Anxiety · Medication

The anxiety marathon

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The other night, my thoughts run, trip, stumble over each other. Round and round and round and round and round in bloody dizzy circles.

I spend the night making mental lists. Running over what it is I need to do and when. Over and over, until the mental list is no longer suffice and I need to put it all on paper. Again. I have written and rewritten the same list several times over the past couple of weeks.

I don’t feel any more in control when it is out of my head and on paper. I feel just as panicked, just as worried, just as desperate a need to get it all done NOW NOW NOW as I had a few minutes prior.

It’s the same problem. The same grid. The same need for things to be In Control. Organised.

For all the list writing, for all the rumination, it just will not stop until it’s done. Fini. Ticked off the goddamned list.

I am spinning in circles at the minute. Going over the same thing, the same list of worries, incessantly. It is tiring. Draining. Exhausting.

The other night I flit in and out of the living room, asking mum questions about posting a letter. Which way should I put it in the envelope? What sized envelope? What if the envelope is too thick? This form is dated 2015- will they still accept it? Question after question, each answer met with another worry. Letter finally sealed, mum jokes “what can we find for you to worry about next?”

It’s true though, it’s neverevereverever ending. I am running an anxiety marathon. Every hurdle I overcome, every time the end is in sight, the finish line is pushed back and from nowhere, more hurdles appear. Every time I complete a lap of the field, I am told I have another left to run.

And that’s what it’s like. Nonstopnonstopnonstop. Most of my worries are menial. Silly, irrelevant things that most people wouldn’t give much thought. And it is hard to give examples when it is everything. It’s like, there’s the big worries, that provide constant background noise, and the menial worries, that are like running commentary- worries that are generated by whatever it is I’m doing. So all the time my brain is whirring away, worrying about Big worries and worrying about everything else in between.

Overdrive, overloaded. I clench my jaw day in, day out. Headaches from too much thinking leave my vision blurred and curled up in bed with nausea. I pick the skin from my nails until they are red and raw and bleeding. Wash my hands until my knuckles are cracked and dry. At work, I glow with sweat, douse myself in deodorant, serve customers with trembling hands and a pounding heart and a brave smile. My chest tightens, constricts, squeezes the air out from it and I blink back tears and try to Keep It Together. I swallow diazepam that does nothing, stare back at pinprick pupils under dropping eyelids and struggle to make the words come out of my mouth through the thorazine fog. At night, my eyes blink awake in the darkness as the meds that sedate me all day let my brain run wild at night.

I. Just. Want. A. Break.

I feel trapped with the thorazine. I got the prescription filled last Friday. Was too afraid to take it til Wednesday. Panicking after the pharmacist’s reluctance to fill it due to the interaction between it and lithium, and a quick google search that threw up the words ‘brain damage’. I see the nurse on Tuesday who assures me it is A-OK to take. Perfectly safe, the psych is a whizz with meds and knows what he’s doing. She offers to call him anyway to double check. It is Wednesday morning when she gets back to me. Still, I worry. Eventually I take it, thinking at the very least if it all goes tits up and my jaw locks or I collapse on the ground, I’ll get a few hours off work. Anxiety, that day, being particularly debilitating. Two hours later, I am zonked. Think I might have to ask to go home after all.

And I am frustrated. Because it is too difficult to work when I am feeling as on edge as I am, and it is too difficult to work when I am as sedated by the medication used to treat it as I am. But I keep being told it Works. The thorazine is Good. It will Really Help. It’s a Lot Stronger than the buspirone.

So I just feel a bit damned if I do, damned if I don’t at the minute, until I can ride this out and see if I can adjust to it.

I don’t know. I just feel plagued. The dirt has been a big thing this week. So much so I’ve started taking hand sanitiser onto the shop floor with me. I haven’t used it yet, because, obviously, I am worrying that I am just rubbing the dirt into my skin rather than getting rid of it. I have tried to challenge myself a bit. Not go back and fix things until they feel Right, trying to rationalise that they won’t ever feel Right, that there will always be something else to fix, but it’s hard, because then my brain just feels like a big tangle. Scrambled egg.

Thinking about this is hard. I feel like I can’t convey how truly engulfing it is, how much it is taking over my brain. How desperate I am for a day off, a couple of hours off. My therapist set me the task of writing down how long it is when I sit down to relax before I start worrying about something, and to note what it is. I am finding it impossible to do, impossible to pinpoint, because it’s just there. A big BLAHHHHHHHH, all the time.

 

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2 thoughts on “The anxiety marathon

  1. I am sorry you are going through this, and whatever combination of medication, therapy and support you are getting I hope that it all starts to come together and make a difference soon. You are a talented writer, and obviously a very intelligent, thoughtful and lovely person who has the capacity to make a real difference by the way you are able to capture and share your opinions and experiences (you are already doing this!) – and nursing needs people like you : )

    Re medication: do give the thorazine a good go, but if you still don’t find it’s helping then I would suggest considering pregabalin – it has made such a big difference to me, without being sedating – and although I started taking it mainly to try and help with somatic symptoms of anxiety, I’ve also been amazed to find I’m feeling MUCH more ‘chilled out’ about the kinds of things (just like you describe in your post) that I used to worry and obsess over every tiny detail of. Decision-making is easier, and I feel so much more able to not micro-plan everything in advance.

    Obviously I’m still prone to all of this…and still have some anxiety symptoms – BUT it has calmed down a hell of a lot considering I’m on the lowest possible therapeutic dose, which is good as I know if things get stressful I may be able to increase a bit.It’s also helped with sleep.

    Anyway – just something to consider, maybe. It’s a good medication, and one that has become more widely used for anxiety in the last few years. Some GP’s are sniffy about prescribing it, but a psychiatrist should have experience in using it, and know it it might be suitable for you.

    Take care and hope things improve.

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  2. I’m really sorry you’re experiencing this. It’s no fun. It’s totally understandable that you want some kind of break from it all. I’ve not been on the same meds that you mention, but with any medication for anxiety or depression I’ve had a horrible couple of weeks (sometimes longer) of adjusting to it. I really get what you mean by “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” – it’s either feel terribly on edge and worked up, or like a zombie who can’t function. It’s hard to know which is better. But it will pass, and if for any reason it doesn’t, there will be a different medication you can try. Something WILL fit for you and your body, but I know that when you’re in the eye of the storm it’s hard to imagine that. I hope you start to feel some relief really soon xx

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