I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression my whole life. The thing was, I didn’t know I was struggling. I knew I felt worried and fearful a lot. My stomach was basically a vat of acid all through college. By my late twenties I was popping Tums like tic-tacs and avoiding several foods to try to combat “acid reflux.” But all this was my normal. I’d never known another way to feel, another way to be.
I was diagnosed with seasonal depression about 2 years ago. My doctor’s office gave me a questionnaire to fill out about my mood during a regular check-up. I’d never filled it out before, and my answers to a few of the questions prompted a discussion about my mood. I’d just been through a hard, abrupt break-up and it was the dead of winter, so we went with seasonal depression and started keeping an eye on it.
A series of things happened that all would need their own blog posts. Cut to last month. I’m sitting in my doctor’s office again because I’ve been sick with a flu-like thing for 2 weeks. I went to the urgent care 3 days after my symptoms started because I thought it might be the flu. They told me it wasn’t and to drink water. They didn’t give me a note to excuse me from work the following day, so I dragged myself in with a mild fever, barely able to keep my eyes open. I nodded off at my desk. I never nod off at my desk.
Back in my doctor’s office, the nurse practitioner asks me why I didn’t come in sooner. I tell her their office is half an hour away and Urgent Care is down the street from my house. I’ve been nodding off and getting dizzy spells, so I was scared to drive too far. I’m having trouble getting out of bed most days. I’ve had to call out of work only to lay in bed for 8 to 10 hours. Even when I’m not sleeping I’m just lying there listening to the TV, too tired to do much else. The room’s too bright. My head hurts. My muscles ache. She asks me a few routine questions to make sure her file is current.
She asks me “Do you feel safe at work?”
I don’t expect the question, so I don’t answer right away.
She asks “What’s going on at work?”
I’d been working late most days. Working through lunch. Logging in from home after work, on weekends. It wasn’t enough. I still “didn’t deliver.” I still wasn’t “a team player.” I got sick. I couldn’t call out. “There’s too much to do. You can’t abandon us.” So I came in when I shouldn’t have. I asked for a note from Urgent Care so I could stay home. They didn’t give me one because they didn’t know me. They didn’t know that my habit is to tough it out until I can’t. They didn’t know that by the time I come into a doctor’s office “not feeling well” that I’ve been “not feeling well” for weeks.
They gave me an anti-biotic and a note to stay home and scheduled a follow-up.
2 weeks ago I went back to my doctor and we had a long talk about my anxiety and decided to start medication. Maybe not permanently. We’ll see.
I already tried one that worked well for a few days. My stomach felt good, my mood was good, I was sleeping. Then all the side effects kicked in and I had to stop taking it. That was a bummer. Then when I stopped taking it I had a day of debilitating panic attacks, then a day of dizzy spells and vision problems. Had to call out for 2 days.
They put me on something else last week. This one made me nauseated for 3 days. I had to work from home 1 day this week because I’d already called out 3 days last week.
I feel okay today. We’ll see how this journey goes. I’m hopping this site can help me keep track of things.