riddle me this.
What is worse: being sick or THINKING you are sick?
Anyone who has been a long time reader of the chronicle knows about the anxiety attacks I had before I left California, on my way to Atlanta and now the current batch.
Let me start with the latest batch:
My dad died on april 25, 2000. I was a wreck. An emotional and physical wreck. I took two weeks off from work to deal with myself and with the funeral and everything else combined. I laid, literally, on the couch watching the golden girls and crying. After the funeral, we came back to VA where the very next day we left to go to Virginia Beach for my court case against shelly. After coming back from that trip on a Friday (May 5th), I started feeling congested in my chest. I went to the doctor who said i was had a tad bronchitis and gave me drugs for it. Within a few days i felt better. Then starting in late june, i started feeling “weird” again (my only word to describe it). I went to see three separate doctors who said it was stress (and while you are at it, drop a few pounds quit smoking — you’ll feel better). And while that is all well and good — when i’m laid up all weekend due to such a severe anxiety attack I NEED RELIEF NOW!
so we tried Paxil. didn’t work.
and now i’m on klonopin (for schizos actually -teehee) which, after the first dose i slept for 14 hours and felt WONDERFUL when i woke up. But then the paranoia kicks in:
each ache and pain in my body is instant “i’m having a heart attack, i’m feeling sick, i’ve got cancer, i’ve got —-” and so goes in my head EVERY FUCKING DAY!
And going to bed was worse — because i started obsessing with death. oh, this isn’t the old morbid gawf crap — this was the “if i fall asleep, i’m dying. i’m not waking up.” and each fucking nuance of my body made me feel WORSE. and then i couldn’t sleep. and my heart would pick up pace and that freaked me out even more and on and on it would go. and it has been going on for a good month now.
so the other day i wrote about taking charge of my life. and i want to say a BIG THANK you to everyone that wrote me and said that they have gone through similar things because it’s so fucking lonely feeling like i’m the only one whose life is falling apart.
when I first started working at UUNet, a person i shall say became a very good friend said he thought it was remarkable that i was handling a new job, new move new everything with such aplomb. my job is fucking stressful. (sidebar: some nitwit started emailing me a few weeks ago accusing me of being someone else. and claimed something along the lines that we were lovers 17 years ago. 17 years ago i was 11. I kept telling him it wasn’t who he thought it was — i mean any idiot could find out anything about me if they tried hard enough. i’ve never been ashamed in giving out information. then he counters back “i have a few friends at uunet. you don’t work there. my bosses thought that was funny.) my life with paul is stressful. my life in GENERAL is stressful. and my body was saying LISA! WOOHOO time to wake up. And i started and am still taking babysteps in making those changes. i’ve tried giving up smoking (again, tonight, i’m smoking my last cigarette. the coughing and nasty taste in my mouth is making me sick). but what sucks is the day to day crap. because i freak out if my heartbeat accelerates and THEN i start panicking more so.
My doctor told me that when you have social anxiety disorder (or you are just darn anxious about something) every nuance of your body is explamified. Every pull, strain, bruise, tingle suddenly causes me to worry. so i sit there with my stupid “instant stress relief” music cds doing deep breathing for 10 minutes to calm down. and when i don’t? I freak again!
My heartbeat at rest is between 70-80. American Heart Association says normal is between 50-100 (thought chances are more so if you have a heartbeat over 70 of having a heart attack). Sometimes I hit 100 and other times 120. When I hit 120 — i keep thinking like fred sanford “I’M COMING ESTER! THIS IS THE BIG ONE!” and then i sit and have to do the stupid stress relief music and deep breathing exercises to bring it back down. My cholesterol, blood pressure and everything else is PERFECT. (however i am a woman who smokes/smoked and takes birth control pills). i’m overweight. but i’m healthy. i’m too young to be freaking out.
As you can see, my life is full of stressful events. But i started noticing things. When i started writing (shock) even just bullshit in my paper journal — i felt better. when i work out, i feel better. when i stretch my body out just after sitting in a cramped movie theater i feel better. i have to keep telling myself it’s anxiety and stress and that taking care of the issue NOW without living in isolation for three years (which happened to another co-worker of mine at UU. she had anxiety/stress so bad, she didn’t drive for three years and barely left her house — now she’s so easy going it’s depressing). Me. Myself. And I.
I’d like to think there is a reason for all of this. Why me? Why at such a young age? Why am i popping drugs and not looking for healthy alternatives. which prompts the paranoia that i’m gonna STOP shaving my legs, drink herbal tea and chant about my ying and yang. I’m so afraid of becoming a freaking hippie to be well. It’s like the holistic path works — but i don’t want to get caught up in those stereotypes, yo.
i don’t have a reason or a point to this. it’s mindless ramblings. but there is something i wanted to point out — when I used to discuss my past with my friend Michael, i used to get anxious and headachy stressing “i don’t want to deal with this now” because I didn’t. but i never did deal with it. I just went on my normal little way. but see the headaches have grown worse until i write about it (even if it is stupid — which i think sometimes i am — because i can be much more wittier) — and it’s like a fight against me and the world. i know i’m a strong person (nurse at the help line: you don’t sound sick. you sound actually very strong. me: look lady, if a doctor doesn’t see me today, i’m gonna kill some muther fucking someone) and I CAN DEAL with this. but it’s hard.
no one ever told me how hard it was to be normal.
my shrink apt is on tuesday. that should be interesting.