16:35 – It’s all in my head

31 Aug

I’ve not posted in a while as I’ve not really felt like writing anything. Since trying out those Pregabalin (Lyrica) tablets a few weeks ago which sent my anxiety soaring through the roof I’ve been feeling pretty rotten. I had seen lovely GP two weeks ago and told her at the time I couldn’t handle the side effects from the Lyrica any longer and she agreed I should stop taking them. I took my last tablet on the Thursday, saw her on Friday and finally by the Monday/Tuesday of last week the last of the side effects seemed to be out of my system.

I then spent the remainder of last week with low moods and hiding away from the world but the horrible rushy stimulated sensations that the Lyrica caused went away. I managed to go to my appointment with CPN#2 towards the end of last week and we talked some more about this Compassionate Mind stuff that they want me to do with the psychologist. Basically CPN#2 wants to do the basics of it with me while I’m still on the waiting list to see the psychologist again so that when I do see her again I will be a little bit prepared and hopefully grasping the basic concepts of compassion focused therapy. It’s hard though, I don’t find CPN#2 helpful, I don’t find our appointments beneficial so that makes me not want to go to them (hence why I didn’t attend for 10/11/12 weeks there) but I know if I don’t go then I will probably be waiting even longer to see the psychologist.

Last weekend was fairly uneventful. I hid away from the world as usual and did very little. But then on Sunday night I took my meds and went off to bed and couldn’t get to sleep. I lay there tossing and turning but all I could feel was my heart pounding so hard and so fast it was really scaring me. So I ended up not getting a wink of sleep because all I could think was “my dad has had two heart attacks and he is healthy compared to me, he isn’t overweight like me, he doesn’t smoke like me, maybe something is really wrong with me physically, maybe I’ll need to go to hospital” etc, etc. I waited it out until the morning and then it seemed to pass. But then the next night as soon as I lay down in bed it started again. Thud, thud, thud, my heart going at a crazy speed and again I lay there knowing it was going to be a very long night. I tried coming through to the living room and lying on the sofa with the TV on to help distract me for a while but it didn’t help. Finally around 6am and being utterly shattered I raided my medications cupboard for my emergency stash, found half a strip of Nitrazepam and a couple of Lorazepam so I took the Nitrazepam to try and knock myself out for a while. It worked for a few hours but by 11am I was wide awake again.

So by now we are onto Tuesday morning and I just felt a total mess as I’d only had five hours sleep in 48 hours. I kept thinking that I should maybe phone and make an appointment to see lovely GP but I already had one booked for Friday (yesterday) so kept telling myself just to wait it out and that by the time we reached Friday I’d probably be feeling OK again. But as Tuesday went by I began to feel worse and worse. I had absolutely no appetite whatsoever and felt sick to the bottom of my stomach. So I didn’t eat a single thing all day on Tuesday. Tuesday night and I get into bed and yes you can guess what happened next – the heart pounding started again. By this point I was getting really worried and confused. I wondered if it was anxiety causing the pounding racing heart but I didn’t feel anxious at all. When I do feel anxious or when I have a panic attack I do get the heart palpitations but I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced the severe pounding going on in my chest. So Tuesday night I barely slept again.

Wednesday arrived and the complete loss of appetite continued. This was worrying me as well because I’m a girl who likes her food and the 750mg of Quetiapine (Seroquel) that I take each day gives me a ravenous appetite. The fact that I’m around 3 or 4 stone overweight also clearly shows I like to eat! I tried a little bit of toast on Wednesday morning but as soon as it touched my lips I was convinced I was going to be sick so it went in the bin and I spent the next few hours hugging the toilet and dry heaving because my stomach was pretty much empty. Then around 6pm on Wednesday best friend phoned and asked if I’d like to meet up with her and the kids as we have an annual Highland Games where I live and in the few days before the main event they have like a gala day thing with stalls and raffles and fare rides and highland dancing. I really didn’t feel like going but as I hadn’t seen best friend or my little ‘nephews’ for over a month she convinced me to go along for an hour. So I put some make up on and tried to put a happy face on for the kids sake. Again I spent the entire day feeling sick to my stomach so another 24 hours passed without eating a thing.

Went to bed on Wednesday night and the heart pounding started again. I needed to sleep as my head was starting to feel a bit crazy from having no food in my body, no energy and feeling pretty sleep deprived so I used my last two emergency Lorazepam, self medicated a little with my Diazepam and took my normal bedtime meds all in an attempt to knock myself out for a few hours again. But it didn’t work. I felt drowsy from the meds but my heart was going at a crazy speed and was starting to genuinely terrify me. All I could think was “what if I have a heart attack and I’m here all by myself… I hide from the world that much that nobody would find me for days if not weeks because they all know my lack of phone calls and text messages is my way of saying leave me alone please… what if I die? maybe I should phone a taxi and go to A&E… I think there is something really wrong with me physically”.

Somehow I made it through the night and then it was Thursday. I was feeling absolutely awful, so tired and so hungry but completely unable to eat or sleep. A friend popped round to see how I was and said I looked like shit and needed to go and see the doctor but I said I’d force myself to get through the rest of the day and go to my appointment with lovely GP that was booked for Friday. And I don’t even need to say it but again the heart pounding started when I went to bed and another day of no food.

And then it was finally Friday. I went into my appointment with lovely GP telling her that something was really wrong with me and it was something physical this time not mental. My skin was sweaty and clammy, my arms and legs were trembling, I felt faint and dizzy from not eating a thing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I felt so sick but couldn’t be sick. I told her I was convinced something was wrong with my heart but it only seemed to be happening at night. I told her I hadn’t eaten for days and every time I tried to eat I had this horrible feeling that something bad would happen if I did. I was getting into a total ramble and she could see I was pretty distressed about it all so she checked my blood pressure and listened to my heart and then talked to me about what I thought would happen to me if I ate anything. With each question she asked I knew what she was getting at – it wasn’t something physically wrong with me – it was all in my head. She said she was 99% sure it was severe anxiety I was experiencing but I kept insisting it wasn’t because I’ve battled with severe anxiety with my agoraphobia for the best part of ten years and have had a whole range of physical symptoms from it but never have I been completely unable to eat for four days running and never have I felt my heart pounding so hard it made my chest ache. I think she could see I was genuinely convinced something was wrong with my heart so she said to reassure me she would get the practice nurse to run a heart trace (ECG).

I went back into the waiting room for half an hour and then the nurse called me through. I think lovely GP had managed to calm me down a bit as when I was lying on the bed and the nurse was sticking all the little things around my chest, wrists and ankles and hooking me up to the monitor I said to the nurse that I was sorry for wasting her time, that I knew the reading would be normal and this would all turn out to be all in my head. Indeed the reading was normal in terms of beating regularly but the nurse said a resting pulse should be between 60 and 80 and mine was ranging between 120 and 130 so beating almost twice as fast as it should be. But again anxiety was given as the cause of this even though I had calmed down quite a lot. I went back in to see lovely GP and she gave me a prescription for Buccastem to try and get rid of the nausea so I could eat, a couple of Lorazepam to replace my emergency two I’d had to use up and made another appointment for me for next Friday so I can be checked over again then. As always she was very nice about it and very gentle with me and told me that she completely understood that even though anxiety was something that started psychologically she didn’t doubt for one moment that the physical symptoms of it could be really terrifying. She assured me I was definitely not the first and certainly wouldn’t be the last person to think there was something seriously wrong with me and told me that a lot of people will actually phone 999 for an ambulance when they experience a panic attack for the first time because the symptoms can mirror a heart attack so much. So I felt a little bit stupid that I hadn’t realised this was anxiety myself but she told me not too.

Then, just as I was finally leaving the doctors surgery I said to her “I did wonder if maybe my Mirtazapine dose being increased to the max dose of 45mg could be causing me side effects but I’ve been on the higher dose for a few weeks now and was fine for the first couple of weeks so it couldn’t just suddenly change could it?” And that was when she said we might just have found the cause of all of this. She said she could think of at least three people who had tolerated Mirtazapine absolutely fine at 15mg and 30mg and even found it helped their anxiety at those doses but when they increased to 45mg they started having problems. And the problems they started having were??? ANXIETY. And pretty severe anxiety at that. She said the delayed reaction of a couple of weeks was the same for those people as well and she was now becoming convinced that it was the Mirtazapine making me feel so bloody awful. She also said stomach problems were more common with the higher Mirtazapine dose. So the plan of action now is drop back to 30mg and see if the heart pounding and complete loss of appetite and nausea go away. I left the surgery feeling a little bit more reassured that I wasn’t about to drop dead from a heart attack and it did help having the ECG done and seeing with my own eyes that my heart was beating regularly albeit way too fast.

So last night I only took 30mg along with my Quetiapine but the pounding heart continued when I went to bed. I ended up self medicating with Diazepam hoping that it would allow me to get some much needed sleep and if this was all happening because of anxiety then hopefully it would calm my heart down a bit. I did manage to get some sleep but I suspect that was more due to the fact I was so sleep deprived I was running on empty. I used the Buccastem to try and reduce the nausea and managed to have a cup of milky tea but still couldn’t eat anything. We are now just passed 6pm and I’ve still not eaten. That’s been absolutely no food at all (just liquids) Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and today. Fifth day of no food. I do feel hungry but as soon as I look at food I just feel sick again. I’ve been feeling really light headed and faint today so have tried to boost my sugar levels a bit with some Lucozade. But I do feel absolutely rotten. I have no energy at all and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever gone five days with zero food passing my lips. It’s horrendous and makes you feel miserable. I think I’m going to try making some soup with no bits in it, so it’s just like a drink and see if I can get that down my throat. I do keep telling myself “this is just anxiety” but my head screams back at me “no it’s not!” and it is really horrible and confusing when you know deep down this is your mind doing all of this but you just can’t believe your mind can make you feel so physically shit.

Well I guess now that I’ve been writing for an hour and almost at the 2500 word mark it is time to log off, clearly I had a lot of rambling to do after not posting for a couple of weeks. I really hope this all fucks off very soon because I truly do not know how much longer I can go on feeling this way before it starts sending me crazy.

Argh! Anxiety truly does suck with the tricks it plays on your body but it’s so fucking clever because it does it so convincingly well. Pleaseeee go away and let me eat and sleep tonight, I don’t think I can handle even one more day feeling this rough :(

12 Responses to “16:35 – It’s all in my head”

  1. savemefrombpd August 31, 2013 at 18:57 #

    Oh, I TOTALLY know what you are going through. I still get this kind of thing at times and I convince myself that something is physically wrong with me.

    When I first had the breakdown, I had 2 weeks of this exactly. Exactly what you have been describing. And I convinced myself that I had a virus. I ended up in A&E because I was so severely dehydrated, exhausted and in a mess and the doctor checked me over, did blood tests and an ECG, everything and it all came back clear. Then he asked if I had anxiety. I was like um, I guess a bit yeah. Then he sent me to the 5th floor to see the psychiatrist!! First time in my life. He gave me 10 Clonex and I got home and put them away in the drawer. Only after a few more days of this did I realise that it was all in my head too!!

    The mind is a SERIOUSLY powerful thing.

    Like you have been doing, I self-medicated too but got nowhere and it didn’t help whatsoever – but I’m still naughty and do it at times even though I know it’s unhealthy and then just builds your tolerance up so they don’t work like they did in the past. So it’s worthwhile us not doing that in my opinion.

    I’ll be reading.

    And hope you feel better very soon. Anxiety is a b*tch I know. X

    • mycrazybipolarlife August 31, 2013 at 19:40 #

      You’re so right, the mind is a seriously powerful thing – if only it could be so easily powerful the other way round and make us feel good and confident and relaxed instead of anxious, ill and terrified!

      You are also very right about the self medicating – I know it isn’t good but you know what it’s like when you feel that desperate you’ll try anything to make it all just stop and give you some breathing space.

      Thanks for commenting sweetie, it does actually help to reassure me a little when I can sit and say to myself “ok lovely GP has checked me out and I’m ok, other people have felt these feelings as well and it didn’t kill them, I am NOT going to have a heart attack!” I just need to start believing it now…

      And you are right about anxiety being a bitch… I don’t think people who’ve never experienced it actually have any idea of just how completely terrifying it is when you feel like you’re losing your mind/sanity/health all at once :( But I’m going to do my best to calm my thoughts and hopefully that will help my body calm down as well…

      Fingers crossed xxx

  2. winningwithbipolar August 31, 2013 at 20:04 #

    Hugs! Your experience is so sad, and at the same time, it’s so valuable to share it. Thank you for trusting us with this information. I know it will reach someone who needs to read it.

    I am so glad you have a lovely GP and wish you continued success with this doctor. I also hope the compassionate therapy will be of value. I see what’s called an Advanced Practice Nurse over here who is quite good, and she even tells me that the medication only does about 20% of the work at aiding me. I do the rest of the work through therapy and meditation and exercise, etc.

    Your tale, though, shows how vital it is to get the right medication at the right dosage. What you experienced must have been so terrifying.

    Again, thank you so much for sharing.

    • mycrazybipolarlife September 1, 2013 at 00:19 #

      Hi! Thanks for commenting :)

      I am really lucky in that I do have an excellent GP who does seem to have a genuine interest in mental health and never makes me feel like I’m wasting her time! I’m hopeful that this compassionate mind/compassion focused therapy stuff might help once I start doing it properly. It seems to be a bit of a mix of bits of CBT/DBT/Mindfulness/Meditation and is said to be very good for people who are very ‘self critical’ and for those who, like me, have long standing issues with self harming as it teaches self soothing instead. So I know it’s definitely worth a shot…

      Sometimes I wonder if I’m a bit overly sensitive to some medications, even at very low doses I’ve had some really horrible side effects then on the flip side there’s others I can take right up to the maximum doses and get no side effects from at all. The body is a strange thing at times! xx

  3. Ms kay August 31, 2013 at 23:32 #

    Magnesium supplements could well be worth a go . They help me with calming palpatations when I have them at night . . Anxiety wrecks your magnesium levels i heard and magnesium helps the nervous system calm you so worth keeping it topped up . Hope you feeling better soon . Poster above is right about the mind being powerful . I was convinced my whacky heart thumps wasn’t anxiety for ages . It was of course but I felt positive it was something else so i sympathise x

    • mycrazybipolarlife September 1, 2013 at 00:29 #

      Hi! That’s actually really interesting. I’ve never heard of the benefits of magnesium supplements but as soon as I read your comment I did a little google search and am just about to read the research by George Eby to find out some more about it. Thanks for that information… off to do some further reading about it now! What type of magnesium is it that you take? I see magnesium asparate, oxide and glutamate are ones advised to avoid but magnesium glycinate (chelated) taken with taurine seems to be tolerated much better and from a quick google search has much better reviews for a wide range of conditions. Definitely going to go and do some more reading about this! Thanks for the info! xx

      • mycrazybipolarlife September 1, 2013 at 00:31 #

        p.s. if anyone else is interested in the George Eby research into the possible benefits of magnesium supplements for mental health then here is the link: http://george-eby-research.com/html/depression-anxiety.html

      • Ms kay September 2, 2013 at 00:00 #

        I started on these with one after lunch and one before bed
        http://m.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/product_detail.asp?pid=833&prodid=893&sid=0

        I now used some from eBay . When I first searched I too found all the complicated “which magnesium chelate / etc etc ” stuff ( why does everything have to be so flipping complex ) but the ones listed above from holland n Barrett did the trick for me . Hope they work out for you – they build up quite quickly for me when I take them for heart whacky thumps . First night – mild difference but comforting as its noticeable . Usually more or less gone by night three x

  4. Russell Webster September 1, 2013 at 08:26 #

    Hi, i have suffered so many of the symptoms that you have and spent many a restless night with tachy cardia. Fortunatley my best mate is a GP and together we worked it out eventually. Re the palpiitations take some comfort – they are usually the sign of a healthy heart!!! Forget the NHS services -they are awful and under qualified. If we were sat together I would be asking you some slightly unusual questions such as what are you actually afraid of or panicking about. I would also ask you a lot about your diet and especially what type of and how much water you drink. By the way magnesium is one of many such things that may help. I have just started my own blog, last week, with a difference as it is also an audio blog. Do you mind if I post your situation there and give a fuller answer on my blog as it could help a lot more people. http://www.russellwebster.net. Kind Regards Russell

    • mycrazybipolarlife September 1, 2013 at 13:02 #

      Hi Russell,

      My GP did ask if the inability to eat anything at the moment was because I was scared of something happening like vomiting but I know I’m definitely not emetophobic. She did also ask if there was anything on my mind making me feel panicky but the answer was “the only thing making me panicky is this racing pounding heart keeping me awake all night”. But maybe there is something underlying that I don’t even realise I am anxious about that I just haven’t been able to recognise by myself.

      I’d be interested in reading your information about the roles diet and water play, and anything else you have found to be helpful. My diet isn’t great and hasn’t been for a while, I can admit that, but I do drink a lot of water in sugar free diluted juice or just plain water, at least 1.5-2 litres a day as I have a constantly dry mouth from the Quetiapine. I’m doing a bit of reading into the magnesium supplements but not entirely sure what the best kind is to take. Your blog sounds interesting, I’ll be sure to check it out! And no I don’t mind you writing about my situation I’d just ask you to include a link back to my blog post… I’m interested to read your thoughts and what you have found to be beneficial to your own mental health and I’m sure there will be many others interested in reading as well!

      Thanks for commenting! :)

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