The February Post – Anxiety…

Anxiety. That’s the word of the month for me. Not just the usual anxiety that I struggle with, about clearly identifiable things like ‘Will there be a horrible brown envelope from the DWP in the post today?’ or ‘What if the new flatmate turns out to be really scary?’, but that awful non-specific thing we like to call generalised anxiety. It been coming over me out of nowhere several times a day, gripping me with its icy cold claws, digging into my skin, even my soul – and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. My heart pounding so hard and fast it makes me think that there is a genuine chance it might explode in my chest. That sense of doom, of just knowing that no matter what I do, something very very bad is going to happen, and there is no escape. That horrible fizzy feelings behind my knees that makes me feel simultaneously completely paralysed and as if I can’t be still for even a second.

That. I’ve had an awful lot of that this month.

In therapy P. and I try to slow things down, try to work out what it is I am reacting to – but, unlike anxiety about something tangible and definable, this fuzzy whizzing fog of fear won’t be so easily captured and analysed. Of course we know that if there are a lot of things going on for me, I am much more likely to experience these episodes of panic and anxiety – but more often than not, it feels as if it’s been triggered by something so microscopically small that we can’t even distinguish it with our emotional super lens trained directly on it.

I can’t remember a time where I’ve suffered quite so much with anxiety (that wasn’t caused by something specific). And this constant fighting off an unseen enemy is exhausting. Recently I have even been considering whether or not I may need to look into getting prescription meds to help me manage it all.

Now, I know that many people have strong feelings about the use of medication to treat mental health disorders. Some feel they are an evil that should be avoided at all cost, while others say that they are absolute life savers. Personally, I am not for or against using meds. I have not been on any kind of medication for a very very long time – but the reason for that is that I have had some very severe adverse reactions to a number of drugs (both ones to treat physical and emotional ills), and for that reason my GP is very reluctant to start me on anything I’ve not been on before. Also, the one psycho-pharmaceutical I have ever been on without having one of those aforementioned severe adverse reactions happens to be one that is frighteningly high on the toxicity index, so – owing to a proven tendency to not stick to agreed safe dosages – I am rarely allowed to have even that. But, as I said, at the moment the anxiety is so bad that I am seriously considering trying to persuade my GP to let me have some sort of anxiety reducing chemical prescribed. (I’m not terribly hopeful that she will agree to do so; she once told me that she ‘doesn’t prescribe sleeping tablets for sleep’ in an attempt to not have to prescribe me an untested medication).

This kind of anxiety is kind of new to me. Or, at least having such frequent episodes is. I’ve had panic and anxiety attacks before, and I am a pro at getting exceptionally anxious about anything that could possibly go wrong – but I’ve never had multiple episodes every day. I am very used to suffering from PTSD flashbacks – I have those all day, every day – but this is something very different. As horrible as the flashbacks are (and they really are truly disturbing, each and every one of them), at least once I have managed to come out of them, I know what they were about; there is a distinct traumatic event attached to each one of them. But these anxiety attacks.. I really don’t know what to make of them.

Of course P. and I will continue to explore them, and hopefully they will get better. But for now.. it’s really tough.

Anyway, I think I’ll end this post here. It’s not quite the update I would have liked to write, – but I guess it is what it is.

To all of you out there,
be good to your Selfs


9 responses

  1. Thinking of you, my friend. Anxiety is that deep gut wrenching feeling that I would give my one wish up on to dispel from my life. I have always relied on medication to help me fight my anxiety and throughout my life it has saved me from that feeling of doom or at times has tipped me right to the edge. It really is a trial and error to find the medication that suits you. Owing to my treatment resistant depression I have tried many different meds with my body rejecting the majority of SSRIs and SNRIs. Last year I made the decision to try a tricyclic and it’s helped me immensely. However, many professionals are prone to sticking with the more modern medications due to toxicity and safety concerns. I do admire people that face their demons without medication but it’s never been possible for me to withdraw without my symptoms rearing their ugly head again. Medication for me has always played a big part in my recovery and I think that some people genuinely need medication to thrive in life. Let me know how you get on xx

  2. Hey Stevie, my dear. Isn’t anxiety just horrible..? I’m still deciding whether or not to give anxiety meds a go – but, that in itself is making me anxious. Ironic, isn’t it? I have lots of friends who use medication to help them manage, and I think that’s great. And I’m really happy that they’ve helped you. (Although, of course I wish you didn’t have to struggle with depression and anxiety at all). Like I wrote, I’m neither for nor against medication. The two things that get me most when I hear people discuss the topic is a) people who feel that they are somehow better than others because they are managing without meds (thereby shaming people who do use them, adding stigma), and b) when one person tells another that “Oh no, you’re on medication X. That one is utter crap, it doesn’t work. You need to get your GP to give you medication Y – it’s the ONLY one that works” rather than doing what you just did; explaining that this is what has or hasn’t worked for you, personally. Sorry that I’m slightly high jacking your comment with this long reply, Stevie; I had actually written about this in my original post, but edited it out, because I didn’t want to risk boring my readers by going on too much about meds. So, thanks for giving me the opportunity to expand upon it here.
    Anyway, Stevie – it’s really good to hear from you. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen you! I still think of you every time I have Maltesers. :)
    Take good care of your Self, my lovely.

  3. Ohhh Maltesers still my fav :-). In my opinion, what meds are best is very individual and try not to let others opinions skew your decision about it. What may work well for one may not for another. It also depends on your genetic makeup, symptoms and what you want from a med for example, some are more sedating and you take at night whereas some are more stimulating and take in the morning. Some people also need a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotics to to stabilise their mood. This combination also works welcome people with treatment resistant depression where the antipsychotic boosts the effectiveness of the antidepressant. As a general rule of thumb most professionals start with SSRIs, then go to the next group of SNRIs if no success. I have researched this thoroughly and many people find that tricyclics are less prone to ‘poop out’ which I have experienced many times. I tread very carefully with GPs as find their knowledge of psychiatric medication very limiting and I have much more knowledge than they do. They often don’t do anything as they are too scared to adjust my meds. It really varies from GP to GP but I have had most success with psychiatrists. I trust them much more. For me I have great hang ups about taking medication and often resent taking tablets but for me it’s a choice between functioning well and being able to work and actually enjoy some parts of everyday living as opposed to living every day in deep despair xx

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