Friday, August 22, 2008

I am finding myself.

The title could be a complete sentence or part of one. I am finding myself again - a me I had forgotten about quite some time ago. Also I am finding myself planning stuff in my head, errands I need/want to do, clothes shopping, getting my hair cut which hasn't happened yet this year, going to a park with the kids to take pictures, that's not walkable distance, bike rides with my family etc etc. It is so thrilling to feel I can manage it and look forward to getting out and about.
The big outing will be to venture back to the place we were heading when my panic overwhelmed me in February. This I plan to do before the year is over and I also hope to take our annual trip 500 miles to NY to see friends. I can actually envision it happening and me feeling fine.

You know how it feels when you go for an x-ray and you have to wear the lead apron? It's not until you take it off that you realize how heavy it was. That's how I feel - like the burden of the agoraphobia has been lifted and I feel like I'm walking on air compared to how I was feeling a few weeks ago.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back from the appointment

I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I felt ok during the drive, although the trucks on the highway made me nervous (I wasn't even driving).
I was a little restles during the minutes before the appointment but fine once we were in there. I felt a little tense and dry mouthed partway through but it wasn't so bad. We were in there over an hour.
I feel triumphant. I could never have done this a few weeks ago. I love Celexa!!!
We made our next appt for a month from now and I know I'll be there.

Big day today

Today we have DS's big Dr appointment. It is the furthest away from the house than I have been since my anxiety blow up in February and we have never met with this Dr. before. Due to the nature of the appt it is important that we are both there.
I do feel quite anxious but not scared. My throat and chest feel tight, my mouth is dry, my stomach feels tense but as of yet I do not feel overly restless or nauseous. the appt is in 2 hours but we will leave the house in an hour to allow time for dropping DD off for a playdate (nervous because haven't left her with others before and she has life threatening nut allergy) and for travel time. I do plan to take some Clonazepam before we go because I need to focus on the appt and not how I feel. Taking the meds allows for that without making me sleepy or 'out of it'. I only take it in teeny tiny doses and so far it does help in taking the edge off the symptoms but I am aware they are still there but can function fine.
If I feel really bad I can always leave. I know I will not be chained to the chair or locked in the room. This is not something I want to do but I need to know I have that option to ease my anxiety.
Wish me luck!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another victory

On Thursday I have a big Dr appointment for DS. The appt is with a specialist we have never met and is expected to be approximately 1.5 hours in length. I think I can do it - might need to take some Clonazepam before I go to make it easier. the problem is that we can't take DD with us. She would be very distracting and we need to focus. I asked a friend to watch her while we go. She has never been left with anyone before so it's a big deal all round.
Today we were to go to the friend's (new) house so DD could get used to it ready for Thursday. I have not been going to people's houses these past few months aside from very recently attending a Bday party (that was a Huge hurdle but I managed it).
I had my plan with prepared excuses in case I needed to leave (she is not a close friend - I watch her DD while she works). I had my water and meds with me. DH and DS came too to check out the new house.
I felt pretty much OK - a bit dry mouthed and some throat tension but I felt reasonable and stayed longer than intended. I was so pleased that it went OK.
On the way home I needed to stop at the drugstore. the rest of the family waited outside while I ran in for a few things. How different from when I went for the first time after my agoraphobia started. I confidently strolled around the store, browsing. No need to scurry straight to what I was looking for. Everything was in focus, no distorted images or feeling of detachment. I selected a few greetings cards and when I was done I stood in line without feeling edgy and paid without feeling like I needed out of there. Next I sat in the car with the kids while DH ran in to grab some pizza for lunch and I felt totally at ease. The journey home was as it should be with me and my family chatting.
What a change and the relief is immense. I am confident I am over the hardest part and should soon be planning ahead and enjoying living a 'normal' life.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fireworks & Champagne a reason to celebrate

I felt pretty good when I woke up today, aside from wishing for a few extra moments of dream time. Got showered, kids were up (our weekend alarm clock), we all had breakfast, kids got dressed, DH got showered. Then it was that time. Time to decide what the day holds. Lately I have had more input than in previous months now that I've been feeling better. I had been pondering a trip to our local mall. I needed a couple of things that DH wouldn't be able to choose for me. I threw the possibility out there in front of the kids. This would mean that unless I wanted to come up with a reason for a change of plan, that I would have to follow through.
Our local mall is fairly small compared to others in the area. It consists of 2 levels, 2 department stores, a food court and a bunch of smaller stores. I needed to go to Sears. I knew we could park right outside. I hoped the department I needed was near the exit.
Off we set in the car. I am much better about being in the car in our town now and I am able to chat and feel about as relaxed as I can be in a car (always been nervous). I am mostly able to act like a regular non-anxious person, before I had to constantly keep my brain busy counting backwards and focusing on breathing.
The journey to the mall is about 15 minutes, no highway travel is necessary and on a Saturday is typically not the faster option anyway, especially in the summer.
I had my usual security items - water, plastic bag (in case of vomiting - never needed it but it makes me feel better), tranquilizers already halved and ready.
We parked right by a Sears entrance and to my relief the lingerie department which was my reason for the outing, was right inside the door!
DH and kids set off for toy department. DH had strict instructions to keep his cell phone handy and be ready for me if I needed to leave.
I selected the bras that I thought might be suitable and ventured into the change rooms. I find my interactions with store staff are a little overly friendly, I babble on and on just to keep my mind busy. I don't care what they think of me.
I felt completely fine in the change room but had no luck with my selection. I decided to look for more and armed with a second batch back I went and this time I was successful - I should hope so too - I had tried on almost 20!!
I felt calm at the cash. I knew my debit card would take numerous attempts to swipe as it's old and I need a new one. I was able to wait in line and handle the whole payment part fine.
DH called to see if I was OK - he hadn't expected me to be so long and the kids were bored and hungry. I suggested he take them to get take out from the food court for us all and I would check out H&M for kid clothes. H&M is in the centre of the mall and down the escalator
I did it. I went to the store, selected a few items for the kids and was still browsing when the rest of the family came to find me. I wasn't quite done so they walked to the car and drove round to a nearer door to pick me up.
The journey home I was flying. I felt like I had won an Olympic gold. I had not only braved the mall and bought some stuff but I could have shopped longer.
I called my best friend who has been an amazing support and she celebrated with me. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. DH was thrilled - although he's probably worried that I'll want to shop all the time and spend money we don't have right now. I think I deserve it!

Friday, August 15, 2008


I had indigestion last night, tried a TUM and it seemed to help.
This morning I felt blah when I woke up. I wasn't working and Dh was home so I was glad I didn't have any pressure to do anything. I had a slight IBS attack and felt a bit light headed. I decided to take it easy and Dh said he would do some stuff with the kids. I didn't feel like eating and my digestive system still felt tense. I read and did very little but eventually I decided to take a half Clonazepam because I felt like my insides were tense. It helped and I was able to eat lunch but the icky feeling did return a few hours later but I was able to read and relax despite it. It's been a while since I've had a yucky day - hard to believe I was like this day in and day out not so long ago

Thursday, July 31, 2008

July in summary

July 1
Felt ok all day
July 2
Went for a walk to store & library, mostly felt ok but took half a Clonazepam at night
July 3
Felt ok all day
July 4
Walked to a distant store, was able to spend about 20 minutes in large store, felt fairly comfortable but restless at cash and in line, wanted to head for home afterwards but was able to stop at bakery to pick up lunch. Had gripes during the night. Took half a clonazepam
July 5
Woke up with a headache and stomach still feeling gripey. Took half a Clonazepam at 9:45am. My night had been quite bad, stomach was bad, kept jolting awake, couldn't relax. I have been feeling quite a bit better in general since starting Celexa, I've even found my self humming at times. I think my poor night was PMS related.
July 6
Felt ok
July 7
Today DH and I went to Whole Foods. I love it there. I was anxious going and felt tense in the store. I left DH to pay as I was anxious to leave but I managed it and felt really pleased that I got through it. I didn't enjoy it but I know I have to expose myself to get more comfortable with going places.
July 8
I felt dizzy today and had a big headache. I ended up feeling tense and nauseous so I took half a Clonazepam
July 9
Today I went to the Education store to pick up a couple of things. I was restless and felt like I was on fast forward or something but I did it and was able to pay for the things I needed while DH waited outside in the car. I felt great knowing I had gone when I could have easily asked DH to get what I needed.
July 10
Walked to another distant store with my Mum and felt ok. She went to one store while I went to another and I felt completely ok. Last time I went to this store was in April and I had to abandon the stuff I wanted and leave hastily.
July 11
Felt ok all day but a bit blah 9pm onwards.
July 12
Had a headache all day but otherwise felt ok
July 13
I knew today would be tough with my parents leaving after over 2 weeks. i was anxious about the goodbyes. I felt wonky all day, yawning and watery eyes, restless, some nausea, tense tender stomach. As soon as the farewell was over I felt ok until neighbour stopped by and I really wanted her to leave. I felt edgy and had to cut the conversation short. Around bedtime I felt iffy - indigestion and tense stomach. I took 2 halves of Clonazepam today
July 14
felt ok all day
July 15 - my Birthday
Had a headache all day - didn't feel too great
July 16
Felt edgy this morning, not sure why - could be due to first day at work, plus DH has an interview. Felt restless, hot mouth, mild head ache, IBS attack (mild). Felt ok during afternoon but prior to dinner IBS kicked in again, then anxiety symptoms followed - tense, restless, yawning, gulping - blah. Took half a Clonazepam and felt better but a while later, felt bad again
July 17
felt mildly anxious during the day today. Was able to function fine. Slept this evening so therefore couldn't sleep at night, then felt nauseous, hot mouth. hot digestive system, tense chest and throat, yawning and runny nose. Took half a Clonazepam at 3am. Was awake most of the night.
July 18
Felt ok
July 19
felt nauseous with a hot mouth all morning. I put up with it until about 1 when I took half a Clonazepam
July 20
Today I increased my Celexa to 30mg
Felt ok all day
July 21
Felt ok all day
July 22
I think I have a UTI -whimper whimper
July 23
Felt ok aside from UTI
July 24
Today I have a goal. My daughter has an appointment with our family Dr and my goal has been to attend this appt. It is in the next town - about 20 minutes away. I have not been this far since February 9. I decide to take half a Clonazepam before we leave to be sure I am ok. the journey causes me to feel a bit restless and I count backwards repeatedly in my head and need the A/C on full blast in my face. I wait outside in the car while DH and DD go in and DH calls me when the Dr enters the room. I did ok, felt a bit anxious but coped ok. When we got back in the car I felt great that I had made it. the appt had been made weeks ago and I really wanted to be there. On the way home we stopped and did a couple of quick errands. I felt jubilant!
July 25 & 26
felt fine
July 27
I increased my celexa to 40 mg today - my goal dosage.
July 28-30
felt fine aside form UTI which is slowly getting better
July 31
Today I decided I wanted to go to the beach in the next town. It's about 20 minutes away and I said to DH that we would go and stay 1 hour with the kids. We did, I took loads of pictures of the kids and loved it. Again I felt so free after being home for so long. I think the celexa is working it's magic. I feel more confident and it's so nice not to continually feel like crap! My only gripe about it is that it has affected me sexually. I miss good orgasms. My Dr assures me this is temporary - I sure hope so.

Monday, June 30, 2008

June summary

June 1
Felt OK this morning but nauseous this afternoon. Took some ginger before dinner. After dinner felt nauseous, hot flashes, iffy stomach and felt light headed.
June 2
Felt mildly dizzy first thing this morning, then felt OK until this afternoon when I felt nauseous. IBS struck this evening.
June 3
Couldn't sleep last night, everything was spinning, I couldn't stop gulping. Woke up this morning with a headache and felt dizzy. The dizziness continued all day. I felt OK as long as I was sitting, but as soon as I moved I felt 'wonky'. Felt like I needed to keep eating to keep my stomach settled
June 4
didn't feel dizzy hardly at all today. I ate a tiny bite of egg that seemed undercooked and felt anxious about it all day. I found myself yawning and my mouth was hot and I kept salivating - it felt gross. I was restless and kept pacing with my hands on my head stretching to open my lungs. I decided to take some Clonazepam as I could feel myself begin to spiral down hill. It's been more than a week since I last had some. Still felt blah a couple hours later. Stomach hot and tender, tight jaw, yawny, hot mouth, restless, chest feels tight. I feel very edgy and anxious. then overwhelming nausea hit, needed to be in the bathroom just in case, this happened several times with strong anxiety symptoms until quite late.
June 5
Felt OK mostly. Friend and her kids stopped by, I felt restless, tense and yawny but got through it.
June 6
felt ok until mid afternoon when IBS struck, felt hot, tense and jumpy. I think the upcoming garage sale is stressing me out - don't know if I'll be able to be a part of the selling and having to interact with people. there's still so much to do. I'm trying so hard to think positively but it's hard. Dinner time my eyes and nose were watery and I was yawny again and restless - kept pacing about - more IBS arrrrgh This sucks
June 7
mostly felt OK but with some anxious moments during the garage sale.felt very tired and drained. Eyes watery and very yawny. A couple of IBS attacks
June 8
Felt mostly ok but had throat sensations (like a reflux type thing). Got a headache that escalated to a nauseating headache with tension - very restless and tight chest.
June 9
Some restlessness and IBS. Overall not a bad day.
June 10
Mostly ok but some IBS in the evening. Felt tired and drained.
June 11
Went for a walk to grocery store and picked up a few things. felt ok
June 12
Felt dizzy all afternoon but otherwise ok
June 13
Friday 13th! Dizzy & nauseous today - stomach feels crappy, other anxiety symptoms such as yawning, watery eyes, visual floaters. Took some ginger for nausea but did nothing so ended up taking some Clonazepam. Got a headache. had a hard time falling asleep.
June 14
Woke up with a headache but ventured to a nearby garage sale and felt so so. I didn't want to talk to anyone but I still went and felt pleased with myself even though I didn't buy anything. Shortly after I got home I felt nauseous and restless and nervously massacred my toe nails and paced and felt generally crappy.
June 15
Woke up with tense jaw, hot heavy chest and nausea = so frustrated -- don't know what to do anymore. I feel beaten by this and sad. I emailed my Dr to ask her about trying meds once more - shows how desperate I am right now. She emailed me right back and told me to start Celexa again beginning at 10mg but to also take Clonazepam while I'm adjusting to the Celexa. This makes me feel better as I didn't want to deal with the transitional nausea I had when I tried it a few weeks ago. I'll start tomorrow. Dr was very encouraging. Felt nauseous later today. I did some gardening to try and relax and broke out in a rash all up my arms from pulling up forget-me-nots. I felt very anxious about the rash and whether it would progress to a worse reaction. When the rash subsided I felt spacey. I spend some time listening to my relaxation CD's which helped a little.
June 16
Mostly felt ok. This was day 1 of Celexa/Clonazepam plan.
June 17
Doing ok
June 18
Felt fine
June 19
Several bouts of strong nausea plus tension and yawning. Felt tired. Hoping things will get easier soon.
June 20-30
Mostly felt ok. Continued with Celexa/Clonazepam. I'm not taking anywhere near as much Clonazepam as Dr said I could so I feel good that I haven't needed it much. My parents arrived during this time and I felt fairly calm most of the time but little desire to go out of the house.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

To try or not to try....

I had called my Dr on Monday morning, two days after the initial anxiety attack. The receptionist said I would have to come in and that Dr did not do phone consultations. I broke down crying explaining that I couldn't go to the next town to see her because I was having anxiety and it was bad. I was promised a call back.
My Dr said I needed to try meds. Previously when I have had periods of anxiety I have been strongly advised to try meds but I was always too scared. I decided that this time I would handle my anxiety differently. I would try meds and I would be open about it to people rather than making excuses and avoiding people and situations as I had in the past.
I agreed to try Paxil if I could start on a minuscule dose and could I have some kind of tranquilizer for if things got bad again. DH collected the Paxil and Clonazepam. I was to start on 5mg Paxil - a dose she assured me was similar to that for a child, then I would increase it slowly until I was at a suitable dosage. the Clonazepam was for emergencies and to help me feel secure.

Today is day 3. This morning right before I was expecting my home daycare kids to arrive, I had a suddenly tail spin of symptoms. I wanted to run. I felt like I might throw up, my throat was closing, I didn't want to have to talk to parents. I paced frantically but managed to accept the arriving children and hoped the parents didn't sense anything. DH helped me organize breakfast while I paced some more with my hands on my head trying to get air in my lungs.
About an hour later I felt fine and DH left for work. I was able to function normally with the children despite the tightness in my throat.

Monday, February 11, 2008

This is real

Today my daughter had a Doctor's appointment with a specialist across town. I felt a bit apprehensive but tried to put the sensations of the past couple days behind me.
In the car we went, as DH drove I began to feel anxious and nauseous again. We got to the parking lot and I knew I had to get home. The flight impulse was very strong and even though it meant being late for the appt, I had to ask Dh to drive me home. The drive was hard, I pulled on my hair at the nape of my neck - the discomfort that caused intended to distract myself. I made it home and Dh headed back to the Dr's. Within 5 minutes of being home I felt completely normal - that was great, knowing what this meant was not so great. I knew this would make me want to stay home more.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Trying to convince myself

I woke up this morning concerned that this might be the start of another long road of anxiety, agoraphobia and social anxiety.
I had some things I needed from a store a few minutes drive away. It was icy cold. I drove myself to the store, I felt spacey during the drive. While in the store, I was anxious to be speedy, gathering what I needed and restless in the line at cash. I decided not to go anywhere else and headed back to the car. I coudln't wait to get home. I didn't feel right driving, I didn't feel present but I amde it safely home and faced the reality. Yesterday was not an isolated event. I was anxious today too.

The day my world changed

No, it wasn't a tragedy involving a loved one or a house move or birth of a child that changed my world today - thankfully. It was something so ordinary. We had decided to go shopping across the border in USA. We do this now and then when either the dollar is in our favour or if we need things we cannot find here in Canada but got used to while we lived in the States a few years ago.
We set off as ususal, kids in car seats, snacks and drinks for the ride, US dollars and passports at the ready. The journey to the specific stores we needed to go would be about1.5 hours including border crossing (longer if it was busy there). I had awoken with a slight headache and my stomach felt a tad off but I put that down to the time of the month and ignored it.
About 45 minutes into the journey i didn't feel so good, nauseous and hot and anxious. I tried to dismiss it for a few minutes and suddenly, seeing an exit off the highway ahead, I asked Dh to please get off the highway. We stopped in the parking lot of a fancy hotel/spa and I paced around trying to breathe and decided to head to the bathroom in case I was going to get sick. I tried to act calm as I walked in the grand entrance. The door guy was asking if he could help me and I was scanning the lobby for bathroom signs. I said I'd like some info on the hotel but needed the bathroom first and raced to the ladies room and locked the door. I felt hot, my digestive system was rebelling and I had a nervous IBS attack. After a few minutes I felt slightly better. The door guy was waiting with some hotel brochures which I accepted and left. I paced around in the parking lot with my heart racing, feeling dizzy and disoriented, outside of my body but at the same time deep inside of this scary place.
As soon as the symptoms subsided a little I thought I'd try to get back in the car but I didn't want to be imprisoned in there on a highway. I asked DH how far to the next bathrooms and rest stop and he promised me it was only a few minutes away and we would stop again there.
I white knuckled it to the next stop where I jumped out of the car before it had hardly stopped, needing the cold air on my face and in my lungs. I paced around and went to the bathroom again. I didn't know what to do - how would we get home? I felt detached and frightened and nauseous and I didn't know what to do.
Eventually we drove to the next stop - a plaza where I sat in the car while DH took the kids for lunch and bathroom. I felt ok in the car alone after a few minutes. I was a little distracted from the anxiety by all the people around doing there thing.
About an hour later, the rest of my family emerged and I knew we would ahve to drive some more. I didn't want to, I was restless and tense and scared and my sysmptoms were flaring each time the car moved.
The journey home was awful. I had to keep jumping out the car at every opportunity to pace about and take deep breaths of cold air. Finally we reached our town. We had exited the highway sooner than we usually would due to traffic so although we were in the town, we were still a way from the house and suddenly I was overwhelmed. I couldn't stand being in the car for more than a second. We stopped at a plaza so I could get out - the feeling that I was about to vomit was very intense. I am terrified of vomiting. I suggested to DH that he drive a bit ahead of me and I would walk for a while. This was not the smartest idea in February with slushy snow on the ground. Uggs are not meant for long uphill walks and definitely are not able to stand up to the wet snow and it didn't take long before my feet were wet (not cold though - the fur inside kept them toasty). I needed the bathroom all of a sudden so bad -I was scanning the street to see what my options were - coudl I make it to the gas station where DH was waiting. I saw an eldery man clearing the snow from his driveway, I figured I might have to ask him to use his toilet but when I got level to him I figured I coudl amke it to the gas station. I practically ran in and asked for the washroom, had to grab a nasty looking key to get in there. I just made it. Another IBS attack and a nervous bladder.
Once outside I had to get in the car again to get through a major intersection not designed for pedestrians but as soon as we were through it I had to walk again. I felt ok while walking - still anxious but not super bad.
Eventually I got home by walking a bit, then sending Dh ahead a bit more. I was so glad to get in the house. It took 4.5 hours to make the 40 minute journey home.
I continued to feel anxious and restless for a while after. 6 hours later I was calming but still restless. Approximately 9 hours after the ordeal began I felt like I could relax.
I was so sad this had happened. It had been so long since I had been this bad and I feared what might be lying ahead of me.