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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 ...


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2013 12:22 pm (UTC)
Great to hear that you're looking at therapy on the NHS. I couldn't be more positive in the experiences I've had doing that. First it was 16 weeks of CAT therapy (with a very strong recommendation from my NHS chinical psychologist to try mindfulness meditation, which was a brilliant tool, too) and now I'm mid-referral for psychodynamic therapy. After that is complete we will then decide whether I still need treatment for checking behaviour/OCD and insomnia.

So yes, one very happy customer here.
Apr. 3rd, 2013 12:25 pm (UTC)
Sorry, didn't actually say in that comment. CAT was brilliant, and truly life-transforming for me in terms of behaviour patterns, relationships with others and in how much I actually like myself.
Apr. 16th, 2013 07:51 am (UTC)
What does the acronym stand for?
Apr. 4th, 2013 07:47 am (UTC)
Unfortunately my first round of therapy with the NHS was completely useless - it felt like the woman was playing games with me to guess what she wanted to me to say and I got bored of it pretty quickly. I was certainly neither improved nor filled with better insights when it was over.

What is CAT therapy? I am only familiar with cat therapy.
Apr. 21st, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
:) I bet cat therapy is ace. :)

CAT is Cognitive Analytical Therapy. It did wonders for me and for at least one of my friends. You can get a referral through the NHS.
Apr. 22nd, 2013 11:34 am (UTC)
This actually seems really similar to Schema therapy in terms of its grounding except for there being a time limit to the therapy and focus on certain goals. I actually came out of schema therapy in pretty good shape but need to focus more on my "now" and less on my "then."
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 4th, 2013 07:46 am (UTC)
What kind of side effects did you have?
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 4th, 2013 09:55 am (UTC)
Ooh. She mentioned the hangover feeling. But this is all way better than, say, vomiting or panic attacks.
Apr. 4th, 2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
I've been taking amitriptyline for a few months now. The only side effects have been slight dry mouth and a lot of morning grogginess which went away at 10mg after about 3 weeks, but is still an issue after a couple months at 20. Not too bad if I take it no later than 8pm. And it's made an enormous difference to my pain and functioning. I've been able to chop up three different ingredients in a row for dinner rather than have to do it throughout the day or resort to frozen.
I talked to the GP and pharmacist as well as the rheumatologist and amitriptyline really does affect people differently though dry mouth, drowsiness and constipation are most common.

Welcome to the chronic illness club, sorry the perks are non-existent.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 16th, 2013 07:53 am (UTC)
I really appreciate this, thank you.
Apr. 16th, 2013 07:54 am (UTC)
Yeah it is a totally perk free club. But it's nice to have some other members to help you figure out the rules.

Sorry you felt so badly yesterday, sounded awful.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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