ADHD / Anxiety / Coping Strategies / Medications

Anxiety: When Riding It Out Isn’t Enough

There are a lot of times when life can be a little stressful, and it’s up to us to decide how we choose to navigate it. For those of us who live with an extra, built-in bonus layer of anxiety on a daily basis, there are just more layers of possibility to explore.

Recently, I’ve noticed that my regular, small dose of medication that (theoretically) is preventing the extra, invasive and persistent layer of anxiety just seems to not be working. I’d decided I would ride it out. See where it goes. Take time to think about what I might want to do about it, even as it ground away at my energy and ability to think.

Started going back to yoga. Revisited breathing exercises that I find helpful. Began thinking of helpful ways to use logic, to override anxiety’s impulsive panic.

Then: A legitimate family emergency sprung up this week and it was just too much. Oh everyone is fine, nobody died, all limbs are still attached, but I’m talking about a legitimately stressful situation. And this week, I really didn’t need another truck-dump of the stressful kind of excitement. It was a layer of acute stress, on top of a layer of chronic stress. In short, it was a shit sandwich.

After spending 24 hours in denial about my inability to actually function in a basic way, I called my prescriber and asked for a tiny stash of lorazepam (ativan), and I let him know that I was pretty sure my meds weren’t working anyway. I couldn’t ask my body to keep reeling in that state of stress, and I had no other way to shut it off. Without shutting it off, at least for a little while, I wasn’t going to be able to make other healthy choices. Like get enough sleep, and think clearly in order to work, or get myself out of the house to a yoga class. Or remember to eat. It’s impossible to make good choices when your mind literally can’t form a sentence, when you are mentally exhausted, when your entire body startles every time a child yells, a dog barks, or you drop something…not to mention the dropping things…feeling shaky, racing heart, and that terrific sensation of floating outside of your body.

He gave me a prescription for a small supply of ativan and asked me to try a small dose of buspar (I’ve taken it before so I know it won’t do anything weird to me) to see if it amps up the effectiveness of my nortriptyline. And he also asked me to stop taking my stimulant medication for a week or two, just until this panic tailspin can be averted. I’m assuming this means no more decaf coffee treats.

After a night’s sleep, thanks to the ativan, I actually DO feel a little better already. The buspar will likely take a little while to settle in, and in the meantime, it’s making my stomach a little nauseated – but crackers and cheese helped with that. The kids are gone to their mother’s house for a few days and my husband has his own things keeping him busy this weekend, so I have a few days to myself to just pick away at my list of things I need to catch up on. And sleep, I can catch up on that, lol.

I’m looking forward to next week. I really am. I don’t mean to wish away the present, but I feel hopeful that I can get around this corner.


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