The Slow Slog

Although I’ve probably always considered myself a “high strung/Type A” person, it isn’t until recently that I allowed myself to consider just how much anxiety is a driving force in my life and in my body (and probably has been for, um, ever).

When my headaches returned at the start of the Winter Break, debunking my “New Kettle, New You” theory, it felt like a great source of them was indeed stress. We went through an insane day of Wilson in the E.R. followed by tornado sirens followed by COVID shots for three kids and then two days later my kids were all suddenly home all day and up in my business (and each other’s) as well and the noise and overstimulation and sudden return of pain in my head felt very defeating.

It’s been almost two months since then and while there have been some great leaps and bounds in finding more freedom in my head and heart, I am still struggling with the very concept of struggle. In fact, it feels like I am stuck in a pretty horrendous loop of anxiety causing my headaches and my headaches causing my anxiety which led me to reach out to my therapist about the idea of trying anti-anxiety medicine for the first time ever.

She’s well aware of all the plates spinning in my world and my mind and she’s also up to date on all the coping skills I have and use like yoga, breathwork, and walking. And she agrees that I’m in this stuck place and that some sort of medicine to help me move out of my head and away from the anxious ledge would be helpful right now. So I made an appointment with my primary provider and two weeks ago started the med we thought might do just that.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even make it the full 2-4 weeks to see if it was helping before things went very sideways on me. On Tuesday I spent 90% of the day feeling like a gorilla was on my chest/like I might have a full blown panic attack at any moment. I’ve had a mini-panic attack once, so it was pretty obvious that this was an increase in symptoms and not our desired effect of relieving my brain which led to some phone calls and messages yesterday to then going off that med as of this morning. I know this song and dance happens for a lot of folks and I also know there is a test that can help people avoid this (and yes, I’ve put in a request for the swab) but right now I am still stuck, not just in my normal anxiety but this near-panic state that’s been hanging out since Tuesday.

The plan is to let my body clear the old med over the next several days and then try another. I hope the swab happens and also helps guide us so we don’t have to keep repeating this for the next several months because Holy Hannah; I thought things weren’t awesome before but now I see just how much worse anxiety can be (and my too-fast-beating heart goes out to anyone who suffers from panic attacks on the regular or ever at all).

I share all of this with you because 1) that’s what I do and 2) I think a lot of us are struggling right now and I think things get better, not worse, when we share those struggles. Medicine is a great tool once you find the right fit and I hope to be there soon. For right now thought? I’m trying to ride out the storm, calm my body, and move through this slow slog (thanks, Kate, for that gem) of trial and error on top of some really busy days with work and life. I promise I’ll update when I know more.

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