Good News: I have an awesome crazy doctor.
Bad News: I’m crazy and am in need of a crazy doctor.
Okay, so I am usually pretty good with my eccentricities, but I am occasionally heard to wail say “I wish I was normal.” I don’t know exactly what normal is, but I assume it includes a life where phones are answered, sweat happens only upon exertion, and What-Ifs are actually realistic.
That sounds like a wonderful place.
Good News: Dr. Awesome is pretty comfortable saying that my problems with panic are borderline and controllable.
Bad News: He thinks my anxiety problems are a full blown disorder.
“Full Blown.” That, my friends, is a direct quote.
Good News: There are lots of methods we can try to keep my anxiety manageable.
Bad News: Anxiety is hard to manage.
Another fun little quote from Dr. Awesome (and you have to hear it roll off the tongue in the thickest drawl. Not like a small town North Carolina twang, but like a Rich Plantation Owner drawl. Think The Prince of Tides or something), “If you came in heah with your gahden vahriety Mayjah Depression, I could prescribe you a pi-il that would have you feeling bettah in a few weeks and on to forevah. Anxahiety is a nasty little beast. Takes higheh dosages, mo-or attention, and sometahms you have to be the guinea pi-ig for awhile.”
Yep. Higher dosages. More attention. Oh, and side effects, like loss of libido and ability to hit The Big O.
Good News: Some people can spend some time on medication and in therapy, and eventually be weaned from both.
Bad News: I am probably not one of those people.
He gave me all the scientific gobbledygook about the impulses in my brain that handle anxiety, and how they bounce through four areas in my brain separated by gates. At some point, some of those gates are supposed to close, and then away goes that anxious response. My brain gates don’t close, and there’s some lack of serotonin or something, and so my brain is always on high alert for danger. It’s why I sweat and shake and am jumpy. It’s why when I DO get a shot of adrenaline, it can take hours or days for me to come down from it. It’s why I have trouble sleeping. It’s why Trophy Husband has heard me say “It hurts to relax.”
My brain has probably always been this way, and it probably always will be this way, and the stuff I’m seeing in Thing One? Is real. He’s probably always been this way, too. And when he has tantrums at bedtime (he has NEVER been great at unwinding and going to sleep) it is probably because his brain is fighting him, too.
And, unlike some people whose anxiety issues come and go, if I want to feel better, then I will probably always be doing the medicine dance.
Good News: There are lots of ways to help and treat this.
Bad News: It’s a process. Some things will work, some will not.
Since that first post about My Crazy, I have gotten a lot of emails asking me what can be done to feel better. Many of us, me included, want to hear that there are tricks or easy solutions. But, just like this health and fitness journey, it takes choices and changes and commitment. Trial. And Error. Focus and attention when I’d really rather get into my Snuggie and watch Christmas movies. (Okay, I don’t really have a Snuggie, but I want one. There, I said it).
As it turns out, some of the things I came to on my own are also important factors in the management of My Crazy. Daily exercise? Terribly important. Sleep schedule? Terribly important. Long, hot, candlelit baths? Terribly important. (Okay, that last one was not prescribed by Dr. Awesome, but still, I think it belongs there, no?)
Because of all of those emails, I’ve wavered about how much to talk about my actual treatment. Because I am NOT an expert, and, as Dr. Awesome said, because I’m really just a guinea pig. But you ask, and I’m kind of used to being honest, so I guess that includes talking about being real about my process. So here’s what I’m doing between now and my next appointment:
20mg of Celexa for 6 weeks, at which point I should be feeling somewhat less anxiety. Dr. Awesome says “mah guess is that you’ll be feeling bettah, but no way will 20mg be enough to make you we-el.”
Klonopin as needed. “Ah think this is a good one to help you through some hard tahms, but these drugs are wohndahful, aw-ful little thangs.” Meaning this kind of drug can be habit forming, and the idea with prescribing them is that the better the Celexa works, the smaller the need for Klonipin.
Physical activity every day.
Activities with Thing One that are both recreational and aimless, so we can learn together how to relax.
Bad News: “Anxahetay is tehrrible. It’s debilitatin’, can make you fe-el crahzy as anahthang.”
Good News: I’m working with somebody who doesn’t need to be convinced of that very fact.