Thursday, January 25, 2007

Don't panic - Part Two

Sorry I didn't make it here yesterday. It was a really long day and I pretty much crashed out when I got home. I was so tired I couldn't focus on the screen anymore much less collect my thoughts. But thanks to everyone who offered encouragement and shared their stories. Somehow it helps to know I'm not the only one who suffers from these incomprehensible attacks.

On reflection, I realized I misstated the duration of my disorder. It actually started when I was in my early 30s. I was convinced I was going to die of a heart attack. I was under a lot of stress at the time, in a very bad marriage with an abusive partner and lived in the middle of nowhere. I spent a lot of time alone on the farm. That's when I first starting taking Ativan and I took it regularly for about a year.

It helped. I was able to take charge of my life. I got a job that I loved. One day, I just got tired of living behind the glass wall of the meds and stopped taking them. Like Cindi, I also didn't have an attack for at least ten years after that. When I hit my mid-40s, I started getting the attacks again. After ignoring the symptoms for about three years, it turned out I had a hyper-thyroid disorder and after they nuked my thyroid out of existence, I was okay for a long time.

But they did come back, albeit infrequently. I noticed they mostly occurred in mid-autumn when the light starts to fail and the weather got cold and then I would go months at a time and be fine. Now, since I moved here they started occurring at odd times and for no apparent reason. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night because I was having one. Often, I'd get them in the morning but feel fine again by the end of the day. Sometimes, they hit when I was trying to go to sleep. After I spent 24 hours in the ER a year and half ago being subjected to every test known to man, and deemed to be healthy, I was okay for several months.

Now I'm back on maintainence tranqs. I've been taking the Ativan regularly on a prophylatic basis and it mostly helps but I do get tired of living behind the glass wall. I feel like it slows me down and diminishes my acuity, so I've been trying to cut back on the dosage. That's probably why I've been having more incidents again. I understand there's a blowback factor when you go off the meds.

What a life. I hate to think I'm going to be stuck in this medicated limbo forever. But maybe that's really the problem. My life is in limbo right now. I have no control over my schedule or my immediate future. If I ever get to a comfortable routine again, I have a feeling it will all settle down again. At least one can hope.


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