Feeling lucky

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Life hasn’t been easy of late, for too many reasons to list here, but I will mention the IBS and living with a lot of pain on a daily basis. IBS has such a huge impact on me and living with pain every single day of my life, for almost three years, has affected me in so many different ways. So much so, that I frequently have days where I feel like I literally can’t carry on, if something doesn’t drastically change with my health. Here’s the kicker, it won’t, at least not for the foreseeable future.

So I try to carry on as best as I know how, the pain can sometimes be held at bay with slow release morphine and the ‘oh my god please hurry up and work,’ liquid morphine. I try not to cry (well maybe a little,) when numerous social occasions are cancelled at the last moment and look on the bright side wherever possible. That isn’t always easy and my poor husband has a lot on his hands, when it all gets too much.

I do have good days emotionally and I am able to accept that this is my life for now, pain is a nasty accompaniment, but try as I might I can’t kick it out of my life. On top of, or perhaps because of this, I can be a bit of a ‘Neurotic Nancy,’ I’m a self confessed hypochondriac and prone to panic. I also have bouts of mild depression. I am however, extremely grateful that things aren’t worse, it isn’t bowel cancer or Chrohn’s Disease. I’m also beyond happy and relieved, that I am suffering and not one of my children. Feeling rather sorry for myself, a couple of days ago, I stumbled across this blog post. I felt very humbled to read of this lovely lady’s heart breaking experience and at the same time it reminded me to feel lucky. I might be struggling at the moment with my health, but on the plus side I do have many things in my life to feel lucky about. From my husband, children and family to diet coke. Well it’s my only vice now that the pain killers have seen off my wine habit.

Of course you always know in the back of your mind, that whatever you are going through personally, there will almost always be someone going through much worse. I don’t for one minute, advocate stopping feeling sad or angry because of your own problems. I’m a firm believer in letting those emotions out and dealing with them. It is still your life and you are perfectly entitled to those emotions. That said sometimes reading about someone else coping with their tragedy, can be an inspiration and a great help.

I still hate that I am in pain for several long hours a day, but I feel lucky it isn’t worse and reading a complete stranger’s blog has helped me feel much better about things. At least for a little while …

 

….. lucky

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GENERAL PANIC DISORDER

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This blog could also be titled ‘you mean that literally anything, can set off my panic attacks?’ It would be an accurate description of my thought process, but sounds a little clumsy. On one of my previous blogs, I wrote about my panic attacks and using a low dosage of anti depressants to help control them. These panic attacks were always triggered by the worry, that my life was somehow in imminent danger. They initially started around 15 years ago. The first time I ever experienced one, was after inadvertently eating a chocolate brownie that contained nuts and having a sudden, illogical worry that I was fatally allergic to nuts.

I had read an article in a newspaper earlier that day, about a woman who had an anaphylactic reaction to eating nuts and had tragically died. I have never liked nuts and they had always made my mouth feel tingly and weird if I ate them, so I just avoided them. I wasn’t, to my knowledge, actually allergic to them. That evening I ate the brownie and had what I thought was an allergic reaction. My lips tingled, my tongue felt bigger than usual and my heart was racing. I was sweating, yet cold at the same time and I could not catch my breath. Alarmed P rang NHS direct and was told to get me to hospital immediately.

He jumped red lights, broke the speed limit and as soon as I arrived I was treated by a doctor, who gave me a dose of anti histamine and a shot of adrenaline. By this point, I actually feared the end was near. This was only exacerbated, when I managed to go to the loo. I sat down for a pee and nearly passed out, I felt even worse, than when I had eaten the nut. ‘So this is how it ends?’ were my thoughts, ‘in a dimly lit toilet in a hospital in Swindon.’ Swiftly followed by ‘sod that I am not being found with my knickers round my ankles.’ With a huge effort, I got up and staggered back to the ward to die on my husband, a much more pleasant way to go. Instead I was greeted by a Doctor who cheerily asked me how I was feeling. ‘Much worse, in fact I think I’m about to die,’ I added dramatically. She patted my head and apologised profusely, apparently it was just the adrenaline making me feel that way and someone should have explained that to me. Phew!

It was later explained, although I would be kept over night for observation, I had had, in all likelihood, a panic attack. I would need to be allergy tested for nuts, just to be on the safe side. Of course I was beyond relieved that my time wasn’t up just yet. What I hadn’t realised was, I had just inadvertently signed up for a lifetime of guaranteed panic attacks. For a good few years, they came only when I thought I had accidentally eaten a nut in any shape or form. It took over a year before I was tested for nut allergies and the mostly negative results did help a great deal (I had a tiny bump from Brazil nuts)

Unfortunately a few years ago they came back with a vengeance and any time I feared my life was somehow in danger, I went into panic over drive. Rationally, I knew that it was unlikely a tall building would suddenly collapse and fall on my head; but I still couldn’t control the symptoms. Even understanding that they were purely psychosomatic didn’t help, I felt powerless to control them. As per my previous post, they became so frequent and impacted on my life so much, that I took Citalopram for a year and that really did help. Right up until two months before my 40th birthday, when they returned but in a slightly different format.

Instead of getting a full blown panic attack and all it’s ensuing physical symptoms, I get a less physical, more mental reaction. They are harder to describe, but in short a terrible feeling of dread washes over me and although my heart rate increases, I don’t feel like I am going to die right there on the spot. Instead I just become hyper aware of my own mortality. Although physically it’s preferable to a full blown panic attack, mentally it feels much worse.

Before, I knew that I could wait out a panic attack and it would pass relatively quickly. Although it doesn’t feel like that in full blown panic mode, I think the body can only sustain such an onslaught of adrenaline and other symptoms for a brief period of time. This time however, the feeling of doom seemed to stick around for a good few hours and I’m at a loss as to how to distract myself from it.

So I turned to good old Dr Google and found that I now seemed to be suffering from a general panic disorder.  This means that I can feel panicked or extreme fear over just about anything. ‘Oh ruddy marvelous, how am I meant to make this one go away?’ Were my initial thoughts.After speaking to my doctor, I learnt that it is a not an unusual thing to experience at significant points in your life, ie turning 40. Great, so not only do I have to worry about wrinkles and my boobs hitting the floor, but now this as well? Fortunately a few months after my 40th birthday, these panic attacks vanished.

My mental health history isn’t that brilliant and I guess I’m probably just prone to these things. I am the first to admit to having a slight problem with hypochondria and definitely suffered with the baby blues after each of my boys were born. If I suffer a relapse, I would be happy to take citalopram again and would consider CBT. That said I would love some coping skills of my own. I don’t want these fears to carry on ruling my life and it’s time I tried to stand up to them. So if anyone has any coping methods, please do message me, I would love to hear about them.

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Should I take antidepressants for my panic attacks?

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This is another old post from my blog. The reason I am reusing this one is, several years down the line, I am now able to answer the question I have posed in the title. First of all here is the post from 2011. 

 I had an appointment with the Doctor last week, to discuss my panic attacks. I booked a double appointment and certainly made the most of it by bombarding him with questions. They were mainly about the panic attacks and my ever-growing hypochondria. I also managed to show him the giant bruise I had. It came from dropping a 2 litre bottle of  mineral water squarely on my foot. As every good hypochondriac knows, under the bruise there may well be a fracture, or possibly cancer of the big toe and it’s best to get it checked out by a professional! 

Cheeky doctor noticed that the bruise was in the shape of a bottle cap and said if he looked carefully enough he could just make out the word ’Schweppes!’ Anyway to cut what could be a very long story short, he prescribed me anti anxiety medication. ( For the panic attacks not the bruise.)  

I have suffered from panic attacks, on and off for the last 12 years and have always coped with them by myself. I never wanted to take pills. This time they have returned worse than ever. This time I do need help. I am not entirely sure why I have always been so opposed to taking pills? Maybe because of the side effects? I have always imagined they might turn me into a bit of a zombie. I am also ever fearful of taking anything that might lead to weight gain, because I am more than capable of gaining weight all by myself – thank you.I worry about the possibility of becoming addicted, if these pills do make me feel better, then how on earth will I manage without them?

I also worry about other people’s reactions, when they find out that I am taking a low dose of antidepressant. But most of all I worry about how it makes me feel. I don’t mean that it might make me feel nauseous or peculiar. To be honest with you, it makes me feel something of a failure. Rationally I know that’s a silly reaction, as the Doctor said, why not take advantage of a little help? He even told me he had prescribed the same medication already that morning. So I know that I am not the only one taking it.

One glance on Facebook however, makes me think that perhaps there really are only the two of us taking these type of pills. My friends and acquaintances all seem to be living the life of Reilly. There are new babies, exotic holidays, straight A student children, new homes and romances. I, on the other hand, am somewhat too fragile for the grown up world and need to be cushioned gently by Prozac. Even as I type this, part of me can see that I am being ridiculous and many things go on behind closed doors that we don’t know about.

No one, as yet, knows that I intend to take these pills, my Facebook status certainly hasn’t informed anyone of the fact. And that’s the problem, don’t you wish for a more realistic social networking site? Anxious Mums R US? Hypochondriacs Reunited? My life is boring.com. Somewhere you can announce to all and sundry that you are on Prozac, your child is a straight C student and that you won’t be going to the pub with your friends, as you only have 57p to last the rest of the month and even that was found down the back of the sofa. 

For now I guess I will have to content myself with telling only you, that I am suffering a bit of a blip and hopefully normal service will be resumed soon.

         I took Citalopram for a little over a year and I did eventually end up telling a few people that I was taking them. Mostly close friends and family. All were supportive and the pills did indeed work, so the answer to  my question was a a big fat yes. For now I am in control of the panic attacks without the need for antidepressants and I hope it will stay that way. If not, I will have no hesitation in taking them again. The attacks not only an unpleasant experience but they had a massive impact on my daily life.

         I found myself scared of almost everything, I worried about tall buildings suddenly collapsing on me. I convinced myself that I would suffer from anaphylactic shock should I ingest anything containing nuts. Even a hangover became a worry that my symptoms weren’t caused by overindulgence, but by some undiagnosed potentially fatal disease. I would wake in the night with breathlessness and convince myself I was having a fatal asthma attack. I would be awake for hours trying to calm down. The pills put a stop to the worst of the attacks, I wasn’t completely cured. I did still suffer from anxious moments, but I no longer lost sleep or worried continually that was about to die.  

Sadly I still don’t feel comfortable with telling everyone, I do wish people could be more open to admitting to the more negative parts of their lives. Then maybe I wouldn’t feel so inadequate, or feel pressure that my life needs to be picture perfect all of the time. So this post is my own attempt at rectifying things. Life is sometimes crappy and we shouldn’t be afraid of asking for help or sharing our worries by talking to others about them.   

         

About me

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Me and my littlest monster!

I’m a married stay at home Mum to four boys. I love my ‘job’ and adore my kids but it isn’t the only thing that defines me. So I thought I would start a blog and post about my life warts and all.

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and GoodReads if you want to join me …

In a nutshell my boys are 18,15,11 and 7 and hard work. I’m 40 and panicking slightly that as I don’t have a career my life is passing me by all too quickly. I don’t want to get to 70 and feel I have achieved nothing. So I have written a book and although I have yet to send it to any agents I have discovered a passion for writing, hence this blog.

I have been inspired by a dear friend’s blog, I see her frustrations with life ease with every word she types and I hope the same will happen to me. I also love her honesty.

Sometimes I am prone to bouts of depression and panic attacks that I struggle to control. It doesn’t help that I look at other people’s lives and fear that my own will never look good in comparison. In saner moments I realise how silly that is, everyone has their problems but a quick look on Facebook often does nothing to allay my fears. Almost all of the statuses on my news feed are happy shiny perfect moments. I have those too, but I wanted to be searingly honest on here. If nothing else I hope to let at least one person know that it is ok to screw up, we all make mistakes and no one is perfect.

If all that sounds too deep, don’t worry, I love to make people laugh and I am the sort of person that stupid things happen too on an alarmingly regular basis (!) my husband calls me Frank Spencer …. If you see a woman in Gloucester with her skirt caught in her knickers or loo paper stuck to her shoe it will be me!

I hope to blog firstly about being a stay at home Mum, but also about my weight struggles. I’ve been a size 22 and a size 12 and everywhere in between and lets face it if I’m busy typing about food then I’m not busy eating it ……

I suffer terribly with chronic IBS and have had every test under the sun, as yet no cure but I live in hope! As I don’t work and my husband is on a low income we live on a budget and so I will write about my obsession with sales, bargains and eBay. On the flip side I’m passionate about dresses, particularly in the 50’s and 40’s style and if I find one in the sale then I’m a happy girl, my credit card not so much.

I also love champagne, cocktails and a glass of wine or three

Please read on and hopefully enjoy my posts. I love making new friends so please do comment, I would love to hear from you!