Hi there everyone.
Thanks for checking in. Here’s my third blog dealing with my anxiety and depression. In this one I’m talking about my most recent bout with them. This time they had started a good while before I even realised they were with me.
Quite often you don’t realise that your anxiety is there. It can creep up on you subtly without you even realising that you’ve gone from thinking you were having the odd episode to understanding that it hasn’t gone away.
Looking back, it was about a year or so ago when I started noticing the signs. The odd panic attack here, a reluctance to go out there. Something, but I wouldn’t say it was major. I thought I was dealing with it when obviously I wasn’t.
Like I said, anxiety can be subtle. It isn’t always there beating you into submission. It chips away at you, sucking away at your soul until you realise it’s too late. By that point, months have generally gone past without you realising the extent of how much it had actually been there.
It had got to the point where I was starting to be wary going out, in fear of a panic attack. I was often seeing the negative in things. I was waking each morning with an anxiety attack.
And I wondered why I was feeling tired all the time.
After a while it’s almost second nature. You’ve accepted that it’s there and that it just seems to be part of your life without realising.
Around July/August last year I realised it had got to a point where I needed to do simmering about it. I made a doctor’s appointment and asked to go back on citalopram. I’d been on it several times in the past and I knew it worked.
The thing with anti-anxiety meds is they’re not affective immediately. It can take a while for the various chemicals to get into your system and start working. They’re almost as subtle as the anxiety itself. A lot of people come off them quite quickly as they think they should be feeling better almost immediately, which unfortunately isn’t the case.
Towards the end of the first months course I knew they weren’t working the way they should. My doctor suggested upping the dose to 20mg and taking a short sick note. I took the tablets but not the sick note. Sarah and I were going to Rome at the end of September and I hoped that the combination of the meds and the break would alleviate the symptoms.
I started feeling noticeably worse in myself. I became more jittery, the anxiety attacks started becoming more frequent, my concentration was gone, the colour seemed to slowly seep out of everything. By November I knew I wasn’t feeling right. I could feel myself starting to slip. I hated the thought of going out, I wasn’t looking forward to work, and even band practice felt like a chore.
The doctor and I talked again. He wanted to lower the dosage of the citalopram, feeling that it was possibly too high and making the anxiety worse. This time I also took the sick note.
Work were fantastic with me, my manager referred me to our employee assistance team who arranged a counsellor to speak to me. I hadn’t had counselling since college so I welcomed the opportunity.
I must admit, I didn’t really know what to expect. The counselor, a guy named Stephan, agreed to call me every week to talk. The first session felt odd. We looked at what might have caused the attacks. We looked at breaking down everything, what had been happening to me and why.
It sounds pretty obvious but sometimes when you reflect on things, hindsight can really make things understandable. Three years ago my dad had been diagnosed with early onset Alzhiemers. I’ll admit it now but it was something that I’ve struggled with fully comprehending and, I suppose, dealing with it. Sarah’s dad had passed away from cancer. A member of my family was also going through health issues. All of these and more eroded me away until I didn’t realise that all that was left of me was just a sliver.
I was now really uncomfortable leaving the house. I was spacing out and became easily distracted. I felt distanced from things. Worst of all, I’d lost all desire and motivating to pick up a guitar and play.
After I couple of weeks we were looking into EFT, or tapping, therapy. It’s basically using positive reinforcement and breaking down the negativity whilst tapping away on yourself. If you want to check it out, have a look on YouTube. There’s plenty of videos there, like this one that I’ve used several times https://youtu.be/K6kq9N9Yp6E
The doctor and I also decided the citalopram wasn’t working for me this time. After checking a few things, we decided to go with venlafaxine instead, something that was more suitable for depression.
The anxiety was getting more and more under control, but that seemed to have been masking a depression. Well, I say masking, but it was like I knew it had been there. With the anxiety being addressed more, the depression had chance to come to the fore. I suppose it was only natural with me reliving everything negative that had got me to this point. Luckily, the venlafaxine really kicked up. I started noticing positive changes in myself. I could leave the house without an anxiety attack. Hell, the anxiety wasn’t even there when I was waking up on a morning.
Am I cured? No, I really don’t think so and I don’t think I will be. It doesn’t work like that. I’ve lived with the depression and anxiety most of my life. But it feels different now. I feel at the moment I’m more in control, not these negative aspects of irrational emotion and thinking. I’ve embraced them, knowing that they’re a part of me. Occasionally they’ll come to the front again but I know now I’ve got other tools to help me deal with them.
Thanks for reading this, I know it’s been a bit of a long one. Again, please feel free to comment or share. Also, there’s now a small private closed community set up on Facebook, again called The Order Of The Dog. Please join us if you’d like or you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the next blog, I’m hoping to look at something a little more positive, but I’ll leave that until next time.
Thanks and stay well,