Friday, May 30, 2014

Mental Health-Anxiety, a Background

So I said a few days ago that I was going to start posting about my anxiety and the treatment I'm receiving for it.

So to expound on the background, I was diagnosed in October of 2011 with generalized anxiety. This came about because I'd had a panic attack while alone in a hotel room, and didn't know what it was. Our end of year self-reviews for my job were due that night, and I just started shaking and crying and it felt like someone was sitting on my chest, and I thought I might be sick. I called my mother who had experienced the same kind of attack, so she talked me through it.

Once I had a name for the sensation, I realized I'd had several over the past months, but none so severe as to be debilitating, prior.

I went to see a gynecologist because as far as I could tell they appeared to loosely line up with my period. She figured that between timing and my friends (rightly) considering me rather bitchy the week of my period, that it could be PMDD, so she started me on Zoloft and a pill birth control so that I would be able to take the Zoloft the week prior and during my period. She also told me that I could take the Zoloft daily if I felt it was helping more than just the week prior to my periods.

I wound up taking it daily, as it helped even my moods out a lot. But as can happen with meds, I was one of the people who had side effects with Zoloft, so she switched me to Prozac.

Prozac was magic. I'd not realized it, but I'd had worry and anxiety buzzing in the back of my mind pretty much constantly. The Prozac silenced that. After I started the Prozac I had one more panic attack then they just stopped.

As a result of changing jobs and thus insurances, I allowed my prescription for the Prozac to lapse for the first time since I'd gotten it back in 2011. So from February this year to late April, I was without my security blanket of the Prozac.

Whole I did manage to go those months without a panic attack, it was a stark reminder that my brain does not function "normally". I like me and my personality better with the help of the medicine. I don't stress over my job nearly as much, and I feel like I am much happier overall.

With the new health insurance I actually had to go see a psychiatrist to get a sign off on the medicine, and I am now seeing a therapist as well. The psychiatrist updated my diagnoses to "generalized anxiety", which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

My therapist is having me start to meditate. Which as an ex-Christian, feels kind of odd as there is some overlap between the discipline for meditation and how I was taught to pray. So far the most difficult part of that for me has been getting my mind to focus on a single thing: breathing. I'm supposed to work on only focusing on that. Problem for me is that I have the ability(?) to hold multiple thought in my head at a time, provided my attention isn't being further split by something like a conversation. So while I'm trying to focus on breathing, I'll have one part of my internal monologue going, "breathe-in....out...." And simultaneously I'll wind up with a second part going, "ooh Squirrel!"

I assume that means I need more practice in getting my mind to shut up an focus on one thing.

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