(JUST FYI- THIS MIGHT BE TMI for some of you GUYS or girls…)
Hi. This is my first time on a site like this. It's been almost 8 months since my first anxiety attack, and they aren't letting up, so I figure it's time to talk to someone about it since my friends all have lives and don't have time for me anymore since I have changed. Or at least that's how I feel.
Maybe I should start at the beginning…
This last year or so has been really rough. I had my 3rd daughter in late 2009. After I gave birth, I got a Mirena IUD because my OB said my periods were going to get worse, since I have a slew of girly issues anyway. So I took him up on it thinking it would be a good idea. It was the biggest mistake of my LIFE. I bled for over 85 days after insertion. They ran tests and did ultrasounds, but everything came back clear. They put me on hormones to "reset" my cycle. They never worked. I just kept bleeding. A lot. I would have periods that would last anythere from 14 days to 28, ranging anywhere from spotting to heavy. I got kicked off my health insurance, and no one would take me on a new plan without charging me out the wazoo and even then it wouldn't cover my uterus.
So…I was screwed. And I stuck it out. Took my iron pills and went on with my life. If you are a girl, you know that if you bleed long enough. You don't feel sexy anymore, you don't feel pretty anymore, and your libido….oh wait….what libido??? But my husband was always "It's ok…you can't help it." He was Sincere. He really was. He has always tried to help me, researched ways we could fix my problem, but not knowing what was actually wrong without a diagnosis- we ran into a wall. He is such a great father to my kids. We've always worked really good as a team, and we were always each others best friends. But he's only human. One of his clients threw herself at him one day, and it had been such a long time….well you know. But it wasn't like he wasn't getting any ever. There are….options…you know? Anyway- I was furious. Betrayed. All those things you feel. But- he was truthful with me. And stopped the behavior, and he couldn't live with the guilt of it and told me. At that time I still smoked cigarettes. I had tried quitting loads of times, and was in the midst of trying to quit again when all this came to light. So that was screwed too. He said he wanted to save us. To save our marriage. That he was a complete idiot and well…you know…. The usual I'm so sorry forgive me stuff. (This was in April of this last year)
BTW- This is the supremely abridged version of everything that happened even though this post is sure to be long.
Anyway, after extensive thinking on my part…. I didn't throw him out. We made a deal. No more lies. Nore more hiding. No more just dealing with this period business. We were going to frakkin fix it. We went to A LOT of couseling, and have since "graduated" from it. He got a vasectomy (it was one of my terms). And made his twatwaffle (the name I gave her) take a pregnancy test. He also quit running his own business (another one of my terms since financially we were floundering. He was thinking about closing it anyway… ), and took a job at a company in town. As he was looking for jobs is when it happened.
It was the middle of the summer. Very hot all the time. Anyway, one night, we went out to dinner with his family. it was a good time. But I am very….VERY allergic to seafood, and we were at a vietnamese place, and my husband partook of some food that had seafood in it. Then we shared a drink, some sort of Vietnamese smoothie. It was tasty. A little bit later I started to feel off, but I thought it was the heat. It was 105 degrees that day after all. So I drank some water. Then I did the stupidest thing of all stupid things….I had a a drink drink too. I don't usually drink, but we were having a good time hanging out with his dad and step mom and we were sans children for once, so why not? I never realized my husband had had seafood in his meal, because usually he tells me when he's eaten it. Maybe he didn't realize it either- I don't know. The menu wasn't in very good or much english to begin with. About 20 minutes later it hit me. My chest closed up and everything went black. I stood straight up and it went away. But it came back again. And that's when my husband realized what must be going on. Seafood. I felt very hot. And my chest HURT. I started to freak out because I had gone into anaphylactic shock before when I was in 5th grade, and nothing is worse than the feeling of suffocating. I wanted to go outside to get some fresh air but it didn't help because of the heat. So we left and went home. All I wanted to do was get the heck out of there and go home or to the hospital. I went home and took some Benedryl. And though it made me sleepy, I couldn't sleep because I was scared to death that I wouldn't wake up. I wouldn't let my husband leave the room. And then I threw up. I threw up so much that I felt something like a ripping up my throat, or something hard coming up and getting stuck. Thank goodness the kids were all asleep. I seriously had never been so terrified in all my life.
Finally I slept, and in the morning it was like nothing had ever happened. But I had a fever. Which was weird. But the next day it was gone and I went about my business.
That day I was supposed to meet up with a guy in a parking lot of Walgreens, so I could sell him some of my books. We were really hurting for cash at that point, and so I had made some postings on Craislist. I left my husband and kids at home and told him that I was going to get the cash and then go stock up on diapers and wipes while I was there and if he thought of anything he needed to call me. As I was driving to the Walgreens (which is probably less than 2 miles away from my house) I thought I was going to pass out again. Everything started to go black and I shook my head, I tossed my cigarette i was smoking, and pulled over into the very closest parking lot. It all went away. I decided that maybe smoking wasn't the best idea at the moment (I had cut way back anyway because finances were tight), but I continued onto Walgreens. When I got there I met with the dude, gave him the books got my cash and went inside the store. Everything went numb. My arms, my legs, my face. I freaked out again because I had no idea what the frak was going on. So I bought some water and headed to the pharmacy and spoke with the pharmacist. He thought it was a panic attack. And I said it was probably likely since I had almost wrecked my car 15 minutes earlier from some weird almost black out, but I had never had a panic attack before so I didn't know what they were. so I sat there, in the pharmacy, drinking my water and I called my husband and told him what happened. He called his brother to come and watch the kids while he took me to the ER.
The ER doc didn't do anything but give me and EKG, and sent me home with some Paxil. He was in my room for maybe 5 minutes tops. I didn't ever mention that I thought it was a panic attack. I wanted to see if he thought it might be something neurological since I had never had blacking out episodes before.
After this, I was terrified to be alone with the kids. My oldest and my middle child are both old enough to dial 911, but still….I was scared of being alone with them and having one of these weird episodes. So I called my regular doctor and told her about the Paxil and she told me not to take it yet because she wasn't sure it was a panic attack yet. The next day, I started throwing up again. And I couldn't stop. Everything would make me throw up. I couldn't keep anything down. I was having spasms in my esophagus, and I was terrified it was going to close up again, and all I knew was I didn't ever want to feel that feeling ever again. I landed back in the ER, and this time the ER doc did and ultrasound on my gall bladder, an EKG, and some blood work. I told the ER doc about my pervious visit, and all the weird stuff that had been going on. He suggested I get an endoscopy, and put me on Prilosec. I got in to see my regular doc, and by that time I had lost 10 pounds in a week, hadn't been able to keep any food down but liquids for 2 weeks. I was depressed at this point, i mean really….who wouldn't be? My regular doc put me on a strict diet. No smoking, no caffeine, no sugar, and nothing that could aggravate my esophagus. At that point I was already suffering from a triple threat of withdrawel at that time (four if you count food), I hadn't smoked, drank any coffee or had a soda, or had anything with sugar in it in 2 weeks. Of course I was depressed. We talked about putting me on Celexa if my mood didn't improve once I was able to start eating again. We also talked about the endoscopy, but since I didn't have insurance at the moment, and anything having to do with anything between your throat and your gut all gets the same medicine anyway- she told me to keep taking the Prilosec and if things didn't improve in another week we'd schedule the endoscopy.
Taking the Prilosec helped but gave me other awful side effects, so I started to take Apple Cider Vinegar before every meal instead. I slowly regained my appetite and not everything made me vomit anymore. But I couldn't eat a whole lot without getting spasms in my throat. Every time I had an episode I would get terrified. But otherwise, eating again made my mood improve greatly.
At the same time- we also decided to get the Mirena removed. If anything it was making things worse and my doctor agreed and she tried to remove it herself, but she couldn't, and she brought in another doc, he couldn't. So they made me a seperate appt with the gyno clinic across the hall, and an appt. for an ultrasound to make sure it was still there.
When my appt, for the gyno clinic came, I didn't go anywhere by myself at that point. I was still terrified to be alone, driving….yeah…no. Anyway, the two docs that came in that day couldn't get it out either, and then informed me that I had a fibroid the size of a golf ball, and I was going to need surgery to remove the IUD and the fibroid. I wanted a second opinion, and so I made an appt with the guy who originally put in the IUD, I figured he would have the measurements so maybe he'd have more luck finding it, but I could barely afford him, but I figured it was cheaper than surgery. He wanted a copy of the ultrasound. So they mailed me a copy. When I opened it up I found out not only did I have a fibroid but I had 2 cysts, one on each ovary that were bigger than the fibroid. And they DIDN'T tell me. But that's another story.
So, I went to original OB and he, by the grace of all that is holy, removed my IUD. By this time I wasn't having esophagus spasms and not a whole lot of anxiety, but I still couldn't make myself drive BUT I could walk down the street to pick up the kids from school on my own. He said I wouldn't have any hormonal issues with the removal. WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP! I had a period so heavy I about had to return to the ER to get a shot to stop it. One day, after it was over, I was walking my kids home from school, and I felt Hot. Really Hot. And then I couldn't see straight. That was new. And I started freaking out a bit because we were walking home from school and no one was around but the lady in front of us. So I had my daughter go get that lady, and she was SO Nice! She made sure me and the kdis got home. I explained to her what was going on and I might just be anemic again. and tried not to freak totally out. When we all got home, and she had left, I felt the numbness return. I hadn't felt that since August and it was now December. I freaked and called my husband at work. He told me to call the OB and tell him what was going on and ask if I should go in to the ER. Long story short. They made me go to bed and take some iron pills.
After this episode it was difficult for me to walk alone again, so I sought help with that since I still wasn't driving except for sometimes, when my husband was in the car. But I didn't have any more major panic attacks at all.
Till my period came back in March. The day before my period started I was doing my daily practice walk up to the school on my own when it hit. I couldn't see I couldn't breathe. My husband was home so I called him. He didn't answer. So I kept calling him, and he didn't answer. I started doing breathing exercises and trying to tell myself affirmations but I couldn't remember them but all I knew was that I was walking myself home. My husband finally answered when i was at our corner and he came running. But by that point I was pretty ok. But since then I can't make myself walk down the street on my own again.
I feel like I'm hitting road blocks. Just so you know, I'm not in therapy for this. It's hard for me to get out during the day with the whole not driving, no car thing. And strangely enough, I only feel safe in my car, and not other peoples, unless it's short distances. I'm also not on any meds except for iron supplements. I figured if I wanted to get over whatever this is- I need to just face it head on. My husband has been so awesome and super supportive thru all this. I think he feels guilty because he thinks what he did caused this. But we don't know that. It's probably everything that has happened to me since I put in that stupid IUD. I have been reading and practicing some of the things in the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, and I've also been seeing an acupuncturist and a chiropractor too. I now have health insurance to boot! (Thanks to my hubby's new job!) I also try to exercise every day, and do progressive muscle relaxation (a technique I found in the A&PW) . I also try and do one thing outside my comfort zone everyday.
My acupuncturist wants me to try taking Xiao Yao Wan to regulate my hormones since the anxiety and panic manifest themselves the most on my cycle, and also for whenever I feel really really anxious. Problem is- I still have anxiety about taking meds since a lot of pills got stuck while I was having esophagus problems and I'm anxious about how I would feel. I don't like feeling high or out of it. I stay home with a 2 yr old during the day. She just says they'll make me feel great about myself. Whatever that means. A lot of this seems to be linked to my hormones, and whatever else the "accident" as I like to call it. I haven't taken any of the pills yet, because I'm scared to. If any of you have found relief with Xiao Yao Wan, PLEASE let me know!
Things that have improved since the IUD removal are: Increased libido- like tenfold, heavy but WAY SHORTER periods. (Which is funny since it was supposed to give me like hardly any period at all.) They are pretty normal compared to what they used to be. I also don't have so many anxious thoughts, feeling like I'm more in control.
I still have these weird head pressure things going on though. I thought it was sinuses at first but I'm always stuffy so there's no telling. I figured the general stuffiness would clear up once I quit smoking, but that hasn't done a thing. Sometimes when I'm sitting down, or when I'm walking around I will get these intense very short pressure aches in my head. It is so weird. This is a new symptom that has shown up in the last month or so. I also know when I'm getting anxious because it's hard for me to swallow, so I always carry a water bottle with me now. another symptom I can always count on is the pain in my neck. I don't know why but I also feel pressure in my neck when anxiety hits too. It gets better the more I see my chiro though, along with the tingly arms and legs.
I feel like a complete loser most of the time still, since I still don't drive or walk alone most days. I feel like I'm starting over every time I have an attack. My kids kind of know what's going on…but only the oldest really understands it. She's super crazy smart like that. My friends keep trying to do things with me that we've always done. But I don't like hanging out with a bunch of people who are constantly going out to smoke. Staying quit has been extremely hard. Especially with all this anxiety. Sometimes I feel like if I started up again it would all go away. But then I realize what a stupid statement that is. Lol. They also like to go to loud bars, and go to tons of places that I'm just not comfortable going and I tell them these things, but they keep inviting me anyway, and when I say no and they ask why I tell them and every time they say "Oh yeah. I forgot." It's really disheartening because it's like they don't actually listen when I talk about what's going on with me. So it's been a lot of me and my husband and my kids lately. Which I'm cool with, since we're still working on a lot of things with our marriage, but still….I want to hang out with my friends too. You know? My phone almost never rings anymore just to talk. They only call to invite me to places they know I'll say no to now. And when I call them no one answers, or they say they'll call back and then never do. I think I need new friends. Which is sad because I have helped them thru all kinds of crap, but when I need help- they act like they don't give a flying poop.
Anyway- that's the sum of it. It's kind of liberating posting all of this. At least maybe one of you can kind of relate with this….maybe? 😉
Feel free to friend me or whatever if you want. I only fell onto this site by happenstance today, and figured it could be my "out of comfortzone" thing for the day. Sorry for the novel. Let me know if any of this sounds confusing. I wrote this in segments, and I might have missed a few things.