Archive for the ‘Anxiety’ Category

…a bit belated. I hadn’t realised it had been so long since I updated, but the holidays will do that to you.

I barely know where to start, really. We had cycles of very cold (for my region) and then unseasonably warm weather which played havoc with my arthritis, in particular my hands (not to mention things blooming unseasonably, so allergies are in full swing already). The tendinitis “trigger thumb” in my right hand has been very painful and even with wearing a splint at night it still wakes me up at times. In fact, my overall pain got so bad that I went on a ten-day taper of steroids to help put it in check (which I loathe doing). It helped, for the most part.

All this has been a bit more hectic since my rheumatologist has left the practice and relocated outside of my area. I haven’t met my new “temporary” doctor yet, but had to get bloodwork done to renew my prescriptions. Thanks to changes in my supplemental medical coverage this ended up being a three-way paperwork fest which was finally resolved as of this morning and resulted in me missing only one week of medication. It has been stressful, to say the least, in addition to trying to dodge round after round of colds and flu at work. I had actually managed to accrue some sick time at work and then had to use it all on a chest cold that took out half of my team (luckily I had a light variant, but I am constantly wiping everything down with antibacterial cloths).

Without going into too much detail, I also began seeing a women’s doctor again. With the medications I take it’s not safe if I became pregnant, but the medication I was taking was having significantly bad side effects. Just as I get a referral and have an introduction appointment I’m notified that the new doctor’s practice and my health insurance have not renewed and the end date is alarmingly soon, so I was in a rush to get my meds changed before the cost-off. I was able to my medical appointment done and now am adjusting to the new medication, but I feel like it’s a taste of the direction that women’s medicine has been going in this country for quite a while now. I’m not going to go into politics here, but it added significantly to my stress, which I did not need in the least.

In good news my left foot is much better with just a little stiffness in the early mornings, which is probably the new normal. My Christmas gift to myself was a reclining bicycle, and hubby’s gift was cleaning up the spare room to make space for it. I only used it twice last week, so my goal for this week is three times. I have had to start much slower than I expected (10 minutes 30 seconds and 12 minutes 30 seconds respectively) but I am still adjusting settings. Building up my thighs will help my right knee not overextend, so it’s better not to push too hard. I feel like it is already helping my lower back which has been particularly bad this past week- so any progress there is welcome.

Not much else going on, really. I haven’t seen The Black Panther yet thanks to an unfortunate migraine yesterday, but will definitely see it this weekend- I’m so excited! It looks gorgeous and everything I’ve heard has been glowing so far.

One other gripe- I am still trying to adjust to diet to help avoid kidney stones. Hubby asked for a list of what I *can* eat since the list is getting so short. I really wish he was joking. It’s frustrating to say the least.

Oh- and I received all my medical statement summaries for last year. Without insurance I could have covered my prescriptions and had $5,000 left of my income. Which means that with my medical bills I would have been $35,000 in debt. I am grateful every day for my insurance- I honestly don’t know how I would be able to work full-time without it (which of course is it’s own source of stress, since I need to keep working to qualify, not to mention that hubby is covered under my insurance).



Read Full Post »

Promised Photos

Both not much and quite a bit going on last week. Lots of things going on with both our families. Still working out med changes with doc. Caught the random fever that was running around the office- went home Tuesday and was out Wednesday, so with the holiday it was a super-short week and I didn’t get much done. Hubby and I went to our favorite fondue joint Thursday night just because- I felt delightfully decadent. Weekend was relaxed and rain kept most of the fireworks to the 4th, which was a nice change (usually it’s a week-long noisefest in our neighborhood). I readjusted to my anxiety meds quickly, which is a relief. Some vivid dreams but no more nightmares since the first few days- yay! Was super-productive at work today, and since it was so quiet last week I’m already caught up.

This was my suite at the conference hotel. It was by far the nicest place I ever stayed. I won’t bore you with pictures of the foyer/hallway/bathroom (even if it *did* have TWO sinks!).

Past the bathroom on the right was the kitchen:

2014-06-16 13.51.12

Full fridge and a dishwasher! The most I used the stove for was heating water in the kettle. Very nice though. Past that was the living room area:

2014-06-16 13.51.03

(Not shown off to the right- one of two flat-screen televisions.) To the right of that…

2014-06-16 13.51.35

Yes, that’s a dining area for six. And then to the left of that was the bedroom area (with the second flat-screen tv):

2014-06-16 13.51.43

All of this was amazing enough, but what really got me was the view out the window:

2014-06-17 19.16.02

Yes, it was June, and yes, that’s snow.

2014-06-17 16.13.33


2014-06-17 17.54.10


Read Full Post »

Restarting Anxiety Meds

I mentioned before that I’m restarting my anxiety meds. I’ve only been back on a for few a days, but today is the first day that I noticed a difference- I’m so much more relaxed. I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders (hubby and I have a running joke about the permanent knot in my back). I swear my shoulders are two inches lower though, and being relaxed will not only help my stress levels but will probably lessen my neck and shoulder pain. Definitely a “well, DUH” moment there. My only wish is that this med didn’t give me crazy nightmares. It should ease off after a few weeks- one of the nice things about keeping this blog is that I can go back through my tags and see how I’m doing this time around compared to last time.

*Update: looking back, I made it a full six months without meds. It felt both longer and shorter than that.

Read Full Post »

This will probably be my main topic for a while, so it you find it as boring as dirt, please check back in a few weeks. Usually once I get my living space up to a certain standard of neat/organised then I calm down. And that’s really what all this is about- anxiety.

My anxiety is still the most difficult aspect of my health to be open about. I have been feeling overwhelmed lately, and I attack that by bringing my immediate environment under control. I get compliments at work all the time about how organised I am and how nicely decorated my office is. It’s very flattering, but when I say that I “have” to be organised or else I don’t function, well, the meaning just doesn’t get through. I keep my office in subdued lighting and very calm so I can focus and have a retreat when things are hectic. I sometimes I have to deal with very stressful situations for my job, so keeping a neutral environment is comforting when I have to do things that I know are anxiety triggers.

It doesn’t always succeed, unfortunately. Friday I found myself increasingly tense and on the verge of an anxiety attack. I left before things could get out of hand, but it’s very rare for me to “lose it” like that, especially at work. I have been off my anxiety meds for just about six months, but bad allergies and poor sleep for a week had put me on edge to begin with, and I just had no buffers left.

I think part of the anxiety stems from the fact that (if all goes well) in the next 6-12 months we’d like to sell our house and move someplace a bit nicer is the same area. I find myself looking around the house and thinking about what it will mean to get the house ready to sell, and pack everything up to move. We still have boxes that were never unpacked from our last move, and we have a lot more large pieces of furniture than we did last time around.

In all, channeling my anxiety into putter is good in the long run- it’s just an intensity of behaviour that I haven’t seen since before the anxiety meds, and I’m still readjusting. It’s good to get rid of the open container of spices that I last used in 2009, the over-the-counter treatments that have been replaced by prescriptions, and the three grocery bags of clothes that were too small for me one size ago and exploded all over the shelf in our closet and onto the floor. I am considering restarting my anxiety meds, but there are discussions with doctors going on (and I am changing away from my current endo, which was its own source of anxiety, so the new doctor might want to provide some input on any prescription changes).

Read Full Post »

Life Without Anxiety Meds

So, it’s been a few weeks now and the anxiety meds are completely out of my system… and I can tell. It’s a rather bittersweet experience and makes it very clear how much I both gain and lose when medicated.

I don’t talk about my anxiety here very much, partially because it is relatively mild and partially because it is (was) controlled. Off the meds, I am seeing some old behaviors resurfacing, and I have very mixed feelings about it.

For example, little things bother me more. I am honestly sitting here at work thinking about how I will clean the bathroom mirror when I get home because it is driving me crazy. It’s hardly the end of the world, but I keep thinking how much I want to clean it just so it will stop bothering me. Generally, this urge expresses itself in spontaneous cleaning binges- I take care of one thing and next thing I know I’ve gotten half a dozen things done. It means that my home is cleaner and more organized, but it also means that I am worrying about little things that really don’t mean anything when I need to focus on other tasks. The medication helped keep my moods even, but it also sapped some of my focus and motivation.

All this irritability and anxiety sometimes spurts out for ridiculous reasons because it has been building up. I find that exercise is a great way to get my head out of a rut and release tension, so you can imagine what happened when I was stressing out last night and found out that my new treadmill is not working… I wanted to put a fist through the wall *before* that- after I’m amazed that I didn’t completely ballistic (*and* our Internet was down, which is why this is being posted today instead of yesterday). Little frustrations suddenly turn into life traumas. I hate the feeling of being reliant on medication, but random anger for no good reason is not fun, either. It’s hard to find the good side of mood swings, but while the medication kept my lows from being too low, it also mean my highs were regulated as well.

Another example is the air gauge on my tires. With the cold weather my low tire pressure sensor was triggered. I drove on low tires for much longer than I care to admit before I did something about it. The indicator bothered me, but not nearly as much as I was anxious about filling my tires myself (I had never done it before). Honestly, last winter it got so ridiculous I had it done at a service station- I was willing to pay someone money to do a simple task rather than face my anxiety about filling the tires myself. This year I was determined to beat my anxiety and do it myself and finally did yesterday, but I recognize that it was a huge production over a fairly minor thing. I always have a tough time doing something new for the first time- I definitely didn’t miss this process of agonizing over something until I worked myself up enough to just get it done. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to figure out a positive spin on this, yet.

And I guess that sums up why I don’t talk about my anxiety very much- it’s so hard to do. When I write it out it sounds so trivial, but when I have an anxiety attack or burst into tears over a flat tire because I just can’t handle one more thing… so, yeah. The medication I was taking was not meant to be a maintenance medication, but I am seriously considering starting again. I have an appointment coming up in two weeks when I’ll talk about this with my doctor- until then I’m going to keep working on my coping mechanisms, but I’m having to relearn how I handled this before the meds and it’s a bumpy ride.

Read Full Post »