Thursday, July 12, 2007

Go Ask Alice

Even though this is a personal blog and I'm here to write about my personal experiences, my feelings and reflections on life, I have to admit I do a bit of censoring. Because this is out there on the World Wide Web and I don't know exactly who is reading this, I keep some things private: my daughter's and husband's first names or faces, our last name, exactly where we go to work or to school. I really don't want that personal information out their for people to access.

But I've also been keeping some issues off of this blog. I've alluded to them from time to time, but because it involves other people I don't go into details. It's really not for the public domain, and I don't want anything I say here coming back to haunt me.

However, these issues (along with the ones I do mention openly here) have been getting worse lately, as you can tell from my Saturday run-away-from-home freak-out. Since then my nerves have been shot; every little minuscule irritation has been a major event, and every time I think I can get through a day without some incident setting me off, I seem to get sandbagged when I least expect it. Then came this morning.

It's been several years since I had a full-blown anxiety attack. But I recognized it oh so well; the shaking hands, the racing pulse, the panicky thoughts and feelings of helplessness and being overwhelmed by everything. It's a scary thing.

And it made me realize that yep, today, July 12, I have hit the wall. I have been doing everything I can to get me through these issues: the talk therapy, the cognitive behavioral therapy and biofeedback involved in Intuitive Eating; relaxation techniques and meditation; journal writing here on the blog and reaching out to others in online IE groups. But despite all of this, I seem to be spiraling into this vortex of stress and anxiety and can't seem to find a way out.

So I picked up the telephone with my shaky hands and called my doctor's office. They had an appointment open this afternoon, and I took it.

I had two surprises when I went to the appointment. Number one, despite what felt like a horribly racing pulse, my blood pressure was 130/80. A little high, but much lower than I expected with as wired as I felt.

The other thing was the weight. Granted, I'm not thrilled with 224, about 10 pounds higher than what I was maintaining before my vacation, but I have maintained that weight ever since, which is better than continuing to gain.

The doctor came in and asked what was up, and I wished I had this blog to hand to her and say, "Here, read this." But I gave her the five-minute summary and let her know about the binge eating, the intuitive eating approach and my escalating stress and anxiety. I think she was impressed when I brought up my Internet reading on medications for anxiety in combination with eating disorders and the common use of SSRI drugs for treatment. These include Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, among others.

After some discussion of my symptoms, both with the General Anxiety Disorder (oh joy, another label) and the Binge Eating Disorder, it was agreed that I would try Lexapro. Apparently this drug is supposed to have less side effects and is tolerated better than some of the other SSRIs. She gave me a three-week sample, and I'm to go back in two weeks to see how I'm doing.

My doctor commented twice that she was impressed with my "insight" and thought I was on the right track with the methods I'm taking to recover.

I'm trying not to see this as defeat, but rather taking care of myself the best way I know how. Yes, I've hit a low point emotionally, but I was able to recognize immediately when it was getting beyond my capabilities to handle alone and when I needed some help. And maybe this is what I need to do to get me through what is becoming the most difficult challenge of my life.

I don't expect any magic results from this or any other pill. I don't expect my anxiety or urges to binge to miraculously disappear. But if this medicine can take the edge off my frazzled nerves and help me work through what's causing the anxiety and urges to binge, then it can be a tool in my growing bag of tricks to beat this thing.

Thanks to Lori for not only helping to get me through this harrowing day, but for giving me the title for today's post. Mabel and I just watched "Alice in Wonderland" a few days ago, so when Lori gave me this title, it made me smile and remember just how wacky that book and movie is. And of course I can't forget the killer song by Jefferson Airplane.

Today wasn't great. It could have been worse. Things will get better.


Jen said...

I, too, suffer from Generalize Anxiety Disorder. My decision to take meds (Zoloft) has improved my life, and the lives of all around me. It did not solve my problems; it simply let me be calm enough to use the tools I had learned to solve problems or to cope with them. I like to use this analogy: everyone has a hamster in a wheel in their head. My hamster was on crack! I couldn't stop dwelling on things and ruminating. The medicine got my hamster off crack. I still get anxious, but I can get through it now. Yes, I've experienced a few side effects, but nothing too severe, most went away, and being able to stop being a stressed out freak is worth it. I hope this goes well for you, and I'm proud of you for knowing when to ask for help. I know that it is not an easy thing to do.

Ty said...

I'm sorry that you've been having a rough time but it seems that you have to sometimes hit a wall before you do what you need to do to make things better.

You know where I'm at right now and that is what happened with me.

And no, medication isn't the complete answer but it will make it easier to do what you need to do in getting better.

Take care!

daisyk said...

I, too, am on a number of anxiety-related med's. The nicest thing about the SRI's is that when you wake up on the morning after a bad or difficult day, it's like you've been given a clean sheet to start over on. there's less "life-hang-over" & more room to breathe.

it's OK to give yourself -- & your poor over-taxed brain -- a break.

Beula said...

"Generalized Anxiety Disorder." There is a name for it? I thought I was just "nervous." I have had panic attacks in the past. I "treated" them by looking in the mirror and saying "Okay just die and get it over with." And then waiting. If I didn't drop dead I figured I was okay. Not a very effective treatment.

My mother took so much stuff I swore I would never take anything to help with my "nerves." And I never have, officially. Sugar and fat however work as good as Zoloft I imagine. Other than those pesky side and back and front effects. I applaud your courage to take care of yourself. That is really what is at the heart of the fat thing. The inability to care for and about ourselves. I learn everyday how to better care for myself from reading your blog. Today is no exception. Thanks

P.S. Mark and Beula are not our first names either. I do live in Wyoming with no water however.