A few days have passed since I got moderately real on here about the struggle. The truth is that I was just going to let it fester away in my head and keep hold of that silence. It felt like the safer option. Like if I kept it locked up in there then it couldn’t do any damage. The thing is though, it was/is doing damage whether I give words to it or not. So this week when I saw my GP, I let him on some of the things that my brain was doing and you know what, as expected he was lovely about it. Let me give you some context. About a month ago, I started the process of coming off my anti-depressant. I’ve been on these ones a bit longer than I thought (6 years) and I thought that I was finally in a place to come off them. Admittedly, my anxiety was playing up before I started this process but my mood was steady which is always a pleasant surprise. The first two weeks on the reduced dose was physically a bit unpleasant but not horrendous. The anxiety remained relatively stable at terrible which wasn’t too bad because at least it wasn’t worse. This week I hit the 3 week mark and was ready to do the next drop. I went to see the GP on Tuesday to take that step. First we ran through how those weeks had been. All my little odd withdrawal effects that I experienced turned out to be not that odd at all which was reassuring. He was however more concerned with how I was doing mentally. Our conversation went a little like this (bear in mind I don’t have perfect recall but you’ll get the gist)
Me: The anxiety still isn’t that great. Several panic attacks throughout the day, everyday.
GP: How has the propanalol (beta-blocker) been?
Me: I don’t know, I haven’t actually taken it. I’m too anxious to take it.
GP: What’s making you anxious about it? Side effects?
Me: Not really. I don’t know what it is. I’ve just gotten more weird about things.
GP: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I feel stupid really but…so I have this thing where…so I have lists for foods, safe foods and there is no way in a million years I can eat that list.
GP: I know what you mean.
Me: Ok so I wake up everyday lately and find that something from the safe list has jumped to the not safe life and I know there is no rational explanation for it. It’s just happening.
GP: What do you think will happen if you eat something from the unsafe list?
Me: No specified something bad.
GP: Ok. That’s what we call magical thinking. It’s an OCD trait. It’s like if you think that if you step on a crack then someone is going to get hurt.
Me: I know what it is, it’s just my thoughts are off the charts at the moment and this is how my Eating Disorder starts to worm its way in. When I can’t use that old justification of not needing something for energy wise then this is what happens. It’s a way of reducing my diet in a non conscious way.
Anyway we talked for a little longer and then it came down to make the choice of whether to drop the dose or stay where I was for a while. There wasn’t a hesitation in my mind of what I wanted to do. Drop the damn dose! He was happy to do that, he’s all for patient empowerment. He just wants me to be careful, to see him if it gets worse or unmanageable and to come for another review in a couple of weeks. He warned me at the new dose, I might start to feel more sleepy and it can increase appetite. That I wasn’t expecting it and when I asked if I could just skip this part apparently that isn’t an option. I told him I was worried about it and he said it was only slight and being on the dose that I was and not having it impact my weight wasn’t worrying to him. He said I imagine that your body doesn’t have great hunger cues anymore which he is right. I don’t. I always feel terrible to admit that because it feels like my body didn’t heal in the way that it should have. Hunger signals are supposed to come back when your body has enough energy and it trusts you enough to respond to any signals that it sends. I don’t think my body will ever trust me in that way again. Additionally my body is apparently going to be freaking out so much at the reduced dose that it won’t know how to deal with anything for a while. So how is it going you ask? Not too bad. Ok so the anxiety has been way intense these last couple of days but that’s a long embarrassing story. Other than that, the usual suspects: headache, nausea, muscle spasms, a little breathing issue, palpitations and (not so usual) nosebleeds. The last one freaks me out a little when it happens. Things are steady though and for the most part my mood is still holding. Hooray for small saving graces. I’m holding it here for a month and then halving it again which wasn’t in my plan. My plan was to just stop after this but GP wants to take it slower. I trust him enough to listen to him.
The rest of my world is good though. We finally have some sunshine here in the UK!!! although admittedly it’s apparently going to change this weekend to something that’s not so bright. As typical of us Brits though, the BBQ came out. My brother decided to throw an impromptu family one at his house at the start of the week. I’ll be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it with my multiple of issues right now but bless him, he did try to accommodate me and managed to make something safe and doable for me. I love that my family have finally grasped that I can’t explain a lot of my rules or fears but they just accept it that for now and probably for a long time that’s how it’s going to be. The night turned out to be quite lovely to be honest and we had a bit of a laugh. Uni work is going well or going at the very least. I’m 2 papers down out of 5 so not doing too badly. I have three weeks left of term and then I’m done for Summer. It’s come quickly. I pretty much spend all my time working though to make those deadlines and get the grades that I want. I’ve set this benchmark for myself and I’ll be devastated if I let it slip. It’s a lot of pressure that comes completely from me but I don’t mind it. It feels good to have ridiculously high standards for something non destructive. I do take some breaks. Yesterday morning I went with my nephew (17 months) and my sister to an aquarium. It’s also fun to hang out with him because the world is still so exciting for him. Everything is new and wonderful and his face at seeing it all…spectacular. Today I’ve just kind of hid at home, trying to still the panic, trying to work on my lit review for my dissertation proposal and finally given it up and giving the house a good clean. It always makes me feel calmer. That’s it. That’s me this week.
I hope your day has been kind to you