pills, not insulin.
My consultants want me to self-test my blood sugar levels, which I almost never do, as I hate to 'mutilate' myself.
Once every 3 months official blood tests are done, so a nurse takes various vials of blood and a few days later the results come back.
A couple of weeks ago it showed that my levels were almost 3x too high. Everybody panicked, but not me, for I felt fine.
I decided to check it myself for a few days after all, and lo and behold in the early morning each day it was fine, i.e. well below the accepted level, but then during the day it went up to about 2x what it should be. When I told my consultant about that, he agreed that it seems almost normal.

Now, you will ask, what has that got to do with me ?
Well, once every 3 months my blood pressure is also measured.
Last year it was - for the first time ever - over 150/80, whereas I am used to it being 120/70.
What to do ?
Try to seeing life positively, and totally relax yourself when the blood pressure is taken.
When you sit in a chair in the doctor's or nurse's office, lay back, close your eyes, and think of something nice and relaxing; block out the world around you.
Also, don't cross your legs or ball your fists.
This should lower the pressure.
And.... if you feel that the high blood pressure reading is too high, ask the doctor or nurse to try again in 5 or 10 minutes, during which you should try to relax more. That works for me.

A very good friend of mine in Atlanta had extremely high blood pressure when we worked together in an office, but once she was retired and was home, without the pressures from work, her blood pressure levels went down quite rapidly. In other words, relax !

Sure, it is easier said than done, but your mind is a very powerful tool, and can be influenced IF you work at it.

Whenever anxiety hits you, try to change your thought pattern to nice things. Becca can not assist when you get anxious; you'll have to do it yourself, but your life with Becca will improve immensely.

Try it.

Burt V.

Autumn said...

I am sending you positive thoughts.

I can say for the diet, you should try to get on a structured health plan, my husband and I have been off sugar for a year now for his health and it's just now getting great. I don't think we could have done it without the threat of his health failing but I'm glad we did and finding a way to eat healthy that still works for you is a wonderful thing.

Chris said...

So great that you found a therapist that works for you. A bad therapist can be a total disaster, but a good one a literal lifesaver!

Congrats on the steps towards a healthy life!