Thursday, January 12, 2012

checking in

Well, I'd say I'm about the same as I was last week. I still get tense and worried just after dark each night. I've installed full spectrum bulbs in key places throughout the house (wow, are they BRIGHT and WHITE! Robbie's taken to telling me that the old bulbs are yellow and the new ones are white. He's right.) and I turn them on before dusk even begins. Dark doesn't seem to bother me as much as dusk does.

Monday was a pretty decent day, the weather was great. I took the kids out for a long walk through the neighborhood just before dusk and was feeling great all evening. Then around 9:30, I was washing dishes and WHAM! It hit me harder than it has in a while. It was awful. It only lasted about an hour, which isn't bad, but it was intense and unexpected.

I've also been having a lot of heartburn and reflux. I'm still taking my reflux meds that I started while I was pregnant with Charlotte, so you'd think I'd be okay. I'm certain it's a symptom of the anxiety. It starts in the evening (or intensifies if it's started earlier.) and seems to precede the tense/anxious feelings by about a half an hour or 45 minutes. I think it's the start of my body gearing up to freak out.

I contacted a therapist and will be starting therapy on the 23rd. In the meantime, we've been in contact via phone and email a couple of times. I wrote out the world's longest history on Saturday and sent it. Nothing like dragging up all my childhood emotional baggage to really get the blood pumping.

Immediately after sending that email to her, we took my 13 year old cat to the vet to be put to sleep. She had cancer and was fading fast. It was awful. I held her and talked to her until the end, and then David and I both sobbed for a little while. She is being cremated and some day I will spread her ashes with my dog's ashes somewhere nice. I'm relieved she's not in pain any more, but I still expect her to hop into bed with me, or come lay on the arm of the chair. She was part of my life before the kids, before David, before I was really even grown up. She loved me more than anyone else. She will be missed.

It's possible that the unexpected anxiety on Monday was related. Years ago when I had a lot of panic attacks, they would often hit a few days after a stressful event, not in the midst of it. So I suppose that makes sense.

I am functioning okay, I think. I am able to mostly enjoy the kids and see them through the haze of my brain. I don't feel cloudy and hopeless all the time. I just don't feel 100%. It still takes almost nothing to set off my anxiety. A headache or a pain in my side is an aneurysm or liver failure. Charlotte sleeps too long and her brain isn't aware enough. Tonight the story of a mom losing her son so SIDS threatened to push me over the edge. I've checked Charlotte's breathing a hundred times.

The kids and I are going to spend a week with my mother-in-law and I'm both looking forward to it and stressed. Being away from home for a week is stressful no matter what. Making sure we have everything we need for the kids is just a lot to keep track of. It also means no real Internet access for a week. (I'll have my wireless phone, but that's it.) It's scary how much I rely on the both the Internet and TV as a distraction when I'm tense. The noise of the TV can drown out my crazy thoughts. I have a few movies to take with me, but those will only go so far. Sometimes I can get lucky and catch a weak unsecured signal and check my email or something, but I can't count on it.

On the other hand, my mother-in-law is a great help and a good distraction herself. She will let me nap, make sure I'm fed, and entertain the kids, all while enjoying herself too. Not having to be alone all day is fantastic as I still get anxious about being alone with both kids all day. (Which is still stupid because I'm doing it most days and so far we're all doing fine, but anxiety is not rational.)

I go back to my OB for an anxiety check on the 23rd (same day as I start therapy) and I might ask about trying a different med. I feel like I could still be better. I want to still be better. I also still get a lot of shakiness as a side effect and I would love to be rid of that, too. I had good luck with Paxil years ago and it's cleared for nursing, so I'm hoping that might work better.

Those of you who have experience in this area, how much better did the meds REALLY make you? Realistically, 2 months into being medicated, how many bad days are you having? How severe? How regularly? I don't know what to expect. When I was on Paxil years ago, it was for panic attacks and it completely eradicated them.

But I've never not been an anxious person. That's part of my personality. And now it's been so regular since I've had Charlotte that I'm not sure how much is "Anxiety" and how much is "Trish." I'm not sure I know what normal is any more.

In non-anxiety related news, Charlotte is 2 months old today. I can't believe how quickly it's gone. She's doing great. She was supposed to have her 2 month appointment today but we got some snow today that inexplicably shut down the highway between here and the doctor so I had to reschedule. I do have a scale at home, so I can tell you that she's right around 8.5 pounds and quite a chunk. She's really a momma's girl and good-natured so long as she's held. Just don't try to put her down, okay?

 Robbie's pretty much the best big brother ever. As worried as I was about jealousy, he's completely the opposite. The only trouble we have between them is that he wants to hug and kiss her 30 times a day, whether she's sleeping or not and sometimes his hugs are a little aggressive. But they're well-intentioned. He hugs her and says "aww.. I love you baby sissy." It's SO sweet.

Let's look at house cute they are:

Yes, Robbie has thousands of his own toys, but has spent the last 2 days playing with nothing but a toy rattle that looks like a phone.
 I caught a sleep smile.

Napping on Daddy.

Is it time to eat yet? 
 Hi mom!

 Who needs tumbling class when you have pillows?

My pants are as bright as I am. 



Hilary-from Stickybabies said...

First off oh my goodness are your kids adorable! Secondly do they just have you on the one medication or do they have you on an anti anxiety drug in addition? There is a mom in our daycare that is currently on both after just having a baby and it has made a difference for her to have both.

Personally my anxiety is best controled with Colnazepam. I was so overly anxious last March that I thought I had given myself a stroke and the left side of my face had gone numb. I was on celexa, but it wasn't until the added the other med that I finally could reign the anxiety in.

Trish said...

Thanks Hilary!
I'm just on the Lexapro. I'm nursing Charlotte so my options for meds are somewhat limited. I can't have Xanax or anything. I wish that I could take a really low dose of it at dusk to get through the anxious part of the day, but I'm not willing to stop nursing at this point, so I'm trying to muddle through.

A and W mom said...

Thanks for updating! Keeping the prayers coming. Really hope meds get worked out as best they can be and that your time at MIL's and therapy both help.
LOVE the pics! And I totally melt reading about how Robbie is with Charlotte. Incredibly sweet!

Heather said...

The kids are so cute!!!! Good luck with the anxiety and the therapy!!!!