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 :(