It's 1:17am, and although there are less of these nights, they are never where I want to be. I've had a relatively good week. The nausea still rears its ugly head most days, but it's very rarely a full day, and today I had almost no nausea! Normally an hour here or there...maybe a few hours in the evening. I still have the "dry heave" feeling which can be unsettling. The adrenaline rushes and overall anxiety have not been bad at all this week which is always a nice break. I think back to when I was only weeks off of Benzodiazepines and I was just wired all the time. So much nervous energy that never seemed to go no matter how much I moved. Now I can sit still more comfortably and even began reading a book this week!
Now at 1;21am, I just want to cry. I have horrendous gas pains that won't let up. The adrenaline is so prevalent that it's almost as though can hear my body buzzing. I have my iPod on. Relaxing music is playing. I tried the deep breathing. I visualized. I contemplated waking my husband. I watched some television. And now here I am. When all else fails, try writing!
Each and every time I get hit with a night like this, I wonder "is this the last one?". How will I know when I'm just experiencing "normal" anxiety or "normal" panic attacks? What I have right now I don't believe is "normal". I firmly believe it's still related to my central nervous system working hard to recover from the Benzos. And how do I know this? The buzzing. I never experienced buzzing like this before this experience. It's as though each vein, muscle, tendon, and my skin are vibrating. I am aware of just about every square inch on my body. "Hyper aware". It's uncomforable and most of all extremely unsettling. The worst part is that no matter what I do, I can't make it go away. I have to wait it out. So now at 1:26am, my eyes burn. My face is so tired that even my mouth hangs open. My breathing is slow even though it feels as though my heart is racing. My head bobs after each sentence I type and I close my eyes for just a few seconds before a jolt hits me and keeps me from being able to fully give in to exhaustion. My mind wants to sleep, but every time I attempt it, my body screams, "oh no you don't!", and a jolt of electricity shoots through my body. I hate this. I want to cry. I don't want to be alone.
Now the pains are setting in. It's like nerve pain all over my abdomen. I almost feel sick with it so of course I begin to worry that I really am getting sick. Is this the beginning of a very long night? I have thought this about 1000 times throughout this process - if not more. "I think I'm really sick this time". And really, what does it matter? The fact is, I FEEL sick so often. I'm not full of bugs and bacteria, but the sensation is still there. So why is it so bad if I really get sick? I can't answer that.
My legs are shaking. My mind is racing and I find that typing out the thoughts as soon as I think them is somewhat therapeutic. But then I take a break for only seconds and my body shakes and the pains come back. I feel like I'm in a movie. I am crying now and I am so scared. I wish my husband could hear me. My ribs hurt and I feel like I'm exactly where I was months ago when I first came off of the meds. I don't want to get through this alone right now.
I was so exhausted before bed tonight. I felt like I could fall asleep and sleep for hours and hours on end. So why this? Why the minute I put my head down, does this all unfold? I could feel it immediately. I pulled the blanket up to my neck. I turned my music on softly. I felt warm and comfortable. And then, "buzz". It starts out mild and I know that it may not turn into anything, so I take a few deep breathes and think of something that makes me happy. Then minutes later, I begin to hear my heart beat loudly in my ears. It's louder than the music and at that point I am aware that I may have a problem...but again, things have settled before at this stage and I am often able to fall asleep comfortably. Then the pains began. Lower intestinal pain. Like gas cramps but it often feels like it's coming from my ovaries. My heart beat becomes louder now - and faster. And yet my breathing is "normal". I go through these sensations for several minutes. Close to a half-hour. And then this one tidal wave hits me. A jolt, and wave of nausea and a trembling all at once. I know I'm in trouble. I immediately sit up and grab the laptop as it is a distraction and that is the next step to preventing this from going any further. Often if I grab a journal to jot thoughts into, or the laptop to type on, the sensations begin to lessen. Tonight though, this was not going to be good enough. I ended up in the washroom. Not with "the runs"...but I did have to "go" and it was painful as my intestines felt like they were contracting uncontrollably the entire time. At this point I wanted to call out for my husband, but instead I cried as quietly as I could while I rocked myself back and forth on the toilet. Quite a sight tonight.
Now on the bathroom floor, I feel scared, cold and so alone. I know I could wake my husband, but all that will do is create 2 tired people in the morning. I am accustomed now to the lack of sleep. I can go on three hours sleep better than I could in my 20's. But I also know that my body hasn't had a run of more than 3 nights in a row of a solid 6 hours in months. Since the end of November, I have had the rockiest sleep of my life. I felt so fortunate my first few months off of Benzos when I was able to sleep up to 7 hours per night. Now, since being 4 months off, sleep has been a major issue. I feel fortunate as I know that some people who come off of Benzos, spend months - even up to 2 years - of 2-3 hours sleep per night. They are walking zombies and it really plays with their mind. I don't feel that bad, but I do feel "fragile".
Next week is my 10 year wedding anniversary. I am so excited, and yet a bit more stressed than I think I've even allowed myself to believe. Months ago, I had a "vision". An "ideal scenario" in my head. I thought that by the time our wedding anniversary rolled around, I'd be close to "healed". I assumed that I'd have no problem planning a party for 20+ friends and that we would celebrate our love for each other with good music, food, dancing - all while surrounded by people we love. Now, it's a week away, and no plans have been made. And the main reason is really because I am no where near to being "healed". I am well on my way, but it's still very difficult to make plans of ANY kind without knowing, "how is Sarah going to feel?". It's so frustrating and I feel a bit angry at times. I wanted this perfect party where I could celebrate with my husband - the man who has fully stood up to the plate and made "in sickness and in health" his number one mission. And now at 2am, I sit here on the bathroom floor, twitching, crying and scared.
We will find our own way to make it special. We love each other and we know our friends love and care for us. We don't "need" a party to prove that. But after spending more that a year, using our home as my "safe place", I just wanted to be able to use it as a "happy place". A place for celebrating.
An hour later, and I know I'm nowhere near out of the woods yet tonight. My lower back is so sore right now as it always gets this way from the tension. I don't even notice it most of the time, but I hold my breath and tense all my muscles in my core while I'm going through this. My back sits very straight and I have to roll my neck from side to side "stretch out". I don't want to leave the bathroom floor. I have the space heater blowing on the me and the warmth and noise that comes from it is soothing as I am so cold and afraid of silence.
I don't know how many more of these nights are in my future. Like I said, it's more like a "Central Nervous Attack". My system goes haywire. Even now as I begin to settle a bit, the nerve pain in my upper abdomen and ribs is so intense there is no way I could sleep with it. My back feels like it's covered in tiny needles - prickles everywhere. I so badly want to be able to write on this blog with only good news. I realize that's not very realistic in ANY life, but I would really like a break and get tired of sounding like a broken record. I sometimes wonder if people think, "does she ever have anything positive to say?". But then I know deep down I've kept a fairly positive attitude throughout this entire ordeal. I also wonder if people question why I'd keep a blog. "Is she THAT important that she thinks everyone wants to read her blog...that's about...her?". But then I figure, if you're reading it, then there's a general interest there. I began this blog to reach out to not only others thrown into the world of anxiety and depression AND/OR living with the possible negative effects of being medicated for these issues, but also to the family members, friends or loved ones who support those in this position. An equally difficult job in it's own right. In the end, this blog has become part of my therapy. It's where I go at 2am when I'm alone, scared and needing someone to listen. I feel like when I type it out, you are sitting there with me. Living it and encouraging me to keep going.
And I will continue to keep going. I know 100% right now that I am improving greatly. The healing is well underway, and tonight is just an unwanted moment that may not happen again for days, weeks, months...or maybe ever. I may not always feel like I'm heading in the right direction, but when I can take the time to sit back and really look at how I was months ago, I have come a LONG way. I never think about "needing" medication to get me through anxious situations. I now know my body and mind are fully capable of getting me through just about anything.