Friday, August 1, 2008

Putting The Psycho In Psychosomatic

About a month ago I wrote a post about my bizarre form of hypochondria- one in which I am constantly anxious about one terminal illness or another which I think I have but am prevented by my neurotic fears of doctors from going to get checked out.

It's like some sort of symbiotic neurosis thing and generally, what happens is that the symptoms of whatever illness I perceive that I have do just go away and then I get another, but in the past weeks, the symptoms have remained the same. Of course, I did not go see anyone about this problem but instead, grew more and more anxious to the point where I was, to be honest, almost incapacitated.

And truthfully, this was all a true which-came-first, the-chicken-or-the-egg mystery because I wasn't sure whether I was anxious because of the symptoms or whether my main problem was just the anxiety which caused me to focus almost entirely on them and it didn't really matter because just the fact that I was not seeking help was a sign in and of itself that I really needed to.

So finally, today, I called my doctor and got an appointment to get in to see the nurse practitioner. By the time I got to the office, I was in panic attack mode. I've been in what I would call a mild panic attack for weeks now, really, but this was more intense. I'm surprised I didn't blow the blood pressure gauge off the wall.

I told the NP about my "symptoms" and about my anxiety and depression and she looked at my problem and told me everything seemed entirely normal to her and then suggested an antidepressant which can help with the anxiety, as well as depression.

I practically snatched those samples out of her hand because I need help and I know it.

I am quite aware that medication is not the entire solution to problems like this but if there was ever a time for better living through chemicals, I would say this is it. I don't even want to know what the side effects of this drug are because I don't care as long as it offers me some relief.
I'm tired of being scared and fearful and crazy and it's not fair to me or to my family. My husband, bless him, bless him, bless him- again- is going quietly crazy worrying about me. And the damn problem with "mental health issues" (insanity) is that there's such a strong part of the person suffering who feels so guilty thinking, Jesus Christ, I have the best life in the world, I am surrounded by love and support- I need to just snap out it!

Yeah. That doesn't work.

But the guilt-oh the guilt!- remains.

And so, for right now, I am trying this drug and just knowing that it might help is helping. I feel completely exhausted from struggling so hard the last few weeks that I just want to crawl up in bed and sleep and I feel shaky and I feel sad, but I don't feel entirely out of control.

I know I need to try and figure out what it was that got me here. I think it's probably an entire cocktail of genes, chemicals, and events, both past and present. Let's face it- the past year was a tough one. I went through enough changes and had enough losses to throw anyone and if you're me, and not entirely sane to begin with AND you're in menopause AND you're facing a birthday AND something weird in the body starts happening, AND you don't deal with change and loss well, you might just end up needing some help.

Which I did.

So here I go. And it's sort of scary to put this all out there in the world but from the comments I've gotten in the past few weeks, I have to believe that people care. And more than that, if one person reading this is suffering the way I have been suffering and thinks, "I am not alone," then it will all have been worth it. Because I have felt so alone in this, afraid to talk about it, even to the people I love and who love me the most. All of that is part of the craziness and I want to be done with as many parts of the craziness as I can.

All of a sudden I sort of feel like that Fannie Flagg character, Neighbor Dorothy, who broadcast her little radio show from her living room out to the neighbors in her county, giving out recipes and homemaking and gardening tips and telling little stories and giving the local news and weather. Perhaps that's me, Neighbor Ms. Moon, telling my little stories and giving you recipes for angel biscuits and saying it rained today and tomorrow the grass will be greener.

And today I'm saying let's all hold hands and not be so afraid, as corny as that sounds. We're all afraid of something but the trick is, to learn how not to be prisoners of that fear.

I don't know how to do that, but I'm trying to learn. Seems like a good skill to have, here in these days and times.

I'll pass on what I learn. You do too.

And thank every one of you who has written me comments or who has even just sent me good thoughts. Every blessed one of you. Even though I didn't feel able to answer them all, they were coming in and I was reading them and my heart was filled and I didn't feel quite so alone.

I mean it.

Over and out until tomorrow.

Neighbor Ms. Moon


  1. I hope the anti-d's work for you, with zero or minimal side effects. You've been suffering too long. Sometimes your pain bubbles to the surface in your writing, at other times it's well hidden. I'm glad that you're doing something about it.
    All the best,

  2. Keep us all posted on how things go...I've been thinking for awhile now that I should explore the possibility of mediciation. It's all an intimidating process, and I applaud you for going forward and beginning to take the first steps. I am hoping you feel better - and can completely empathize. Indeed, we are not alone.

  3. Thank you, MYS and SJ. I'll let you know how things go. I am quite aware that I need to be patient.

  4. The guilt. Oh, the guilt. That's my signal that I need to get help, but like you, the guilt makes me think I don't deserve it.

    I've been successfully treated this summer and it is truly a blessing. I hope all the best for you, too. Sometimes exercise and eating well and having nice people around just isn't enough. I do wish it were.

    I just started reading your blog (can't remember how I found it). I will be checking up on you :)


  5. Thank you, Lisa. Isn't guilt the most ridiculous and unhelpful emotion ever? I think it is.
    I am so glad you sought treatment and are feeling better. Thank goodness we have this option because sometimes doing all the right things just ISN'T enough. You're right. I wish it weren't so, but in my experience, it's true.

  6. You will get no ill judgements from people that have read more than one post. You are very brave for being honest in a time of hardship.
    We are all thinking of you and sending the positive thoughts.

  7. I wish I could have been here reading and commenting for this. And here I have a nice new facial twitch that my stress has funneled itself into.... Anxiety I know you well.
    But you are just loveliness. I'm so glad you're feeling better. You are awesome! And I miss you :)

  8. There are no words for how I love you and how proud I am of you. Mama! Gosh, you are just pure good.

  9. You have no idea, Miss Maybelle, how much the sound of your voice on the phone every day has helped me.
    You and your sisters and your brother are my anchors to what is real, what is important.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.