Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Depression and Anxiety are Ugly Things
I know that I have not been posting on my blog or even reading and commenting on friends blogs lately and I feel like I need to explain why. It's not that I don't want to visit and comment but I just don't have the energy to do so. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks and my OCD has been ramping up, I'm not sleeping well at all and am up most of the night and it is taking most of my energy to just hold it together at times. I do have happy times between these down times and my family has been wonderful about being there for me and understanding that I am not choosing to feel this way...it is just happening and I wish it would stop.
Last week it finally got to the point where I called my doctor's office in the middle of a panic attack and they were able to get me in within a few hours. They are wonderful! There was a new nurse there and she told me my blood pressure was a bit on the high side. I told her that was because my anxiety was really high. She told me that you could not tell by looking at me. I told her that I had gotten good at hiding it on the outside but was shaking on the inside. Later I realized that is what I had been trained to do from a very young age. I have survived through the years by faking calm when I am falling apart, scared and feel like a caged animal that needs to escape danger.
My compassionate doctor, who has been a huge blessing to me, and I talked about what was going on and came up with a new plan to help me. My anti anxiety medications are being adjusted, I have something to help me sleep (that is not working so far), will be getting some counseling to help me deal with the grief that comes with the loss of who I used to be and who I am now and I have a disabled parking placard to help me since walking can be painful and very tiring a good majority of the time. I think the thing that helped me the most though was my doctor looking me straight in the eyes and saying "This is not all in your head, what you are feeling is real and you are not alone. There are a lot of other people who have this (Fibromyalgia) out there and are going through the same things you are." He validated the fact that this syndrome is real and is multifaceted with so many painful things going on physically, emotionally and is totally draining and exhausting. The depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are just a few of the many symptoms that can come with this but honestly, they are some of the most challenging to deal with. Well that and the "brain fog" that frustrates me to no end. That makes it hard to focus and concentrate on anything and leads to more anxiety and depression and I also believe contributes to the OCD at times.
Living with the uncertainty of IF and WHEN you will get to sleep (last night I was awake until 5 this morning when I finally was able to sleep and here it is closing in on 2 a.m. now and I am still wide awake even though I am exhausted), what your pain levels will be like, if you will be able to walk without holding onto the walls or if you are out shopping if your legs, arms, and back will hold out until you are done is scary. It's not being able to get the words out or even find them in your cloudy mind. It's fighting back tears and pretending that everything is ok when people ask how you are doing because you don't want to let them down or let them see your pain and struggle. It's the confusion of having a manageable pain day one moment where you can do a load of laundry and the next being in horrible pain and having to sit or lay down trying to find some relief because regular OTC pain meds don't do a thing to help. It's unpredictable and it hurts to have to cancel plans with friends and family because of it and know that I am letting them down. It is also knowing that at this point, there is no cure for this thing and that I may have to live the rest of my life like this. And, it's the added financial burden for more meds, counseling costs, etc. and me not being able to work to help pay for all of it. That is a lot to deal with.
I'm sharing this because I need to get it out there. I'm not asking for sympathy, just understanding. I'm struggling at the moment and I hope that my sharing this will also help someone else who may also be struggling so that they too know that they are not alone. So please understand that if I don't always respond to comments, blog, read and comment on friend's blogs, it is not because I don't want to...it's because I just don't have the energy, can't focus or am putting everything I have into trying to just survive at the moment. I'm working on areas that I can to feel better and I hope to be back to being more upbeat and cheerful and at least regaining that part of my life soon. Thank you for understanding and God bless.