Anxiety / Medications

Anxiety’s Quiet Invasion

My blog has been quiet for about 10 days – it happens. Life gets busy and it can take a little while to surface. I launched a clothing line last week, while juggling my family, my other work, resigned from one of my marketing gigs, working on a fundraiser for another event, and life generally feels like it’s going in the right direction.

Quietly, however, I am struggling with something ancient.

My anxiety is definitely back. The nortriptyline isn’t working anymore, at least not for calming my anxiety. And it’s only getting worse, not better. It’s not that the degree of it, at this point, is worsening, but the frequency. It is nearly constant now. It has rooted itself in the chambers of my heart. I feel it in each beat — the muscle squeezes and another dose is dissolves into the stream of my blood, taking only moments to invade my cells and unify itself with my thoughts.

On the surface, I behave mostly normally. I work, I interact with friends and family, I take the dogs out to pee in the yard, I work on my business plans, I take photos of the recent snow storm to share with my social media world.

From that core of my chest, an insistent whisper directs my thoughts in the form of a constant interruption:

“Something bad will happen, any minute.”

“You are going to ruin everything.”

“There is something wrong with you and everyone is about to figure it out.”

“If you don’t fix it, nobody will.”

“You will lose it all.”

“I’m telling you, something bad will happen.”

I startle frequently as my brain tries to remember what mistake I made, then I remember that I didn’t, then I worry about the mistakes that I will make. I grind and click my teeth. I cannot stop. It gives me headaches. It makes me laugh to think that this tic annoys me less than some I have experienced previously. I compulsively scrape the heel of my boot of my left foot, on the sidewalk, I am compelled to do it every time my foot steps. Even as a child, I did this, and annoyed my mother. Even if I made myself stop for a few minutes, I was still thinking about it and could not stop thinking about needing to do it. The boot thing is really bothering me lately. It’s been so long since I felt a need to do it, that its return is jarring and dreadful.

This is not a matter of me being too busy, or being stressed out. This is a return to my natural, chemical state of being. A natural, chemical state of being that is awful. A state of being where I fear the remembering of previous tics, because just putting the suggestion of my mind can trigger a compulsion that plagues me for years. It is this experience, which feeds my anger when I hear people make blanket statements about the harms and evils of psychiatric medications. This level of anxiety is not something that exercise alleviates. Yoga helps my body feel better, but it does not calm my mind. And these thoughts do not stop. I’ve referred to them before as a terrible roommate — and who wants to live with someone that constantly screams. You can still hear the screaming through the door, unless you find a way to make the screaming stop.

That kind of interruption is very distracting. It’s certainly distracting me this morning as I try to work.

I don’t know what I want to do about it. I’ve re-started going to yoga. I know it won’t hurt, I just know it won’t totally help, either. Resigned from an unreasonably (and objectively) stressful gig. Going to re-visit acupuncture. If I had health insurance, the first place I would be is at my psych ARNP’s office, to discuss options, but I owe the office enough money right now that I really shouldn’t call unless I’m having an emergency. I’m just miserable and misery isn’t an emergency. For me, it’s just a normal Monday with by old buddy anxiety. Now that I know what it’s like to live without it, this is really hard to take.

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8 thoughts on “Anxiety’s Quiet Invasion

  1. Thanks for sharing Katy. I’m sorry to hear you’re going thru this. As you know I know very well what it’s like to have an anti-anxiety medication work and then unexpectedly stop working. It sucks. Anxiety is an enemy I unfortunately know all too well. I hope you can find some answers as I hope I can as well. Whatever happens know that I value your friendship, support, and encouragement very much.

    • Well first, I’m glad I can be helpful to you – and thank YOU for this comment. I had a suspicion that you might know what this is like! I was so comfortable these last couple of years, with the meds working. I’m very open to doing things that are good for me, and things that will help to reduce my stress level, so I will go to my yoga class and try some other things, but from the inside, I know that these things don’t shut that inner voice off. I lived with it every day of my life until I was in my mid-30s. I’m tired of it, lol, I wish it would just stfu. I loved having a medication that worked. I realize from reading my own “symptoms” and from past behaviors (former obsessive handwasher and germophobe of the highest degree here) that an OCD diagnosis might be slightly more accurate than my current GAD diagnosis…so when I get to where I want to talk to my ARNP about this I might ask if there are medications that tend to work well for that issue in particular.

      Sigh. I might have to start writing angst-ridden poetry again, lol. I’ve already started painting and drawing again. Those aren’t bad things, and they tend to let my obsessiveness manifest in a more positive way.

  2. Your post made me feel a bit better about myself. I have anxiety – have forever, I am 57 years old and was just diagnosed with ADHD a month or so ago. My GP diagnosed me so I have to have some tests to verify it. Tried adderall but it was too harsh for me. Tried Strattera but it didn’t work. Been on low dose of Vyvanse for 4 weeks now and it seems to be working. Unfortunately, I have been a tooth grinder even before I started this and I have to be careful. I’m afraid that I am going to have to increase my dose. Ugh. Been through this for so many years and they just kept trying to give me SSRIs which caused tardive dyskenesia. Anyway, reading your post, which I can completely identify with, was very helpful for me today. Thank you.

    • Very glad that it was helpful to you. My anxiety certainly isn’t helpful to me, lol, so if there’s a way that sharing it can positively impact someone else, I’m delighted.

      Have they ever tried buspar for your teeth grinding? It may just be a remedy for the tooth-grinding induced by SSRI use…I’m not a doc and can’t remember exactly but…maybe worth asking a doc about. (Was just thinking of asking mine!)

      Do you find that the stimulants lessen your anxiety at all? They definitely lessen it a bit for me…the light, fluffy kind anyway, they unfortunately don’t alleviate this darker, more negative and persistent version…

  3. I tried buspar and it worked for a while, but since my problem was helped by SSRIs, they kept increasing it. I didn’t know that it, too, causes teeth grinding at high doses, So, I am not on anything significant for it. I have started taking magnesium glycinate chelate and that does help somewhat.

    Yes, I definitely feel that the stimulants have lessened my anxiety. I am also a walking barometer and air pressure changes drive me absolutely crazy. I currently life on the Gulf coast and we are going through some mighty strong changes right now. I have to keep that in mind when I am evaluating my stimulants because I don’t want to give up oj something that works when I am dealing with another issue. I actually have an appointment with an ENT later this week. My GP wants me to get tubes in my ears. My son asked me if I was a 6 year old – getting diagnosed with ADHD and talking about ear tubes! LOL.

  4. Hi – it’s me again. I mentioned that my doctor is thinking of changing me to methylphenidate, which I believe you take. Can you give me a rough estimate of the cost. I am on SSI Disability and my insurance doesn’t cover any meds in that class. I am an RN on disability due to a severe autoimmune response to a flu shot that almost killed me. The Vyvanse was over $200 and I really don’t want to have to find that every month. As I mentioned,my daughter has been successful with concerta, but that is expensive as well. Doc mentioned that concerta is just long term methylphenidate. I would appreciate any input you might have. Thanks, Pat

    • I take a generic version of methylin (which is in the methylphenidate family) and it is on the $4 prescription list at Walmart. Upside: It’s $4. Downside: It’s not extended release, so I have to remember to take it twice a day. I specifically asked my prescriber for something on the Walmart $4 list so he looked up my options and that’s the one he picked – so it’s $4/mo. I’m generally not a big supporter of giant, world-dominating corporate superstores with questionable labor practices, but this is one situation where I can really appreciate Walmart’s ability to buy in bulk and pass the savings on to the consumer. Because I don’t have health insurance, my options are extremely limited.

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