Trigger Warning: this post may contain content that can trigger a shift in mood, comfort, or mental status. Proceed at your own risk.
Song: “Get Over You” by The Undertones
Today has been a little rough. I didn’t sleep all that well last night and nightmares woke me up at least twice. I managed to snooze for about a half hour after J left this morning but after that I couldn’t get back to sleep again.
I was anxious for the entire day, starting in the morning. It caused some problems with my exercises and made my work with the stove this morning a little more difficult.
I kept myself pretty busy today, listening to music and working on the quadcopter (I think I’ve almost got it back to where it was before I wiped everything out), and doing some reading. I’ve been using my phone (a Galaxy S7) very heavily and the battery isn’t quite what it used to be. I’m perfectly happy with the phone, though, so I’ve been looking up places around here that can swap in a new battery. There are a lot of guides out there that show how to do it, and a few years ago I would’ve tried but now my hands are shaky and my self-confidence is pretty much shot.
Speaking of my phone, one of the things I’ve been doing with it lately is trying to keep in touch with people by text a little better. I’ve collected a couple of pictures and have been sending them out as well as sending messages. I still have troubles answering the phone but I find it much easier to receive, check, and reply to text messages. I even sent one of the hosts from the radio station I listen to a text saying I enjoyed his show and he replied this morning thanking me for the message. That was kind of neat. They didn’t play my request today, though.
My appointment with Dr P was tough again today. I had a lot of trouble concentrating but Dr P suggested I record the audio from the session so I could listen to it later, which I think was a really good idea. He has gone out of his way to consult with some of his colleagues about OCD and has some new information that he shared with me today. I really appreciate the fact that he used time outside of our sessions to go digging for more information – I think that says a lot about the kind of therapist (and person) he is. The new information that he mentioned today was how checking things repeatedly moves things from one kind of memory to another, which happens to be less reliable. So repeatedly checking things is actually making things worse from a brain standpoint.
He also gave me more homework to do, which involves me stopping myself before I check something and writing down some things like what emotions am I feeling, my level of anxiety, and what my prediction is for the status of the thing I’m going to check. It’s an interesting approach and I’m looking forward to trying it to see what happens. I’m still supposed to keep doing the exposure with the stove and keep doing my walks.
We went almost 20 minutes over time but he didn’t seem to mind (and he was keeping an eye on the clock, too). By the time I got outside I was worried that J had been sitting for a while but it turns out she was late arriving so it worked out well.
I was relieved to get home and spent a little bit of time calming myself down. After a while, J and I had supper.
Around 8PM we went downstairs to watch two episodes of Elementary. It turned out to be a two-parter that had Kitty Winter in it again, which was good – I think she’s an interesting character.
About ten minutes before the end of the second episode, I could feel my anxiety ramping up. It felt like someone was tightening an inner tube around my chest and my muscles were tensing up. J and I talked for a little while before I kind of interrupted and said I needed to get upstairs to take my evening medications.
I took them then went and brushed my teeth. In the time that it took to brush my teeth, the anxiety had turned into the beginnings of a panic attack. I went out to the living room and grabbed a PRN, then put some music on my computer and turned it up (I was wearing headphones). I tried grounding and breathing but I couldn’t shut the panic attack down and it hit.
J came over and helped me through my misery, and I think that her being there helped keep it to only about a half hour (instead of the usual hour-ish that my attacks usually are) and I was grateful for her help (thank you!). I was embarrassed and frustrated too – I had really hoped that by now I would’ve been past this stuff.
I hate hate HATE panic attacks and how disabling they are. I can’t think, every part of my body and mind is screaming an overwhelming flood of indecipherable messages at me, I can’t move properly, can’t control my breathing, and I sweat like I’m in a sauna. Panic attacks leave me desperate for any relief from the attack, but aside from riding it out or offing myself, there’s nothing that I can do. God, I hate panic attacks. I’d rather have another kidney stone.
This is now my second panic attack in two weeks, which doesn’t seem like much but I went for quite a stretch without having any at all. I really hope this isn’t a sign that they’re coming back – I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle having several of them a day again, and frankly, I’m a little scared.
I hope my viewpoint is skewed because today has been difficult but I really don’t know how I’m going to do all of this stuff. I’m doing my best to do everything that Dr P and Dr W have been telling me to do, but it’s all so difficult. Just going to the appointments is exhausting and makes me feel like I’ve gone through a cheese grater. Something as simple as going for a walk makes me feel terrible, and constantly fighting (or trying to ignore) the chorus in my head that’s telling me that everything is wrong and it’s all my fault is very, very hard.
I know I’ve got to keep at it, but Jesus, it’s tough. I’d do almost anything to make things get better faster.
Even if this stuff gets better, what’s next? My current problems blew up out of… I have no idea, so what’s to say there isn’t something else lurking somewhere in the part of my mind that’s full of cobwebs, waiting for its chance to take centre stage? And what if there’s another one behind that? And another behind that one?
I can’t do this forever. Sometimes I don’t even think I can do it for the rest of the day. I’ll keep trying, though. Hopefully a layer of something will be peeled back and suddenly everything will get a lot easier. Cross your fingers for me…