Sunday, December 11, 2011

Light?

I wish I could say if things are better or not. I truly can't tell. The side effects are still pretty awful. I shake like a leaf most of the day. The groggy feeling in my brain comes and goes.

The last two days, I think I've spent fewer hours in a panic, but the panics themselves have been even more severe.

Last night I started to have chest pain fairly bad and that sent me into a wave of panic. In all likelihood it was heartburn, but of course, my warped mind was convinced I was having a heart attack. My great-grandfather has a heart attack and died at 42. I'm 35. My blood pressure has been high for so long, maybe it's done some damage. Then I took my blood pressure- 180/106. Ouch.

It had bottomed out earlier in the day and I'd gotten light-headed. I was convinced we were going to stop my meds soon, but that was ugly. Of course, I have no way of knowing if the panic made my blood pressure high or if my blood pressure high made me panicky or if the two things were unrelated. I took my medicine a little early. It took a while, but it finally came down.

Today it ran a little high most of the day, though. I don't get it. It's been good again for a week, but here we are. Tonight it started to spike a little bit, but I tried not to take the meds. Maybe it's a rebounding effect? I don't know. I just know I'm sick of this.

I just want to feel normal again. When everything clears, everything around me seems so bright and beautiful. Sitting here tonight after my nightly panic cleared, I sat and sang to Charlotte for a while. She was wide awake and just looking at me curiously, enjoying the music. It was such a happy feeling. But by morning, I'll be shaking and groggy again. And then the panic will come and then I can't feel anything except fear. It's a horrible feeling.

I'm trying to give the meds enough time to work, to kick in and for the side effects to wane, but as the days go on, I feel like I'm stuck like this forever. I wonder if I'll ever just be able to go about my day and not think that the pain my temple is a stroke or the chest pain is a heart attack or if Robbie is eating enough or if Charlotte is getting enough interaction or if I'd really just ruined them forever. I remember the dark days of Robbie's first year and I know I came out of it. But they weren't this severe, either.

I'm really hanging on to the stories of those of you who have been through this. If you tell me there is lightness at the end, I'm going to believe that there is. I just hope I get to see it soon.

Trish

9 comments:

A and W mom said...

Oh man. No personal experience to share, but you know I'm praying hard for you to come into the light soon. I love you!!

Andrea said...

I forget how I stumbled upon your blog, but I have been reading it for quite some time now. I am just amazed about how you handled all of the obstacles that you had with Robbie and were brave enough to try and do it all again. I am currently on Zoloft for postpartum depression/anxiety, and have been taking it since January/February of this past year. My daughter was born in Sept. of 2010. She is my third child, and my second child was a nightmare baby. I spent most of my daughter's first 6-8 weeks of life holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept telling myself that I would be able to relax once that first couple of months had passed, but I never could. You have described many of the same feelings I had. The fear, the panic. My heart would race; I would feel afraid all the time. My chest hurt; I had trouble breathing. When I would tell my husband that I felt afraid, he would always ask me "afraid of what?" I could never really explain exactly what it was. I would panic about everything. Little, stupid things. Like not being able to find toys. The kids going down late for naps. Like "If they don't nap today, they will never nap again." After I would wake up at night to nurse my daughter, I would lay back in bed, unable to go back to sleep, filled with fear and dreading the coming of the new day, where I would have to get up and do it all over again. It truly did feel like it would never ever end. But it has. The Zoloft took about 6 weeks before I felt like it was starting to help, and my anxiety definitely got worse during that time before it started getting better. I never had any thoughts of hurting my daughter, myself, or my other children, but I remember thinking that if she died of SIDS during her sleep then maybe all of these feelings would go away because I wouldn't have to worry any more. I remember feeling so ashamed when I had that thought, and so relieved when I shared what I was feeling with my husband and he was supportive instead of repulsed. It was just what I needed. I have never shared that particular experience with anyone else. I saw a counselor once, but she didn't seem to have much experience with postpartum issues and wasn't really what I needed. By then, I had kind of started to feel better anyway, so it worked out OK. I know that you don't have a whole lot of time to be running around to appointments for yourself, but if you can find someone that is familiar with/specializes in postpartum issues, it might be helpful. I had a terrible case of mastitis when my daughter was around 2 months old, and my milk supply seemed to take a big hit. Ever since then, one of my big worries/panic items is that she isn't getting enough to eat. Even now, it's still an issue. Whenever we go out, I always bring along way more food/snacks than she needs "just in case." Yeah, like my 15-month old is going to be so hungry that she's going to eat an entire bag of raisins. Anyway. I know it's irrational, but I can't just make those thoughts go away. I will stop rambling now. You WILL feel better. A year from now, this WILL be behind you. I know that right now it feels like this is how life is going to be forever, but it WON'T. I promise. It's so hard. There is always guilt. About everything. Each and every day is SO HARD. And you're SO TIRED. And your body is still recovering from your c-section. I've been meaning to post for a while, and I just want you to know that even though we've never met and probably never will, I wish you the best and will be thinking about you! Keep us posted!

mlwindc said...

Still thinking of you Trish. It took a while for the fog to lift for me and I had the benefit of taking xanax to control the anxiety while the meds kicked in. It WILL get better. You WILL be happy. You ARE a wonderful mother. Repeat.

Trish said...

Thank you guys.

And Andrea, thank you for sharing that. My scary thoughts have been more focused on me. I think it's a culmination of having been sick for so long before and after Charlotte was born.
I do also fixate on the kids at times (worrying about Robbie being understimulated, or neglected, or bored or unhappy, or charlotte's eating, growing, developing.. worrying about germs etc) but I can usually talk myself through that stuff. But if I get a headache or a chest pain or whatever, I instantly go to it being something fatal. My brain is my enemy right now. And I know that, but I can't stop it.

Today wasn't an awful today, either anxiety or side effects wise. It wasn't a GREAT day, I can't say I felt like "me" but I didn't feel like I had fallen into a well of panic either.. and that's progress. I just hope it keeps up.

Anonymous said...

I started Celexa a couple of months ago because I was having horrible panic attacks about something going on with my son (he is 3 years old - and has some leftover asymmetry from having plagiocephaly. He wore a helmet for almost 4 months - and did not have great correction.)

It was something that was always on my mental back burner - that in late August of this year came ROARING to the front - and it was all I could think about. I had pull over to the side of the road screaming hysterical "WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO MY BABY" have to turn around and drive home can't go to work panic attacks. I would feel waves of heat go through my body along with nausea and shaking. Looking at my son would often trigger these issues - and I would feel ABSOLUTELY CRAZY. For the record - his asymmetry is minor - but it affects his face - his beautiful face. And feeling like I failed him - not getting him better treatment, not pushing for additional treatment - was eating me ALIVE. I lost 15 pounds in a matter of weeks - had to force myself to eat a few bites of food every day because I knew if I didn't I'd get very ill. I cried constantly. Was having trouble sleeping. Was in mental AGONY. I was in therapy but my mental illness (and it was) had become simply unbearable so finally I saw a doctor and got a scrip for Celexa and Xanax.

I haven't taken the Xanax. But it's nice to have LOL! Just in case. The celexa started working in about 3 weeks I'd say. It started to take the edge off of the panic and started to level me out. My issues were also very much tied into my hormones - the first time I had a pull over to the side of the road attack was the first day of my period. And still - the first few days of each cycle remain rocky.

I still see my son's asymmetry - still look for it, etc. But it no longer causes waves of heat to travel up my body, cold sweats, or nausea. I can deal with it. I can see it - and it causes me dismay - but I can also rationalize with myself that it's minor - NO ONE else sees it (and they don't) - and he is GOING TO BE OK (and that was the root of my panic - how will this affect him down the road, will it cause him pain, oh my God it's MY FAULT.)

I'm not 100 percent "fine" - but I am SO MUCH BETTER. And you WILL BE TOO. A million hugs to you - I've been on my meds coming up on 3 months and continue to do well. I know that DESPERATE awful anxious feeling. And I don't experience it anymore. Little whiffs of it here and there - but not that full blown awfulness. The meds do help. Just HANG ON MAMA!! You are going to get through this.

~ Alicia

Trish said...

Thank you, too, Alicia. It really does help to hear the stories. I hate that anyone else has felt like this, but I think the feeling of "crazy" is what gets me more than anything. And knowing I'm not the only one who has felt it.. and to know you guys were able to come out of it.. That really helps. That even though I FEEL crazy, I'm not.. this is a real condition with real treatment and real hope.

I'm just normally a fairly rational person. Even though I've struggled with anxiety in the past, I could always rationalize it. But this.. this was just a whole new level of crazy that I was totally unprepared for.

And I feel so scared. Mostly of being alone with the kids. Which I have to be every day. And what am I scared of? I don't know. At first, it was that I'd have a stroke while alone with them, but even with my pressures being higher the last few days, I don't worry about THAT so much. But I still feel scared..... of something. It's not rational at all.
And we're alone at least part of every single day and so far I've managed.. you'd think that would help build my confidence. But it hasn't. I'm still scared all the time.
It sucks.

Megan said...

Hi Trish,
Wanted to share a natural remedy with you that gas helped me tremendously. It has 3 plant based ingredients and is a super 'alkaliser' which helps when you're body is wound up tight and your brain looks at your body and then informs you that danger is near; ye old fight/flight response hey?

So you need:
Shoyu or Tamari naturally fermented soy sauce
Kuzu (plant root)
Umeboshi plum purée

All of these are in your local health food store.
Directions
1 tsp of each is required
Step 1 dissolve kuzu in a little room temp water
Step 2 add shoyu and umeboshi
Step 3 add boiling water
Whisk to combine and drink slowly.

It tastes salty and I really enjoy it. Most days I have one mug; some days I need two. Always I feel better within 10 mins. It won't interfere with your meds and I love knowing I have something that provides almost immediate relief.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at megantuohey@hotmail.com

This drink has really really helped. I hope it can bring you some relief too.

Smiles
Megan

Anonymous said...

You're not in control of this. If I had to give you my non-professional diagnosis based on what you've written so far and your most recent post above - your post partum hormones are KRA-ZAZY right now - and your Serotonin levels are squat.

The BP meds are also very likely as you discovered making things even a little worse (but I think it's mostly just that you've taken a horrible post-partum dive.) The Lexapro IS going to start leveling you out. It is a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor - and it is GOING to start flooding your brain with more (happy hormone!) serotonin. It just takes a little while for things to level off. But it will help.
I have a friend who LOVED Lexapro - it helped her so much in the midst of dealing with a family crisis.

I hate to see anyone in emotional and mental pain and I've been following your story for so long (I'm generally on SAIF on the bump) - I wish I could offer you more support than just a typed message on your blog but please know that even in internet land - people are cheering you on and believing you WILL BE OK - you will get through this and you will smile genuine smiles at your kiddos and laugh a genuine laugh. For now - is is fine to just "fake it 'til you make it!" Your children are fed and clean and loved because you are an amazing mom who is getting the job done even in the midst of utter mental turmoil. THAT'S one strong, loving mama they have there. What lucky babies they are! HUGS TO YOU!!

~ Alicia

Trish said...

Thank you, Alica. Your words brought tears to my eyes. I'm trying. I'm really trying.