crazy / depression / Home/Family Life

How to Experience Hell Without Really Trying

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I realize I haven’t written much lately. I’d partially expected as much since school started up again, post-Christmas. The department continues to have a lot of inanity going on thanks to the truly stupid decisions made by the morons-elect in public office (the crazies in the House are once again honing in on abortion right now, so education is once more on the back-burner…because…Dumbasses). It isn’t an excuse though. I don’t have much grading yet since students are pre-writing now, and that’s how it usually is until the first week of February. Then the madness begins.

Speaking of madness… I hate the American medical industry. Hate, hate, hate.

During my futile attempt to Be A Better Adult, I have since come to terms with the real reasons why I’d avoided seeking out a Primary Care doctor for years: The costs (even with insurance) and the overprescribing of shit that makes one worse off.

A little over a year back, I had what I thought was a heart attack. I was visiting my sister at the time. We were on our way back from Trader Joe’s (I know, the yuppie in me is screaming to buy moar cheep whine) when I suddenly felt as if I couldn’t take a breath whatsoever, and my heart pounded so hard and fast I thought it would burst bloodily through my chest, John-Hurt/alien-style. My ever-diligent sister drove me straight to a local Emergency Care hospital where all the standard tests were performed on me. Of course, I was fine, really. Nothing worthy of such panic. Then again, that was the issue at hand. Panic. Anxiety. Overwhelming.

I’ve never had any sort of anxiety attack at all, ever, in my lifetime. I’ve seen it happen to other people in my life, and I felt utterly wretched for them. Now that I know what’s it REALLY like, I wouldn’t even wish it…and the current methods of subduing it…on my enemy.

Since that hospital visit, anxiety has snuck up on me every  night just when I was on the cusp of falling asleep. I’d start to nod off, and then I’d get, what felt like, a surge of adrenalin shooting up my body and into my head. The palpitations would then start up, followed by a bout of dizziness. It would be weeks before my first primary care appointment, and I desperately needed sleep. I’d tried everything — guided meditation, chamomile tea, stretching, warm baths, melatonin, Unisom, valerian root, hops, full darkness…everything that was recommended. Nothing worked. So, I did the next step — I went to Urgent Care.

Of course, the doctor on duty wasn’t a sleep psychologist, so, naturally, all he could do was prescribe a drug because that’s just what doctors do.

And oh what a nasty, wretched drug it is.

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 I had never been on a benzodiazapine before at all. I was prescribed — make that OVER-prescribed — Lorazepam, 1 mg daily, three times a day. It was meant to be temporary, of course. They all are. Two days later, I cut the prescription in half myself simply because I was stoned during the day, and the next day, I felt like I had the worst hangover ever, coupled with that same hard heart-pounding again and again. Hell, though, in the evening, I could SLEEP at least. It was during that time I researched GPs in the area. Naturally, the ones my friends recommended weren’t taking new patients, so I found someone through a patient referral service online. The one I found is still my GP, but like most of them here in this health-care-asinine country, she’s rarely around. I’ve seen her over the past year maybe a total of 4 times, and I’ve had appointments every month to monitor everything (I’ve lost count as to how many blood tests I’ve had for cholesterol and liver function alone). I know the NP and internist (whom I adore) quite well though.

Anyway, I digress… for sleep alone, I’ve been on Lorazepam, Temazepam (lowest possible dose), and now I’m on BuSpar for the daytime (anxiety) and Trazodone at night because I’d begged to be weaned off the benzos (those fucking HANGOVERS, the shakes, the headaches). The goddamn Trazodone doesn’t work at all, of course, and BuSpar keeps me from feeling anxious all the time, but I’ll be goddamned if it doesn’t give me  stomach problems. Since the Trazodone doesn’t work jack shit, I’ve been taking a tiny bit of the Lorazepam I’ve left just so I can sleep. Again, it works, but guess what happened…

On Sunday night, I took an ambulance ride to the ER at 3:30 in the morning because I swear to Christ, I felt like I was having a heart attack again. This time, it was coupled with back pain, blurred vision, extreme nausea, and sweats.

Again, my BP, heart, nervous system, everything checked out fine. I was diagnosed with a touch of hypothyroidism and…extreme anxiety…triggered by…

Anti-fucking-anxiety medication.

Man, all I want to do is sleep well and feel like I’m…you know…not suffering from a helluva hangover during the day  (I barely drink much anymore anyway). I don’t want this. And I don’t want to have to see a doctor, ever, for shit like this.

The paranoid conspiracy theorist in me believes its a deliberate cycle, this sort of thing. We’re prescribed medication and somewhat monitored, and the side effects land us back to the hospital so that we can be charged further, pay more into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry and their insidious shareholders (I MEAN the word “insidious” because any asshole who profits from the misery, the illnesses, of others is just evil to the core).

Remember this POS?Shikreli

All of the Martin Shkrelis of the world should have a special place in Hell reserved exclusively for them.

As it is, I cannot bloody wait for the bills from the ER visit and ambulance ride to come to my door. Don’t think I’m not going to write about that, too, when I finally get them.

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30 thoughts on “How to Experience Hell Without Really Trying

  1. I’m so sorry to hear (read) about your health anxiety/sleep issues. I’m no physician, I have zero experience with anti-anxiety meds or insomnia and up until recently I used to pigeonhole all non-western-medicine alternatives as placebos pushed by quacks for a fast buck (this turned out to be one long-ass disclaimer, sorry), but have you looked into homeopathic remedies? If any of them actually works for you, at least you can do away with the nasty side-effects of the drugs you were over-perscribed…?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have tried a few homeopathic sleep “solutions” (melatonin, of course; magnesium supplements; valerian root tea; lavender; milk and honey), but nothing works to help me actually sleep. I get tired, but I can’t fall asleep. A part of me thinks I should just deal with the insomnia and withdrawals at some point when I’m not working (like summer) and let my body just naturally fall back into a pattern of sleep or something. I would do a sleep study, but I don’t think I could possibly sleep wired up to a machine (odd how sleep studies are conducted that seem to prevent what they’re trying to “study”).

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      • If you’ve already tried those I guess there’s no use in suggesting the common ‘tricks’ like sleeping in a completely dark room, no TV, no cell phone near your bed, no exercise or caffeine at night etc…? (what about pot, btw? Not that I would advocate drug use but it does famously cause drowsiness)
        It makes sense to me that if your sleep issues are really related to anxiety, then non-medicinal ways of dealing with anxiety might actually help with the insomnia? Like tai chi or meditation or even the various exercises therapists employ to treat the actual causes of anxiety?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’re right about the cycle of healthcare. In my opinion, pharmaceutical companies are the root of many a problem. Shit medicines prescribed by the dozens because they’re in bed with the docs, ones that work well but nobody can afford, and others that have side effects worse than the original issue being treated. It blows. I’m sorry you’re now in the shitty medicine spin cycle.

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    • I never cease to be shocked at the general acceptability among the entirety of the hospital staff about such matters. When I was in the ER, all of the nurses, techs, PA’s were baffled as to why I was attempting to wean off the medication that was so obviously detrimental to my well-being. It’s nuts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry it has been like this–worse than I have had. The combo for me now (and NOT using my C-PAP machine) is 600 Gabapentin and 10 Doxepin and 10 Melatonin. Some relief. Better than with the Ambien (which is now not covered by my insurance; the recommended Trazodone made me crazy). Vicious cycles, until the right combo is found. Best to you.

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      • You do have to allow it, but the whole process (properly done) is calming, and you’d be surprised what you can do if the motivation’s good enough! Another reason, though, to find someone good and someone you trust.Also remember that even under hypnosis, you’re the one in control. (Stage hypnotists pick their volunteers carefully.) I discovered it at one of the worst periods of my life and it kept me sane. (I later trained as a hypnotherapist so I’ve seen how effective it can be, though I haven’t practised for years.)

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  4. Been living with generalized anxiety disorder for 42 years. Been on benzodiazepines since age 25. It takes 12 mg of Ativan plus 30 mg of Valium to stop the panic, but the anxiety is always with me–all day, every day for 4 decades.

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    • I am still amazed you take that much Ativan coupled with Valium. (However, since one develops a high tolerance over a short period of time, I suppose I actually CAN believe it.) How do you do it and not suffer the side effects of it?

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      • I have no side effects at all. But give me 1/10th of a 10 mg Prozac and freeking out. It’s just my chemistry. There are 20 meds on my medical record that I can’t take. I’ve been on this amount if Ativan for 20 years, ending the panic. It started coming back, so added the Valium 10 years. Been to the er probably 12 times in my life for panic or med reactions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There HAS to be a better alternative — something natural that works besides everything that’s readily spoken of. I am on BuSpar right now, and it’s not bad, really, but it doesn’t assist with the sleeping. It works during the day (I don’t start freaking out about something stupid and getting those heart palps.). Benzos are wretched things.

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  5. Can’t take any antidepressant or buspar. Been hypnotized, acupuncture, herbal meds, night and day sleep studies for fatigue (results negative), meditation, etc, etc, etc. Read ‘Monkey Mind’ . My shrink has been an anxiety/panic expert for 30 years.

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  6. After an event in my family, my doctor prescribed a similar med for me. I hated it. I couldn’t get mad and blow off steam. I was just numb. Of course, idiot that I am, I quit cold turkey. Not a good idea. There were times when I felt like electrical shocks were going through my body. I’m glad I’m off of it now.

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    • Yeah, it’s pretty awful, even if I can sleep. During the day, I feel sick and sluggish. I heard stopping cold turkey is the worst thing one can do with a benzo, but I didn’t hear that soon enough and had tried to quit altogether. That was hell. Glad you’re off it. I hope to be soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. oh God you have my sympathies in a bucket load. I know what you`re going through. Have had these panic attacks and anxiety attacks since I was sweet 17. Fortunately for me, i think, my aunt was a nurse who knew the false prophets of medicine and she advised me not to go down the medication route. However, I still have them and am now on medication for BPD and anxiety. My prayers are with you to find a solution without having horrible side effects and shit like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much, and yeah, I wish it were easy. In a dream world, we’d have a lot more (FDA-approved) natural solutions that were just as effective and not addicting or with any horrid side effects. With every pill we take, I think it’s a quicker death route these days. Sigh. I feel for you as well. Anxiety sucks rotten eggs.

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  8. I figured you probably got tons of “here’s what worked for me.” Well-meaning, and sometimes helpful. But I’m a counselor, and I have a different perspective on anxiety than even a lot of my coworkers do. It has become a specialty of mine. I wish you lived nearby. Please, don’t go to the medical docs. You’re right. They prescribe and medicate. It takes an experienced and knowledeable therapist to help you get your head clear, and preferably one who has a boatload of common sense. Wishing you well.

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  9. A lot of people rave about buspar. It does take my anxiety away but leaves me zoned out and confused. Have you considered beta blockers like propranol. The keep your nervous system balanced. I take them for anxiety and high blood pressure, but can only tolerate 10 mg/day. It’s now a psychiatric drug, so no crazy side effects. And there is Atarax, a antihistamine used for anxiety. Lowers my anxiety but raises my BP. This side effect seems unique to me–MD and pharmacist said it shouldn’t raise my BP but it does. If you say my shrink, he would put you on 20 mg Prozac and some amount of clonazipam, a long lasting benzo without the ups and downs of Ativan, etc. one of my daughters took this combo for years, but recently dropped the benzo and is doing fine. My other daughter takes Zoloft right now, and everyone else I know is taking something. Shouldn’t be this way. My shrink is William D Kernodle. Has published book on anxiety and panic.

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  10. Pingback: A Day of of Anti-Cowardice | This, On Purpose

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