April 3rd, 2013

Sea dragon

The madness of King George

Even though it was entirely caused by medically prescribed pharmaceuticals, my confidence - not self-confidence, but my belief I can actually manage to get by from day to day - has taken a really bad hit from the temporary mental instability caused by my bad reaction to the sertraline last week. I slept poorly last night and (less so) this, and I'm waking up afraid I'm going to freak out and not be able to get through the day, one step on the road to just being crazy all of the time (and no possibility of having a parental or sororal house to go to to recover my sense of self, just a quick trip to the home for incurables).

This just really sucks. I know that a bit of the label for what I am experiencing right now is anxiety, but what I am also experiencing is fear. I am afraid.

(Once again, while I realize this is all a bit much for a public post, I believe that somewhere out there is somebody else, either now or in the future, who will read this and find it helpful, either as a roadmap or a history. So I try again to tell the raw truth, the ups and the downs, and not just post happy bunny stuff that makes people go, "Aw, kittens!")

Off to the doctor for another check up in about ten minutes. First we'll see how the panic attacks are coming along, and then I'm going to see what we can do about helping me get an entire night's sleep, preferably during the night and not scattered across the week.
Sea dragon

Dr visit

BP 137/97. Better than last week but first diastolic was 104 so really in a state of high stress.


Talked to doctor about history of sleep issues. There are a bunch of drugs you can take, as well as "sleep hygeine" (I do all this already, IE don't read in bed) and therapy, but with over six years of sleep issues she didn't think the non-medical approaches were likely to work. She was suprised I have melatonin, but of course that doesn't work for more than two nights in a row. So the options are: "hypnotic" antihistamines (Phenergan/Sominex, I have but build tolerance quickly), the benzedrine family (Xanax is one), the "zed" drugs (can't remember what they were), and Amitriptaline, "an old fashioned non-addictive drug used both for sleep disorders and depression."


Bennies and zeds are both addictive so they're out, or going out: I've been using Xanax daily since Deecember to try to manage the anxiety that sets off the urticaria but we're now going to tail that off with a 25% reduction per week until I'm down to zero (and then leave it in the medicine cabinet for actual panic attacks).


I'm now prescribed the Amitriptaline but at a dose that's about 1/10th what's used for depression: I'm going to experiment with it on the weekend to see how hard it hits me and how long it lasts, and see if I can come up with a dosage regime that will enable me to take it and still be good for work. And also I want to really make sure it doesn't have a bad effect on my brain juice. Your feedback on your experiences welcome.


Also, I am going to see if I can get another round of counseling on the NHS, but this time a round of CBT strictly focused on a lifestyle approach to stress reduction. Getting away from the anxiety caused to me by the negativity I see in social media is one step (prescribed by the doctor in December but difficult to implement fully as it's also a place where I can get a lot of support); avoiding people I consider non-supportive; making a concerted effort to spend time with people I trust; probably some more exercise as I continue to be able to handle it; but that's all I've been able to come up with on my own. I'd like someone from the outside to help me with coming up to an approach to fixing my life (and my head) so every little thing isn't making me have a fear/panic/attack adrenaline freakout ... with bonus welts, swelling, and exhaustion thanks to the urticaria tie in.


But you know, one day at a time. This week the goal is to try to get through work every day and try to get enough sleep at night. And I'd like to not wake up gone all blotchy and swollen in the face like I have the last two days (cue full makeup today). And to write one more review, for J's new show. Baby steps ...


And the pharmacist says

Pharmacists here in the UK operate quite differently than they do in the US, as they provide extensive information about the drugs you are prescribed and can do some kinds of minor diagnoses in a way that sort of a nurse practitioner would in the US. So I sat down and had a visit with the guy (Mr Shah) I got my new stuff from today.

First, he was very concerned about my taking Sertraline at the same time. I was happy to tell him I was off of it.

Second, he said no drinking while I was taking it.

Third, he said there was a bit of a build up time for this to level out ... I actually wish I'd been taking notes. But he advised for me taking a softly-softly approach, and just aiming (eventually) for one every other day so I could keep a certain amount active in my system. He said I could take one or two depending on what worked for me.

Fourth, he said the side effects were likely to include a certain amount of grogginess in the morning, and a dry mouth - rather like a hangover, as my doctor said.

Anyway, we'll give this a trial run this weekend, and if things go okay, start transitioning on to it in two weekends, over the 12th. And the other stuff, based on what the doctor and I came up with, I'll be done with it some time around the end of the month.

Overall: urgh. And I still need to see the specialist about the urticaria. Bleah bleah and bleah.
Angry White Poodle

What are you really looking for in a life partner?

I am coming out of one of the worst weeks of my life. I'll probably be mostly recovered with just a bit more sleep, but the fear of ... everything I thought would happen, that I would never actually be better again, that I might be too afraid to ever walk out of the door of my flat again, will probably stay with me forever.

Jason and I just spent six days with each other, and the two nights before then and the night after. He selflessly looked after me all of this time and when I huddled miserable and afraid on the couch or in the bed, scared that I was just going to be like this nonstop forever, he sat there and cuddled me and told me I would be fine and reminded me of the good spots from just the day before and told me to be patient, I was getting better day by day. He did not get impatient with me. He was encouraging and supportive and utterly wonderful and I could honestly think, as I hugged him during the many hours I spent awake in bed (3 AM, 4 AM, 5 AM, 6 AM) that I was really and truly safe because he was there and he would make sure I was okay and looked after, fed when I needed food, protected from any bad stuff.

I spent a long time worrying during the last few years that, if I ever got sick, I would be suddenly abandoned and left to fend for myself. A life partner, I always thought, would stick with you through all of that ugly stuff and not complain about getting bored or about how you were ruining their good time because it was the middle of a party and suddenly you were immensely sad and you needed to leave. And I felt the lack of someone I had that kind of bone-deep trust acutely, even though I tried to not think about it. There's boyfriend material and then there's husband material. Jason was always husband material.

Jason proved to me the last week how right my feelings were about him from the very start, back in 1991, about, how, to the bone, he is the kind of person I could utterly trust to be loving and carrying and not keeping a tally to make sure we were "even" with each other: we were partners in the very deepest way. And partners don't keep score.

I am so glad to have him back in my life. And I'm glad to see how very right I was about the kind of person he is. And now I'm going to miss him every night he doesn't spend with me, but that's okay. I think I've found the little spot where he is always and that can take care of me when he is away.