Giving it My Best Shot

Here’s the follow-up or more accurately, the prequel, to last week’s Random Ramblings.

Remember the “Good Things” Jar I talked about starting way back at the beginning of the year? I finally put my first “good thing” in it!! I’m sure there have been loads of other good things that have happened in the last few weeks, but I haven’t been aware of them. Actually, I haven’t been aware of much other than a completely consuming, foreboding sense of anxiety.

I went back to the doctor at the beginning of January and went back on Amitriptyline for the pain in my jaw or TMJ (Temporomandibular joint). My anxiety level was so heightened I went to the doctor a few days later and asked to be put on Zoloft, the same anti-anxiety medication the kids are on. The pharmacist told me it’s a mild medication so I thought this would be a good choice. Not so much.

My symptoms worsened. I was waking up in the middle of the night with full blown panic attacks – every night. After a week of this I looked back at the calendar and realized the intense panic attacks began 2 days after starting the Amitriptyline. I don’t believe in coincidences like that so I went back to the doctor. It was decided to go off the Amitriptyline and some of the anxiety decreased, but not all.

I kept taking the Zoloft hoping that after a few weeks (meds can take 2 to 4 weeks to see any change) I would begin to notice a change. After 2 weeks I was still experiencing severe anxiety – I couldn’t eat (on the upside I’ve lost about 12 pounds), was only able to sleep for a few hours at a time, was nauseated all day and had diarhhea. I was shaky, weepy, having suicidal thoughts, and a plethora (I love that word) of other symptoms.

One morning I decided to take the edge off by having a nap; sleeping for 2 hours at a time at night can cause drowsiness (and irritability) throughout the day. I’d only been asleep for about 20 minutes when I was awakened by a pounding sound. It took me a minute to realize it was my the sound of my own heartbeat in my ears. I checked my heart rate (thank God for grade 5 gym class) and it was 114 beats per minute. That’s pretty high. Especially considering when I exercise (ok, it was 2 years ago in July sometime, but I exercised) I can usually only get my heart rate up in the 80s.Β  After doing a bit of quick research it turns out Zoloft can cause an increased heart rate. I stopped taking the Zoloft that night.

NF0395T_NF_CEF

This has proven to be a life saver! I can feel myself calming within 5 minutes of taking it.

I went back to my doctor, again, and we agreed to forgo pharmaceuticals for now. I’ve been seeing my therapist regularly again and doing more Neurofeedback therapy . My therapist recommended I take some supplements to help with my healing process. I’m now taking B6, a vitamin B complex, Omega-3 fish oil (not the capsules, no no, the actual oil, which I have to drink with orange juice – mmmm, yummy fish oil in OJ – fish juice!! it’s the best) of which I take 6x the recommended amount (as per my therapist’s instructions) and Gabba. From Natural Factors.com:

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a natural calming and anti-epileptic agent in the brain. In fact, it is one of the brain’s most important regulators of proper function and neurotransmission. It appears that many people with anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, and other brain disorders do not manufacture enough GABA on their own.

I’m going to ask the kids’ psychiatrist about it for them. I am doing much better than I was a few weeks ago. I’m sleeping for 4 to 5 hours at a time now and am able to eat (I think I may have put a few pounds back on, darn-it-all). I’m also able to laugh again, which is a huge blessing.

I’ve been debating about sharing this poem with you for quite some time. I wrote it back in 2011 during a very dark time in my life. I hoped to never revisit that space, but I did this past month. I decided to share it because, well, it perfectly describes the head space I’ve been in.

the darkness

It’s an interesting journey, this thing called life. I’m so grateful for the friends and family who wouldn’t allow me to let go even though I wanted to. I’m giving it my best shot, this journey I’m on, I truly am.

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About Holly

I hope you're able to glean something from this blog, a nugget of wisdom, a new perspective, a smile or even a laugh. I enjoy getting feedback so please comment, share your story with me too. After all, we're here to help each other.
This entry was posted in anxiety, coping strategies, Mental health, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, suicide and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Giving it My Best Shot

  1. Love that you’re not opposed to vitamins and supplements to help! You know my brother was in the hospital last week, and one morning he had bad abdominal pains, and I asked (TMI, and gross, I know) him when was the last time he pooped. Well, it was 4 days ago, the day he was admitted. The nurse said “I’ll go see if we have some pills for that on hand” and I was like “whoa, uh, do you have any prune juice?” I asked my brother if he’d be willing to try a more natural approach before he took a pill – and to my surprise, he was! Sometimes the side effects can be worse than the medicine, and while I’m a big believer in better living through chemistry, I like to keep it natural when I can! I’m glad you are in a better place currently! Good to hear!

    • Holly says:

      It can be challenging to opt for a more natural approach. Often the natural remedies are more expensive (obviously, not prune juice, kudos to your brother, by the way) and more difficult to find. This little set back has put the fear of pharmaceuticals in me for sure.
      Thanks for your support and kind words. I hope your brother is feeling better and able to use the facilities πŸ˜‰

  2. I know this is not the point but I also like plethora.
    Anyway, it sounds like you have been on a rough rollercoaster lately. It’s great that you seemed to have found a holistic way that is helping.
    Your poem is powerful and raw. It ripples with emotion.

  3. Pingback: Catching Up | survivingthemadhouse

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