Long Time Gone (Hopefully)

Yesterday I was thinking that it had been a while since my last post. The reason for that is because my anxiety (attacks) have passed (knock on wood)!

My anxiety has been under control since the beginning of November - or maybe the end of October. When I thought I was pregnant, I stopped taking the Klonopin, which I've previously mentioned, was next to nothing. Regardless, I weaned myself off of it. As far as trying to get pregnant, if it happens, it happens. My husband and I have been trying since I was 33 and nothing has happened, except the one time that I know about, but it didn't take. In our defense, we hadn't really tried for about a year. If it's in the plan, it's in the plan.

Explaining why my panic attacks stopped - for those who are wondering and want the same thing to happen to them - is next to impossible. I have no idea. It's also impossible to live in such a frightful world for a year and a half and have NO ONE around you understand what you are going through. The lightheadedness, the dizziness, the rapid heart beat, the high blood pressure, heart palpitations, the past due bills, the constant state of fear, avoiding restaurants, never leaving the house, failed jobs, failed friendships. Crying, begging my husband to call 9-1-1 (and fraking out even more when he won't, or doesn't think he needs to). Complete and total fear. It makes me want to cry thinking back last year how I was. Paralyzed. Freaking out at work, crying in the stairwell. And then one day (or one week), it just stops.

I don't mean to give false hope and I also don't mean to scare anyone. I mean, if the anxiety can leave as fast as it had arrived, and vice versa - you're kind of looking at some hope. The great thing is, my anxiety might be back one day, but I'm not afraid. Well - I'm not lingering over it. I'm not "what-iffing". I think I'll be okay. And you will be, too.

And for the record, I didn't need any of that SSRI shit. I found a job that I love (that works for me), I'm semi-stress free and I have family that understands. Get rid of the stress.

For now, I'm kicking anxiety's ass.


Minus the Klonopin

Since my last post, I spoke of my hair loss. I also spoke of getting pregnant as a result of my hair falling out. Well, since my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant, I decided to taper off of the Klonopin. I mean, I hardly too much of it to taper off of it - I took 1/4 of the lowest dosage prescribed to me. When I had gone back to work, I took the 1/4 in the morning to get me through the day. When I thought I might have the chance of becoming pregnant, I tried to not take it at all.

This helped me change my way of thinking, which helped me, psychologically, not get nervous? I seemed to have developed a way of dealing with my anxiety in order to not take any medicine. I started a new job, retail, and was so proud that I didn't need to take my Klonopin in order to get through the day. I have NO idea why I "all of a sudden" didn't feel the need to take it. I had been doing so well a few weeks prior, trying to take it every few days, or as needed, that I just stopped thinking about taking it.

Everyone talks about the horrible withdrawal effects of discontinuing Klonopin, I thought I'd taper off with caution. Now, I was on such a low dose, I probably didn't even need to worry about it, but I played it safe just so I wouldn't have a reason to get nervous. I did fine! I stopped altogether. Between the middle and end of October, I think I took a quarter of a 0.25mg tablet once.

Since then, I haven't taken any! I had NO problems getting off of the med. I hope this gives anyone hope, regardless of what dosage I had taken. For about a month, I have not even taken anything.

My panic attacks left as soon as they had started. It's the strangest thing that I have no explanation for. Maybe getting out of the house helped. Confidence? I know it's tough getting out the house, being home bound for so long. I really just can't explain it. The only thing I am "nervous" about is, how fast it left, how fast it could come back. I'm not terribly worried, like I normally would be, mainly because I have confidence in how I react to my panic. Yay!


Tests never lie, right?

I haven't written in a while; I've just been really busy - plus, every time something new came up, something newer would happen, so I just became overwhelmed.

Last time I posted, I believe I spoke about my hair loss. The doctor, of course, told me it was stress. My blood work came back fine.

Here's the deal: I've had abnormal thyroid tests before, but when they see they big ANXIETY label on my file, everything results in STRESS. I'm sorry, but I've had panic attacks since I was 16 years old (stress and fears since I was 6). I've never had my hair fall out.

So what are my options now? It could possibly be:
  • Anxiety
  • Hormonal
  • Thyroid
  • Natural (Hair is regenerating)
  • Pregnancy Failure
  • Hair dye?
Everything could be fine, but the fact my doctor automatically tells me it's stress (when he's seen me two times), pisses me off. Or I could be wrong.

I'm not sure how long it takes hair to go through a "regeneration" stage, but my hair has still been coming out a lot. It isn't coming out in chunks, but it's noticeable, like when when I brush my hair, or I find it on my clothes or the floor, or pull out strands that pile up in the shower.

Back in 2009 my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby. We lightly talked about it, since we previously decided to not have any. Since we were getting older, we didn't want to wait to talk about it after the age of 35 because of complications (and it's tougher to get pregnant for some as they get older). Because of my anxiety and panic attacks, we really haven't been 100% on "trying" due to the circumstances. We pretty much decided we wouldn't take precautions, and if it happened, it happened. This makes me wonder if maybe I did get pregnant and it didn't "take", thus the hair loss. Several websites, as well as my doctor, said that could cause hair loss. There's no way of knowing.

I started this post a couple of weeks ago (today is 11/20th), and my hair loss hasn't been as bad. Stress, a failed pregnancy, change in diet - who knows. My blood work came back fine and that's all I can be happy about.


Just Drive On By

So I landed this job out of 500+ applications. I should feel special. And I did. Did being the key word. I had a lot of anxiety during orientation, but I somehow got through it - barely. But when our schedule called for us to train two days 45 minutes away AND CARPOOL..... AND an extra dinner 45 minutes away with the team and family, I caved.

*Sidenote: When telling my trainer about my "carsicknesses", he tells me it's "weird" and doesn't understand. I don't explain to my boss, trainer and fellow employees of my panic because they won't understand. No one ever understands. So this sets the tone for what was to come, definitely.

I was to be at work this morning at 4:45am, which I love (early mornings). I slept horribly, waking up with paplitations, insomnia and terror about driving to our store training. I did try to talk to my boss, telling him I got carsick and I needed to drive (and I have a two-seater truck) - so I thought that I would get out of carpooling and be able to drive alone. But they wanted to stick someone with me.

I can barely get out of the house, let alone carpool someone 45 minutes while dealing with my anxiety. Plus, I didn't want to be responsible for leaving training and abandoning some poor person because of my anxiety. I got up this morning, got ready and drove past work at 4:40am and kept on driving.

This is a known trait of mine. I have done this dozens of times. I couldn't go. I passed up a great 40 hour workweek in a small, shitty town - and blew it. Again.

I drove to a rest stop out of town and slept there for two hours so I wouldn't have to answer to my husband and family (in case they saw my truck at home). Who does this? I do!

I'm 34 years old and when I told my mom, she told me I was crippling everyone around me, including my husband. So now I'm mad at my mom. I seriously just want to run away - at 34 years of age. Reminds me of when I was 14.

Hair Loss

Having anxiety usually means when you tell someone you think something is really wrong, they say "No, you're fine..." and never really believe anything is ever wrong. Nothing is ever really fine with me when it comes to panic disorder; I always believe something is really wrong.

This time the physical proof is there. My hair. In the last few weeks, my hair has been starting to come out. This photo is from my running my hands through dry hair (for example, to put my hair up in a hair tie - or simply tame it from being messy).

The next two photos show my clumps of hair after I wash it in the shower! This isn't just every once in a while, it's every time. Proof something is wrong; even if it's just anxiety.

Just anxiety? Like I always say: "There's no such thing."

I looked up hair loss and found this:

Telogen effluvium: This type of temporary hair loss occurs suddenly, most often after a significant illness or major life stress. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or may fall out after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches.

From: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hair-loss/DS00278/DSECTION=symptoms

I had a thyroid test done 6 months ago (it showed signs of abnormality in 2006), but this past test came back normal. I'm sure Thursday, at my next doctor appointment, I will be told it's stress. Why do I even bother?


Seriously, Who Feels Like This?

First day of work went.... okay. I got there and felt fine. I took a quarter of 0.5mg Klonopin at 2:30pm. I had to be at work at 5pm. Usually, psychologically, it lasts me 6 hours (because that's what my doctor told me how long it stays in your system, give or take). Of course that low dose isn't much, but psychologically it usually works for me. Even a nibble at a department store or grocery store, for example, will help me calm down.

Orientation began tonight. There were about 40 employees (we're all new, starting a new store). I was fine until we all sat down. My mind raced. I thought about how I was going to have to sit there for the next three hours. I kicked my feet back and forth. I then got dizzy. I felt light headed and then my heart started racing. I couldn't concentrate. I was trapped! The owner's wife and family were sitting nearby, near the restrooms (I sat in the back near the door, in case I needed to plan my escape route).

As the owner talked, I heard muffled sounds. I couldn't concentrate. I continued to plan how I needed to get out of my chair, go to his wife and explain that I thought I was about to die. I was frozen. I didn't want to dig around in my purse and fish out some Klonopin. So I sat there expecting to pass out. I thought, "I need this job. So God help me, if I have to pass out, I will, in order to keep this job." And I don't know how, but I made myself calm down.

Of course, yay for me, but I then thought, "How the hell am I going to do this on a daily basis?" At the end of the night, I had another "episode". We were waiting in line to discuss availability and I got really dizzy. Luckily only two people were in front of me, so I was able to manage. I cried on the way home.

A week from tomorrow, our boss is taking the employees and spouse, significant other, etc. out to dinner 45 miles away, to show his appreciation, welcome us, etc. We are to ride together. I seriously don't know how I am going to do this. I don't want to say anything to him - I don't want to discourage him regarding my work abilities.

I honestly don't think I can handle this. If I have to quit one more job, I'm running away. I can not take any more disappointment with my family. I feel like if I run away and am alone, I will have no choice but to suck it up and stop being a fucking loser.

Highs and Lows

Common symptoms of low blood sugar (and any illness) are so general:

  • trembling
  • clammy skin
  • palpitations, pounding or fast heart beat
  • anxiety
  • sweating
  • hunger
  • irritability
Looks a lot like anxiety symptoms, right?

So when my blood sugar got down to 48 today, I thought I was going to die. It took me by surprise because I had just eaten and had about three cookies and milk an hour or two earlier.

I had severe anxiety before I knew I was low. Often when I am at a store and feel strange, I test to see if I'm low. When my sugar is 130, I feel a bit disappointed, having no real reason to feel nervous (except the fact I have a hard time leaving the house).

My point.....side effects that are listed for anything are so generic. There are so many other symptoms that may occur (which is why I am terrified to start new meds). For example, today my stomach hurt really badly before I got low. This has happened several times before, but I never really put two and two together. I still felt like something major was wrong. The same thing when I get a panic attack: every time I panic, it feels like a new time and that something is severely wrong. Today, it was only after I tested my sugar, that I began to calm down, realizing I was low and that I wasn't dying. I had proof of my anxiety.

This sounds so strange, but every time I get blood work, I beg to have something wrong? - - no wait, before I jinx myself (OCD coming out), let me clarify that I don't want something to be wrong!, I just feel like if my thyroid is out of wack, that explains the racing heartbeat. Or if I'm having hot flashes, my hormones are screwed up. Or trembling and nervous because I have diabetes. There is a reason for my anxiety.

But I don't have a medical reason for my panic attacks. I don't know why I can be fine for years at a time and then relapse with full blown agoraphobia - trying to tell myself it's just anxiety. Just anxiety - easier said. I've gotten this to go away before, but I haven't been this bad since I was 16. I start work (outside of the home) tomorrow and I'm really scared I'm going to fuck it up and quit. I've had so many jobs I can't even remember.

Why can't I just tell myself it's just anxiety? I mean, if I can freak out and tell myself I'm dying every time I panic, why can't I switch my brain to say "Stop it, anxiety. You're fine...."?

I read one of those programs that cost a ridiculous amount of money (a friend let me borrow it), which says to meditate and tell yourself (and the anxiety) to "bring it on". The program says that when you welcome the anxiety and ask for it to appear, then your mind doesn't have anything to be afraid of and it passes. Don't waste your money. Us in the panic world can't afford to pay for bullshit.