Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Messy and Uncomfortable Health Report Update

I have not eaten solid food in over 30 hours.

Oh, hey, did you know that sometimes you can have anxiety so bad that you can't hold food down? I do, now.

I woke up yesterday around 6am with an urgent need to use the bathroom. I really don't want to go into too much detail, but it was really bad. And later, there was vomiting. And later, a repeat performance of the first one.

Now, this has been a problem in the past. For years, it seemed like every time I was supposed to go and do something I didn't want to do--family gathering, for example--and I would feel too guilty to just say no, I would suddenly get very sick. For the longest time, I thought I was just unlucky; it didn't occur to me for a very long time that, subconsciously, I was making myself sick to give myself a socially acceptable excuse not to go and do whatever I didn't want to do. That I didn't want to do because of the creeping agoraphobia--which took years to develop before I even noticed it--and because of my schema of worthlessness that says that, no matter any evidence to the contrary, no one wants me around.

I didn't catch on to what was happening until I went off Lexapro and resolved to go out more--so, two years ago, basically--and realized my body was still doing it to me even when I wanted to go out somewhere. Having figured that out, it actually didn't bother me again for a long time... until yesterday.

Yesterday was my final therapy appointment with my original therapist; she's leaving the agency this week, and as of next week, I'll be with someone new. I've worked to try and become comfortable with this; she asked me to not personalize her decision, and I think I've done that well. I know she's not leaving because she doesn't want to deal with me anymore. But, until yesterday, I never really let myself realize just how deeply I didn't want her to go.

I seem to be developing, very quickly, more and more physically painful symptoms of anxiety.

I used to just be jumpy and nervous. Or I would be angry and shouty. Or I would shut down for a while. And there have been panic attacks, crying fits, and suicidal thoughts. But for the past couple of months, I've also developed actual physical pain. I spent most of last week with incredible pain in my neck and shoulders, and sometimes down my upper arms. It manifests in my ankles, too, and makes it hard to walk.

I had it every night last week except for Thursday. Because Thursday we went to the movies and I braved weather that normally would've kept me shut up indoors, so I had a great time and felt proud of myself, so I was feeling too good to be anxious. Which shows you this is all psychological and anxiety/stress-related.

So yesterday, I woke up with severe gastrointestinal problems. The pain was intense throughout my whole body as I left for my appointment. Even as I was walking down my apartment building's stairs, one of my knees locked up and was too painful to bend. My lower back hurt so badly that I could barely walk. But I did. Because I had to go and have my last appointment. But at every turn, my body was trying to stop me. My subconscious, my schema of worthlessness, my deep-rooted feelings that I don't ever deserve to feel better or to do anything good for myself, it was all working against me. This stuff is all going to be so much harder than I imagined to let go of. I know all of these things are trying, in a whacked out and bizarre way, to protect me. But they're trying to hurt me, too--physically and emotionally.

But I went. It was sad, but hopeful. She says I've made a lot of progress. Lots of people do, even though I can't always see it and even though my schema won't always let me take credit for it. We agreed that the GI issues and the pain were stress and anxiety and grief--because until yesterday, I really hadn't let myself feel how hard it was going to be to not have her in my life.

And I know this other therapist I'll be with; we've worked together, and we'll probably work well together. We do over the phone already. But it won't be the same, and you know me: I kind of hate that. I'll have to work really hard for the first weeks to not clam up and to keep being honest and to work all of this out.

We also thought my feeling so terrible would go away soon after I got home, but it didn't. Those GI issues kept up. In fact, they still haven't stopped. It's possible that I felt so low that some kind of virus slipped through my defenses or something got to me, but it was every hour on the hour yesterday and pretty much up until midnight last night. It's less frequent now, but I still haven't eaten anything. I tried to eat some yogurt yesterday, but I actually fell asleep while eating it--I was falling asleep constantly yesterday--and I couldn't keep it down.

By early evening, Becca was talking up the possibility of taking me to the hospital, which is just foreign to how I think of things working. I couldn't make any decisions, anyway. I was at my lowest functioning ever, just sleeping and then waking up to use the bathroom and then sleeping some more. She wanted me to take a couple of alprazolams to try and calm myself down, and I did, but within twenty minutes I vomited hard. That's the guilty part of me, the part that thinks I don't deserve to feel better at all. That's psychological, too. My horrible feelings about myself have very rarely manifested themselves through such physical punishment.

I've been slowly feeling better. I can't really bring myself to think of food; even thinking about eating makes my stomach curdle, but I just craved a Pepsi this morning and kept it down. Becca should be home from work soon, and I've asked her to bring me some apples, because fruit is the only thing that sounds like it won't make me sick. I haven't had any of my daily medication since Sunday and I haven't eaten and I just kind of feel nothing.

At times like this, it's really hard to see the progress I've made or even tried to make. In my less lucid hours yesterday, I just asked to die because I couldn't go on feeling like that and I didn't have any more hope of ever feeling better.

I'm trying to think of a hopeful way to end this, but... well, at least I can stay awake today and am in the bathroom less. I can't wait for apples. Hey, maybe the good part of this is that I'll change my eating habits a bit, because none of the stuff I usually eat sounds appealing to me anymore.

It feels like that whole episode is winding to a close. So at least that's something.


Autumn said...

I'm sorry you have been in such pain. Try not to dwell on this too much once the pain is gone, I used to get chronic stress migraines and my doctor told me again and again that if I expect my body to behave this way it will continue to do so. So when you are stressed, really try not to expect this kind of thing to happen, because you will do it to yourself. My doctor also told me to try to refrain from feeling guilty about doing this to myself, it can make the episodes much worse.

I personally hate getting advice from people about this sort of thing, so I'll add that I'm not a doctor and just trying to help!

SamuraiFrog said...

I appreciate that; I think the advice about not making an expectation of this is good. And the guilt absolutely has been making it worse. That's something to be aware of, too. I've had sudden crying fits because I just feel so bad about this.

My wife thinks it's a combination of anxiety/stress/guilt and actual food poisoning just making each other worse.

Devilham said...

Good thoughts in your direction, not much more I can say on the subject except, for what it's worth, I hope for your happiness and well being.

msmariah said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog, but I hope you feel better! Best wishes. I've really enjoyed reading through your blog. Following you now.

DrGoat said...

Sending good vibes your way. I'm very familiar with actual physical pain from anxiety and little sleep. Won't go into to it but for 3 years I thought of just ending it, but my neurologist finally prescribed Lyrica at night, and it saved my life. Hope your path finds and easier way soon.Your post brought back painful memories.