New here -- having a hard time : (

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2010
New here -- having a hard time : (
7
Sun, 09-05-2010 - 8:35am

I have been lurking on here for a few days and thought I'd introduce myself.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
Sun, 09-05-2010 - 1:19pm

I am sorry you are having such a hard time right now. First of all, there is no "normal like everyone else". Everyone has their personal mountains to climb in life, challenges to face, things to overcome. Anxiety disorders are no different that any other chronic illness, like diabetes or heart disease. It's not something you asked for. It's a physical illness. A treatable one, thank God. Please don't hate yourself for suffering with it. I understand hating the disease, but you are more than a diagnosis. Sometimes it helps me to remember that the disciple Peter suffered from anxiety too. His writings often refer to casting our anxiety and fear to the Lord. God knew him, knew his disease, and loved him just the same. His illness was such a small part of the legacy he left. It's the same for us.

As for your medication, it will kick in soon. Meds can take 4-6 weeks to reach full therapeutic levels in our bodies. You should start feeling some relief within a couple of weeks, though. It's also not uncommon to experience a spike in anxiety after you begin a medication, although, in my experience, that usually starts to lessen after about a week to two weeks. I think this is the reason that so many people start medication, but don't stick with it until it reaches effective levels. I understand how rough it can be, but hopefully knowing that relief is in sight will help you muscle through the next few days until the anxious thoughts start to subside.

I understand your concerns about saying something to hurt your relationship with your husband. It is awful to have those kinds of intrusive thoughts. The good news is that you are still in control. You may have intrusive thoughts, but you also have the ability to recognize that they are not based in truth. I know they can be scary, but I usually just try to acknowledge them for what they are and move on with my day the best I can. I can't control the fact that I have them, but I can choose how I react to them. If you don't want to say anything to your husband about the content of them, you don't have to. It's enough to share with him that you're having intrusive thoughts that are scaring you.

It's hard to explain to others that intrusive thoughts aren't really a representation of what we believe or what we want. Everyone, and I do mean every single person, has random thoughts, whether they be violent, inappropriate, unhealthy or irrational. Everyone. The thing is, most often, we dismiss those thoughts as soon as we have them. We recognize that they are a random or useless thought and let them go, and probably forget about most of them. I think that for us anxiety sufferers, the self doubt created by our experiences with anxiety works to turn those random thoughts into trouble for us. We have inappropriate or irrational thoughts and we entertain them instead of dismissing them. Why? Because we are chemically inclined to anxiety to be begin with and any thought we suspect means there's something wrong with us, our lives, our health, or families, triggers our anxiety which signals us to pay closer attention to the thought. Unfortunately for us, it also seems to trigger our OCD tendencies as well.

We focus on these thoughts, not because they are what we believe, but often because they are NOT what we believe and we wonder if there's something more to them to cause us to have so much anxiety about them. As I said before, though, it's so hard to get others to understand that. I've had some luck with my husband, explaining it to him. I basically just told him that the anxiety causes me to focus on random thoughts that scare me for whatever reason. He seems to be able to understand that, so when I tell him I'm having obsessive thoughts, he recognizes that they don't necessarily mean anything significant. We can talk about them, even the ones about my occasional obsession with infidelity, without him taking it personally, because we've been able to make the intrusive obsessive thoughts something that we face together.

When I'm having them and I go to him about it, it's not to seek reassurance or to have them debunked. I think that gives credence to them. If I ask for reassurance that my husband is faithful because of my OCD driven thoughts, then I'm really telling myself that there might be something to those random thoughts, which fuels them even more. Instead, I go to him and tell him I'm having obsessive and intrusive thoughts and ask him to help distract me from them. We treat them like they're any other unpleasant situation, much in the same way that he helped keep my busy and occupied while awaiting lab results. Sometimes I share them with him, but only as a purge for me, not as a plea for him to fix them or help me with them. It's not about rationalizing them. It's about accepting them for what they are, and doing my best to move on.

I hope all of that makes sense. I just feel for you. I've had my share of intrusive thoughts over the years, and it's always scary. I have found that just accepting them for what they are is the best way to deal with them.

I hope you find some relief soon. In the mean time, remember to take care of yourself. Eat well and often, excercise and take time for yourself.

Please let us know how you are doing! Lots of prayers coming your way.

Jess

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2010
Sun, 09-05-2010 - 10:19pm

Jess, thank you so much for your reply.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-11-2004
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 1:31pm
Hi, Laura & welcome to our caring community:) I am so happy that you found Jess' reply to be helpful. It is always good to know that we are NOT alone.
As for the meds, I understand the fear & the *what if* type thinking. Sometimes to quiet my mind, I make plans in my head or on paper. For instance, it is early to expect the med to kick in. Usually 4 to 6 weeks, but you should feel a difference after a couple weeks. But... what if, the med doesn't work? Your dr. will try another one. That's common enough. It may take some time to get to feeling better, but you can plan ways to cope until that happens. It makes me feel more hopeful & comfortable when I have my recovery mapped out. Setbacks are common & I had one recently. The good news is that we recover more quickly when we have the experience from former anxious times under our belt.
GL & GBU! Keep in touch. It's so good to have you share your story w/us. (((hugs))) jan
 

 


 



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2010
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 2:37pm
Thank you, Jan.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 1:26am

Were you able to sleep last night? Not sleeping is the worst. It's so frustrating when all you want to do is sleep, but your body won't cooperate.

Part of it may be the medication, but the anxiety itself could be making sleep difficult as well. Do you have a set bedtime routine? Do you do relaxation exercises? I find that doing them before bed time is a great way to settle into sleep. Here's a link that explains how to do Progressive Relaxation, which you can do sitting or laying down.

http://www.stressgroup.com/musclerelaxation.html

Do you get exercise during the day? I find that a regular exercise routine, even just walking for 20 minutes a day, can help with sleep, as it burns off excess adrenaline caused by the anxiety.

I know that some people have great success with a warm bath or shower. That always seems to wake me up though.

Sometimes, if my mind is restless, or I have a case of the Big Eye, as my granny would say, I'll lay in bed and do the Progressive Relaxation, really focusing my mind on the muscular tensing, then repeating the word 'relax' in my mind during the relaxation steps. When I'm finished with the exercise, if my mind is still too active, I'll count my breaths, starting at 1 and going up. Sometimes I'll count well over a hundred or two hundred before I drift off, which is why starting at say, 100 and going backwards doesn't work for me.

Sometimes the thing keeping me up is sore muscles, or just general restlessness in my muscles. I have a theory about this that isn't scientifically proven, but I think I'm right. lol When we have anxiety our muscles are generally more tense than normal. All of them. Even the ones we don't notice. This tension can be what causes some of the weird pains and stuff we feel when we have anxiety. It can be the twitching of tendons and muscles held tense for too long. For me, it often results in soreness, especially in my shoulders and neck. Well, when you exercise, you can get a build up of lactic acid in your muscles, which is what causes the soreness you experience after a tough work out. I think the same thing happens when your body is tensed from anxiety for too long. The cure is simple enough, though. Make sure you drink enough water, and stretch your muscles out. With this in mind, when I'm having a lot of anxiety I make sure that I stretch out really good in the morning when I get up and again before I go to bed. I find that I sleep much better that way. Most of the time that's enough to let me sleep, but there are times when I stretch, do Progressive Relaxation and count my breaths to 200 before I fall asleep, but the important part is that I DO sleep.

That was probably way more of a response than you were looking for, but I've been having sleep issues myself lately, so I've been employing all of my go to sleep techniques. I hope that you are able to get your schedule back on track soon. Take care, and let us know how you're doing!

Jess

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2010
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 1:53pm

I finally slept last night!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 2:07pm
Yay for good sleep!!