Saturday, February 11, 2017

Panic & Peace.

It's been a roller coaster of a week. At first, I wasn't doing great on the Wellbutrin, then after a couple days on it, I was starting to see glimpses of light and I could read more than a page of a textbook and I was starting to think better about myself and the world...But the wheels of anxiety were starting to turn anew in my mind, creaking back to life and then whirring faster and faster. My brain was feeling more and more like a whirlwind of "What ifs" and "WhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdo", etc.

Tuesday, I woke um in the wee hours of the morning and felt like I couldn't breathe. Then it happened again in class later that morning. I had never had a panic attack that felt quite like that before. The mind-whirring anxiety continued. I couldn't shut my brain off. I couldn't stop obsessing over the question of what I should do with my future.

Today, I had been awake about an hour and was sitting in bed, trying to do some reading for a paper, when suddenly an indescribable pain clutched my abdominal region, spread up to the left side of my chest, and simultaneously struck in the left side of my head. I was terrified. What the hell was happening to me? It really felt like a heart attack or something. I faintly cried for help and my sister gave me a heating pad to put on my stomach. I clutched it to me, even though it wasn't that sort of pain. I lay down and stared at the ceiling, panicking. What was happening? What the hell was happening?

Thankfully, the pain subsided in maybe ten minutes, thought the ache in the left side of my head remained. I kept half-joking to my sister that I had had an aneurysm. I picked my book back up, determined to actually work hard today.

The slight headache remained and worsened and I started to feel worse and worse. I remembered that I might have forgotten to take part of my Klonopin dose last night, so I wondered if I was going through withdrawal I took a small amount to alleviate the symptoms and rested.

After dinner, I forged on in my reading. But it just got harder and harder. The house seemed to get louder, the sound of water running in the kitchen became more grating. My ears were ringing just hearing it. Then my head started to feel like it was turned to a static channel on the radio. I abandoned my reading as my head became too "noisy" and "busy".

I felt my torso fill with a similar panic-y feeling; everything was topsy turvy, like my insides were a bunch of bingo balls in a cage, being spun round and round. My heart felt like it was both fluttering and pounding. My stomach was full of butterflies that were escaping to frolic around the rest of my midsection. I kept getting waves of panic feelings, hitting me anew. It was frustrating. I just wanted to do my stupid homework. But I was in such an agitated state, I couldn't focus on anything.

I think both of these occurences today were probably panic attacks. The weird thing is that they were different iterations from the ones I'm used to experiencing - different symptoms, different feeling. But a little research into Wellbutrin's side effects revealed that panic attacks and extreme increases in anxiety are semi-common side effects.

And my shrink insisted that Wellbutrin had next to no side effects.


I'm tired of the b.s. and I'm tired of people messing around with my head and my life and taking my money, pocketing it, and sending my to the secretary to schedule a med check a month out, barely giving me a method to contact them should something go wrong. Like, if I was ever suicidal, I wouldn't know how to get in touch with my psychiatrist in a timely manner. That is ridiculous.

I guess I'm just frustrated at how out of touch these people seem with things. You're effing around with my well-being, my chance to do well in school and make a career, my chance to live...literally. There were times my bad medication reaction took me to such a bad place, that I was suicidal. But the doctor will get back to you within twenty-four hours.

Medication saved my life - I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't been able to get on Klonopin so I could start sleeping again the one semester panic attacks kept me up almost all night, every night. But it also ruined it; I had to give up everything because of the depression that my meds caused. It was devastating, heartbreaking. It gets frustrating when people who didn't see that, live that, feel that, don't listen to you or take the time to really evaluate what is best for you as an individual, not just what they learned in class in their manual. It's frustrating to try and communicate over a decade of struggle into a thirty-minute interview.

I know these people are trying, but on another level, I sometime feel a certain level of robotic detachment, even apathy. And that frustrates me because every day I feel turmoil. And all they give me is detached, distant once-a-week therapy or once-a-month med checks. Where do I turn when I'm spiraling? Where do I turn when I question if it's all worth it?

I'm going to call my doctor once the business week starts and tell her I'm going off of the frickin' Wellbutrin. If the anxiety is this bad now, it will likely only get worse. And I don't want to turn back into the girl lying in the fetal position in her bed barely able to murmur, "I can't" when her sister asked why she hadn't gone to class yet. I don't want to be the girl who leaves her group work partners hanging and gets those shameful "W's" on her transcript because she's too anxious to leave the house any more. I'd really like to graduate, thanks very much, and I'd like to do so with flying colors, not dragging myself with bloody fingernails to the finish line.

One last thought before I sign off: This evening as all this anxiety was going on, I also had another emotion: inferiority. I felt ashamed of being so "crazy" and "unstable" and of not being able to function and keep it together. That silly lie of, "Maybe I need to try harder and this is all my own fault" crossed my mind.

I felt inferior to the people who relish travel instead of feeling terrified of being stuck in a plane or vehicle, hurtling away from the safe, known to the insecure, unknown. I felt inferior to the people who set off with a few dollars in their pocket to pursue their dreams 1,000 miles from home. I felt inferior to carefree, well-adjusted, sociable, amiable, gregarious people who have perfect white teeth and can do no wrong. The truth is, I felt inferior to one person in particular, who shall remain unnamed.

But I have a struggle. I don't know why. I was born with it. Most of the people who cross through my life will never know about it. Most of my life I will probably be affected by it. But I'm trying. I'm fighting. And I'm trying to make a difference and encourage others and change at least the little circle where I have a bit of influence. A lot of the beautiful people out there can't necessarily say the same.

People might not get your struggle, but it's real. It's hard. It's amazing that you are still fighting. My hat goes off to you, friend. I hope you keep up the good fight. I hope you don't let others make you feel inferior for feeling. For fighting. For being who you are.

People may think you're weak because you struggle so much, but you're strong for getting through days tougher than some could ever even imagine.

Here's to you, friend.

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